HOLLYWOOD—As 2011 nears, it’s time to take a look back at some of the hottest in music and movies from 2010. While there was plenty to pick from, only a select few stood out amongst the bunch in my eyes. Critics tend to all come together and praise all things alike, but my approach highlights a select few in cinema and music that may have been overlooked by critics but not the public. Let’s first take a look at some of the songs that made music lovers want to hear them over and over again.

  1. Lady Antebellum “Need You Now”: The country trio came out of nowhere with this melodic ballad that had everyone, even those who aren’t fans of country, singing along. With powerful pipes and a memorable hook, Lady Antebellum rode high with Grammy nominations for both Record and Song of the Year, and I’d say their chances are pretty high at a victory.
  1. Eminem feat. Rihanna “Love The Way You Lie”: What can you say about this collaboration with the lyrical genius of the rap world and the current pop princess? When the song first hit airwaves this summer, it took music lovers by storm. With a sizzling hook and lyrics that put the issue of domestic violence to the forefront in relationships, the public sung along to a hit that has become a highlight of both Eminem and Rihanna’s careers.
  1. Cee-Lo Green “F*** You”: It’s the type of song that only in your dreams could you imagine it to be real. The soul crooner released this single late in the summer and its massive buzz spread like a mosquito bite.  Not only was the single catchy, but it is perhaps the greatest kiss off to a woman who scorns a man for being who he is; and the video is hilarious in more ways than you can imagine.
  1. Lady Gaga “Bad Romance”: Of course, this mega hit from the pop icon came out late 2009, but it was so ubiquitous we sang the lyrics way into 2010 catapulting it to the top of the charts. What sold the song of course was the amazing video, which was complete with some exceptional choreography and startling images that haunted viewers. Gaga knows how to deliver and she never disappoints her ”˜little monsters.’
  1. Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys “ Empire State of Mind”: What better way to praise the city you grew up in then with a song? Jay-Z’s classic has become a favorite for many during a work-out, a party or energy booster.  It even caused Katy Perry to release a single, “California Gurls” highlighting theGolden State.  Keys singing that unforgettable hook made this a song that was repeated over and over again. Pure genius.

Now that we’ve highlighted the best in music, let’s take a look at a few films that were beyond great—they were exceptional.

  1. “The Karate Kid”:This film about redemption and overcoming your fears was a crowd-pleaser. With Jackie Chan taking on the role made famous by Pat Morita and Jaden Smith as the protégé in the making, this was a feel-good family film that had moviegoers cheering from beginning to end.
  1. “The Other Guys”: Everyone’s thinking how could you possibly place this film on your list? I’ll tell you why, it was one of the sidesplitting, funniest comedies I’ve seen in years. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg are terrific as sidekick cops who find themselves working desk duty. There are some stellar one-liners from both actors that soar on the hilarity meter; Eva Mendes and Michael Keaton round out a great cast that knows how to lighten the mood for cinema buffs. 
  1. “The Town”: Ben Affleck’s crime drama was an evolution in great storytelling. A tale about second chances, grudges and bank robbers gave audiences an in-depth look at a lifestyle many of us rarely see. With gripping performances from both Jeremy Renner and Affleck, this was a film that raised the bar on drama, action, great dialogue and sensational acting.
  1. “Black Swan”: Upon seeing the trailer for this film, it was a must-see on my list. It’s unlike anything you’ll ever see.  Darren Aronofsky’s tale of the competitive state of ballet sends chills down the spine.  Natalie Portman is superb as Nina Sayers, a ballet dancer striving for the top prize; her perfectionist attitude ultimately sends her spiraling out of control.  Mila Kunis as a fellow dancer, friend, potential lover and rival is equally stunning.Expect Oscar nominations for both women in this unforgettable piece of cinema.
  1. “Inception”: Hands down my favorite film of the year; it was smart, clever, unique and visually stunning. Christopher Nolan brings the viewer into his imaginative mind with this mind-bender about the power of dreams and the delusion between fantasy and reality. With stellar performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Marion Cotillard and the rest of the cast, this is a movie that requires multiple viewings. By the way, did that top ever stop spinning?

So now that 2010 is behind us, look for my column next week where we discuss some of the most anticipated films of 2011. If you thought 2010 was big, 2011 will be even bigger. It will be the year of sequels and some of the most anticipated returns of famous franchises. Here’s to another great year of music and movies!