The Oscars are almost here! Are you excited? Neither are we, and that's why we'd like to humbly offer up our alternative awards: the Esseffies. The voiceless labiodental fricative makes it more fun to say than “Oscars,” and we hope our awards are more enjoyable than theirs, too.
Best Asymmetrical Prostate: Robert Pattinson, Cosmopolis
Sherilyn's favorite film of 2012; Pattinson's performance in this Cronenberg film is so strong, you really believe his prostate is asymmetrical — and you don't even wonder if it's sparkly.
Best Bait-and-Switch Bummer That's Actually a Revelation: Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Jonathan's favorite film of 2012; it's not quite the neo-spaghetti western its title might imply, but something much better and stranger, chock full of the weird movie magic by which Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan makes gradual disillusionment seem so exhilarating.
Worst Disparity in Believability Between Hyphenated Actors in a Period Piece: Daniel Day-Lewis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lincoln
Gordon-Levitt is a fine actor, but he was out of place and outclassed, especially in his scenes opposite Day-Lewis.
Best Achievement in Disappointment: Prometheus
Ridley Scott was coming off the Russell Crowe Robin Hood, and Damon Lindelof had recently given us Cowboys and Aliens. And still, we got our hopes up.
Best Eight-Part Local Moviegoing Experience: The Story of Film, New People Cinema
Mark Cousins' sprawling, 900-minute documentary on film history played in two-hour chunks over the course of eight consecutive Saturdays in June and July 2012. Those who were there have a bond the rest of us will never understand. (They also know a lot more about movie history.)
Best Sad Young Literary Man: Anders Danielsen Lie, Oslo, August 31
Director Joachim Trier's go-to star does “coming out of rehab and mournfully revisiting his own squandered potential” like it's never been done before!
Hottest Mess: Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Yeah, the peeing thing.
Best Bay Area Documentary: The Waiting Room
Pete Nicks' minimalist, surprisingly non-polemical portrait of Oakland's Highland Hospital will inspire you to stay healthy, or at least avoid getting hit by a car in the East Bay.
Special Commendation for Taking All the Fun out of Singing Along to “Sister Christian”: Rock of Ages
The chorus of the Night Ranger anthem is the very definition of a guilty pleasure, second only to “Don't Stop Believin',” which Rock of Ages also ruins. Streetlight people unite!
Neil LaBute Lifetime of Issues with Women Award: Neil LaBute for “Sexting” and “After-School Special,” Stars in Shorts
We get it, Neil. Men are dogs, bitches be crazy, yadda yadda. Move along.
Best Worst Movie That Wasn't All That Bad: John Carter
It didn't need to cost $250 million, and removing “of Mars” from the title was a dumb move on Disney's part, but the movie's no Battlefield Earth. You gotta give it that much credit.
Distinction in Imaginary Mashups: This Is Zero Dark 40, Judd-Kathryn Appelow
Middle-aged Navy SEALs contemplate relationships, breasts, enhanced interrogation while hunting Bin Laden, trampolining in slow motion.