There have been many amazing movies released over the last five years. Some of the most critically acclaimed are small, independently produced films, while others are large Hollywood blockbusters that also do well at the box office. Animation has seen success in recent years, whilst many names keep cropping up year after year.
Colin Firth movies
Colin Firth has had an excellent couple of years, with the widely celebrated The King's Speech sweeping the 2011 awards season, and taking the prestigious title of 'Best Picture' at the Oscars, along with an award for Firth as 'Best Actor'. In 2010, Firth also enjoyed success with the less well-known A Single Man.
Aside from the more obvious award baiting dramas, offbeat comedies have achieved wide critical acclaim in recent years. Up in the Air is 2010's notable example, following on from Juno's 2008 success and that of Little Miss Sunshine in 2007. The Social Network hit closest to the mark in 2011. Although not an all out comedy, it combined humour with drama, and quirky, well thought out characters, seeing it receive high praise from the critics.
Commercial and critical success
Critics have, over the last five years, also given nods to well handled blockbusters: films that not only earn millions at the box office but are well made enough to please the critics as well. The most notable example is Christopher Nolan, who followed on from his 2009 success with The Dark Knight to bring the world Inception in 2011. Avatar is another good example from 2011, although the acclaim came almost exclusively from the technical achievements of the film, rather than the story telling.
Animated films have also gained prominence over the last 5 years, thanks mainly to one studio in particular: Pixar. The studio produced films that have won the 'Best Animated Film' award at the Oscars in 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008, with Toy Story 3, Up, Wall-E, and Ratatouille respectively. Toy Story 3 was, unusually for an animated piece, also nominated in 2011's 'Best Picture' category at the 2011 Oscars, as was Up in the year before, perhaps due to the decision in 2010 to open the category up to ten nominees instead of five.
Other notable films
Other highly acclaimed films in recent years include Darren Aronofsky's success in 2008, The Wrestler, followed by Black Swan in 2011. The Coen Brothers are also noteworthy with No Country for Old Men in 2008 and True Grit in 2011. 2007 saw The Departed and The Queen, along with Pan's Labyrinth which, although it scooped mainly technical awards at the Oscars, did very well in other ceremonies. In 2006, Brokeback Mountain and Crash both received excellent critical acclaim.