By Jeff Labrecque
Updated December 30, 2010 at 02:00 PM EST

In the parlance of baseball, movie trailers are like spring-training rookie phenoms. With only a teasing glimpse, all you can see is potential. It’s too soon to tell if the young slugger can’t hit a curveball or if your young ace’s 97-mph heater is as straight as an arrow. All that matters is the promise of greatness. It’s the same reason I love trailers: I know deep-down that 75 percent of these films will ultimately disappoint me, but right now, four months before its release, I can let myself believe that Brooklyn’s Finest is the next Crash, that Salt is the next Bourne Identity. It’s why I’m never late for a movie in the theater, and why I roll my eyes when the lady behind me whines, “Another trailer?” Yes! Another trailer. Another spark of hope. Another movie to get excited for, months before its flaws can be identified and dissected.

In 2010, there were dozens of trailers that, sadly, delivered more than the full-length features that played after them in the theater. Some of them ultimately became the all-stars I hoped they could be. In the spirit of the Oscars, here are my top-5 trailers, in no particular order.

Inception, for its score and its gripping wtf-ness.

The Social Network, for the choral rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep” and Justin Timberlake’s two middle fingers.

The Black Swan, for its trippy descent into red-eyed madness (question mark?).

Never Let Me Go, for the heartbreaking fate that awaits its three protagonists, and the chilly presence of Charlotte Rampling.

Waiting for Superman, for making me angry and sad and hopeful all at once.

What trailers stood out for you this year? Do you have a favorite?