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in Filmmaking
on Dec 23, 2008

Here’s the next in our Filmmaker contributor ’08 wrap-ups, from James Ponsoldt.

So…I don’t like “Best of” lists, or even the idea of “best” being used in regards to films (or any art). I mean, let’s be honest–there’s one reason why we have “Best of” lists: we like to argue.

And that’s cool. Arguing is great. But isn’t “favorite” more appropriate than “best”?

I think so. Does that sound precious?

Eh, I don’t care.

These are some of my favorite films, performances, and film moments of 2008.

Favorite Film: Milk
Favorite Documentary Film (Tie): South Main, Encounters at the End of the World
Favorite Male Performance (Tie): Michael J. Smith, Jr. (Ballast), Souleymane Sy Savane (Goodbye Solo)
Favorite Female Performance (Tie): Mary Bronstein (Yeast), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Favorite Male Supporting Performance: Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight)
Favorite Female Supporting Performance: Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married)
Favorite Ensemble Performance: The Class
Favorite Cinematography (Tie): James Laxton (Medicine for Melancholy), Sam Levy (Wendy and Lucy)
Favorite Screenplay (Tie): Charlie Kaufman (Synecdoche, New York), Tom McCarthy (The Visitor)
Favorite Direction (Tie): Roy Andersson (You, the Living), Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy)
Formal Innovation: Waltz with Bashir
Favorite Old Score for a New Film: Nino Rota (Paranoid Park)
Favorite Diegetic Score: Zafer Tawil/Donald Harrison, Jr. (Rachel Getting Married)
Best Discovery/Re-Release: The Exiles

Favorite Moments:

1) Eleanore Hendricks playing with the polar bear in The Pleasure of Being Robbed.
2) The opening and closing shots of Silent Light are breathtaking and made me awestruck like a child.
3) Tropic Thunder is pretty hilarious, but the mock-trailer for Satan’s Alley (AKA The Gay Monk Film) at the beginning of the film makes me think that a proper spin-off is in order.
4. The opening shot of Ballast is perfect. This is why I go to the movies. How long did they have to wait for that moment…? — James Ponsoldt

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