Posters can be really cool, but we all know that the real backbone of any film’s advertising campaign is its trailer. In the right hands a trailer can be cut beautifully and be an impressive work unto itself. That’s why I’ve created this award category, which focuses exclusively on trailers for movies from this year (so I won’t be including trailers for next year’s blockbusters). Also keep in mind that I’m only going to be nominating trailers for movies that I’ve seen, otherwise I can’t really tell if they’ve accurately captured the movie’s essence.
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (“Leaked” Red Band Version): Aggressive. That’s the one word that best describes this short and sweet teaser set to a Trent Reznor remix of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” The trailer matches the speed of the song by giving us a split-second look at various intriguing images. That’s all leading up to one of the ballsiest taglines ever “the feel bad movie of Christmas.”
- Limitless: Most of the people who’ve followed my writings probably knows that I have a bit of affinity for the music of Kanye West, and I especially like his 2010 single “Power.” You know who else likes that song? Advertising executives. They’ve used it in many advertisements, but most memorably in the decidedly unmemorable Bradley Cooper vehicle Limitless. It’s a testament to Kanye’s power (no pun intended) that he could make this lame movie look so good.
- Super 8: J.J. Abrams is certainly a fine director, but it has really been his mastery of innovative marketing that has made him such a success. In particular, the guy has become a master of the surprise “What the Fuck” teaser trailer that emerges without much fanfare preceding it. This particular teaser gives us a taste of the film’s signature effects sequence, but it gives it to us from a different perspective from what is seen in the final film.
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (Trailer 2): While Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy ended up being a snore of a film, this trailer really made it look exciting. The reason it works is that it plays to the film’s strengths namely its art direction, its score, Gary Oldman, and the visually exciting Tom Hardy sub-plot. It brings us all of this at a faster pace and makes it all seem mysterious in a way that will actually be fun to unravel.
- The Tree of Life: No trailer this year had me more immediately sold on a movie than The Tree of Life’s trailer. Looking back on it now I feel like that has more to do with the inherent power of Terrence Malick’s images than it necessarily had to do with the way the trailer was cut, but that in itself says something good about the trailer. The people at Fox Searchlight never tried to lie to the audience and pretend that the movie was something it wasn’t (you know Harvey Weinstein would have).