Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The 9th Annual Halfway Award Winners

Best Picture
Winner - The Big Sick
Runners Up - Get Out, Wonder Woman, and Logan
Commentary - In my mind, there are four films that have defined the first half of this year. Two were, surprisingly, superhero movies that defied their genre trappings. Get Out proved that horror can be effective, absorbing, and well-made. But for me, the movie that won me over the most was The Big Sick. Maybe it was the pitch-perfect script, or the top-notch cast, or the fact that this is the true story of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon's life. Whatever it was, it worked, and worked extremely well. It was the most engaging, most fun, and most heartbreaking film of the year so far.

Best Director
Winner - Jordan Peele "Get Out"
Runners Up - Patty Jenkins "Wonder Woman"
Commentary - Patty Jenkins brought a feminist touch to Wonder Woman that set it apart from similar films. But Jordan Peele's jump from comedy to horror was simply masterful, and he even managed to blend the two. He also managed to expose racial tensions in a horrific fashion that also made all of its viewers think about the vitriol in the world around us. I cannot wait to see what Peele has up his sleeve next.

Best Actor
Winner - Hugh Jackman "Logan"
Runners Up - Sam Elliott "The Hero" and Richard Gere "Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer"
Commentary - Two veterans with late in life successes are narrowly topped by Hugh Jackman's final outing as Wolverine. Jackman has always been an excellent presence, even when the X-Men films didn't match him. But this time around, we get to see Wolverine stripped down to his most raw and most emotional, and thanks to Jackman, we finally got to see just how much he could do with the character. The results were fantastic.

Best Actress
Winner - Gal Gadot "Wonder Woman"
Runner Up - Kristen Stewart "Personal Shopper"
Commentary - Gal Gadot. She was the only thing worth watching in the otherwise dreadful Batman V. Superman. With her own film this time, she proves that she is a superstar. She was magnificent in Wonder Woman, a perfect blend of heart, innocence, humor, and when necessary, ass-kicking awesomeness. I cannot wait to see what is next in Wonder Woman's journey, mainly because it gives all of us another chance to see just what this new talent has in store.

Best Supporting Actor
Winner - Patrick Stewart "Logan"
Runners Up - LilRey Howrey "Get Out" and Chris Pine "Wonder Woman"
Commentary - Like Jackman, Patrick Stewart was finally able to unshackle the cool factor that has been Professor X. He was magnificent as the dying mentor. His long standing chemistry with Jackman and the finality and passion he brings to the character remind us why he is one of the best working actors today.

Best Supporting Actress
Winner - Holly Hunter "The Big Sick"
Runners Up - Betty Gabriel "Get Out" and Dafne Keen "Logan"
Commentary - The Big Sick works top to bottom because it has such a deep bench. One of the best performances came from the great Holly Hunter. She was funny, heartwarming, and a perfect addition to what was already an outstanding ensemble.

Best Screenplay
Winner  - Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani "The Big Sick"
Runners Up - Jordan Peele "Get Out" and Macon Blair "I Don't Feel At Home in this World Anymore"
Commentary - See Best Picture

Best Animated Feature
Winner - The Lego Batman Movie
Runner Up -   N/A
Commentary - There really was no other choice here. The other two films were mediocre at best, and Lego Batman Movie was a rollicking good time.

Best Ensemble
Winner - The Big Sick
Runners Up - Get Out and The Lost City of Z
Commentary - See Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress

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