And the Rest of the 2010s Motors Go To…


Every bit of what makes a movie great deserves recognition and if I had the time and energy to give each one of these a write-up the way I did for the rest of the lists, I would. But I just went through A LOT of lists – as you all can see – still have two massive lists (and one small one) to go so I’d like to let the work speak for itself if you all ever have a time to take a look or listen. I will be giving a brief write-up to only the winner of each awards-like category – eschewing short, documentary, foreign-language film, and animated film because those are absolutely obsolete compared to what makes up my top 150 films of the 2010s and eschewing song because it’s a banal fucking category. In the meantime, I will happily indulge in providing 2 categories I think needed entering in the Oscars pronto – choreography and cast – and a miscellaneous list I had on had that I figure may as well be put to use… 3D.

Without further ado because I’m really trying to wrap this bitch up…

The Remaining Awards Superlatives of the 2010s


20. A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)
19. Piranha 3D (2010)
18. Prometheus (2012)
17. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
16. Life of Pi (2012)
15. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
14. Dredd (2012)
13. The Jungle Book (2016)
12. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2011)
11. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
10. Long Day’s Journey into Night (2018)
9. Step Up 3D (2010)
8. Pina (2011)
7. The Lego Movie (2014)
6. Hugo (2011)
5. Gemini Man (2019)
4. TRON: Legacy (2010)
3. PROTOTYPE (2018)
2. Gravity (2013)


  1. Goodbye to Language (2014)

Unfortunately 3D utilization isn’t really something you can get to showcase in any given context, especially not with a screenshot or a youtube clip. I just have to do my best to communicate just how wonderful it was that after 5 years of movies trying to perfect it in the wake of Avatar, Jean-Luc Godard decided to go the other way around in complete frustration of the tools’ apparent domination of where cinema was going (I don’t think it ever became big and frankly I hope it never does). And whether or not he intended for it to be, it was an unalloyed joy to watch things breakdown and reconstruct in unorthodox ways, all the more involving because of the 3D. I hate to say that there’s no point in watching it in 2D, but there really isn’t because you’re not experiencing it properly and you’re denying yourself all the compulsive surprises within the movie.


20. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) & Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
19. Interstellar (2014)
18. Hugo (2011)
17. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
16. Ex Machina (2015) & Annihilation (2018)
15. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

14. Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
13. Godzilla (2014)
12. Doctor Strange (2016)
11. Life of Pi (2012)
10. Deepwater Horizon (2016)
9. The Jungle Book (2016)
8. TRON: Legacy (2010)
7. Jupiter Ascending (2015)
6. First Man (2018)
5. Ad Astra (2019)
4. The Planet of the Apes prequel trilogy (2011-’17)
3. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
2. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

  1. Gravity (2013)

Yet another movie that was outstanding in 3D, but fortunately has more to it than that. One of those things is the limitless amount of technological tools utilized to pronounce the empty space inherent in… well… uh… space. And particularly the principles applied to make this feel real but also feel like a Cuarón film, from the photorealism to the scope of it all. Even if there’s editing and filming applied to Gravity, it’s basically all constructed wholesale right here and the perfection in the creation as engulfing as it is stimulating.


20. Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
19. American Sniper (2014)
18. The Assassin (2015)
17. Ex Machina (2015)
16. Suspiria (2018)
15. First Man (2018)
14. The Guilty (2018)
13. All Is Lost (2013)
12. The Raid: Redemption (2011)
11. Aquaman (2018)
10. Godzilla (2014)
9. Sully (2016)
8. The Lighthouse (2019)
7. High Life (2018)
6. Fury (2014)
5. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
4. Fast Five (2011)
3. The Lords of Salem (2012)
2. Dunkirk (2017)

  1. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)

Don’t know much I’m cheating based on how it’s playing into the recognizable sounds of video games and kung fu action cinema and cartoons and all that jazz, but it’s very obvious by the prickly sense of humor and amped up cuteness that they’re all homemade and that the creators of these sounds are trying to find a way to keep it from betraying the artifice while creating loving handcrafted sense to these sound effects makes it impossible to hold the influences against them.


20. Noah (2014)
19. True Grit (2010)
18. Fast Five (2011)
17. The Tree of Life (2011)
16. Zama (2017)
15. First Man (2018)
14. Baby Driver (2017)
13. Goodbye to Language (2014)
12. The Lighthouse (2019)
11. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
10. Sicario (2015)
9. Wind River (2017)
8. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)
7. Roma (2018)
6. Mandy (2018)
5. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016)
4. The Turin Horse (2011)
3. Gravity (2013)
2. Monos (2019)

  1. Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

Almost as much as I love the look of Westerns, I really really love the sound of Westerns and I honestly don’t think we’ve had a Western that sounds as lived-in and weary as Meek’s Cutoff since the 1960s. My conscience is clear in attaching a YouTube clip of the movie with such garbage visual quality (240p, baybee! That’s less than 241p!) because I really want you to pay attention to how those wheels define the hypnotic boredom of the journey and the way that the wind rushes by to keep the sequence from feeling sleepy, to the degree that we can almost claim it as score.


15. True Grit (2010)
14. Border (2018)
13. The Favourite (2018)
12. Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
11. The Lighthouse (2019)
10. Behind the Candelabra (2013)
9. Foxcatcher (2014)
8. The Iron Lady (2011)
7. The Revenant (2015)
6. Pain & Glory (2019)
5. Suspiria (2018)
4. The Neon Demon (2016)
3. 12 Years a Slave (2012)
2. Logan (2017)

  1. Holy Motors (2012)

Denis Lavant is one of our greatest actors on top of being among our most underpraised, but he can only transform his physicality so much and the makeup has to give him that extra push to believability while maintaining the archness of it all. This is obviously something that Holy Motors recognizes given how much time is spent documenting the care of he approaches that toolkit with, but it also does to admire on our own how the resultant look still happily allows a window in which to recognize that distinctive face beneath it all, no matter how wild. A co-star of Lavant’s here, neither a supporting player, nor a scene-stealer.


20. Julian Day – Rocketman (2019)
19. Mitchell Travers – Hustlers (2019)
18. Jürgen Doering – Personal Shopper (2016)
17. Cindy Evans – Atomic Blonde (2017)
16. Kasia Walicka-Maimone – Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
15. Claire Dubien – Lost in Paris (2016)
14. Renee Ehrlich Kalfus – A Simple Favor (2018)
13. Giulia Piersanti – Suspiria (2018)
12. Dorothée Guiraud – Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
11. Mobolaji Dawodu – Mother of George (2013)
10. Anna Biller – The Love Witch (2016)
9. Victoria Farrell – Meek’s Cutoff (2010)
8. Sandy Powell – Carol (2015)
7. Kate Hawley – Crimson Peak (2015)
6. Milena Canonero – The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
5. Sandy Powell – The Favourite (2018)
4. Stacey Battat – The Bling Ring (2013)
3. Eiko Ishioka – Mirror Mirror (2012)
2. Jo Sang-gyeon – The Handmaiden (2016)

  1. Mark Bridges – Phantom Thread (2017)

Listen, this was a done deal determined from the very moment the film ended. Mark Bridges needed to supply dresses that met with the film’s concepts of visuals translating touch-based sensations. Dresses that met with the film’s concepts of how the process of creating a dress or witnessing a dress in action could become the most erotic activity possible. Dresses that illustrate the variety of functions for the medium of fabric, to the degree that we can understand wanting to spend our time with those obsessed with the material. And you know what? Mission accomplished and more.


20. Neil Lamont – Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
19. Dante Ferretti – Hugo (2011)
18. Jennifer Spence – The Lords of Salem (2012)
17. Hugh Bateup & Uli Hanisch – Cloud Atlas (2012)
16. Kayla Eddleblute & Steve Joyner – Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
13-15. Kevin Kavanaugh – The John Wick trilogy (2014-’19)
12. Jan Roelfs – Ghost in the Shell (2017)
11. K.K. Barrett – Her (2013)
10. Albrechy Konrad – The Ghost Writer (2010)
9. Sarah Greenwood – Hanna (2011)
8. Ondřej Nekvasil – Snowpiercer (2013)
5-7. Adam Stockhausen – Moonrise Kingdom (2012), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), & (with Paul Herrod) Isle of Dogs (2018)
4. Lee Ha-Jun – Parasite (2019)
3. Thomas E. Sanders – Crimson Peak (2015)
2. Mark Tildesley – High-Rise (2015)

  1. Hughes Tissandier – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

It is easy to claim that this was a “waste” of money if profit is what you value more. For the rest of us, we get to watch a unprecedented variety of space opera worlds ripped from the pages of Jean-Claude Mézières’ illustrations of Pierre Christin’s fevered designs with a texture that rewards our eyes’ dazzled exploration of every new set we’re suddenly tossed into (multiple per scene in many cases) but also the ability to make it all seem plausibly alien and inconceivably exotic in a way that only fantasy and science fiction novel cover could be until this existed.


20. Dean DeBlois – How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019)
19. Phil Lord & Rodney Rothman – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
18. David Kajganich – Suspiria (2018)
17. Takahata Isao & Sakaguchi Riko – The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
16. Bong Joon-ho & Kelly Masterson – Snowpiercer (2013)
15. Joachim Trier & Eskil Vogt – Oslo, August 31 (2011)
14. Pedro Peirano – No (2012)
13. Taika Waititi – Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
12. John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave (2013)
11. Virgil Williams & Dee Rees – Mudbound (2017)
10. Lulu Wang – The Farewell (2019)
9. Katabuchi Sunao – In This Corner of the World (2016)
8. Andrew Haigh – 45 Years (2015)
7. Phyllis Nagy – Carol (2015)
6. Lucrecia Martel – Zama (2017)
5. Tommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald, & Wesley A. Oliver – The Homesman (2014)
4. Tony Kushner – Lincoln (2012)
3. Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network (2010)
2. Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

  1. Whit Stillman – Love & Friendship (2016)

To absolutely nobody’s surprise, Stillman’s articulate style fits period comedy of manners and particularly Jane Austen’s style perfectly. But I suppose part of this is because of how Stillman selected an incomplete source material which allows enough spaces to both clean the plot up into a more cinematic arc and to imbue a sort of chemistry between original author and updater that provide the best of both worlds here. And I mean that such a mixture also resulted in an outstanding amount of verbal jabs from one central character that be so distasteful a personality if she wasn’t so much fun to listen to is just the perfect bow on top of a perfect comedy.


20. Boots Riley – Sorry to Bother You (2018)
19. Tamara Jenkins – Private Life (2018)
18. Paul Schrader – First Reformed (2017)
17. Alexander Baciu, Radu Muntean, & Răzvan Rădulescu – Tuesday, After Christmas (2010)
16. Marc Haimes, Chris Butler, & Sharon Tindle – Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
15. Olivier Assayas – Personal Shopper (2016)
14. Abderrahmane Sissako & Kessen Tall – Timbuktu (2014)
13. David O. Russell & Eric Singer – American Hustle (2013)
12. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight (2013)
11. Joel & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
10. Mati Diop & Olivier Demangel – Atlantics (2019)
9. Guy Busick & R. Christopher Murphy – Ready or Not (2019)
8. Terence Davies – A Quiet Passion (2016)
7. Nuri Bilge and Ebru Ceylan & Ercan Kesal – Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
6. Asghar Farhadi – A Separation (2011)
5. Maren Ade – Toni Erdmann (2016)
4. Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou – The Lobster (2015)
3. Céline Sciamma – Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
2. Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness – The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

  1. Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara – The Favourite (2018)

It is very evident at this point that I am sucker for the turns of dialogue and irony that period pictures often deliver and if I think in the end that The Favourite is not necessarily the most profound screenplay in this list – in fact, I think the same director’s The Lobster listed above cuts deeper as an observation of the destructive desperation of relationships – it’s still massively impressive how Davis & McNamara have been able to turn anti-romance into intrigue, how they have inhabited a tale with cruel and vicious beings (that still find ways to warrant our sympathies a product of being thrown in a cruel and vicious time and place), and yet in all of this makes it massively enjoyable until the very last scene by translating such pointed nastiness to thing to very accessible humor and never being afraid to just let such a passionately messy affair turn to angry vulgarities just for the sake of trying to hurt the other person. It’s pretty obvious why this is the “mainstream” Yorgos Lanthimos, but it does lose any deepness in its cuts nevertheless.


20. The Greatest Showman (2017) 
19. Magic Mike & Magic Mike XXL (2012-’15)
18. The Step Up movies (2010-’14)
17. Train to Busan (2016)
16. Creed (2015)
15. La La Land (2016)
14. Ip Man 3 4: The Finale (2015-’19)
13. Hail, Caesar! (2016)
12. The Villainess (2017)
11. Baby Driver (2017)
10. Cunningham (2019)
9. Gemini Man (2019)
8. Pina (2011)
7. The Fits (2015)
6. Climax (2018)
5. The John Wick trilogy (2014-’19)
4. Headshot (2016)
3. Atomic Blonde (2017)
2. The Raid: Redemption The Raid 2: Berandal (2011-’14)

  1. The Mission: Impossible movies (2011-’18)

I mean, at the end of the day, you can be an amazing fist fighter and you can be an amazing dancer and you can totally design as many setpieces as you want around the established skill that everyone knows and expects from you, but there’s going to be a limit to your surprises. But the last three Mission: Impossible films have always pulled the rug on me in how to arrange people in these jawdropping stunts and capture them with a humbling sense of scope and weight to them whether climbing a building, chasing on motorcycles through the streets, or attaching oneself to the hood of a plane taking off. Plus, they do have fist fight scenes too… magnificent ones, I proclaim!


20. Killer Joe (2011)
19. What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
18. Two Days, One Night (2014)
17. Super 8 (2011)
16. Girlhood (2014)
15. The Kids Are Alright (2010)
14. The World’s End (2013)
13. American Honey (2016)
12. The Beguiled (2017)
11. Logan Lucky (2017)
10. Brooklyn (2015)
9. Bridesmaids (2011)
8. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
7. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
6. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
5. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
4. Mudbound (2017)
3. Shoplifters (2018)
2. The Favourite (2018)

  1. Moonlight (2016)

Y’know this was a category that I was going back and forth on between this, Mudbound, and The Favourite, and I still don’t know if I’m committed. But Moonlight won the game of musical chairs, so I went with that for the obvious reason that we have three magnificent lead actors portraying different coagulations of one identity depending on how the character is perceiving the ideas of what a man is supposed to be rather than being comfortable in their own skin. But then there’s also the obvious reason: a supporting cast of actors – including another brilliant trio of a more recognizable and assured identity – feeling like full live separate from Chiron while also carrying the weight of their respective influence on him in subtle but powerful ways.


20. Rob Zombie – The Lords of Salem (2012)
19. Olivier Assayas – Personal Shopper (2016)

18. Angelina Jolie – First They Killed My Father (2017)
17. Asghar Farhadi – A Separation (2011)
16. Alê Abreu – Boy and the World (2013)
15. Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here (2017)
14. Abbas Kiarostami – Certified Copy (2010) & 24 Frames (2017)
13. Michaël Dudok de Wit – The Red Turtle (2016)
12. Panos Cosmatos – Mandy (2018)

11. Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb – This Is Not a Film (2011)
10. Miguel Gomes – Tabu (2012)
9. Alejandro Landes – Monos (2019)
8. Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity (2013)
7. Jean-Luc Godard – Film Socialisme (2010) & Goodbye to Language (2014)
6. Jonathan Glazer – Under the Skin (2013)
5. Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, & Anonymous – The Act of Killing (2012)
4. Mariano Llinás – La Flor (2018)
3. George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
2. Céline Sciamma – Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)
2. Leos Carax – Holy Motors (2012)

  1. Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life (2011)

I am most of all very glad that I opted to only write up the winners of each category, because as you can see on the list… there’s only so many times I can go “this is so personal” or “it’s very obvious that the amount of years developing and producing this project paid off”. Since I only need to say it the one time, I’m proud to let it apply to a movie so dedicated to drawing from the intimate out into the cosmic and asking the scariest possible questions in the quietest possible ways. In a decade full of directors triumphing to supply a vision wholly unique and diluted from themselves, The Tree of Life gets to making me feel the purity of that vision in such a overwhelming quantity with unimpeachable sensory quality.

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