VIDEO GAMES

BEST WRITING: MASS EFFECT 2

Mass Effect 2 doesn't just present a great story filled with memorable, well-developed characters, but it allows the player to make an almost
infinite number of choices that can alter that story.  No matter what path you choose, Mass Effect 2 is great science fiction storytelling and
playing through it multiple times only enhances just how impressive the accomplishment is.

Highlights:  Just about any of the character-driven side missions that flesh out the story of your team, the thrilling opening sequence
aboard the Normandy and the potentially brutal final mission.


BEST PERFORMANCE: ROB WIETHOFF - RED DEAD REDEMPTION

Red Dead Redemption came up just short in the Best Writing category, but easily owns the best performance and best character of the year
in John Marston.  Rob Wiethoff's performance is absolutely perfect and is easily among the most memorable in video game history.

Highlights: Marston's increasing irritation with just about every sleazy wild west character he runs into, his bashing of the horseless
carriage, his very simple philosophies (don't just skip to destinations!) and, of course, his final acts in the game.


BEST SCORE: CASTLEVANIA: LORDS OF SHADOW - OSCAR ARAUJO

Oscar Araujo's score to the latest re-imagining of the fabled franchise has more in common stylistically with Middle-Earth than the previous
installments in the series, but it is undeniably superb.  This is a stunning and epic orchestral and choral score that is powerful enough to
actually elevate your opinion of the game.  It just makes everything seem so much more spectacular.


BEST ART DIRECTION: KIRBY'S EPIC YARN

Patches, stitches and zippers.  Kirby's Epic Yarn features some of the most unique visual design you will find in a game.  The entire world
and all of its characters are weaved together by threads and various fabrics.  It's easily the most beautiful game of the year and shuns the
realism visuals that so many modern gamers obsess over.


BEST GRAPHICS: GOD OF WAR III

Kratos has never looked better.  In fact he is frighteningly well rendered.  But he isn't the only one, God of War III's graphics are at times
jaw-dropping.  The scale of the opening sequence combined with its incredibly detailed and textured visuals is unforgettable and the
highlights don't end there.  An incredible technical achievement.

Greg's 'HOLY CRAP!' MOMENT: The lighting and water animation as Kratos swims the River Styx.


BEST SOUND: MASS EFFECT 2

Brilliantly mixed and designed.  There is a tendency (especially in video games) to be absolutely overbearing in order to ratchet up the
intensity, but Mass Effect 2 opts for balance and intelligence in its design.


BEST GAME: SUPER MARIO GALAXY 2

There was simply no other game this year that inspired as much joy and excitement in me than Super Mario Galaxy 2.  Galaxy 2 enhances
and expands on all the best ideas and designs of the already phenomenal original.  This streamlined sequel favors the refreshing return to
the more fast-paced, linear gameplay of the 2D installments over the Mario 64 world design.  The gameplay is further enhanced by its lush
visuals (the most technically accomplished on the Wii) and its thrilling score.  It might not have took home those specific Greggies this year,
but no other game could match Galaxy 2 in actual gameplay, and it's an easy choice for the best game of the year.


FILM

BEST SOUND MIXING: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART I

BEST SOUND EDITING: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART I

Inception received a lot of praise for its sound this year, but to me it's an overblown and harsh mix with effects editing and score levels that
overwhelm the dialog.  Deathly Hallows: Part I features a mix that balances all of these elements far better and manages to be just as
distinctive with a great sense of immersion.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART I

No film could even come close to matching Avatar's resounding victory last year, but the latest Harry Potter film is an accomplished effects
film nonetheless.  It won't blow you away, but does a little bit of everything very well.  Its digital characters are fluid and expressive and its
spectacular locales bring the excellent art direction to life seamlessly.

BEST MAKEUP: THE WOLFMAN

Benicio Del Toro IS the Wolfman.  Rick Baker is a legend of cinematic creature effects and his work here is superb as usual.

BEST SCORE: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON - JOHN POWELL

Despite an incredible year in film music, John Powell's How To Train Your Dragon was an easy choice.  Powell score is both bombastic and
beautiful and is absolutely essential to the film.  No score elevated the film it was attached to more than How To Train Your Dragon did.

BEST FILM EDITING: TRUE GRIT

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON

Love that viking garb!

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: SHUTTER ISLAND

A rewatch of Shutter Island showed it to be a better film than I originally gave it credit for.  But even the first time around, Robert
Richardson's brilliant cinematography was obvious.  The textured photography enhances the atmosphere of the pounding rain, damp
forests and grimy cells of Shutter Island.  The dreams sequences are a highlight.

BEST ART DIRECTION: LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA'HOOLE

Let it be known that the Greggy Awards are not ashamed to recognize a bland, forgettable film if it's the best in a category.  Legend of the
Guardians is a visually stunning film from start to finish, even if that's the only thing stunning about it.

BEST SCREENPLAY: INCEPTION

Christopher Nolan's screenplay for Inception might not have the heart of Toy Story 3 or the wit of True Grit, but is so outrageously original,
ambitious and thrilling that it simply must be awarded.

BEST PERFORMANCE: HAILEE STEINFELD - TRUE GRIT

Can an unknown 14-year-old actress steal scenes form the likes of Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin?  If she's Hailee Steinfeld she
can.  Steinfeld won't win many awards because of her age and lack of celebrity status, but her performance as Mattie Ross in True Grit is the
best of the year.  As soon as she starts haggling with that merchant at the beginning of the film, we know we are in for something special.


BEST DIRECTOR: CHRISTOPER NOLAN - INCEPTION

Director Nolan had his work cut out for him thanks to writer Nolan's screenplay, and he rises to the challenge.  The final act of this film
making any sense whatsoever is an incredible accomplishment and one that cannot be overstated.

BEST PICTURE: INCEPTION

Ambitious, creative and mind-blowing, Inception is an incredible science fiction thriller that will be remembered as one of the finest
examples of the genre.  
My Full Review
THE 2011 GREGGY AWARDS
Following the resounding success of his cameo in The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan was insistent on
Greg's return for Inception.