BEST - 2. 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'
Another Texas-born filmmaker, Houston's Wes Anderson, scored his biggest box-office hit ($164 million worldwide, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com) with this idiosyncratic look at 20th-century European opulence and life during wartime. That it is also his most ardent and artful creation yet is the icing on the cake. Check the ingredients: old-world elegance, Nazis, larceny, murder, pastry miracles, world domination, toboggan chases, Tilda Swinton as a dowager cougar and Ralph Fiennes, at his lightest and most verbally dexterous, as a bisexual concierge who finds war unforgivably rude. Only Anderson could have used a toybox confection to frame a startling vision of humanity under siege. Isn't it about time that Oscar recognized one of the most brilliant stylists in its midst?