Are you ready for the top 5? If you don’t know what’s going on, catch up with part 1 over here.
5 – Looper
Who doesn’t like Looper? For a film that’s got a pretty unique sci-fi angle, that at it’s core is quite dark, it’s speaks to the films success that it was so widely regarded. Okay, I could have done without the distracting manipulation of Joseph Gordon Levitt’s face, to look more like his older self aka Bruce Willis, but aside from that, this was a thoughtful and exciting slice of entertainment.
Replacing – Emily Blunt
Why? – I’d love to see Natalie in a cool, smart piece of sci-fi. V for Vendetta is the closest she’s gotten, but that didn’t exactly scratch the itch for me. I also really liked both the role and Emily’s performance in it. A tough woman, but with some layers. She kind of owns the final third of this film and I think Natalie could have done a similar job. Would have also made a nice companion to her Cold Mountain role…some similarities there, only shifting from the past to the future.
4 – Take This Waltz
As Natalie starts her directing career, we can only hope that she has similar success as another young actress turned director – Sarah Polley. Polley’s second film was completely different to her first, switching from the sad elderly couple of her first film to the confused young love of Take This Waltz. While the film is very likeable (to me, some have found the characters annoying) it’s the last 15 minutes that really impress. Incredibly bold and thought provoking, you always want a film to end with a bang and Waltz doesn’t disappoint.
Replacing – Michelle Williams
Why? – Because I love replacing Michelle Williams whenever I do these lists. Think this is probably the 4th time I’ve done it. That and it’s a complex female character, who is far from perfect, but Polley lets the character make mistakes without turning her into the typical screen bitch. More than all that, I just have a feeling…a sixth sense…that Natalie will have absolutely KILLED in this role.
3 – Shame
It’s great seeing Steve McQueen getting so much attention for 12 Years A Slave. He’s an amazing filmmaker and his second film brought him to Hollywood and introduced Michael Fassbender’s penis to the world. Shame is a really uncomfortable character study but I’m strangely comfortable with uncomfortable films. What does that say about me? Not too sure. In any case, it’s a powerful film that stuck to my brain like the pages of Fassbenders magazines stuck together in the film.
Replacing – Carey Mulligan
Why? – Another actress that I’ve used in these lists before. Shame is definitely Fassbender’s film, but his relationship with his sister is the window into what’s happened to him. Their scenes together are powerful stuff, vacillating between overly familiar, cold and outright disdain. The film’s one weak point is a scene where Carey sings New York, New York. I’m not sure Natalie would have been any better, in fact I doubt it, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it would have forced McQueen to record a real singer for that scene, something he really should have done.
2 – Silver Linings Playbook
One of those films that could be argued it’s underrated and overrated. I really enjoyed it, although also found it odd that it was among the hottest awards films that season. Nevertheless, it’s somehow dark and uplifting, funny and sad, entertaining and thoughtful.
Replacing – Jennifer Lawrence
Why? - Sorry J-Law, no Oscar for you. She’s a great presence on film and a star from top to bottom, but she REALLY seems too young for this part. Cooper looks more like her dad and one had to really suspend belief to imagine Jennifer as the widower of a policeman. It didn’t bother me too much but wondered if an older actress would have made the relationship even better. It’s been a long time since Natalie starred in a romantic dramedy of substance.
1 – Gravity
One of the best cinema experiences of my life. Thrilling and beautiful. I’m not sure how it will hold up on a smaller screen, but I almost don’t care. This is what we ask of Hollywood to deliver more often.
George Clooney Sandra Bullock
Why? – The one that got away. Once upon a time it seemed this would be Natalie’s post Oscar win role. Maybe that was never the case, but the film and Natalie will be forever joined in my mind. Props to Sandy, she’s never been better, but I needed this film with Natalie starring. I NEEDED IT. *sob*
On that depressing note, that’s my list. Feel free to chime in with your picks in the comments. I’ll be doing a poll so you guys can more officially weigh in.
Special mentions to The 5 Year Engagement, Aint Them Bodies Saints and Moonrise Kingdom.