LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - They are two movies that figure in Hollywood's Oscar race, and there is good reason why. "Toy Story 3" and "The Social Network" are the best-reviewed films of the year, according to website Rotten Tomatoes.
As 2010 draws to an end, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who received their Oscar nomination ballots this week, will be looking at which movies earned the most stars from critics, and Rotten Tomatoes provides answers.
The website (www.rottentomatoes.com) compiles reviews, scores them, and offers readers a way to separate the good from the bad and the just plain rotten.
Judging by their Tomatometer index, Buzz, Woody and all the toys from the Disney/Pixar animated film "Toy Story 3" rank No. 1 with critics, scoring a 99 percent "fresh" rating based on an average from 247 reviews.
Facebook film "The Social Network" is not far behind with a 97 percent positive average from 258 reviews, but Rotten Tomatoes editor-in-chief Matt Atchity said that with a few days left in 2010, more critiques for the October release could possibly come in and tilt the balance.
"If five or six more positive reviews came in, it could change that. But what I can tell you is that it's down to those two movies," Atchity told Reuters when poring over the list of seeking the moniker, "best-reviewed film" of 2010.
"Toy Story 3" was released in June, and all its reviews have been read and scored.
Atchity gave an outside chance to another Oscar hopeful, western "True Grit," saying that if "another few dozen reviews" came in and were all positive, it could be in contention.
Currently "True Grit," which premiered only a week ago, scores a 95 percent positive rating from a compilation of some 167 reviews, and is just behind November drama "The King's Speech" with 96 percent from some 142 reviews saying it was a good choice at movie theaters.
For reviews that are mixed -- not easily deemed good or bad -- Atchity and senior editor Tim Ryan said they sometimes contact the critics to discuss whether that reviewer was positive or negative toward a film.
Atchity said that in the past, generally speaking, there has been a good correlation between the best-reviewed films of the year and Academy Award nominees.
"Reviewers and academy members are both made up of film professionals, and they both know good films," he said.
Academy members give out nominations on January 25, and award winners will be named at a ceremony on February 27.
Meanwhile, the question of which movies are the best-reviewed begs the opposite of what titles were the most rotten. Atchity and Ryan said they had not perused final numbers yet, but a quick look at the site shows little-known title "Vampires Suck" with only three positives from a total 71 reviews for a 4 percent rotten rating.
They are not alone, big-time Hollywood studio production "The Last Airbender" from "Sixth Sense" director M. Night Shyamalan scored a mere 6 percent positive ranking.
Following is a list of the best-reviewed movies on Rotten Tomatoes, organized by their month of their release date:
January - "Fish Tank" - 90% positive with 127 reviews
February - "A Prophet" (Une Prophete)
97% with 142 reviews
March - "How to Train Your Dragon" - 98% with 156 reviews
April - "Exit Through the Gift Shop" - 98% with 93 reviews
May - "The Father of My Children" (Le Pere De Mes Enfants)
91% with 54 reviews
June - "Toy Story 3" - 99% with 247 reviews
July - "The Kids Are All Right" - 94% with 192 reviews
August - "Animal Kingdom" - 96% with 108 reviews
September - "The Town" - 94% with 201 reviews
October - "The Social Network" - 97% with 258 reviews
November - "The King's Speech" - 96% with 142 reviews
December - "True Grit" - 95% with 167 reviews
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Jill Serjeant