Happy New Year. As you make your resolutions, try to keep these movies in mind. They're my picks for the best films of 2004, and you don't want to miss them while they're still in theaters.
10. The Incredibles -- There were three excellent animated features this year. "The Polar Express" and "Shrek 2" -- which finished first at the box office in 2004 -- and "The Incredibles," which made the list.
9. The Sea Inside -- There were three excellent films in Spanish this year: "Motorcycle Diaries," "Maria Full of Grace" and "The Sea Inside." These are the kind of films that can change your life. "The Sea Inside" features Javier Bardem in an Oscar-caliber performance.
8. Hotel Rwanda -- This is the kind of film that can change the world. It's the true story of a hotel manager in Rwanda who opens his door to more than 1,000 refugees. I'm not sure whether Don Cheadle deserves an Oscar nomination or a Nobel Prize
7. Ray -- This was the year of Jamie Foxx, who may get a best supporting nod for "Collateral." Tell your ma, tell your pa, Foxx is the front-runner for the best actor for "Ray," the story of Ray Charles.
6. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- Note to Jim Carrey: You do your best work when you don't wear a mask. "The Grinch," was awful. "Lemony Snicket" left a sour taste in my mouth. But "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is one of the best pictures of the year.
5. Closer -- If they gave an Oscar for best ensemble performance -- and they should -- you couldn't get closer to picking the winner than the stars of "Closer" -- Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen.
4. Finding Neverland -- Last year, Johnny Depp almost won an Oscar for "Pirates of the Caribbean." This year, Depp steals your heart as playwright J.M. Barrie in "Finding Neverland" If your kids have seen "Peter Pan," they'll love it, too.
3. The Aviator -- Watch for "The Aviator" and the other top three films on this list to fight it out for the Oscar. Leonardo DiCaprio is a young Howard Hughes and Cate Blanchett is his girlfriend, Katharine Hepburn. It's only Martin Scorsese's best film since "Raging Bull."
2. Sideways -- Le Chaim! Skol! Salud! A great film. The year's best from a new vintage of great actors and great filmmakers. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church play middle-aged men on a road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the altar.
1. Million Dollar Baby -- The year's best from an old vintage of great actors and great filmmakers. Clint Eastwood directs, produces and stars in this tale of a female boxer, played by Hilary Swank, who's too old to start stepping into the ring and too driven to let that stop her. Eastwood and Morgan Freeman, may be the best big screen couple since Hepburn and Tracy. The best film of the year. Period.
Honorable mention: "Before Sunset" and "Garden State" (little movies); "Super Size Me" (a documentary), "Vera Drake" and "A Very Long Engagement" (a French film).