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St. Louis Film Critics Nominate the Best of 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 12, 2011 - A French silent film that co-stars St. Louis' John Goodman as a silent-era movie producer and a hugely ambitious American spiritual epic that moves from the age of the dinosaurs to the 21st century are among the nominees for best film of 2011 by the St. Louis Film Critics, an association of reviewers and journalists in this area who focus on film. The winners will be announced Monday, Dec. 19.

Nominees for Best Film Are

"The Artist." Goodman collaborates with French actors, a French director and a breathtakingly talented Jack Russell terrier in a comic melodrama set in Hollywood in the late 1920s and early 1930s, as "talkies" were replacing silent films. Most of "The Artist," which was shot in Hollywood in black and white, is itself silent.

"The Descendants." With his wife in a coma from a water-skiing accident, Hawaii real-estate broker George Clooney must reconnect with the two resentful daughters he neglected for work and make a crucial decision about unspoiled land that has been in his family for generations.

"Drive." A movie stunt man (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as a getaway driver finds himself driving for his life when a heist goes awry.

"My Week With Marilyn." A young Brit bonds with the erratic, vulnerable Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) on a movie shoot in England with Sir Laurence Olivier.

"Tree of Life." In a dauntingly ambitious film, director Terrance Malick tells the story of a boy growing up in 1950s Texas with a loving mother (Jessica Chastain) and a stern father (Brad Pitt). The boy's painful search for the meaning of life leads us on a spiritual journey that goes hundreds of millions of years into the past and deep into space.

Other nominees are:

Best Director

Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"
Terrence Malick for "Tree of Life"
Alexander Payne for "The Descendants"
David Fincher for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
Nicolas Winding Refn for "Drive"

Best Actor

Ryan Gosling for "Drive"
George Clooney for "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin for "The Artist"
Gary Oldman for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Michael Fassbender for "Shame"
Brad Pitt for "Moneyball"

Best Actress

Saoirse Ronan for "Hanna"
Elizabeth Olsen for "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Michelle Williams for "My Week With Marilyn"
Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady"
Rooney Mara for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
Viola Davis for "The Help"

Best Supporting Actor

John Hawkes for "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Albert Brooks for "Drive"
John Goodman for "The Artist"
Alan Rickman for "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Jonah Hill for "Moneyball"

Best Supporting Actress

Cate Blanchett for "Hanna"
Octavia Spencer for "The Help"
Shailene Woodley for "The Descendants"
Berenice Bejo for "The Artist"
Jessica Chastain for "Tree Of Life"

Best Original Screenplay

Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist"
Terrence Malick for "Tree Of Life"
Woody Allen for "Midnight In Paris"
Seth Lochhead and David Farr for "Hanna"
Will Reiser for "50/50"
Thomas McCarthy and Joe Tiboni for "Win Win"

Best Adapted Screenplay

Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, Stan Chervin and Michael Lewis (book) for "Moneyball"
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash and Kaui Hart Hemmings (novel) for "The Descendants"
Tate Taylor and Kathryn Stockett (novel) for "The Help"
Hossein Amini and James Sallis (book) for "Drive"
Jason Segel, Nicholas Stoller and Jim Henson (characters) for "The Muppets"

Best Cinematography

Newton Thomas Sigel for "Drive"
Emmanuel Lubezki for "Tree Of Life"
Guillaume Schiffman for "The Artist"
Janusz Kaminski for "War Horse"
Jeff Cronenweth for "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

Best Visual Effects

"Tree Of Life"
"Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes"
"Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Part 2"
Super 8"
"Captain America"

Best Music

"The Artist"
"Drive"
"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"
"The Muppets"
"Tree of Life"

Best Foreign-language Film

"13 Assassins"
"Point Blank"
"I Saw The Devil"
"Trollhunter"
"Winter in Wartime"

Best Documentary

"Being Elmo"
"The Interrupters"
"Tabloid"
"Conan O'Brien Can't Stop"
"Buck"

Best Comedy

"The Muppets"
"Midnight In Paris"
"Bridesmaids"
"Rango"
"Paul"
"Crazy, Stupid, Love"

Best Animated Film

"Rango"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"The Adventures of Tin Tin"
"Puss In Boots"
"Rio"

Best Art-house or Festival Film

"We Need To Talk About Kevin"
"Martha Marcy May Marlene"
"Win Win"
"Beginners"
"Tucker and Dale vs Evil"

Best Scene

"Drive": the elevator beating scene
"Drive": opening get-away scene
"The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo": opening credits
"The Artist": dance scene finale
"Melancholia": the last scene
"Hanna": Hanna's escape from captivity sequence

Harper Barnes, the author of Never Been A Time: The 1917 Race Riot That Sparked The Civil Rights Movement, is a special contributor to the Beacon. 

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