2009 has definitely been an underwhelming year for movies so far. When I was looking back trying to see if I could formulate a “Top 10, Thus Far…”, the task ended up being a bit more challenging then hoped. However, among the forgettable films and the truly awful, 2009 has offered a few gems and some strong performances. Instead of forcing some films onto a list, I figured name one film or actor per category would suffice.

Best Picture- State of Play

State of Play is the smartest film released so far this year. The performances are all equally exceptional, but the movie itself has just enough suspense and twists, and never over does it. It is perfectly paced and well executed and is the best film of the year, so far.

Best Director-Michael Mann for Public Enemies

Public Enemies opened to mix reviews, but it is one of the year’s top films. The film is wonderfully captured by director Michael Mann, who exhibits a great ability to capture an era as authentically as possible.

Best Actor in a Leading Role-Johnny Depp in Public Enemies

-Nobody could have charismatically captured the esence of John Dillinger like Johnny Depp did. He was the perfect actor to play the role, and his performance will be his ticket to the Academy Awards next year.

Best Actress in a Leading Role-Amy Adams in Sunshine Cleaning

-Amy Adams lights up the screen in any film she is in, whether she is an naive nun or a perfectly sweet, and very pregnant woman. Her performance in Sunshine Cleaning perfectly balances all of the emotions of her character. The film is a light comedy and will not receive the recognition is deserves come the end of the year. It’s a true gem

Best Actor in a Supporting Role-Ben Affleck in State of Play

     -Ben Affleck, the best in any acting category? One could say it’s crazy, but in 2006’s Hollywoodland, Affleck showed his true dramatic chops. In State of Play, his performance as a disgraced politician is, dare I say, riveting. It could have easily been over the top, but Affleck really made the performance his own.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role-Emily Blunt in Sunshine Cleaning

     -Emily Blunt delivers a wonderful comedic performance in Sunshine Cleaning as the polar opposite sister of Amy Adams’ character. She is sweet and emotionally flawed, and watching Adams and her together is nothing short of movie magic.

Yes, only three movies were mentioned in my Best of the Year…so Far, but these are the three truly great movies to have come out this year. It has been a scarce year at the multiplex, but we do have our Award Season on the horizon, where all of the movies are released at once. Then hopefully we can forget things like My Life in Ruins, Land of the Lost or the loud, obnoxious and tedious sequel to Transformers even happened.