Our jury met yesterday. I can't divulge the results just yet, but I can share some new award categories I came up with that were wisely rejected when cooler heads prevailed.
Best performance as the victim of a disaster enduring an excruciating struggle for survival:
1) Naomi Watts in "The Impossible" as a mother vacationing in Thailand with her family who must ***endure brutal hardships in order to find her lost sons and husband.
2) Ólafur Derri Ólafssson in "The Deep" as an Icelandic fisherman who must endure the brutally cold water of the North Atlantic in order to survive the capsizing of his fishing boat.
3) Behrouz Vossoughi in "Rhino Season" as a poet who suffers for thirty years in an Iranian prison, starved and tortured, sustained by the hope of once more seeing his wife.
4) Tom Hanks in "Cloud Atlas" who most survive buckets of latex and pounds of prostheses with his dignity and his career intact.
5) Anyone who watches all of "Cloud Atlas."
Most impressive nude scene:
1) Helen Hunt in "The Sessions" as the sex surrogate who shows total commitment working with a man confined to an iron lung.
2) James Cromwell in "Still" as a leathery 87-year-old New Brunswick farmer who displays his assets in an outdoor shower scene.
3) Naomi Watts in "The Deep" as a survivor of a tsunami whose ragged blouse keeps exposing her boob to her embarrassed son.
4) Adolfo Jimenez Castro and Nathalia Acevedo in Carlos Reygadas's "Post Tenebras Lux" as a seemingly repressed married couple shown engaging in a group orgy in a Paris bathhouse.
5) Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, whose topless sunbathing covertly photographed by a paparazzo and splashed across tabloid pages managed to bump the anti-American Arab riots and the Presidential election off the top of the news cycle.
Best depiction of the writing process and its unexpected perils:
1) Martin McDonagh's "Seven Psychopaths," in which a struggling screenwriter discovers that the only way he can overcome his writer's block is to collaborate with the whackjobs of the title.
2) François Ozon's "In the House," in which a teenaged writing student and his teacher become dangerously involved in the former's story about his best friend's bourgeois family.
3) Neil Jordan's "Byzantium," in which a teenaged revenant secretly writes down the story of her life, endangering herself, her mother, and innocent bystanders.
4) Josh Boone's "Writers," in which a famous novelist can't make progress on his latest book because of his envy of his teenage daughter's literary success and his obsession with his ex-wife.
5) Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski siblings' adaptation of "Cloud Atlas," in which three directors figure out a figure out a way to totally fuck up David Mitchell's brilliant novel.
Tough choices, all.