Courtney Hunt's Frozen River and ten years later, Debra Granik's Leave No Trace, both seek to provide realistic depictions of poverty. Yet while the former plays like a heavy-handed message movie, the latter offers a master class in restraint.
Unlike previous years, where classics came crawling out of the celluloid woodwork with regular reckless abandon, 2008 was more calm… and considered. That's not to say that choosing 30 top titles was hard. The difficulty in placing them in some manner of rank order suggests the actual depth of quality involved.
Twenty talented ladies, 20 performances worthy of multiple little gold men. Unfortunately, as in all years, someone has to come out on top. But after looking over this impressive list, picking the preeminent turn of 2008 seems almost impossible.