This is part of a series of year end lists here on The Lost Boys this week… Check back for more, and enjoy Matt’s winners and losers of 2011 below:
In an entirely scientific and totally sincere study, I have identified five categories in which the fickle finger of fate has handed out diverse fortunes across this year’s cinematic landscape.
Pale-skinned, red-headed beauties
THE WINNER: Jessica Chastain
This time a year ago, one presumes, Jessica Chastain won a competition to become a major Hollywood movie star. Either that or she struck a deal with the devil / God / Harvey Weinstein. With a surname that sounds like some sort of Elizabethan contraceptive device, Chastain has taken to her prize with aplomb, starring in every film this year that required a female of her specification, which must have made things problematic for…
THE LOSER: Everyone else
Ms Chastain’s fellow red heads have struggled to match her silver screen prowess all year. Bryce Dallas Howard had the temerity to pop up in the same film (The Help) and – presumably to avoid confusion – succeeded in relegating her rival to a bad blonde dye job. But guess who is getting all of the awards attention? Meanwhile, triple Oscar nominee Amy Adams’ only 2011 appearance was in The Muppets movie, while Christina Hendricks’ most high profile big screen appearance since her Mad Men fame ended… well, if you haven’t seen Drive, I won’t totally spoil it, but let’s just say after five minutes on screen there wasn’t much pale-skinned or red-headed about her…
The Friends and Family of Kathryn Stockett
THE WINNER: Tate Taylor
If anyone can match Competition Winner Jessica Chastain for sheer good fortune in 2011, it is her director in The Help, Tate Taylor. Twelve months ago, only the informed elite were tracking the directorial career of the man behind the dubiously titled Pretty Ugly People and, erm, that’s about it. But after his best friend since childhood Kathryn Stockett handed him the rights to direct the film adaptation of her hit novel, he looks likely to enter 2012 having directing not one but three actresses to Oscar nominations. Which is presumably a bitter pill to swallow for…
THE LOSER: Ablene Cooper
The Help was plunged into racial controversy – to be honest, it deserved a good dunking – when the former maid of Kathryn Stockett’s brother claimed that Stockett had stolen her life story for the basis of her novel, and promptly launched a lawsuit. If some expressed doubt, they were perhaps more rattled by the notion that Kathryn Stockett had based her sugar-coated novel on anything approaching real-life experience.
THE WINNER: Michael Fassbender and all who bow before him
Twelve months ago, the feared NC-17 rating was most associated with Showgirls. Now it is most associated with Michael Fassbender’s penis. When Fox Searchlight president Stephen Gilula announced that Shame would pass uncut – no puns please – and claimed the rating as a “badge of honour” and a potential game changer, it was a small but satisfying slap in the face – again, no puns – for the notoriously phallus-fearing MPAA, and a resounding victory for Fassbender’s horn of plenty.
THE LOSER: Former Penis-Owning Character in Unnamed Foreign-Language Film
I don’t want to create any spoilers for one of the most ludicrously unexpected film moments of the year, so the unfortunate gentleman in question may remain in the shadows clutching his nether regions. But if you’ve seen it, you will certainly recall the shocking scene when an innocent set of recreational organs meet an unwanted and irreversible end…
THE WINNER: Silence
Not speaking has never been a barrier to cinematic recognition – Marlee Matlin and Holly Hunter are among those who were not required to pipe up in order to snag themselves Oscars. But before this year, silent cinema has mostly been regarded by mainstream audiences as a curious relic that one is no longer required to endure. No longer! The Artist is all set to romp to awards glory, making silence – pedants, put down your pens! – the soundtrack of choice for the discerning 2011 film-goer, and handing it a decisive victory over…
THE LOSER: Noise
One-time Oscar favourite Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is now being talked out of awards contention after failing to secure a single Golden Globe nomination. Stephen Daldry must be wringing his hands over the success of The Artist, which, as he cattily pointed out, is “not even slightly loud”. A swift re-titling – Fairly Noisy and Quite Nearby? – may be the film’s last hope of creating an impression on 2011’s low-decibel-loving audiences.
THE WINNER: The condom industry
Contraception received a terrifying free endorsement this year in the form of We Need to Talk About Kevin. In 2007, cinema goers could have been forgiven for keeping the condoms in the packets when Juno put a winsome spin on the upside of unwanted pregnancy. But I don’t doubt there were more than a few young adults who reached for the Durex following Lynn Ramsey’s film and its reminder of what can happen when a bad seed slips through the crack, as chillingly portrayed by…
THE LOSER: The entire cast of We Need to Talk About Kevin.