For a cinephile, 2012 was a pretty great year. American filmmakers began to show a creative vitality that many thought was on a permanent wane, world filmmakers stepped up their game to present a variety of visions that not only dazzled the eyes, but stirred the soul, and documentarians had a remarkable year in putting forth a battery of thought-provoking pictures of the true state of mankind’s affairs. There was a lot to watch, a enormity to feel, and a tremendous amount of self-reflection.
But, even in the world of cinema, a year must come to an end, and that means an traditional onslaught of awards ceremonies and “Best of…” lists wherein a multitude of critics – both professional and amateur – drive themselves to the brink of madness trying to narrow down a list of thousands of movies seen, to a more easily digestible, and consumer friendly format.
One such tradition is the annual Muriel Awards, created by Paul Clark and Steve Carlson as an online celebration of not only the best films, performances, and technical achievements, but also a look back at the past to see how certain films are withstanding the test of critical time. As Paul puts it:
The intent was to assemble a ragtag band of scattered cinephiles in order to recognize noteworthy achievements from the previous year in cinema, unswayed by awards-season hype. Plus we just thought it would be fun.
As for the name “The Muriel Awards,” it was inspired by Paul’s guinea pig, who is both temperamental and endlessly curious, two traits which are common to a lot of die-hard filmgoers.
This year, Paul Clark and Steve Carlson were kind enough to invite me to participate as a voter for the awards, and the results of the poll (along with my personal picks and a pair of companion pieces by yours truly):
Stop by a take a look. Their science is tight, the writing is excellent, and the community is a hell of a place to hang out. If you love film as much as I do, you won’t be sorry.