In honor of tonight’s Oscars, I thought I would finally compile my annual list of favorite movies. Living in a small college town means that many of the smaller films take a long time to get here or never come here at all.

Consequently, I can’t make my films list until well into the new year. This year I’ve been putting off making the list until I saw a few last films, one of which still hasn’t come to Athens, so I’ll just have to add it later if I want to. So, here’s my list of favorite movies from 2010 that I’ve seen to date. As in past years, I’ll include the trailer and a link to my original post about the movie.

Number one on my list is Blue Valentine, which was one of the movies I was waiting to see.

Often, anticipating a movie is just setting yourself up for disappointment. But not in this case. Blue Valentine is exquisite. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are amazing, and everything about this heartbreaking movie is perfectly designed to maximize its quiet despair. I reviewed it here.

Number two on my list is The King’s Speech.

I know a lot of the movie blogs I read are against this movie sweeping the Oscars tonight, but I think it will deserve any award it gets. Just as I love the heartbreak of Blue Valentine, I love the optimism and sentimentality of The King’s Speech. Colin Firth should finally get an Oscar tonight. I would also love it if Helena Bonham Carter won Supporting Actress. I wrote about it here.

My third favorite film is Black Swan.

I also hope Natalie Portman wins tonight. Black Swan is a great psychological thriller, and I love its theme of what the drive to perfection can do to someone’s mind. I wrote about it here.

The Social Network is number four on my list.

I loved this movie’s ability to capture the zeitgeist of today’s social networking culture. I just wish that it had been a little more accurate in what actually happened in the creation of Facebook. But apart from that, it’s a great movie that’s totally engrossing and interesting. I wrote about it here.

Number five is the French film A Prophet.

This film was released in France in 2009 but wasn’t released in the US until January 2010, so I’m counting it in this year’s pool. Of all the crime-related movies I saw this year, A Prophet is the best. It was the last of the film’s on my list that I saw.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is number six on my favorites list.

Apparently, I never got around to posting about Scott Pilgrim, so I’ll briefly review it here. I thought this movie was a lot of fun and made the most of Michael Cera‘s usual shtick (which I like btw). I also appreciated it queer sensibility — Keiran Culkan‘s character, Wallace, is one of the standout gay characters in film last year!  All in all, it is an enjoyable, fun movie that’s really well done. It’s a shame that it didn’t do better at the box office.

Number seven on my list is Inception.

I also never got a chance to blog about Inception. Unlike Blue Valentine, I assumed that I wouldn’t like this movie because of all the hype I had read about it on other blogs. Earlier in the year, the blog were all predicting that this movie would dominate the Oscars. Surprisingly, it hasn’t. I thought it was a magnificent special effects driven movie that also clearly has a heart. I didn’t think it was particularly difficult to follow all the layers of different “realities,” and I really enjoyed the supporting performances by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, and Tom Hardy.

Number eight on my list is The Fighter.

I’m a bit surprised that I liked this movie as much as I did. It doesn’t seem like the kind of movie I’d like — about a boxer. But I did enjoy it a lot. I’m not sure what I think about Melissa Leo’s controversial Oscar ads. It seems like a mistake to me, especially when she publicly talks about not being old enough to be Mark Wahlberg’s mother — it’s called acting. Amy Adams and Christian Bale are both amazing, as is Leo and Wahlberg.

The last two movies on my list are both smaller, gay films: Howl and Strapped.

Both of these movies are kind of experimental or at least non-realistic in their narratives. Howl incorporates Ginsberg’s poem into the movie through animated sequences, and Strapped‘s basic premise is surrealistic, I suppose you could call it. In both cases, I enjoyed the lyrical quality of the narratives and became interested in the leading men’s different struggles: Ginsberg’s efforts to create and publish freely and the Hustler’s search for meaning in life and relationships. James Franco is excellent as Ginsberg. The movie could have been a little queerer in more explicitly depicting Ginsberg’s sexuality — after all, some of his poems are the most explicit sexual verse in the LGBT canon (example: “Please Master“). I didn’t write about seeing it, unfortunately. Here’s my post about Strapped.

So, those are my ten favorite movies of 2010. I’m still waiting to see Another Year. I usually like Mike Leigh’s films, and I had hoped to see this one before making my list. I’ll add it later, if I like it as much as I think I will.

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