Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dave's 2015 Movie Awards

We're mid-way through January and, although it took a little longer than normal, I'm ready to announce my best films, performances, screenplays and directors of the year (2014's Winners). I felt like the Academy Awards did a respectable job of identifying the best in film for 2015, but here are my personal picks for the 8 major categories.

Note: I haven't seen Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Honorable Mention: The Big ShortThe Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Revenant

#5. The Martian

#4. Brooklyn

#3. The End of the Tour

#2. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

And the winner is ...

#1. Emma Donoghue - Room

With easily the most compelling script of the year, author turned screenwriter, Emma Donoghue, transforms her award-winning novel into a major motion picture masterpiece. Room should benefit from a second theatrical release now that the Oscar Nominations have been handed out and it's an absolute must-see!

Best Original Screenplay

Honorable Mention: 99 Homes, Sicario and Straight Outta Compton

#5. Infinitely Polar Bear

#4. Ex Machina

#3. Spotlight

#2. The Gift

And the winner is ...

Always known for his gripping and relentless dialogue, Quentin Tarantino continues to deliver the goods with his latest film, The Hateful Eight. His post Civil War mystery-thriller is both entertaining and beautifully perverse in a manner that could only be concocted from a mind such as his.

Best Supporting Actress

Honorable Mention: Joan Allen - Room and Alicia Vikander - The Danish Girl

#5. Julie Walters - Brooklyn

#4. Rooney Mara - Carol

#3. Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina

#2. Olivia Cooke - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

And the winner is ...

#1. Kate Winslet - Steve Jobs

It's hard to argue against Danny Boyle's biopic, Steve Jobs, as the most superbly acted film of 2015. And standing toe to toe with lead actor, Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet's supporting turn is completely engrossing. She delivered Aaron Sorkin's uptempo dialogue with such unburdened ease and I was thrilled to see Winslet surprisingly rewarded at the Golden Globes.

Best Supporting Actor

Honorable Mention: Christian Bale - The Big Short, Michael Shannon - 99 Homes and Jacob Tremblay - Room

#5. Benicio Del Toro - Sicario

#4. Mark Ruffalo - Spotlight

#3. Tom Hardy - The Revenant

#2. Jason Segel - The End of the Tour

And the winner is ...

#1. Mark Rylance - Bridge of Spies

It's been well documented how stacked the Best Supporting Actor race is for 2015. But from the film's opening sequence on, Mark Rylance commands the screen all throughout Steven Spielberg's Cold War drama, Bridge of Spies. Despite losing out to Creed's Sylvester Stallone at the recent Golden Globes ceremony, Rylance provides a towering performance that can't be ignored by the Academy in February.

Best Actress

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Lawrence - Joy and Carey Mulligan - Suffragette

#5. Cate Blanchett - Carol

#4. Juliette Binoche - Clouds of Sils Maria

#3. Charlotte Rampling - 45 Years

#2. Saoirse Ronan - Brooklyn

And the winner is ...

#1. Brie Larson - Room

Brie Larson has quickly emerged as one of the premiere female talents in the industry. She follows up her magnificent snubbed work in the indie drama, Short Term 12, with a remarkably moving turn in Room. Starring as a mother held captive in a 10 foot by 10 foot padlocked room with her 5 year old son who has never left those tiny confines, it's Brie Larson's committed performance that brings this harrowing story to life.

Best Actor

Honorable Mention: Matt Damon - The Martian and Samuel L. Jackson - The Hateful Eight

#5. Will Smith - Concussion

#4. Thomas Mann - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

#3. Mark Ruffalo - Infinitely Polar Bear

#2. Michael Fassbender - Steve Jobs

And the winner is ...

#1. Leonardo DiCaprio - The Revenant

While I wouldn't classify Leo's performance as far superior to his competitors in this category, he does go to outrageous lengths while starring in a role that many expect will land him in Oscar immortality. The Revenant offers a handful of fine performances, but Leo's nearly-muted character must convince the audience with his acting chops and he certainly does.

Best Director

Honorable Mention: John Crowley - Brooklyn, Joel Edgerton - The Gift and Adam McKay - The Big Short

#5. Guy Ritchie - The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

#4. Tom McCarthy - Spotlight

#3. Quentin Tarantino - The Hateful Eight

#2. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

And the winner is ...

#1. Alejandro G. Inarritu - The Revenant

Following last year's technical achievement, Birdman, and this year's phenomenally directed instant-classic, The Revenant, Alejandro G. Inarritu has solidified himself as one of Hollywood's most brilliant filmmakers. His unique visions are an absolute treasure to witness and Inarritu has developed into a director whose work you need to follow.

Best Picture

Honorable Mention: The End of the Tour, The Hateful Eight and Infinitely Polar Bear

#5. Brooklyn

#4. The Revenant

#3. Spotlight

#2. Room

And the winner is ...

#1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Although my year's finest film managed to become an afterthought during 2015's award season journey, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a special blend of comedy, drama and originality that results in a nearly perfect movie experience. Perhaps the film's most overlooked element is Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's exceptional direction that's both innovative and technically sound. Its screenplay is excellent and its performances are memorable which all culminate in 2015's Best Picture of the the year.

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