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The following is an overview of the events of 2011 in film, including the highest-grossing films, film festivals, award ceremonies and a list of films released and notable deaths. More film sequels were released in 2011 than any other year before it, with 28 sequels released.[1] Film critic Scout Tafoya considers 2011 as the best year for cinema, countering the notion of 1939 being film's best year overall and citing important developments in cinematic expression during 2011.

Evaluation of the year

Richard Brody of The New Yorker observed that the best films of 2011 "exalt the metaphysical, the fantastical, the transformative, the fourth-wall-breaking, or simply the impossible, and—remarkably—do so ... These films depart from 'reality' ... not in order to forget the irrefutable but in order to face it, to think about it, to act on it more freely".[2] Film critic and filmmaker Scout Tafoya of considers the year of 2011 as the best year for cinema, countering the notion of 1939 being film's best year overall, citing examples such as Drive, The Tree of Life, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, Keyhole, Contagion, The Adventures of Tintin, and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. He stated that "2011 housed not just some of the greatest art films of our age, but a revolution in the language of blockbuster filmmaking. One big-budget action film after another used digital cameras to show the world behind explosions in starker, stranger light, while constructing a backbone of classical ideas and images."[3]

Highest-grossing films

The top 10 films released in 2011 by worldwide gross are as follows:[4]

Highest-grossing films of 2011
Rank Title Distributor Worldwide gross
1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Warner Bros. $1,342,511,219
2 Transformers: Dark of the Moon Paramount $1,123,794,079
3 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Disney $1,045,713,802
4 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 Lionsgate $712,205,856
5 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Paramount $694,713,380
6 Kung Fu Panda 2 Paramount / DreamWorks $665,692,281
7 Fast Five Universal $626,137,675
8 The Hangover Part II Warner Bros. $586,764,305
9 The Smurfs Sony Pictures $563,749,323
10 Cars 2 Disney $559,852,396

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides grossed $1,045,713,802, becoming the second film in the series to have grossed over $1 billion, and the 37th-highest-grossing film of all time. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 grossed $1,342,511,219, becoming the third-highest-grossing film of all time during its theatrical run, the highest-grossing film in the Harry Potter franchise, the highest grossing book adaptation and the highest of 2011 as a whole. In the US and Canada, it set single-day and opening-weekend records, with $91,071,119 and $169,189,427, respectively. In addition, the film set a worldwide opening-weekend record with $483,189,427. Transformers: Dark of the Moon grossed $1,123,794,079 and is currently the 26th-highest-grossing film of all time and the highest-grossing in the series.

2011 was the first year when three films grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, surpassing the previous year's record of two billion-dollar films, and also the first time when at least 10 films grossed more than $500 million worldwide (in 11th and 12th place, Puss in Boots and Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows also earned over $500 million making it twelve films to do so).

Pirates of the Caribbean became the first franchise to have more than one film gross over $1 billion, with On Stranger Tides joining 2006's Dead Man's Chest. On Stranger Tides also became the fifth film of the decade to surpass the billion-dollar milestone, breaking the previous record of four films (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest in 2006, The Dark Knight in 2008, and Avatar in 2009) during the 2000s.



Category/Organization 17th Critics' Choice Awards
January 12, 2012
69th Golden Globe Awards
January 15, 2012
Producers, Directors, Screen Actors, and Writers Guild Awards 65th BAFTA Awards
February 12, 2012
84th Academy Awards
February 26, 2012
Drama Musical or Comedy
Best Film The Artist The Descendants The Artist
Best Director Michel Hazanavicius
The Artist
Martin Scorsese
Michel Hazanavicius
The Artist
Best Actor George Clooney
The Descendants
Jean Dujardin
The Artist
Best Actress Viola Davis
The Help
Meryl Streep
The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams
My Week with Marilyn
Viola Davis
The Help
Meryl Streep
The Iron Lady
Best Supporting Actor Christopher Plummer
Best Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer
The Help
Best Screenplay, Adapted Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin
Woody Allen
Midnight in Paris
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
The Descendants
Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
The Descendants
Best Screenplay, Original Woody Allen
Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen
Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius
The Artist
Woody Allen
Midnight in Paris
Best Animated Film Rango The Adventures of Tintin Rango
Best Original Score The Artist
Ludovic Bource
N/A The Artist
Ludovic Bource
Best Original Song "Life's a Happy Song"
The Muppets
N/A N/A "Man or Muppet"
The Muppets
Best Foreign Language Film A Separation N/A The Skin I Live In A Separation
Best Documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World N/A N/A Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest Senna Undefeated

2011 films

The list of films released in 2011, arranged by country, are as follows:

Notable deaths

Month Date Name Age Nationality Profession Notable films
January 2 Anne Francis 80 American Actress
2 Pete Postlethwaite 64 British Actor
2 Miriam Seegar 103 American Actress
2 Patricia Smith 80 American Actress
2 Margot Stevenson 98 American Actress
3 Jill Haworth 65 British Actress
9 Peter Yates 81 British Director
11 David Nelson 74 American Actor, Producer
15 Susannah York 72 British Actress
16 Paul Picerni 88 American Actor
16 Juan Piquer Simón 75 Spanish Director
20 Bruce Gordon 94 American Actor
21 Theoni V. Aldredge 82 Greek Costume Designer
24 Bernd Eichinger 61 German Producer
26 María Mercader 92 Spanish Actress
26 Mario Scaccia 91 Italian Actor
27 Charlie Callas 83 American Actor
30 John Barry 77 British Composer
31 Michael Tolan 86 American Actor
February 2 Margaret John 84 British Actress
3 Maria Schneider 58 French Actress
4 Tura Satana 72 Japanese Actress
5 Donald Peterman 79 American Cinematographer
10 Bill Justice 97 American Animator
11 Myrna Dell 86 American Actress
12 Betty Garrett 91 American Actress, Dancer, Singer
12 Kenneth Mars 75 American Actor, Voice Actor
13 Larry Holden 49 Irish Actor
13 T. P. McKenna 81 British Actor
14 David F. Friedman 87 American Producer
16 Alfred Burke 92 British Actor
16 Len Lesser 88 American Actor
17 Perry Moore 39 American Producer
18 Walter Seltzer 96 American Producer
22 Nicholas Courtney 81 British Actor Bullseye!
26 Greg Goossen 65 American Actor
27 Gary Winick 49 American Director, Producer
28 Annie Girardot 79 French Actress
28 Nick LaTour 84 American Actor
28 Jane Russell 89 American Actress
March 4 Charles Jarrott 83 British Director
11 Hugh Martin 96 American Composer
17 Michael Gough 94 British Actor
18 Enzo Cannavale 82 Italian Actor
21 Joe Wizan 76 Mexican Producer
22 Helen Stenborg 86 American Actress
23 Elizabeth Taylor 79 British-American Actress
27 Farley Granger 85 American Actor
April 2 Bill Varney 77 American Sound Mixer
3 Kevin Jarre 56 American Screenwriter
4 Wayne Robson 64 Canadian Actor
6 Skip O'Brien 60 American Actor
9 Sidney Lumet 86 American Director, Producer, Screenwriter
9 Yolande Palfrey 54 British Actress Dragonslayer
11 Angela Scoular 65 British Actress
14 Trevor Bannister 76 British Actor
17 Michael Sarrazin 70 Canadian Actor
20 Tim Hetherington 40 British-American Director Restrepo
24 Marie-France Pisier 66 French Actress
28 William Campbell 87 American Actor
May 3 Jackie Cooper 88 American Actor
4 Mary Murphy 80 American Actress
5 Arthur Laurents 93 American Playwright, Screenwriter
5 Dana Wynter 79 British Actress
8 Hilton Rosemarin 58 Canadian Set Decorator
9 Dolores Fuller 88 American Actress
15 Barbara Stuart 76 American Actress
16 Edward Hardwicke 78 British Actor
20 Randy Savage 58 American Actor
21 Bill Hunter 71 Australian Actor
22 Joseph Brooks 73 American Director, Songwriter
27 Jeff Conaway 60 American Actor
30 Clarice Taylor 93 American Actress
June 3 James Arness 88 American Actor
3 Pat Jackson 95 British Director
3 Miriam Karlin 85 British Actress
4 Donald Hewlett 90 British Actor Carry On Behind
6 John Boswall 91 British Actor
7 Leonard B. Stern 87 American Screenwriter, Director
8 John Mackenzie 83 Scottish Director
11 Gunnar Fischer 100 Swedish Cinematographer
12 Laura Ziskin 61 American Producer
14 Peter Schamoni 77 German Alexander Kluge's Codirector Brutalität in Stein
14 Badi Uzzaman 72 Indian Actor
20 Ryan Dunn 34 American Actor
22 David Rayfiel 87 American Screenwriter
23 Peter Falk 83 American Actor
25 Alice Playten 63 American Actress
26 Edith Fellows 88 American Actress Pennies from Heaven
27 Elaine Stewart 81 American Actress
July 1 Leslie Brooks 88 American Actress
3 Anna Massey 73 British Actress
5 Gordon Tootoosis 69 Canadian Actor
8 Roberts Blossom 87 American Actor
15 Googie Withers 94 British Actress
17 David Ngoombujarra 44 Australian Actor
19 Sheila Burrell 89 British Actress
22 Tom Aldredge 83 American Actor
22 Linda Christian 87 Mexican/American Actress
24 Tresa Hughes 81 American Actress
24 G. D. Spradlin 90 American Actor
25 Michael Cacoyannis 89 Greek Director, Producer, Screenwriter
27 Polly Platt 72 American Producer, Art Director, Screenwriter
August 2 Richard Pearson 93 British Actor
3 Bubba Smith 66 American Actor
5 Francesco Quinn 48 Italian Actor
6 John Wood 81 British Actor
14 Shammi Kapoor 79 Indian Actor, Director
19 Raúl Ruiz 70 Chilean Director
23 Sybil Jason 83 American Actress
23 Michael Showers 45 American Actor
24 Frank DiLeo 63 American Actor
24 Jack Hayes 93 American Composer, Orchestrator
27 Eve Brent 82 American Actress
September 10 Cliff Robertson 88 American Actor
11 Andy Whitfield 39 Welsh/Australian Actor
13 John Calley 81 American Producer
13 Jack Garner 84 American Actor
15 Frances Bay 92 Canadian Actress
16 Norma Eberhardt 82 American Actress
21 Paulette Dubost 100 French Actress
22 Peter E. Berger 67 American Film Editor
22 Jonathan Cecil 72 British Actor
26 David Zelag Goodman 81 American Screenwriter
26 Jerry Haynes 84 American Actor
October 2 Peter Przygodda 69 German Editor
4 Doris Belack 85 American Actress
5 Steve Jobs 56 American Producer, Studio Executive
5 Charles Napier 75 American Actor
6 Diane Cilento 78 Australian Actress
7 George Baker 80 British Actor
8 David Hess 75 American Actor
10 Alan Fudge 67 American Actor
13 Sheila Allen 78 British Actress
13 Barbara Kent 103 Canadian Actress
19 Jeff Rudom 51 American Actor Unleashed
20 Sue Lloyd 72 British Actress
31 Gilbert Cates 77 American Director, Producer
November 2 Sid Melton 94 American Actor
2 Leonard Stone 87 American Actor
3 Rosángela Balbó 70 Italian-Mexican Actress The Incredible Invasion
3 Bruno Rubeo 65 Italian Production Designer
6 Margaret Field 89 American Actress
8 Gene Cantamessa 80 American Sound Mixer
8 Heavy D 44 American Rapper, Actor
15 Dulcie Gray 95 British Actress
15 Karl Slover 93 American Actor
16 Maureen Swanson 78 British Actress
17 John Paxton 90 American Actor
19 John Neville 86 British Actor
20 Dorothy Morris 89 American Actress
27 Ken Russell 84 British Director, Actor
28 Vittorio De Seta 88 Italian Director, Screenwriter
28 Patrice O'Neal 41 American Comedian, Actor
December 1 Bill McKinney 80 American Actor
3 Dev Anand 88 Indian Actor, Director, Producer
6 Giancarlo Badessi 83 Italian Actor
7 Harry Morgan 96 American Actor
11 Harold Hopkins 67 Australian Actor
14 Don Sharp 67 Australian Director
16 Nicol Williamson 73 British Actor
18 Doe Avedon 86 American Actress
20 Yoshimitsu Morita 61 Japanese Director
22 William Duell 88 American Actor
23 Denise Darcel 87 American Actress
26 Pedro Armendáriz, Jr. 71 Mexican Actor
27 Betty Jane Rhodes 90 American Actress, Singer


  1. ^ "2011 Preview: Sequels – Now, More Than Ever". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  2. ^ Adams, Ryan (7 December 2011). "Richard Brody names "The 26 Best Films of 2011"". Awards Daily. Sasha Stone. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  3. ^ Tafoya, Scout (1 December 2015). "The Unloved, Part 24: "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  4. ^ "2011 Worldwide Box Office". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
This page was last edited on 7 May 2021, at 02:54
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