If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!

My Six-Month Film Awards: 2017

2 Comments

2017 Six Month Best Picture

Time flies when you’re having fun, and even if I haven’t been having as much fun as I’d hoped – I’ve only seen 19 films for this year so far, compared with 35 this time last year – it’s still hard to believe it’s already time for this year’s Six-Month Awards.

Because I’ve seen so few films, I considered not doing them, but was persuaded to otherwise; partially for consistency’s sake (thank you, Maggie!), and partially because I love doing these posts. So let’s see what we’ve got!

Picture:

  1. A Quiet Passion
  2. Kedi
  3. Wonder Woman
  4. Baby Driver
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It’s a good thing A Quiet Passion didn’t actually get a wide release until this year (it had festival play last year), because it wins this easily. It’s the only **** film here, with a two-point drop to Kedi and a one-point drop each from #2 to #3 and #3 to #4.

I could’ve done a full slate of 10, however; 11 of the 19 films I’ve seen scored above an 80 (in order: Logan, The Lego Batman Movie, The Beguiled, John Wick: Chapter 2, Get Out, and Kong: Skull Island). It’s not an outstanding start to year, but given that there are a lot of films I still need to see (particularly Colossal, Raw, and The Lost City of Z), I won’t ding it too much.

Director:

  1. Edgar Wright, Baby Driver
  2. Terence Davies, A Quiet Passion
  3. Sofia Coppola, The Beguiled
  4. James Mangold, Logan
  5. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Kong: Skull Island

Wright and Davies are a virtual tie. I almost went with Davies because of how beautifully crafted his film is, but Wright really does do a hell of a job with Baby, especially the incredibly choreographed opening credits and the set-pieces in the third act. Really, though; the fact that Davies made an Emily Dickinson biopic that gave an Edgar Wright film a run for its money is rather miraculous.

This is a very solid top 5, but I want to acknowledge my #6-9, who are virtually tied with my #4 and 5 (there’s a slight drop-off after Coppola): Jordan Peele for Get Out, Ben Wheatley for Free Fire, Chad Stahelski for John Wick: Chapter 2, and Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman.

Actor:

  1. Colin Farrell, The Beguiled
  2. Hugh Jackman, Logan
  3. Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  4. Chris Pine, Wonder Woman
  5. Keanu Reeves, John Wick: Chapter 2

Farrell is an easy winner; not only is he one of my favorite actors, but he gives easily the most impressive performance of the category; nothing against Reeves, who’s very much in his wheelhouse here, but in a year-end category he wouldn’t even come close.

Actress:

  1. Cynthia Nixon, A Quiet Passion
  2. Riley Keough, Lovesong
  3. Nicole Kidman, The Beguiled
  4. Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman
  5. Allison Williams, Get Out

Likewise, Nixon wins decisively (though her competition is a bit stronger). Indeed, I’d go so far as to say hers is the best performance of the year to date in any category, and a big part of why her film impressed me so. I’m also quite glad to have seen Lovesong, because Keough bumps Naomi Watts in The Book of Henry (a fairly good performance in a fairly not-good film) out of the top 5.

I’d also like to note that Williams is really quite good and I don’t know if she really got her due for that film; it’s hard to explain if you haven’t seen the film, but her performance is a good deal more layered than you might initially expect.

Supporting Actor:

  1. Patrick Stewart, Logan
  2. Lil Rel Howery, Get Out
  3. Michael Rooker, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  4. Jamie Foxx, Baby Driver
  5. Kevin Spacey, Baby Driver

Honestly, you could put my top 3 or 4 in just about any order. They’re all good, but they’re all about tied; they’re all very solid performances, but I doubt any will make my year-end top 5 or even 10. Stewart, with his poignant turn as a tragically senile Charles Xavier, is a suitable winner – but don’t overlook Howery, whose final line is simply wonderful.

I actually have 18 actors who were good enough to make my full list; they include John C. Reilly in Kong: Skull Island, Sharlto Copley in Free Fire, and Jude Law in King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword – by far the best thing in his film. And, of course, Caleb Landry Jones as the incredibly creepy brother in Get Out, who might’ve walked away with the category, given a little more screentime.

Jennifer Ehle A Quiet Passion

Supporting Actress: 

  1. Jennifer Ehle, A Quiet Passion
  2. Jena Malone, Lovesong
  3. Dafne Keen, Logan
  4. Catherine Bailey, A Quiet Passion
  5. Emma Bell, A Quiet Passion

A Quiet Passion is full of strong female performances; Joanna Bacon, who plays Dickinson’s invalid mother, also comes in at #8. But Ehle, as her doting sister Lavinia, is definitely my winner.

A number of actresses didn’t make the list but are still worth mentioning: Betty Gabriel in Get Out (#6), Oona Laurence (whom I nominated for Best Actress last year) in The Beguiled (#11), and Elizabeth Rodriguez, who has an impressive small role in Logan (#12).

Ensemble:

  1. A Quiet Passion
  2. The Beguiled
  3. Get Out
  4. Lovesong
  5. Logan

Obviously A Quiet Passion wins, but this is a strong list. Lovesong, in particular, is a flawed film elevated considerably by its acting, namely the wonderful turns by Riley Keough and Jena Malone (two of my favorite up-and-coming actresses).

Vocal Performance – Male:

  1. Will Arnett, The Lego Batman Movie
  2. Michael Cera, The Lego Batman Movie
  3. Bradley Cooper, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  4. Ewan McGregor, Beauty and the Beast
  5. Ian McKellen, Beauty and the Beast

It’s weird that Cooper, after earning three Oscar nominations in as many years, seems to have little on his plate (aside from his A Star is Born remake with Lady Gaga) for the next few years besides voicing Rocket Raccoon in MCU films. But he does it very well.

Vocal Performance – Female:

  1. Emma Thompson, Beauty and the Beast

Maybe I should’ve squeezed Rosario Dawson from The Lego Batman Movie in here. But she’s definitely overshadowed in the film by Arnett and Cera.

Original Screenplay:

  1. Get Out
  2. Baby Driver

I’m shocked Baby Driver didn’t win this by a mile, but it’s a close second. I just think the direction and technical aspects are more impressive than the writing, while Get Out is very much built upon the strength of Jordan Peele’s script.

I considered putting Lovesong and Free Fire on this list, but since I think both films are held back by their writing, I decided not to.

Adapted Screenplay:

  1. The Beguiled
  2. Logan
  3. The Lego Batman Movie
  4. Wonder Woman
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The only screenplay category to have a full five nominees, but none of them would get very high in a good year. They’re mostly solid blockbuster scripts, while The Beguiled is well-written but more impressive in terms of acting, direction, and imagery.

Factually-Based Screenplay:

  1. A Quiet Passion

Easily the best script of the year – a marvelous piece of work, telling the story of Emily Dickinson’s life with intelligence, compassion, and not a little humor.

Cinematography:

  1. The Beguiled
  2. Kedi
  3. John Wick: Chapter 2
  4. Baby Driver
  5. A Quiet Passion

I hate having to put A Quiet Passion at #5, but the gorgeous Southern Gothic work in The Beguiled (which friend of mine from college worked on), the cat’s-eye-level scenes in Kedi, and the strikingly captured action scenes in John Wick and Baby push it down. Worse, Kong: Skull Island, which had some really fine shots, got pushed to #6.

Editing:

  1. Baby Driver
  2. John Wick: Chapter 2
  3. Kedi
  4. A Quiet Passion
  5. Kong: Skull Island

Here, however, Baby Driver is far and away the winner. Even though I wasn’t as fond of the film as I’d hoped to be (it’s very good, but not quite on a par with Hot Fuzz or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), Edgar Wright really edits the hell out of his movies.

Production Design:

  1. Beauty and the Beast 
  2. Wonder Woman
  3. The Beguiled
  4. A Quiet Passion
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

A strong list all around, from the 18th-century French settings of Beauty to the space fantasy of Guardians.

Costume Design:

  1. Beauty and the Beast
  2. Wonder Woman
  3. A Quiet Passion
  4. The Beguiled
  5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The same five films as above, in a slightly different order, but Beauty is a more decisive winner here. I wasn’t an unequivocal fan of the film, but damned if it didn’t look good.

Makeup:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  2. Logan
  3. Kong: Skull Island
  4. A Cure for Wellness
  5. Beauty and the Beast

Was there any way Guardians wasn’t winning this? Maybe if Dan Stevens had been really made up to look like the Beast rather than using mo-cap, but that’s about it.

Score:

  1. Logan
  2. The Book of Henry
  3. Wonder Woman
  4. The Mummy
  5. Kedi

Don’t judge this list too harshly; I’ll be the first to admit that I am no great judge of music, and I usually have to listen to a score on its own to fully appreciate it. So these rankings are very much subject to change. That said, Henry and The Mummy, flawed as they are, both have very solid scores.

Song:

  1. “Guardians Inferno”, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  2. “Your Hand I Will Never Let It Go”, The Book of Henry
  3. “To Be Human”, Wonder Woman

There might be other eligible songs from among the films I’ve seen so far, but these are the ones that stood out to me. None are great, but “Guardians Inferno” is pretty fun.

Sound Mixing:

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Free Fire
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  4. Logan
  5. Wonder Woman

A close top two – it’s comparatively rare for action films to have truly outstanding sound work (always competent, yes, but rarely memorable in of itself), but the use of sound in Baby Driver and Free Fire is extremely impressive. Baby especially, with the way it blends Baby’s music and the sounds of cars and gunshots.

Sound Effects:

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Free Fire
  3. Logan
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  5. Kong: Skull Island

Again, the top two are almost tied.

Visual Effects:

  1. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  2. Kong: Skull Island
  3. Wonder Woman
  4. Logan
  5. Beauty and the Beast

The effects in Guardians are pervasive and seamless enough to secure its win.

Win Totals:

  • 5: A Quiet Passion (Picture, Actress, Supporting Actress, Ensemble, Factually-Based Screenplay)
  • 4: Baby Driver (Director, Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Effects)
  • 3: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Makeup, Song, Visual Effects), The Beguiled (Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography), Beauty and the Beast (Vocal Performance – Female, Production Design, Costume Design)
  • 2: Logan (Supporting Actor, Score)
  • 1: The Lego Batman Movie (Vocal Performance – Male), Get Out (Original Screenplay)

Annoyingly, two of my top 5, Kedi and Wonder Woman, fail to win anything. But that’s just how it shakes out.

Nomination Totals:

  • 12: A Quiet Passion, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • 11: Logan
  • 10: Wonder Woman
  • 9: Baby Driver
  • 8: The Beguiled
  • 7: Beauty and the Beast
  • 5: Get Out, Kong: Skull Island
  • 4: Kedi
  • 3: The Lego Batman Movie, John Wick: Chapter 2, Lovesong
  • 2: Free Fire, The Book of Henry
  • 1: A Cure for Wellness, The Mummy

Only two of the 19 films I’ve seen fail to earn any nominations: King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword (which comes in 7th in Costume Design and Visual Effects) and Slamma Jamma (which doesn’t come anywhere near anything).

slamma_jamma_xlg

Better luck next time.

So that wraps up the first half of the year. In the coming weeks, I intend to post the first batch (or batches – I may break it into two) of film reviews for this year, and possibly another installment of The Big Screen and I – and possibly a long-gestating post which might the most ambitious in this blog’s history.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “My Six-Month Film Awards: 2017

  1. You haven’t seen Colossal yet? Dude, watch it as soon as you get the chance. Freaking awesome.

    • I know, I know. I meant to go see it, but (probably for money reasons) put it off until it was too late. Probably my biggest cinematic regret of the year (that or not seeing Lost City of Z in a theater).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s