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These are the films that kept us heading to box office all year long

Shaun Harrison
best-movies-year-socialnetwork11.jpg
1 of 15 Columbia Pictures

The Social Network

If the geek shall inherit the earth, this riveting film — directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin — dramatizes how they did it. Jesse Eisenberg breaks out as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, with Justin Timberlake co-starring as friend Sean Parker and Spider-Man-in-waiting Andrew Garfield as eventual un-friend Eduardo Saverin
2 of 15 Warner Bros.

Inception

This dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream-within … well, you know. Or you don't. This mindbender from the mind of Christopher Nolan had moviegoers wondering and talking through much of the summer. Leonardo DiCaprio put his acting chops and stardom on display yet again, with superb help from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy and Ellen Page.
3 of 15 Walt Disney Pictures

Toy Story 3

Yet again, the Pixar people delivered frolicking entertainment with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen voicing Woody and Buzz Lightyear, respectively. Oh, and it's grossed a mere $415 million.
4 of 15 Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1

Darker than ever, the penultimate installment of the boy wizard magnum opus has moviegoers as excited as ever. As Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and pals Hermione and Ron (Emma Watson and Rupert Grint) struggle to defeat the Dark Lord, some fans can't help but think how much they're going to miss this intrepid trio.
5 of 15 Fox Searchlight

127 Hours

From Danny Boyle, the Academy Award-winning director of 2008 best-picture Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, this harrowing, real-life tale stars James Franco — fresh off those Saturday Night Live cameos and General Hospital gig — as a man who cuts off his arm to save himself after getting trapped by a boulder while canyoneering.
6 of 15 Claire Folger/Warner Bros.

The Town

After Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck shows off his increasingly well-honed directing chops and stars in this movie set in the hardscrabble Boston neighborhood Charlestown, the so-called armed robbery capital of the world. Against this backdrop, Affleck plays a criminal drawn to a former hostage (Rebecca Hall). The strong cast also includes Mad Men's Jon Hamm, The Hurt Locker's Jeremy Renner and Oscar winner Chris Cooper.
7 of 15 Paramount Pictures

Iron Man 2

Robert Downey Jr. again shows his metal and mettle as the armored superhero. Now that Tony Stark — too egotistical to keep his alter ego to himself — has ratted himself out, he's hassled in this sequel to share his technology. Again directed by Jon Favreau, the movie — co-starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Scarlett Johannson — grossed more than $312 million
8 of 15 The Weinstein Company

The King's Speech

More than Oscar bait, this film amounts to buckets of Oscar chum: a period piece, a handicap to overcome, a Merchant/Ivory-style cast including Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush (an Oscar winner for 1996's Shine). Early odds makers favor Firth to win the best-actor Oscar that eluded him last year with A Single Man. To boot, it's directed by Tom Hooper, whose credits include HBO's John Adams miniseries — which won a baker's dozen of Emmys — and Masterpiece Theatre productions.
9 of 15 Paramount Pictures

Waiting for 'Superman'

Documentarian Davis Guggenheim, who shared the Oscar for Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, moves from climate change to the sorry state of public education in the United States. Who's to blame? It could be a multiple-choice answer, but the movie suggests that you won't be wearing a dunce cap if you say: teachers unions!
10 of 15 Guy Ferrandis/Summit Entertainment

The Ghost Writer

While still fighting extradition and battling legal woes stemming from 1977 allegations that he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl, Roman Polanski confected this art-house darling with Ewan McGregor as the titular character, who finds out that touching up a former British prime minister's memoirs carries special dangers.
11 of 15 Focus Features

The Kids Are All Right

Annette Bening earned Oscar buzz with this tale of a modern family co-starring Julianne Moore. Directed by Lisa Cholodenko, they play a lesbian couple with teenage children who bring their biological father, a sperm donor portrayed by Mark Ruffalo, into the family mix.
12 of 15 Universal Pictures

Despicable Me

Universal's first 3-D animated movie gives Pixar a run for its money. A lovely cast including Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand, Julie Andrews, Will Arnett and Kristen Wiig voice the characters in this animated story about a villain who plans to use three orphan girls for a nefarious plan to steal the moon — but then the kids touch his heart.
13 of 15 Fox Searchlight

Black Swan

Darren Aronofsky, who riveted movie mavens who prefer provocative fare with Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler, offers up a psychological thriller about a ballet dancer and her rival. The compellingly alluring Natalie Portman stars along with former That '70s Show star Mila Kunis. Vincent Cassel and Barbara Hershey co-star.
14 of 15 Paramount Pictures

True Grit

The Coen brothers, who've tried their hand before at a remake with The Ladykillers, tackle a reboot of the 1969 movie that finally won John Wayne an Oscar. This time around, Jeff Bridges plays the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn, who helps a willful farm girl (Sons of Tucson's Hailee Steinfeld) track down her father's killer. Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper co-star.
15 of 15 Weinstein Company

Blue Valentine

In this film festival fave, director/co-writer Derek Cianfrance proffers some non-chronological storytelling and employs Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams — who put in standout performances — to trace the painful rise and fall of a marriage.