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My Top 10 Most Memorable Movie Moments of 2012

January 30, 2013

Award season is always a fun time full of enjoyment and debate as fans look back on performances and films from the previous year. We’ve already had the Golden Globes, the People’s Choice Awards, the Critic’s Choice Awards, the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, the illustrious Red Web Awards and several others. With the Academy Awards just under a month away people can’t help but have some of 2012’s best performances and movies in mind.awards

I like the awards because the season gives an opportunity to shed some light on, perhaps, some of the missed performances and portrayals over the year. Plenty of categories seem to sum up the gamut of what we look for to enjoy in film: “Best Performance by an Actor”, “Best Director”, “Best Picture”, “Best Original Screenplay”, “Best Original Song” and so on and so forth.

I spent time sitting & contemplating the nominees below!

I spent time sitting & contemplating the nominees!


I always found something to missing from the awards ceremony that I wish they would consider: “Most Memorable Movie Moments.” The 4-M award is one that would go to one of several nominated moments that either made us cringe, cry, laugh, scream, smile, or possibly even cover our eyes. That being said, this award could even go to a scene from an overall not-so-great movie, because the performance, being so moving, deserved mention.prometheus

So, I’m making this award up today because there were some moments in 2012 movies that definitely deserve some attention. For your consideration, here are my Top Ten Memorable Movie Moments of 2012. Several of the nominees below are ones that have not received any/enough attention from the likes of The Academy, so, while you may be expecting a mention of Silver Linings Playbook‘s dance competition or Argo‘s intense airport scene, you might be surprised at their exclusion as this award focuses mainly (but not entirely) on non-popular award season choices.

BE ADVISED: Spoilers may abound for you here if you haven’t seen the movies listed!

Read/watch with caution!

10. The Grey:

The scene: Final sequence (the teased fight between Ottway and the Alpha)

The reason: One of the most annoying ending scenes of 2012. A scene that led to a fight we had been waiting the entire previous 116 minutes that doesn’t deliver the “promised” final fight at all. As much as I did not enjoy that, I will always remember it and thus, The Grey ends up at number 10.

neeson vs the wolf


9. Life of Pi

The scene: “A Whale of a Jump”

The reason: So many gorgeous scenes in this amazing movie of trouble and triumph, but when I think of this film, the scene with the whale in the translucent waters amongst the glowing bioluminescent jellyfish is so vividly stuck in my mind. Such a beautiful scene and worthy of mention.



8. Lincoln

The scene: “How Dare You, Sir!”

The reason: Yes, Daniel Day-Lewis had some great moments in this film, but Tommy Lee Jones’ portrayal as Thaddeus Stevens was another fantastic performance in the Spielberg film. I very much enjoyed his discourse and demeanor. Evidence of his great work can be seen in this pivotal moment of the film…one of my favorite scenes.


7. Flight

The scene: “Mayday Mayhem”

The reason: Director Robert Zemeckis takes us on an incredibly heart-pounding trip into the skies that makes emotion and fear crash together all in one as Denzel Washington’s character attempts to land an airline passenger jet in an emergency situation. So tense. I don’t remember an airplane scene that had me on the edge of my seat like that since United 93.


6. Skyfall

The scene: “Skyfall’s Shanghai Skyscraper”

The reason: The playful and ingenious use of color, shadows and reflection mixed with the action, silence, music and secrecy makes this scene one of the best of the year. Great cinematography. A close second from this movie is when Bond, again in Shanghai, arrives at the casino.

Skyfall Shanghai 007 fight


5. Django Unchained

The scene: “Left to the Dogs”

The reason: Though I cringed during this scene depicting a group of dogs attacking a slave in the custody of Calvin Candie, it remains one of the more memorable moments of 2012 movies. Not only for myself, but for millions of people who watched Quentin Tarantino’s most recent film.



4. Killer Joe

The scene: “Killer KFC”

The reason: One of the most disturbing scenes ever involving chicken and two people. Not one I celebrate having seen, but definitely one of the most memorable movie moments of the year. Let’s just say that after seeing it you will never look at chicken the same way. This movie wasn’t rated NC-17 for no reason.



3. Les Misérables

The scene: “On My Own”

The reason: There are MANY memorable moments from this film. I could just as easily pick Anne Hathaway’s “I dreamed a dream,” or Hugh Jackman’s “Suddenly” as they are both so very moving. But I went with Samantha Barks’ “On My Own” because I wasn’t expecting it to be nearly as moving as it was. (I did expect that already from Hathaway and Jackman and am glad they delivered.) Barks’ performance as Éponine is so moving and stayed with me long after the film’s credits had ended. A powerful performance that I believe has gone grossly unnoticed. Watch.

(See an alternate clip here)


2. The Avengers

The scene: “Puny god!”

The reason: So funny seeing the confident Loki getting pummeled by The Hulk and tossed around like a ragdoll…finishing with a look that pretty much says “I’m Done!”


1. Looper

The scene: “Run Home Seth!”

The reason: A gripping scene that not only demonstrates and ingeniously uses the rules of time travel, but also shows the gravity of its consequences and the danger of being involved with the wrong people. It set the tone for what was in store for other Loopers such as our two anti-heroes Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.


Honorable mentions:

  1. The Dark Knight Rises -Bane/Batman Back-Breaking Brawl
  2. Prometheus -“Get This Thing OUT of Me!!”
  3. Moonrise Kingdom -Boy/Girl Dance Club
  4. The Hobbit -“Riddle Me This”
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower -Every scene basically from the trailer! 🙂
  6. The Impossible -Ewan McGregor’s Phone call breakdown
  7. Zero Dark Thirty -The Exclusive (and Explosive) “Big Break”

Well, those are my Top Ten 4-M Award nominees. Please take a moment to vote for your favorite below!

Have a few favorite moments of your own that weren’t mentioned here? Tell me in the comment section. What were some of YOUR favorite Memorable Movie Moments of 2012?


***And, I have one final major treat for you. In case you missed Wreck-It Ralph (the best videogame movie EVER) in theaters then you missed a great experience (buy it when it comes out). BUT that also means you missed one of THE BEST animated shorts I have ever seen. An Oscar-nominated animated short entitled Paperman.Paperman_still_1

Well, guess what? I have the whole thing here and you get to watch it. This is also one of my most memorable movie moments of 2012 and I am glad to share this amazing animated feature with you here. Enjoy! (Wreck-It Ralph releases on blu-ray on March 5th.)


Share your thoughts/opinions in the comment section!

Thanks for reading. Happy watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: Trailer Time Thursday

32 Comments leave one →
  1. Trevor permalink
    January 30, 2013 1:50 pm

    The Breaking of the Bat in Dark Knight Rises left me an emotional wreck.

    I had been waiting since 1997 to see Bane shown the proper respect he deserves in a Batman movie. I finally got it with DKR.

    The way that scene played out. Just how simple it made it seem it was to break Batman was intense. The extreme lack of any sort of real build up to it made it so jarring shocking.

    Granted, i was an emotional wreck the entire movie anyways. But that one scene was what I had been waiting to see on film for over a decade. It wasn’t like it was in the comics but it was just as good.


    • January 31, 2013 9:05 am

      Such a big scene. and you’re right, it really works because there wasn’t the big build up to it. we were left to watch and wonder if it would happen…and when it did….silence, interrupted by gasps throughout the theater! WOW.



  2. January 30, 2013 2:03 pm

    I voted for both Django and Lincoln on your list. I’m fine with violence but I cringed when those dogs were attacking that slave in Django.

    My favorite moments would also include the confrontation between Freddy Quell and Lancaster Dodd in The Master, the kitchen scene in Amour, and the climax of Zero Dark Thirty.


    • January 31, 2013 9:06 am

      the confrontation scene in The Master…good pick!

      thanks for commenting and sharing some of yours!


  3. January 30, 2013 3:00 pm

    Really strong picks here. I voted for Killer Joe and Flight — both of which I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I also like ckckred’s suggestion of The Master, one of many brilliant scenes in that film.


    • January 31, 2013 9:08 am

      you picked two that def stay in my mind as well.

      I wish I could say that I, personally, was moved by The Master. I wasn’t as enamoured with it as others were and therefore, the whole film remains memorable as it were, but not for one particular scene for me. However, that confrontational scene was a good one indeed.

      thanks for commenting today and voting!


  4. bdgill12 permalink
    January 30, 2013 10:37 pm

    Great choices, T! All of those are great. I went with The Avengers and Skyfall. That scene in Skyfall had me completely mesmerized. Stinking beautiful. The climax of ZDT would also make my list. Basically perfect.


    • January 31, 2013 9:23 am

      Thanks Brian, I liked ZDT as well. and while the climax was great, ZDT made my honorable mention for another scene.

      Skyfall was just amazing


  5. January 31, 2013 12:02 am

    Samantha Barks’ “On My Own” was the most moving moment in that film for me too, not that other song.


    • January 31, 2013 9:23 am

      My friend, you have great taste! 🙂

      She really made that part her own all on her own.


  6. January 31, 2013 2:14 am

    Some really great choices here T. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Looper but that was a good moment you chose. Also very much agree with you on your Life of Pi and Skyfall picks, although I think I like Javier Bardem’s opening scene a little more.

    And I watched The Paperman short last night, it’s brilliant!


    • January 31, 2013 9:25 am

      thanks for checking out my top 10. That Looper scene is just…wow.

      and Javier Bardem…good choice! I liked him as Silva very much.


  7. January 31, 2013 2:27 am

    Went for Looper and Killer Joe. That whole scene in Looper was so excellently done. Dark. Disturbing. Towards the end you could see what was happening and it was pretty horrific to watch.

    As for Killer Joe – everyone who’s seen that film talks about that scene. That alone makes it hugely memorable. I can’t get the image out of my head!


    • January 31, 2013 9:26 am

      yeah. Killer Joe just isn’t easily forgotten.

      thanks for commenting, Jaina


  8. January 31, 2013 6:54 am

    There are some really good moments on there. You know, while the movie year may have been down, there were a lot of big-time moments that I can remember even in lesser films (As you alluded to).


    • January 31, 2013 9:27 am

      Thanks Keith. Yep, I def believe that even though some movies may be horrible, there still could be some parts that stand out for one reason or another.

      Any fave moments for you in 2012?


  9. January 31, 2013 8:57 am

    I haven’t seen some of these so I just skim your post. Agree with that whale jump though, it was like whoah! Paperman is delightful! Hope to see Disney create a full animated version in that same breath.


    • January 31, 2013 9:29 am

      thanks for stopping by Ruth.

      I loved Paperman, but to be honest, I loved it and the length it is. I’m not sure I’d want to see a full length version. I suppose it could be done though, as long as it’s done right, but I can’t imagine how much further they could take it.

      Glad you agree on the Life of Pi moment! 🙂


      • January 31, 2013 9:31 am

        No, I don’t mean a full length version of Paperman in particular, just something in that same vein, a romance but not necessarily fairy tale-ish.


      • January 31, 2013 9:32 am

        ah, I misunderstood. thanks for clarifying


  10. January 31, 2013 2:43 pm

    Puny God! Love it 😀

    That scene from Looper makes no sense even within the films own set of rules. Set rules and stick to them!


    • February 5, 2013 10:28 am

      Hey Tim! Avengers had some fantastic scenes with The Hulk. Most of his moments were super memorable!

      Not a fan of Looper? somehow I don’t remember that about ya. ha


      • February 5, 2013 5:22 pm

        I liked looper but it had some massive logic flaws which took me out of the film every so often.

        That dinner scene doesn’t mean my brain turns off I will still draw diagrams in my brain! BRAIN!!!


  11. February 1, 2013 2:32 pm

    I actually loved the way they did that scene in The Grey. Then again I didn’t go to see the film with the desire of seeing an epic CGI duel with a wolf haha. If that had been the case, then I’m sure I’d have been disappointed too. Otherwise, that was actually my favorite part of the film.


    • February 5, 2013 10:30 am

      Thanks for commenting. well, a CGI duel perhaps would not have been the best, but, they could’ve still done more than what they did. your favorite=my least favorite part. haha.


  12. February 14, 2013 2:31 pm

    Great choices. Looper as number one makes perfect sense because it was such a scary but well-realised idea. Avengers and Prometheus has so many scenes that are memorable that they could have their own top tens. Great idea though, got me thinking…


    • February 18, 2013 10:08 pm

      Hey Ben. thanks for checking out my choices. I had a LOT of fun putting the list together of some of my most memorable moments from the movies. You should put a list together if you get around to it.


  13. March 20, 2013 10:16 am

    I feel sick that I forgot ‘Puny God’ in my list! I feel so ashamed haha.
    Great picks overall, especially with Django, Les Mis, Life of Pi, Killer Joe and Skyfall!


    • March 20, 2013 10:18 am

      haha. I was wondering if you’d comment on that missing from your list! 🙂 It’s all good though! Thanks so much for a fun list and commenting on mine!



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