The 4th Annual EMO Awards

It’s that time of year. Before we get into a huff over who won at the Golden Globes, the SAGs, or the Oscars, we must answer a much more important question: who won at the EMOs? For those in the dark, the EMOs are Ethan’s Makeshift Oscars, a chance for me to run down my nominations for the best f film in 2010. The rules to qualify for the EMOs are simple: the film must have started distribution in the U.S. in 2010, and I have to have seen the film at some point in 2010 (whether in the theater or on DVD). This purposefully ends up excluding some limited release titles that I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet, so that my nominees end up being a little more intriguing than the same ol’, same ol’ critic’s picks.

This year’s awards, the 4th iteration of the event (recaps of the first 3 EMO awards can be found somewhere in the depths of my Facebook Notes page), was particularly special, as it featured the return of Putin the Platypus, my old partner in crime from my previous blog, Gates and Putin at the Movies. Though he could not attend the ceremony in person, he passed along the following note, along with commentary on all the winners:

Miss me, bitches? Yeah, I’ve been up to some pretty wild shenanigans in the past year. Seriously, shit you couldn’t even imagine. Or maybe you can imagine it, I don’t know. I’ll give you a hint: it involved a penguin, a strip club, three jars of peanut butter, several nuclear warheads and Julian Assanges. ‘Nuff said.

I did manage to see a few movies this year, but to be honest I just made most of these comments up. I’ve got bigger and better plans to work on. You’ll see soon enough. Keep an eye on those Russian presidency elections this year and you’ll know what I mean.

Vote Putin 2011, mothafuckaaaaas! Malkovich out.

Well, let’s not beat around the bush. You want EMOs? You got EMOs. As always, Part 1 features traditional-style categories and winners (nominees are listed in ranked fashion, in case anyone’s interested, leading up to the winner, marked by the *), while in Part 2, everyone is a winner, with every 2010 film I saw earning some kind of special recognition. Enjoy!

Best Action Film

  • Iron Man 2
  • Red
  • TRON: Legacy
  • Green Zone
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Inception*

Putin sez: Chris Nolan had this really cerebral sci-fi climax planned involving clones, identity theft and memory disorders. Then he remembered he likes to see shiny shit blow up, just like the rest of us.

Funniest Film:

  • Red
  • Toy Story 3
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The Social Network
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World*

Putin sez: Where were the funny British people at this year? I missed the swearing.

Best Documentary:

  • Waiting for ‘Superman’
  • Inside Job
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop*

Putin sez: Ladies and gentlemen, the only person under 50 in the U.S. to spend more than $10 on documentary films this year. Give him a round of applause!

Most Confusing Film:

  • Wild Grass
  • Inception
  • Inside Job*

Putin sez: See, this is what I keep Medvedev around for. I just make him take the economics meetings.

Best Assassin:

  • Bruce Willis, Red
  • Michael Caine, Harry Brown
  • Helen Mirren, Red
  • George Clooney, The American
  • John Malkovich, Red*

Putin sez: Why is there not a single person on this list under the age of 40? Next thing you know, James Bond’s going to be beating people up with a cane.

Most Fucked-Up Protagonist:

  • Cruz, Spoken Word
  • Bertie (King George VI), The King’s Speech
  • Lisbeth Salander, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Thomas Cobb, Inception
  • Nina Sayers, Black Swan*

Putin sez: But, it’s Natalie Portman. So, you know. Still worth it on the Hot-Crazy scale.

Worst Actor in a Good Film:

  • Michael Cera, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Garrett Hedlund, TRON: Legacy
  • CGI Jeff Bridges, TRON: Legacy
  • Timothy Spall, The King’s Speech*

Putin sez: Madam, I may be drunk, but tomorrow I will be playing a snivelling wizard and questioning my life choices. So let me have some fun.

Best Cameo:

  • Isaach de Bankolé, White Material
  • Samuel L. Jackson, Iron Man 2
  • Timothy Dalton, Toy Story 3*

Putin sez: Any time an agent hands you a part as “Mr. Pricklepants,” you have to take it.

Most Deserving to Have Everyone Involved in Production Die a Horrible Death Just For Making Me Watch the Trailer:

  • The Bounty Hunter
  • The A-Team
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
  • Charlie St. Cloud
  • The Last Airbender*

Putin sez: I found the trailer bearable if you just imagined it said “From the mind of M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong.” Also if I was drunk. That helped.

Best Trailer:

  • Four Lions
  • Greenberg
  • TRON: Legacy
  • Blue Valentine
  • Sucker Punch
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the first, combined trailer)
  • The Tree of Life
  • True Grit
  • Black Swan
  • The Social Network*

Putin sez: Winning every critics’ award in existence isn’t cool. You know what is cool? Winning an EMO.

Prettiest Pictures (cinematography award):

  • Adam Kimmel, Never Let Me Go
  • Enrique Chediak, Anthony Dod Mantle, 127 Hours
  • Yves Cape, White Material
  • Wally Pfister, Inception
  • Matthew Libatique, Black Swan
  • Martin Ruhe, The American*

Putin sez: We’ll be honest, we just like looking at George Clooney.

Breakout Actor of the Year:

  • Rooney Mara, The Social Network
  • Armie Hammer, The Social Network
  • Aaron Johnson, Nowhere Boy
  • Mia Wasikowska, The Kids Are All Right
  • Andrew Garfield, Never Let Me Go/The Social Network*
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone*

Putin sez: Strangely enough, both actors will next be seen in superhero flicks – Mr. Garfield will be honing his kicked-puppy face as Peter Parker in “Spider-Man,” while Ms. Lawrence will be taking her talents mainstream as Mystique in “X-Men: First Class.” Oh, how quickly the young sell out.

Best Song:

  • “Shine,” by John Legend, from Waiting for ‘Superman’
  • “Sticks and Stones,” by Jónsi, from How to Train Your Dragon
  • “Black Sheep,” by Metric,from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World*

Putin sez: Yeah, we’re probably scrapping this category next year, unless songs writers step it up. I’m looking at you, Springsteen.

Best Score:

  • Alexandre Desplat, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Rachel Portman, Never Let Me Go
  • Herbert Grönemeyer, The American
  • Clint Mansell, Black Swan
  • Hans Zimmer, Inception
  • Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, The Social Network
  • Daft Punk, TRON: Legacy*

Putin sez: You’d think we would have learned their names by now.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Michael Arndt, Toy Story 3
  • Matt Greenhalgh, Nowhere Boy
  • Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
  • Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, Winter’s Bone
  • Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network*

Putin sez: See, the problem here is that any joke I could make would only be, at best, half as quick-witted as one of Aaron Sorkin’s. So. Umm…let’s change subjects. Does anyone else here prefer to pronounce the Speaker of the House’s names as “boner?” That just me?

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Noah Baumbach, Greenberg
  • Nicole Holofcener, Please Give
  • Christopher Nolan, Inception
  • Claire Denis, Marie N’Diaye, White Material
  • Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John McLaughlin, Black Swan
  • Lisa Cholodenko, Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right*

Putin sez: Look, lady, I’ll tell ya, I HAVE read a lot of Russian novels. It really doesn’t do wonders for your family life. Or romantic life. Or your sanity. Malkovich.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Tom Hardy, Inception
  • Sean Harris, Harry Brown
  • Michael Sheen, TRON: Legacy
  • Ruben Blades, Spoken Word
  • Andrew Garfield, Never Let Me Go
  • Vincent Cassel, Black Swan
  • Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
  • Rhys Ifans, Greenberg
  • Mark Ruffalo, The Kids Are All Right
  • John Hawkes, Winter’s Bone*

Putin sez: There are two things in this world that terrify me: John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone,” and beavers. Man, I hate beavers.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Rooney Mara, The Social Network
  • Mila Kunis, Black Swan
  • Rebecca Hall, Please Give
  • Barbara Hershey, Black Swan
  • Catherine Keener, Please Give
  • Anne-Marie Duff, Nowhere Boy
  • Mia Wasikowska, The Kids Are All Right
  • Marion Cotillard, Inception
  • Greta Gerwig, Greenberg
  • Kristin Scott Thomas, Nowhere Boy*

Putin sez: Ladies and gentlemen, the one mother figure this year who was NOT a dragon lady and/or emotional wreck. Or dead. Man, fuck Disney.

Best Actor:

  • Emir Kusturica, Farewell
  • Ben Stiller, Greenberg
  • Aaron Johnson, Nowhere Boy
  • Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech
  • George Clooney, The American
  • Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
  • James Franco, 127 Hours
  • Colin Firth, The King’s Speech*

Putin sez: The pain of the reign falls mainly on his brain.

Best Actress:

  • Noomi Rapace, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  • Carey Mulligan, Never Let Me Go
  • Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
  • Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
  • Isabelle Huppert, White Material
  • Natalie Portman, Black Swan*

Putin sez: Actually, it’s Nnatalie Blortman now.

Best Ensemble Performance:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  • Toy Story 3
  • Inception
  • Winter’s Bone
  • Please Give
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The Social Network*

Putin sez: Ironic that the film about social isolation should win the ensemble award. Hey-o!!

Best Director:

  • Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
  • Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
  • Anton Corbijn, The American
  • Debra Granik, Winter’s Bone
  • David Fincher, The Social Network
  • Christopher Nolan, Inception
  • Banksy, Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
  • Claire Denis, White Material*

Putin sez: I think we just lost half of our readers.

Best Picture:

  • Please Give
  • Greenberg
  • 127 Hours
  • The King’s Speech
  • Winter’s Bone
  • Inception
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • Black Swan
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • The American
  • The Social Network
  • White Material*

Putin sez: And there go the rest. Bye guys! Send me a postcard from Normal Movie Watcher World.


Special Unachievement in Screwing Up a Film Where Michael Caine Gets to Shoot People:

Harry Brown

Putin sez: Plot? What is this plot you are attempting to have? More stabbing!!

Worst Attempt to Rip Off John Hughes’ Legacy…in November:

Due Date

Putin sez: I like Robert Downey, Jr. and all. But I hope the ghost of John Candy haunts Zach Galifianakis. Boo, motherfucker.

Most Unexpectedly Brilliant Marketing Campaign:

Those weird little yellow things from “Despicable Me”

Putin sez: Through sheer hard work and determination, I have painstakingly translated this conversation between the minions in the movie:

Minion 1: I hate Pixar.

Minion 2: How much do you hate Pixar?

Minion 1: A lot.

Minion 2: Yeah…fuck Pixar.

The “Spider-Man 3” Award for the Most Bloated Superhero Movie With Way Too Much Going On to Be Satisfyingly Entertaining:

Iron Man 2

Putin sez: Seriously, even a movie of Mickey Rourke just talking in a Russian accent would’ve been better.

Most Overrated Foreign Film Based on an Overrated Book Soon to Be Turned Into an Overrated Hollywood Film:

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Putin sez: I wrote to David Fincher suggesting a new title, but I guess “The Girl With the Irrelevant Franchise,” didn’t go over well.

Highest High Concept:

Old people shoot things, “Red”

Putin sez: In other words, this was the more successful “Harry Brown.” Michael Caine needs to talk to his agent.

Best Proof Since Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia That the French Are Batshit Insane:

Wild Grass

Putin sez: I still have no idea what this movie was about. Something about a purse. And planes. And stalkers. And grass. Can’t forget the grass.

The George Lazenby Award for Toiling in Obscurity:

Spoken Word

Putin sez: Independent film: cinema-speak for “no one cares.”

Biggest ’80s Flashback:

TRON: Legacy

Putin sez: This was actually a fairly impressive win in a year that included “The A-Team,” “Hot Tub Time Machine” and Jerry Brown.

Most Likely to Make You Curl Up in a Fetal Position and Rock Back and Forth For Hours on End:

Inside Job

Putin sez: You can’t lose any money if you don’t have any in the first place. Oh yeah. Win for the Put-ster.

Русская Премия Совершенства:


Putin sez: I miss the Cold War, man. Paranoia, secret arrests, assassinations. Good times, man….good times.

Newest Member of the Exclusive “This Film Can Actually Make Ethan Cry” Club:

Waiting for ‘Superman’

Putin sez: Wimp. Just because the kids are so damn cute and education is everything and we’re just sitting around letting promising, intelligent children squander their lives because we don’t want to even discuss reform…goddammit, now I’m crying too.

Saddest British People Contemplating Love and Death and Stem Cells and Stuff and Whatever, No One Cares:

Never Let Me Go

Putin sez: Poor conflicted white people. So young. So British. So tragic. Boo hoo. Let’s move on.

Best Jason Bourne Movie That Isn’t a Jason Bourne Movie:

Green Zone

Putin sez: Look for the upcoming “Jason Bourne on the Road to North Korea,” starring Matt Damon and Bing Crosby.

Creepiest Oedipal Overtones:

Nowhere Boy

Putin sez: OK, John Lennon, you need to stop with the crush on your mom. Even I’m weirded out, and I’m a pervert.

I’m Running Out of Freaking Special Awards I Can Give These Goddamn Harry Potter Movies, They’re All The Same:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Part 1

Putin sez: What do you people want?! More money? An Oscar? Our firstborn children? Take it! Take it and free my brain! For God’s sake, let me think about something other than Harry Potter!! Why doesn’t J.K. Rowling go away ??!?!

Look At This Fucking Hipster Movie:

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Putin sez: Having a likable protagonist is so lame, man.

Most Inaccurate Depiction of a Teenage Going Off to College:

Toy Story 3

Putin sez: Dude. Get a girlfriend, or boyfriend, or whatever. Saving all of your affection for a male cowboy doll named “Woody?” Not healthy.

The “I Hate Old People” Award:

Please Give

Putin sez: If you don’t have anything nice to say, become an old crotchety bitch who leeches off the kindness of friends and family. I hear that works every time.

Most Sympathetic Unsympathetic Protagonist:


Putin sez: I’m beginning to think that Noah Baumbach doesn’t like people.

Most Dysfunctional Royal Family Since the Tenenbaums:

The King’s Speech

Putin sez: Picture this gathering:

King George V: I’m a dominating patriarch determined to keep the monarchy relevant in the 20th century, at the expense of any acts of kindness or consideration toward my own sons!

King Edward VIII: I’m an impulsive romantic looking to get back at my father and family by desperately pursuing true love, even at the expense of my country’s stability!

King George VI: I’ve been so traumatized and alienated by royal life that I can’t even speak properly!

Prince William: Man, fuck all y’all. I’m a G.

The “Waltz with Bashir” Award for Movies That Are Just Too Damn Depressing For Me To Make Any Funny Jokes:

Winter’s Bone

Putin sez: (depressed silence)

The You Know, This Film Isn’t That Tough to Watch, It’s Actually Pretty Entertain-OH MY GOOD LORD Award:

127 Hours

Putin sez: Ow owow ow owwwwww. Owww oww owww ow ow ow ow. Ow oww. Owwwwwww.

Most Fortuitous Combination of Screenwriter/Composer:


Putin sez: I met Christopher Nolan earlier this year. The conversation went something like this:

Putin: Hey, Chris Nolan! What’s that you’re carrying?

Nolan: Oh, I carry around these speakers so that if anyone asks me about plot holes in “Inception,” I can blare Hans Zimmer’s score so loudly that they forget what the question was, just like I did in the movie itself!

Putin: You know, speaking of plot holes, I’ve been wondering – if dying in limbo just kicks you back up a level, then what happened to Cobb and Saito when –


Title Most Likely to Inspire Snarky Comments:

The Kids Are All Right

Putin sez: You have no idea how many people asked me this year, “so, ARE the kids all right *snort, snort*?” No. The kids are not all right. They are all going to die unless you STOP ASKING ME THAT QUESTION.

The David Lynch Award for Most “WTF is Happening Right Now” Moments in a Single Film:

Black Swan

Putin sez: I feel like the movies this year were trying to break my brain. Luckily, my brain was already broken! *Singing* Pink fluffy unicorns, dancing on raaaainbows…

Best Hoax. Or Not. Maybe? I Dunno. It’s Good:

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Putin sez: Banksy either created one of the best documentaries of the decade, or is laughing hysterically somewhere because everyone believes him. I could learn something from this man.

Most Unlikely Film to Win a Box Office Weekend Ever:

The American

Putin sez: Hey! This movie made me think things. And there was only a bare minimum of people getting shot and George Clooney having sex with a hot prostitute. I want my money back.

Revolutionary Genius Douchebag of the Year:

Mark Zuckerberg, “The Social Network”

Putin sez: We’re pretty sure this is what TIME magazine was going for, too.

Most Snobberific:

White Material

Putin sez: Hey, I wanted to give Best Picture to “Jackass 3-D,” but noooo…

2 thoughts on “The 4th Annual EMO Awards

  1. You just made my morning. One of these years, can I actually be around for the EMOs? I’m shocked Mark Zuckerberg didn’t make Most F*cked-Up Protagonist, though. Pretty messed up, if you ask me. That whole backstabbing, cut-throat, deeply insecure, friendless bit.

    And yes. “Nowhere Boy”–definitely creepy Oedipal overtones. I thought it was just me at first, since none of the reviews mentioned it, so I’m glad to be validated here.

    Very accurate description of “127 Hours.” Harumph at “Never Let Me Go.” 😛 “So British. So tragic.” Heheh.

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