Our picks of 2012

Gary Oldman in <i>Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.</i>
Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.


This year saw the return of the mega blockbuster (The Avengers), the bowing of Batman (The Dark Knight Rises), the birthday renaissance of Bond (Skyfall) and a boom for indigenous Australia (The Sapphires). Iran was the darling of world cinema (picking up an Oscar for A Separation), while Denmark mined its own past to ruffle stuffy feathers (A Royal Affair). Nostalgia was everywhere, often conveyed with a crisp, classic aesthetic (Argo), while a haunting tale about the bayou (Beasts of the Southern Wild) would rewrite the rule book for the year ahead. It was a thrilling and wildly varied year.

1. Beasts of the Southern Wild (US)

2. Argo (US)

3. The Intouchables (France)

4. A Separation (Iran)

5. A Royal Affair (Denmark)

6. Lore (Australia)

7. The Sessions (US)

8. Shadow Dancer (Britain)

9. Shame (Britain)

10. End of Watch (US)


In a year where films ran long, economy was key. It defined the concise storytelling that made Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy such a triumph, as well as Andrew Dominik's Killing Them Softly. The year 2012 had veterans as diverse as Steven Soderbergh (Magic Mike) and Leos Carax (Holy Motors) delivering movies among their best, while the breadth of newcomers took in a documentary about American excess (Lauren Greenfield's The Queen of Versailles) and a tenderly black Israeli comedy (Joseph Cedar's Footnote). If 2011 focused on cinema's past, this year the best titles looked ahead, undaunted.

1. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Britain)

2. Killing Them Softly (US)

3. Moonrise Kingdom (US)

4. Magic Mike (US)

5. The Queen of Versailles (US)

6. Lore (Australia)

7. Footnote (Israel)

8. Holy Motors (France)

9. A Separation (Iran)

10. The Deep Blue Sea (Britain)

This story Our picks of 2012 first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.