Year in Film: The 2010 Voice Film Critics' Poll
Just kidding. Theres only one movie of the moment: The Social Network.
Listed on 52 of 85 ballots cast (the largest percentage of any poll-topping movie since Todd Hayness Far From Heaven won in 2002), David Finchers Birth of a Cyber Nation, directed from Aaron Sorkins script, took the Voice poll, just as it captured critics awards in New York, Los Angeles, and Boston. Old media acknowledges new. The last time a newly anointed Time Person of the Year like Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg got the simultaneous Hollywood treatment was back in 1943 (Joe Stalin, Mission to Moscow).
Truly, 2010 was the year of the globalistic roguerunner-up to the Zuckerberg story was Carlos, Olivier Assayass five-and-a-half-hour saga of the most notorious international terrorist of the 1970s, while Exit Through the Gift Shop by art-world mystery-man prankster Banksy handily won both Best Documentary (or documentary) and Best First Film. Jesse Eisenbergs Zuckerberg defeated Édgar Ramírezs Carlos for Best Actor (although in the real world, both their Google numbers combinedplus Banksysare but a ridiculous fraction of the 131 million citations for global rogue Julian Assange, whose biopic is surely TK).
The polls top three movies all but swept the table. Sorkin overwhelmingly won for Best Screenplay; Assayas edged Fincher for Best Director. Meanwhile, third-place Winters Bone, Debra Graniks indie backwoods thriller, collected a pair of awards: Feisty teenager Jennifer Lawrence pirouetted past Black Swans Natalie Portman for Best Actress and John Hawkes out-blustered The Fighters Christian Bale for Best Supporting Actor, although in the battle for Best Supporting (lowlife) Actress, Bones Dale Dickey lost to Animal Kingdoms Jacki Weaver. The rest of the top 10 are a decidedly mixed bag: Roman Polanskis absurdist political thriller The Ghost Writer finished fourth, followed by a couple of surprise foreign films, Maren Ades acerbic relationship comedy Everyone Else and Giorgos Lanthimoss allegorical family drama Dogtooth. Darren Aronofskys madcap Black Swan came in seventh, just ahead of Alain Resnaiss even madder Wild Grass and Bong Joon-hos Hitchcockian murder mystery Mother, all followed by the years top grossing movie Toy Story 3.
The poll has a few anomalies. Three critics named movies as the years best that figured on no one elses ballots: Nicholas Winding Refns viking fest Valhalla Rising, the documentary The Tillman Story, and Rodrigo Garcías adoption drama Mother and Child. But these are proudly declared individual statements. Movies are more generally a collective art and social phenomenon. As box-office receipts measure popularity, polls manifest consensus. Whats really fascinating is intensity of feeling. Each poll has a hidden story, revealing those movies that are not only liked but really liked or even passionately lurved. Carlos may have appeared on significantly fewer ballots than The Social Network, but it garnered more first-place votes and had a higher average score. To quantify this sort of intensity, weve derived a primitive algorithm (factoring a movies average score with the percentage of voters listing it first or second) known as the Passiondex.
Application of the Passiondex to movies listed by at least three critics yields a somewhat different crop of winners headed by the bleak, violent Red Riding Trilogy (#26). Substantially trailing that critical cult winner are Manoel de Oliveiras blandly eccentric Strange Case of Angelica (#29); Carlos; Lee Chang-dongs epic crime drama Secret Sunshine (#16); Todd Solondzs dark comedy Life During Wartime (#34); Jessica Hausners deadpan religious satire Lourdes (#24); Miguel Gomess not-quite music doc Our Beloved Month of August (#20); Toy Story 3; and Dogtooth. (That Lourdes, Dogtooth, and Life During Wartime all received votes as the years worst film enhances their cult status.) Tied with Dogtooth, and just ahead of Greenberg (#18) on the pash listThe Social Network.
For the 2010 film poll results, go to villagevoice.com/filmpoll
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