I’m a (very infrequent) contributor to the Flickchart blog, and a while ago, we contributors came up with the idea to have our own awards for the films of 2011. Something similar to the Oscars, but with some different categories. As this was a spur-of-the-moment idea and the first time we ever did a thing like this, it was decided that the 17 blog contributors would vote to come up with the nominees, to keep things quick and easy. And quick and easy it was.
The second phase of the voting, in which the eventual winners will be crowned, is now open for everyone to participate in.
To vote in the 1st annual Flickcharters’ Choice Awards, click this link and follow the instructions. It’s open for everyone.
Full list of nominees as well my thoughts on being part of the nomination process after the jump.
The nominees are:
Best Documentary Film
- Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest
- Bill Cunningham New York
- Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop
- The Interrupters
- Page One: A Year Inside the New York Times
Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Film
Best Film Completely Snubbed by the Oscars
Biggest Disappointment of 2011
Biggest Surprise of 2011
- Attack the Block
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Midnight in Paris
- Red State
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Best Underranked Film
Most Anticipated Film of 2012
Most Underrated Film
Most Overrated Film
Worst Film of 2011
Best Writing in a 2011 Film
- Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
- Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love.)
- Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter)
- Yasmina Reza and Roman Polanski (Carnage)
- Kevin Smith (Red State)
Best Directing in a 2011 Film
- Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life)
- Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)
- Kevin Smith (Red State)
- Lars Von Trier (Melancholia)
- Jean-Pierre Vallee (Cafe de Flore)
Best Supporting Actress in a 2011 Film
- Elle Fanning (Super 8)
- Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
- Carey Mulligan (Drive)
- Octavia Spencer (The Help)
- Kate Winslet (Contagion)
Best Supporting Actor in a 2011 Film
- Albert Brooks (Drive)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Ides of March)
- Nick Nolte (Warrior)
- Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
- Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris)
Best Actress in a 2011 Film
- Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter)
- Viola Davis (The Help)
- Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia)
- Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
- Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
Best Actor in a 2011 Film
- Michael Fassbender (Shame)
- Ryan Gosling (Drive)
- Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
- Brad Pitt (The Tree of Life)
- Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)
Best Overall Cast in a 2011 Film
2011 Outstanding Achievement in Film
Best Picture of 2011
Again: to vote, go here.
First of all, I’d like to say that I’m happy about these nominations as a whole. Sure, I haven’t seen most of the films yet myself, and I may not agree with everyone on there, but that’s not the point. I like how there’s a mix of big films and small films, awards contenders and critics darlings, safe bets and surprises. It’s a collection of nominees that shows some individuality.
Being part of the nomination process for something like this was hugely enjoyable, for two reasons in particular. One was that I had to take a step back and think about the 2011 films I had seen and what I liked about them. Rather than just considering the usual actors people have been talking about ad nauseum throughout the awards season, I had to dig deep and consider which other performances I really loved. This was further amplified by me not having seen a lot of the year’s heavy-hitters yet. The supporting actor/actress categories in particular felt very rewarding for this, and I’m thinking of exploring this more in a future blog post. “The supporting performances nobody talks about”, or something similar.
The other aspect of this that brought me lots of joy was when the nominees were first revealed to us nominators a week or two ago. It was a closed voting, so we didn’t know what the others had picked. This made the whole thing quite unpredictable. It was like the Oscars nomination announcement all over again. So much to react to as I slowly scrolled down the list. “Okay, that one was expected.” “Oh, she made it in! Sweet!” “Wait, what? Him!?” Obviously, the fact that I had a part in coming up with these nominees only increased my enjoyment. I can look at some of these picks and go “Aw yeah, I helped make that happen.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that it was every bit as exciting as the Academy Awards announcing their nominees.
We have already had some discussion internally about how to improve the nominating process in future years. Having such a small group of voters along with the system we used resulted in some divisive films with small but passionate support getting in. Personally, I kind of like that there’s room for these unexpected picks, but at the same time, it may not reflect the opinions of the voters at large. Things may be tweaked for next year. But this thinking can of course be applied to the Oscars as well, what with their rule change this year that made it necessary for a film to get at least 5% of the #1 votes to be nominated for Best Picture, meaning that passionate support is key. Obviously, the size of their voting base compared to ours is an important difference. The larger a group of voters is, the more the results drift towards the consensus picks. AMPAS has thousands of voting members. The Flickchart Blog has 17. Maybe we could do with striving more towards the consensus. Maybe not. Another topic that has popped up a bit is what extent the nominations are contrarian. We started voting on our nominees after the Oscar nominations had been announced. I know this didn’t affect me much, as I simply just haven’t seen many of the big awards contenders yet. Whether others subconsciously voted for things AMPAS ignored is not for me to say. Then there are other things which influenced the voting in certain ways, such as the fact that some films just haven’t been seen by many of us yet. You can’t vote for something you haven’t seen, after all. One could suspect this is why a movie like Jack & Jill failed to make the cut for Worst Film of 2011, for example; none of us have had any desire to see it. Other films (ones that actually look good) that didn’t open wide until more recently may also have fallen by the wayside a bit. For instance, the two films that scored the most Oscar nominations – Hugo and The Artist – are both absent from our awards. I couldn’t vote for either. They haven’t arrived in Sweden yet, so I haven’t seen them.
As I said, ours was a closed voting. In addition, we didn’t talk about what we were going to vote for with one another either – or at least I didn’t partake in or see any such discussion. Obviously we talk to one another about movies a lot, but it was as though we put a lid on things momentarily once we decided to have these awards. I know I wanted my votes to be from my own thoughts, rather than being swayed by what was likely to be nominated by others. I get the feeling most of the voters did the same, thus leading to nominations that sprung from a number of different individuals, rather than from a group as a unit. We didn’t have any roundtable discussions where the merits of Ryan Gosling or Kevin Smith were talked about, where we concluded that this or that deserved to get in, or anything of the sorts. There were no grand conspiracies at work. Just the voices of 17 men and women. When people (myself included) talk about the Oscars, it’s easy to start thinking as though the Academy is a secret council who do the roundtable thing I mentioned. How often do we say things like “Well, they’re going to feel bad for snubbing [Actor X] last year, so they might let him win this time”? Or “[Film Y] has so many nominations. They’ll feel like they have to let it win something“? Of course, the Oscars is a different beast than our little thing. There is politics involved to a large degree, with publicity campaigns, luncheons, meet and greets and more all being part of the game to sway the voters. In this, they’re different from us. They may also have their own different reasons for making their choices, such as wanting to reward someone retroactively for a large body of work. But at the end of the day, the AMPAS members do what we did: they each fill out their own ballot with their own picks.
Then you end up with a list of nominees that many might disagree with. What one person loves, the other might hate. We have already had some comments about what we “snubbed” and what “didn’t deserve to be there” – which in a strange way actually feels pretty neat, by the way. I’m keeping my votes for the nominations to myself for now, but there is at times a slight urge to defend myself: “Don’t look at me, I didn’t vote for it.” I imagine it can be similar to Academy members when the internet explodes with anger every year at nomination morning. As faithful readers know, I have little trouble remaining zen about the Oscars. Not to hold myself above others (though I am pretty awesome), but I think partaking in an awards voting like this could be an eye-opening experience to some.
Of course, this little awards thing of ours doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. We have no statues to hand out, and I doubt any DVD cover is going to be boasting about how the film won this many Flickcharters’ Choice Awards. It was simply meant to be a fun thing to do. So far, it has been for me in a big way. And I’m excited to find out what the winners will be.
So make your voice heard. To vote, click here.