Photo: The Weinstein Company
1. The King's Speech *WINNER
The King's Speech is a historical drama that tracks the evolution of Prince Albert, Duke of York, who eventually becomes King George VI. Prince Albert has struggled with an embarrassing stammer all his life. After an attempt at a speech in Wembley Stadium goes especially poorly, his wife tracks down unconventional Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue to help relieve him of his speech impediment. Nominees Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter star in the film, which is based on the true story of how one king learned to lead his people when it mattered most.
2. 127 Hours
127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston and his incredible struggle after getting trapped by a boulder in Utah for more than five days. James Franco stars as Ralston, who ultimately has to cut off his own arm and hike over eight miles before getting rescued. The film is based on Ralston's memoir, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and earned Franco a Best Actor nod this year.
3. Black Swan
A psychological thriller about a ballerina competing for the coveted lead role in a performance of Swan Lake, Black Swan is earning plenty of buzz for Natalie Portman's gripping performance and the dark relationship that evolves between her character and that of Mila Kunis' rival ballerina. Portman has said she trained eight hours a day for the role that won her a Best Actress Golden Globe and a Best Actress nomination this year. Director Darren Aronofsky is also nominated.
4. The Fighter
Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale star as half-brothers in this true-life drama about an up-and-coming boxer and his brother. Wahlberg plays Micky, a struggling fighter who has lived his life in his brother's shadow and is dying for a shot to make a name for himself. Bale plays Dickie, a star boxer-turned-crack-addict, who continually lets his brother down. The all-star cast also includes Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, both of whom, along with Bale, are nominated for their performances this year.
Christopher Nolan directs an impressive roster of actors???including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt???in this psychological thriller that blurs the line of dream and reality. DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, a corporate thief who can invade people's dreams and steal valuable secrets. This life of espionage has cost him all he holds dear???until one last job gives him the chance to win his life back.
6. The Kids Are All Right
Annette Bening and Julianne Moore play life partners in this comedy about a modern family and the sperm donor who made it possible. When the couple's two teenagers track down their “donor dad,” he enters the family's life only to turn it upside down. The film, which also stars actor Mark Ruffalo, won a Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Golden Globe, and earned Bening a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Bening and Ruffalo are both nominated this year for their performances in this film.
7. The Social Network
Based on the 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires, this Golden Globe winner for Best Motion Picture – Drama depicts the founding of Facebook and the two simultaneous lawsuits filed against CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the aftermath of the website's success. The Social Network has been hailed for its razor-sharp dialogue, a trademark of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, and for its dark mood, which hails directly from director David Fincher's playbook. The movie's roster boasts a stellar ensemble cast, including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones and newcomer Rooney Mara.
8. Toy Story 3
The third film in the Toy Story franchise???and the first in 3-D???won the hearts of adults and children alike with its touching storyline about a little boy growing up. The latest Pixar offering follows Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang as they try to escape the day care center where they've been mistakenly shipped off. Toy Story 3 was the highest grossing film of 2010 and the fifth highest grossing film of all time. The film also won a Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature.
9. True Grit
Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin star in this Coen Brothers Western, adapted from the 1968 novel—and 1969 movie—of the same name. Bridges is U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn, hired by 14-year-old Mattie Ross to avenge her father's death. 14-year-old newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, who plays Mattie, delivers one of the most talked-about performances to come out of the film. She, Bridges, and the Coen Brothers are all nominated for Oscars this year.
Photo: Roadside Attractions
10. Winter's Bone
This independent drama, based on the 2006 novel of the same name, stars Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence as a Missouri teen raising her two younger siblings. When she learns that her meth-addict father has put their house up for collateral for his bail, she launches a search to track him down. Winter's Bone received the Grand Jury Prize for a dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival and earned seven Independent Spirit Award nominations.