Sunday, July 10, 2016

The 8th Annual Halfway Award Winners

Best Picture
Winner - The Lobster
Runners Up - Everybody Wants Some!!, Midnight Special, Finding Dory
Commentary - Weird, darkly humorous, beautifully acted by a talented cast. I loved Linklater's spiritual sequel, Dory's magic, and the fact that Jeff Nichols continued his streak with Midnight Special. But so far the film that has stuck with me the most is The Lobster. It is a wholly unique experience.

Best Director
Winner - Jeff Nichols "Midnight Special"
Runners Up - Jeremy Saulnier "Green Room", Robert Eggers "The Witch", and Yorgos Lanthimos "The Lobster"
Commentary - I have loved Jeff Nichols' work for years now, and Midnight Special is yet another fantastic entry into his unique canon of films. From Take Shelter, to Mud, and now this entry, Nichols is creating a style of his own that makes him stand out as a director, and makes his films incredible experiences. This little sci-fi film probably won't earn him much attention this year, but with Loving coming out later this year, and already earning praise out of Cannes, Nichols might finally get some overdue recognition.

Best Actor
Winner - Colin Farrell "The Lobster"
Runners Up - Ryan Reynolds "Deadpool" and Ethan Hawke "Born to Be Blue"
Commentary - Ryan Reynolds was hilarious and Ethan Hawke was his usual best. But I am surprising myself here with Colin Farrell. I don't normally enjoy hims as an actor, and honestly besides In Bruges, I have never really enjoyed him onscreen. But, I can always admit when I'm wrong, and his unique and daring performance in The Lobster was one of a kind, and so far, this year's best.

Best Actress
Winner - Ellen DeGeneres "Finding Dory"
Runners Up - Sally Field "Hello, My Name is Doris" and Susan Sarandon "The Meddler"
Commentary - Sally Field and Susan Sarandon prove that they still have it. But, I have been waiting over 13 years to give Ellen DeGeneres an award for her role as Dory. She joins the list of great voice performances that should have gotten Oscar nods: Robin Williams for Aladdin, Eddie Murphy for Shrek, Ed Asner for Up, Jeremy Irons for The Lion King, Scarlett Johannson for Her, and yes DeGeneres. The Academy now has a second chance to reward her, and I hope they do, knowing they won't. She once again is captivating, brilliant, and with just her voice, commands the screen better than most actresses period.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner - John Goodman "10 Cloverfield Lane"
Runners Up - Alan Rickman "Eye in the Sky" and Ed O'Neill "Finding Dory"
Commentary - I am lucky that I gave Alan Rickman one of these things a while back, because that means I get to reward the legendary John Goodman. This guy is awesome is everything he does, and yet, despite decades of awesome roles has never earned an Oscar nod. He won't this year, at least not for 10 Cloverfield Lane, but damn he should. He brilliant, frightening, and commanding, and so far is the best supporting role this year.

Best Supporting Actress
Winner - Julianne Moore "Maggie's Plan"
Runner Up -  Kristen Stewart "Cafe Society"
Commentary - In a weak category, I go with Moore. Maggie's Plan is a great little comedy gem, and she shines. It is nowhere near her best role, but it is nice to see her breathing life into well-written, and brilliant constructed characters. Plus, I have a soft spot for her, and I can't help it.

Best Screenplay
Winner - Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou "The Lobster"
Runners Up - Jeff Nichols "Midnight Special" and Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, Jim Reardon, Josie Trinidad, Phil Johnston, and Jennifer Lee "Zootopia"
Commentary - Did I mention that The Lobster is unique? It is the weirdest, most engaging film of the year, and that is thanks to this incredible script (and its great cast), that balances out the films eccentricities with heart, and creates a once in a lifetime cinematic experience.

Best Animated Feature
Winner - Finding Dory
Runner Up - Zootopia
Commentary - This is a tough one. Zootopia is more original, and probably better, but nostalgia wins sometimes. Finding Dory didn't quite live up to its predecessors. But it was still a fun, emotional, and brilliant Pixar creation.

Best Ensemble
Winner - Hail, Casear!
Runners Up - Everybody Wants Some!! and Midnight Special
Commentary - Hail, Caesar is one of the lesser Coen Bros. entries, but it is still entertaining as hell, mostly because of an A-list roster of actors that are clearly having a good time.

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