Best-of-school-year picks show greatness from different venues

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Although some critics have complained to the contrary, art has continued to forge on great footing, illustrated by the best efforts since the school year began that continue to grow and excite both our imaginations and emotions. The greatness these works exhibit simply inspires everyone to achieve superb standards above those previously established.

Best Film: The Wrestler

Biggest Competitor: Slumdog MillionaireThe inspirational rags-to-riches story took home eight Oscars, but lacked the poignant and dramatic subtlety that made The Wrestler a perfect cinematic experience.

Standout: Mickey RourkeThis is not taking anything away from Evan Rachel Wood or Marisa Tomei, who should have taken home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but Rourke simply gave one of the greatest performances in film history by creating an unforgettably moving character.

Best Album: Bruce Springsteen, “Working on a Dream”

Biggest Competitor: Gavin DeGraw, “Free”Although DeGraw’s rendition of “Dancing Shoes” is beautiful, the painstakingly accurate expression of working class and universal hopes and dreams by Springsteen is breathtaking.

Best Song: “The Wrestler”

It is simply the most poetic exploration of lost love and unattained potential ever written, along with a tremendously effective original song for the film.

Best TV Show: “Mad Men”

Biggest Competitor: None“Mad Men” is so superior to every other show that it would be insulting to this masterpiece to put any other in its company.

Standout: Jon HammAlthough Don Draper makes countless mistakes, the audience continues to forgive him and hope that he eventually travels down the correct moral path because of the immense humanity Hamm brings to the character. Although all of the actors bring unique and wonderful attributes to their roles, Hamm is the center figure of a world that lacks a moral compass.

Best Debate”Mad Men” vs. Revolutionary Road

Question: Which portrayal of mid-20th century is a more accurate and emtionally riveting portrayal of suburban suffering?

Verdict: The performances by Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as April and Frank Wheeler are heartbreaking in Revolutionary Road, but Jon Hamm and the entire ensemble of “Mad Men” provide for a slightly clearer and more intellectually stimulating picture of the amazingly fascinating time period.