1. Best Picture: The Tree of Life (A big caveat here. There is a lot of buzz about The Artist and it looks intriguing too). Still, I will go with The Tree of Life for the spiritual themes it tries to weave throughout.The movie does not follow a coherent plot line but instead acts as memory does through images and sensations. It taps into primordial memory and the Jungian collective unconscious; the origin of the world as it plays out in our experience in ways that we are not conscious of. The move begins with a quote from Job which serves as an anchor for the rest of the movie. "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth ... when the morning stars sang together?"
2. Best Actor: George Clooney. The movie The Descendents is a heartfelt one and Clooney is very good as the father trying to hold things together.
3. Best Actress: Glenn Close. In Albert Nobbs, Close plays Albert Nobbs a waiter who falls in love. The stretching of gender performances and the complexity of relationships are all fused in this very sensitive film. It is an important political statement relative to the gendering of roles and the freedom required for sexual relationships within those parameters. In one scene, the love interest says to Albert that he is the strangest man she has every met. In one sense, it speaks to the inherent different of the sexes while at the same time challenging the gendering that occurs within society relative to the sexes.
4. Best Actor in Supporting Role: Jonah Hill. I played a clip from Moneyball below. That clip features Jonah Hill. Easy choice for me.
5. Best Actress in Supporting Role: Octavia Spencer in The Help. The movie deserves a lift and Octavia Spencer was fantastic in Doubt and doubles down in this role.
6. Best Director: Terrence Malick. The Tree of Life for his vision and communication of it on the screen. The only analogy I can find is Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
7. Cinematography: The Artist. The black and white classic look helps to bring the period alive. Shadows and mood are conveyed perfectly.