PG Cooper: Surprise Awards (2011)

Posted: January 6, 2012 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

*Why a totem? I wanted a physical item to represent these awards, so I decided to borrow an item from last year’s PGCMA Best Picture winner, Inception.

Best Breakthrough Performance

Joel Courtney, Super 8- Having a cast made up of all child actors must have been a huge risk, but it paid off big. These were fun kids who I’d have been friends with at that age. Courtney really shined, and I thought he did a good job displaying sorrow like a kid would, while still remaining a kid.

Tom Hiddleston, Thor- I hadn’t seen Hiddleston in anything before Thor, but he really impressed me. I like that he brought a lot of sympathy to Loki and helped make him a villain that we could understand and relate to. Hiddleston’s career seems to be going places too. He’s since appeared in Midnight in Paris, War Horse and he’s gonna be the main villain in The Avengers.

Liana Liberato, Trust- Previously, Liberato had only done a few guest appearances on various television shows. That’s why it was shocking to see her deliver such a powerhouse performance. Unfortunately, her career hasn’t been shot into stardom since the film, which is a shame because she certainly deserves it.

Rooney Mara, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo- Unlike the other nominees, I had seen Mara before, mainly in The Social Network. Now while I enjoyed her performance, I had no idea she’d be able to play such an interesting and bizarre character a year later. Everyone has been praising Mara’s work as one of the finest performances of the year. She’s come a long way in a short time.

Shailene Woodley, The Descendants- Like Liberato, Shailene Woodley had no major film experience until this film. She gives a great performance in The Descendants, bringing a lot of natural realism to the part. She also gets major kudos for being able to go toe to toe with George Clooney.

And The Winner Is…




Liana Liberato, Trust

Liberato wins this award for two major reasons. One is for delivering a truly amazing performance that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. The second is for being almost completely unknown before hand. All the other nominees had at least one of this things in their favour, but only Liberato had both.

Biggest Surprise

The Debt- I remember thinking The Debt looked like a pretty generic thriller. Not bad, but not anything special. Yet to my shock, not only was it a well acted and well executed thriller, but actually handled some interesting themes such as guilt and the nature of doing the right thing.

Rango- To me, the trailers for this just looked stupid. It looked obnoxious and I wasn’t impressed with the other Gore Verbinski’s previous efforts. Can you imagine my surprise when Rango turned out to be one of the most fun films of the year? Not only that, but it was really creative and original. It’s among Pixar’s best, while still remaining a completely different beast.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes- I thought Rise looked like a fun summer film, but nothing more. Oh boy was I wrong. Rise genuinely cared about it’s story and characters. It took it’s time and actually was a movie about more than just apes smashing things.

Thor- I was hyped for The Avengers when Iron Man came out, but by the time of Iron Man 2 I had all but given up. Just when it seemed like all hope was lost, Thor  came along. Thor turned out to be a lot of fun, featured great performances, especially from Hemsworth and Hiddleston. Thor may have been one of the Marvel heroes I was least interested in, and now I think of all the Marvel film adaptations, his is second only to the X-Men franchise.

Trust- Virtually completely unknown, I stumbled across this film at my local DVD store and was completely blown away. Great performances and a great script, Trust is easily among my favourite films of the year and I knew next to nothing about it before seeing it.

And The Winner Is…





With the other nominees, I had some level of expectations. But Rango? I honestly thought Rango was gonna suck. It was only after gave it a good review that I decided to give it a watch. But you know what, I really liked the film, in fact it was the first truly great movie I saw this year. On top of that, this is a film that I’ve watched multiple times, and every time I enjoy it more. Funny how unenthusiastic I was toward it at first.

Most Underrated/Overlooked Film

30 Minutes Or Less- I’m not saying 30 Minutes Or Less was a complex study on living in the 21st century featuring in depth characters and an interesting story. What I am saying is that it was a funny comedy that kept me laughing throughout. Yet for some reason, people hated it. Well, I thought it was funny.

The Conspirator- I wanted to see this in theaters, but terrible reviews caused my to skip it until DVD. And you know what, I wish I hadn’t, because it was pretty good. It seems the main criticism was that the film was slow. Well, it’s a film about the assassination of President Lincoln, would you rather it be an explosive action film? On top of that, while the film was slow, I was never bored. I found the story pretty captivating.

The Debt- After seeing The Debt, I left calling it one of the best films of the year. The rest of the world seemed to shrug and say, “Meh, that was okay.” Not that the film was poorly received, but everyone seemed so indifferent toward it and I still don’t know why.

J. Edgar- Is J. Edgar among Clint Eastwood’s best films? Of course not, but I still found it a very interesting study and someone I didn’t know a lot about before. Like The Conspirator, everyone’s prime complaint was the film was boring. I admit, the film was too long and there were parts, but it didn’t derail the film for me. It’s not a great film, but it deserved a lot more than what it got.

Trust- Talk about overlooked, this film is mostly unseen. It was first shown at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2010 before receiving a limited theatrical release in April. It was shown in an extremely low amount of theaters before being rushed out to DVD. Now that award season is upon is, it annoys me that Trust is never even considered.

And The Winner Is…





Show of hands, how many people had heard of Trust before seeing it mentioned on this site? And I’ll bet those few that had also saw it. And I’m sure most of you will agree, it’s a great film. It has great performances and a very interesting and well-written script. It’s just a shame that more people haven’t seen it. Here’s hoping it finds an audience on the home market.

  1. I thought Tom Hiddleston was great in Thor. I’m glad he’ll be back for the Avengers movie in May.

  2. Nope. I had NOT heard of “Trust” I will check it out if it crosses my path though, promise.

    Meanwhile, I was looking forward to Rango, so I couldnt call it a “surprise” presonally, but I’m right there with you that this was a great movie!

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