Hollywood hit home runs with a mysterious family man, gay cowboys and more...
•A History of Violence
A man (Viggo Mortensen) who may have a more colorful past than his wife or small-town neighbors know was the hero of this multilayered thriller that boasted everything we want in a movie: great plot, sex and surprises.
We agree with Oprah here. This standout ensemble drama, showing diverse folk making snap judgments—usually wrong—based on race or ethnicity, packed a heart-clutching punch.
A haunting love story about two cowpokes (Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger) involved in a long-term affair. Set against Wyoming's infinite sky and big mountains, the all-too-human drama of its plainspoken characters poignantly reverberated.
This year's sexiest leading man, furry hands down, was the sensitive ape in a wondrous adventure tale. He's understanding, protective, and laughs—well, it's more of a teeth-baring grin—at his lady love's jokes. What more could a gal (Naomi Watts) ask for?
Inspired by real events, a complex thriller thoughtfully probed the growing disenchantment of an Israeli secret agent (Eric Bana) after he's assigned to assassinate terrorists who'd massacred his nation's athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
•The Squid and the Whale
Like a balloon deflating, a puffed-up patriarch (Jeff Daniels) suffered puncture wounds to his ego when his marriage and family life fall apart in an incisive dramedy.
•Walk the Line
In a splendid biopic, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) overcame a whole lotta woe while he burned, burned, burned for true love June Carter (Reese Witherspoon).
A piercing look at the making and breaking of an artist. Author Truman Capote (a brilliant Philip Seymour Hoffman) sows the seeds of his own self-destruction while working on In Cold Blood.
•Good Night, and Good Luck.
Showing how TV news legend Edward R. Murrow (David Strathairn) took on bullying Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, director-cowriter George Clooney made pertinent points about freedom of speech and journalistic courage.
•Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Our favorite family film of the year. Dim Wallace and crafty Gromit, his canine caretaker, saved the day in their first—and we hope not last—feature.