year, a new category was created to recognize that film trailers are
themselves an art form, regardless of the merits of the movie they
promote. Movie trailers are an important part of the cinematic experience.
They appear before every movie in the theaters (and increasingly on
videos and DVDs) and help get us in the mood to watch movies. More
importantly, they help us decide what to go see.
Some expose us to films
we might not have heard about otherwise. Some open our eyes to something
possibly interesting that we might otherwise ignore or prejudge. Some
serve to "rally the troops," to get us excited about something we already
planned to see anyway. And some trailers are pure art in their own
right - trailers that suck us in, trick us, captivate us, make us
excited about the movies even if we never plan to see that particular one.
To help voters decide, the Board of Governors has provided
links to a sampling of trailers
for interested voters to review. Voters are naturally not constrained to
nominate strictly from this list; they are provided simply to help
trigger your thoughts. But remember, voters are nominating based on the
artistry of the trailer itself independent of the merits of the
You may need to download and install QuickTime or
any other software capable of playing .mov files before being
able to play these. In addition, a fast
Internet connection is recommended.
Our Top Favorites
I'm not entirely convinced that Colin Farrell
was the right person to cast as Alexander the Great. The blond hair,
for one thing, remains distracting throughout. But the
nevertheless compelling - by the time Farrell appears, the trailer
is half over and the mood as been set. We see enough dramatic battle
sequences to get a hint of the film's scope and cinematography, and
the final shot of Alexander on horseback confronting an enemy mounted
on an elephant is chillingly powerful.
trailer for Alfie wisely focuses on the film's most
powerful asset: Jude Law's disarming charm. He addresses the
audience directly in the trailer, just as in the film - but while
the clips come from the film itself, they are spliced together so
cleverly that the trailer almost seems to have extra footage of the
character trying to talk trailer audiences into coming out again to
see Alfie. I liked the film better than most critics, but
even I have to admit that the trailer is better than the film it
Alien versus Predator
trailer for Alien versus Predator is dark, menacing, and
threatening. In the theaters, first-time viewers who didn't know the
film was coming were clearly baffled at first and then shocked when
they figured it out. It's a powerful teaser. Although the
trailer shows a bit more, the additional shots are little more
than added imagery - almost an expanded teaser.
It is being heralded as one of the great films
of the year, likely to get Oscar nominations in most of the major
categories, and well deserving of them. I'm not convinced that the
does justice to the film's full merits, which are considerable, but
they do give a hint of Cate Blanchett's extraordinary performance as
Closer is a great character-driven film,
and its emotional core is captured by the
trailer. One of my favorite
films of the year, and a top trailer, too.
The Day After Tomorrow
I admit it, the
totally sucked me in and got me interested in this film (which I
hadn't even heard of until it played months before the movie
opened). There were actually a series of teaser trailers, but we've
opted to only include one teaser plus the
nicely showcases the celebrity performances of its many cameos,
especially of Alanis Morissette and Robbie Williams, but annoyingly
hints at without mentioning his bisexuality, an important theme of
the film. Perhaps that serves a positive, albeit devious, purpose of
luring in audiences that would have been otherwise prejudiced in
order to enlighten them...but more likely, it was to lure them in to
part them from their money.
The Door in the Floor
Translating John Irving's novel A Widow for
One Year would have been all but impossible, so the filmmakers
wisely decided to only film the first third of the novel. From the
we get a sense of the film's melancholy pathos and the powerful
performances delivered by both Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger. But
the film's actual storyline is left ambiguous, which is fine, though
perhaps difficult to attract audiences that way. And we also do not
get a hint of the humor that infuses the film. The trailer was
therefore tantalizing enough to get me to the theater, but really
doesn't do justice to the final film.
The Dreamers is a sophisticated,
troubling, erotic drama by Bernardo Bertolucci, and its
to capture the essence of this. It's one of my favorite films of the
year, and one of my favorite trailers as well.
Jim Carrey's best films (in my opinion) are his
more serious ones, like Man on the Moon and The Truman
Show. And while Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is
technically promoted as a comedy (as attested by the
nature of its Golden Globe nominations), it's one of his more
serious films. And it absolutely his best to date. The
is a strange hybrid - much like a teaser is many ways, but a little
more detailed than most. Like many teasers, it starts with a bit of
a fake-out, mimicking a commercial for the fictional company that
appears in the film. When it segues to show elements of the film
itself, much of it is like a teaser trailer (flashes of imagery
without a detailed plot perspective), but enough substance is
provided to give the gist of the film. It's a brilliant trailer and
it worked for me - it got me into the theater.
trailer, by itself, get
a Bush supporter into the theater? Probably not. But it is
undeniable that the film has had the biggest impact of any
documentary of all time. Bush partisans may deny it, given the
re-election of the President, but the box office are undeniable, and
they have restored some luster to the documentary genre.
It's a charming movie, and the
trailer does a good
job capturing both its whimsy and its pathos.
Flight of the Phoenix
Probably not the most compelling remake of the
year, but the thing that caught my attention with the
Giovanni Ribisi - he looks and sounds so different here that it
wasn't until the end of the trailer that I finally placed who he
trailer for Garden State is absolutely my favorite
trailer of the year. Teaser trailers tend to be released early, many
months (and even up to a year) before the film is scheduled for
release. As a teaser, they whet our appetites by providing flashes
of imagery to get our attention, but little substance to explain the
plot. Sometimes this is by necessity; by the time the teaser is
released, the film may not have shot all of its footage, or may not
have completed all of the post-production special effects. But
sometimes it's just a clever marketing ploy to get our attention.
And the teaser trailer for Garden State does just that -
flashes of imagery and music to capture the mood and show off two of
the film's great strengths: its cinematography and set design, and
its soundtrack. The
then takes the teaser one step further to provide a brief glimpse of
the characters and story. Both are excellent in their own right, but
the teaser is absolutely (in my opinion) the best of the year.
Good Bye Lenin!
I confess that I have a hard time with
foreign-language films. Reading subtitles can make it challenging to
get sucked into a film. And I generally tune out immediately when I
start to see subtitles in a trailer. Some foreign-language films,
recognizing this barrier, avoid dialog and subtitles entirely in
their trailers, preferring images, music, and voice-over narration
to sell the film. But Good Bye Lenin takes another route. The
film's star speaks directly to the audiences, personally narrating
his problem. And then the
which at first seems dramatic and heavy, changes the music and the
tempo, and all of a sudden we realize we're in for a comedy. Well,
it worked - it got me to come back to see a non-English film, and
that says a lot.
Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
Not every film needs to be high art. Sometimes
we go to the theater just for some escapist fun. And sometimes those
films deserve recognition, too. Harold and Kumar Go To White
Castle was one of my favorite "guilty pleasures" of 2004, and it
trailer that persuaded me to go. The final part of the trailer
revealing the Neal Patrick Harris cameo (the second best of the year
after Matt Damon's in Eurotrip) totally sold the film to me,
and I'm so glad it did. A very silly film. But fun.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
trailer got us excited about seeing the third installment of the
franchise, even though we really didn't expect to be all that revved
up about it. The snippet of the original song "Double Trouble"
helped. And the
trailer helped show that this installment would be the darkest
of the three.
trailer (made before the Gay.com promotion provided a name for
the film), one can be forgiven if it's hard to tell if the film is
intended as a horror flick or gay porn. But then, most "mainstream"
horror films are easily confused with straight porn, so I guess it's
par for the genre and a nice role reversal.
A Home at the End of the World
I really, really hate the overly-loud
wooshing sound that the filmmakers decided to put between the
transitions in the
trailer. It would have been fine once when we jump forward from
Bobby and Jonathon's childhood to adulthood, but no more than that.
Still, don't let that distract you from the merits of an otherwise
fine trailer, and a terrific film. (No, you don't get to see Colin
Farrell's penis on the trailer or the film or the DVD,
but it's still worth seeing.)
I Heart Huchabees
From the moment Lily Tomlin first appears in the
it's clear that this isn't going to be your typical movie, even for
a comedy...and it isn't. It's a quirky trailer for a quirky movie,
both difficult to describe and both thoroughly enjoyable.
Pixar did a
whole series of teaser trailers
for their newest animated hit. Voters: if you
nominate one, be sure to use the name on this site, or describe
Kill Bill, Volume 2
The first film's trailer was nominated because
it was flashy and exciting. If the
trailer for the sequel is nominated, it will be more for its
I knew I wanted to see this film the moment I
trailer. I knew it wouldn't exactly be canonical - the trailer
purported, after all, to be the true story that gave rise to the
legend (much like Troy was intended). I was prepared for some
unusual and different interpretations, and I'm okay with that. I've
read enough Arthurian fiction and scholarly analyses (I have a whole
bookshelf devoted to the topic), so I know how varied the
interpretations can be. But wow, what a disappointment this film
turned out to be! Still, the trailer sucked me into the theater and
so in that sense I must credit it as a success.
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
I hadn't even heard of the Lemony Snickets books
when I first saw the
(and judging from the kvetching from die-hard fans about how the
film that's trying to cover the first three books in the series had
to change too much...well, maybe it's just as well that enjoyed the
film first). I was a little hesitant from the trailer, primarily
because while I like Jim Carrey's dramas, I'm not a big fan of his
over-the-top comedies. But the trailer showed such a dark-comedic
feel, like the Addams Family films, that it was compelling enough to
see and totally worth it.
Love Me If You Dare
I loved this
so much that although I missed the film in theaters, the trailer
continued to haunt me and compelled me to rent it when it came out
on video. The trailer starts with
the innocence and charm of a Disney movie, but then slowly gets
darker and darker, though the trailer suggests
that it always remains a light, romantic comedy. I won't reveal
whether or not that's accurate - but remember, the trailer was made
by a Hollywood distributor, but the film was not...
This is the film for which the already-trim
Christian Bale lost over 60 pounds (and then had to rapidly regain
to film Batman Begins). The
reveals it to be a very intense psychological thriller. Though some
critics have given strong praise for the film and have listed Bale's
performance as one of the best of the year, it's considered to be a
long shot to pick up Oscar nominations.
Mean Creek is one of my favorite under-rated
films of the year, and it was the
that got me into the theaters to see it. That and Scott Mechlowicz,
who delivers such a surprisingly intense performance that he will
likely end up on my Best Supporting Actor list, and almost certainly
on my Best Male Villain list (though his character is too complex to
meet a simplified standard for villainy). It comes out on video a
mere two days after nomination ballots are issued, and almost three
weeks before they're due, so Cosmo voters will have a chance to
preview it before casting their ballots.
At first glance, even the
suggests that the film might just be another teen angst flick. Which
are fine in their place, and perhaps might even merit a "guilty
pleasure" consideration, but rarely more than that. But Mean
Girls does rise above the standard fare for the genre, primarily
because the screenplay adaptation was penned by the wickedly funny
Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live, who also has a supporting role.
Rachel McAdams will be on my Best Female Villain list, and this film
may well land one of my five Best Screenplay slots as well.
It's hard to imagine how Rachel McAdams, who
looked almost anorexic in Mean Girls, could turn around and
look so gorgeous in this film. The
is slow, languorous, and sensual, and in that regards brilliantly
captures some of the film's greatest strengths. It will be high on
my list of films to consider for Cinematography and Score, not to
mention Intimate Actress. (Ryan Gosling will also weigh heavily in
consideration for Intimate Actor, too, but it's such a crowded
The film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's
Phantom of the Opera is, like the stage production, long on
flash and glitter but short on fully-developed characters or plot.
But while that may hamper the full film, it can make for an
teaser trailer. The notes sound familiar as they first strike,
and then flashes of image after image hit us. A mood is set without
any effort to explain the plot to anyone unfamiliar with the story.
(For those few, a more
complete trailer is also provided, and while it, too, is
excellent and worth showcasing, it doesn't have quite the same power
as the teaser.)
Such a fun, amusing film (Mandy Moore is my
power vote for Best Female Villain), and the
captures the humor and apparent irreverence of the film (though you
will have to see it to really appreciate how positive the film
Shawn of the Dead
that pull a good twist, and Shawn of the Dead does just that
- starts with the somber, scary horror movie cliché and then pulls
back and lets you know that this one will be a more of a parody of
the genre. Classic move.
I confess that while I liked the
Sideways, it didn't make me want to run out and see the film. In
fact, it wasn't until it did so well with critics (a majority of
whom have now named it as their favorite film of the year) and at
the Golden Globes (and likely the Oscars as well) that I sat up and
took notice. I did see it eventually. But it wasn't the trailer
that sold me on it, I'm afraid.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
The film's greatest strengths come from its
cinematography, special effects, and visual appeal - and all of that
is excellently captured in this
Definitely on my list for Best Cinematography/Set Design.
Who wasn't waiting for this one to come out? The
trailer came out more than six months before the film was
released, and totally got the juices going. It's a different kind of
teaser - rather than being all action, the first part of the trailer
is actually an unusually long (for a trailer) clip of an important
scene, which is then followed by flashes of the principle characters
and action shots. The
trailer is also excellent, but it's the teaser that's really
SpongeBob Squarepants: The Movie
I couldn't bear to bring myself to see this
film, but I have to admit that I was totally conned by the
submarine teaser trailer. There were actually a lot of teaser
and full trailers for this one, but this was my favorite.
Touch of Pink
I thought at first that Kyle McLaughlin
shot a little extra footage for the
when he introduces the protagonist while in character as Cary Grant
(the protagonist's imaginary friend). After
re-watching the film, I realize that it was just clever editing. The
film was one of my favorite
films at the Frameline Film Festival, and a good trailer in its own
was, in my mind, absolutely brilliant - better than
the film, actually (though I enjoyed the film more than most did). The trailer
starts off slowly, focusing on a single ship while a voice-over
narrator intones solemnly about the Trojan War. But then the camera
pulls back to show more ships, and then an entire sea of ships, to
demonstrate to epic scale of the war...and the film. From that it
jumps into quick flashes of the principle stars and action shots
from the film. More so that the full trailer, the teaser worked to
get my heart racing, my adrenalin pumping, and got me motivated to
see the film on opening day.