Best Picture - Drama
Winner - Dunkirk
Runners Up - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, and The Post
Commentary - In a close race, it is Dunkirk that comes out on top. It was so ethereal, so quiet, so expansive. It is a technical achievement that was unmatched this year, and is the type of war movie that isn't made. It didn't show excessive amounts of gore, it was not excessively long. It showed that sometimes the most harrowing part of war is the silence, the wait, the unknown. It was a brilliant take on a war that has gotten its fair share of film versions over the last eighty years, and Nolan managed to bring a new vision and breathe new life into a well-worn subject. The results were fantastic.
Best Picture - Comedy/Musical
Winner - Lady Bird
Runner Up - The Big Sick and Get Out
Commentary - Lady Bird is easily my favorite film of 2017. Greta Gerwig brought charm, wisdom, and a beautiful eye to her script and direction. The cast, led by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, are all fantastic, charming, and funny. How can you not fall in love with this film? Lady Bird is just one of those films that you can't help but smiling the whole way through and long after you leave the theater. It is a triumph.
Best Picture - Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Winner - Blade Runner 2049
Runners Up - Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Wonder Woman, and Logan
Commentary - Unlike the whiny Star Wars fans who will not shut up, I thoroughly enjoyed Last Jedi. I also, once again, am amazed at projects like Logan and Wonder Woman, which prove that you really can elevate comic book movies to greatness. But Denis Villeneuve's box-office bomb, yet critical favorite Blade Runner 2049 wins this race in a close one. Of course it was not going to make a lot of money. It was too smart, too ethereal, too visually stunning for general audiences to grasp just how brilliant this film was. Like the original, a decade from now, we will all look back and realize just how great its sequel was.
Best Picture - Animated
Winner - Coco
Runner Up - Loving Vincent
Commentary - Pixar once again knocked it out of the park with Coco, a vibrant experience that presents an important cultural experience of love, family, loss, and music. Easily the best animated film of the year.
Best Picture - Documentary
Winner - (TIE) Faces Places and Ex Libris - The New York Public Library
Runners Up - Jane and Step
Commentary - Faces Places is a great tribute to the work of the legendary Agnes Varda. But I could not leave this year without honoring Frederick Wiseman's work highlighting the work, history, and love for the New York Public Library. In December, I graduated with a Masters Degree in Library Science, and have worked at a public library for over five years. The biggest threat to public libraries is not the Internet, streaming video, or e-books. The biggest threat we face is the perception that we are no longer relevant. We are relevant. Libraries are transforming into modern technology centers, important community places that focus on providing needed services to the communities they serve. Our programs, services, literacy efforts, and technology training are building a better future for all of us. Thank you Mr. Wiseman for highlighting one of the biggest and best public libraries in the world, and for giving a voice to a profession and an institution that is a cornerstone of our society.
Best Actor - Drama
Winner - Gary Oldman "Darkest Hour"
Runners Up - Timothee Chalamet "Call Me By Your Name" and Harris Dickinson "Beach Rats"
Commentary - I, like most of us, have loved Gary Oldman for years. I am so happy that he is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves for a magnificent turn as Winston Churchill and for a career that has placed him among some of the best actors of his generation. The next generation is in good hands as well with newcomers like Timothee Chalamet and Harris Dickinson, but this is Oldman's time to shine, and he deserves it.
Best Actress - Drama
Winner - Frances McDormand "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Runner Up - Jessica Chastain "Molly's Game"
Commentary - Frances McDormand is a goddess. My first experience with her was in Almost Famous, which still remains my favorite film of all time, as the loving and overbearing college professor mother who lets her son go on the road with a rock band. Then I saw Fargo, and it only confirmed what I knew, and apparently what the whole world already knew: that Frances McDormand is one of the finest actresses to ever grace the silver screen. I am so thrilled to give her one of these awards, for a jaw-dropping, bad-ass performance that is an instant classic in an already impressive filmography.
Best Actor - Comedy/Musical
Winner - Kumail Nanjiani "The Big Sick"
Runner Up - Daniel Kaluuya "Get Out"
Commentary - Kumail Nanjiani is getting more credit for his writing than his acting, but it should not diminish what he did on-screen. He was hilarious, as expected, but was also charming, emotional, and a joy to watch.
Best Actress - Comedy/Musical
Winner - Saoirse Ronan "Lady Bird"
Runner Up - Margot Robbie "I, Tonya"
Commentary - Two of the best young talents in this business gave stellar performances this year. Margot Robbie transformed into Tonya Harding, and deserves all the praise she can get. But in a close race, I am going with Saoirse Ronan. She has been building an incredible resume over the years, and her exuberance, her charm, her frustration in Lady Bird was magnificent, and her onscreen chemistry with Laurie Metcalf is what made my favorite film of the year so special.
Best Supporting Actor
Winner - Patrick Stewart "Logan"
Runners Up - Woody Harrelson "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", Mark Hammill "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", Sam Rockwell "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Commentary - Mark Hammill, despite some of the un-please-able Star Wars fans, ended her career as Luke on a high note, and the two guys from Three Billboards were fantastic. But since I saw Patrick Stewart in Logan many months ago, his final shot at Charles Xavier has lingered with me. Stewart is a master performer, who has always been under-rewarded throughout what has been a long and distinguished career. And Professor X was one of his most iconic performances. But until Logan, it was more iconic because it was a legendary character, and less because it was jaw-dropping good (although I would argue in X2, he was fantastic). Logan changed that perception a lot. This role became iconic, because we got to see it through, we got to witness the whole experience start to finish, and we got to see a master veteran end his run, in one of the most successful film franchises of all time, on top.
Best Supporting Actress
Winner - (TIE) Carrie Fisher "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and Laurie Metcalf "Lady Bird"
Runners Up - Tiffany Haddish "Girls Trip"
Commentary - First, let's start with Laurie Metcalf. A veteran of television, she was the other half of the dynamic duo of Lady Bird. Her love, her toughness, her dedication. What could have been another standard "mom" role was transformed because Metcalf made it her own, connected so well with Ronan, and gave it the kind of maturity and rare artistic form it needed to soar. But I could not leave this year without honoring one of our finest. Carrie Fisher, as a person, will be remembered as a tortured, yet kind and tough soul, who overcame her battles, used them to inspire and help others, and someone who never gave up. She also created one of the most iconic characters in the history of American film. Leia was the kind of woman that young moviegoers should look up to. She was spy, a general, a warrior. She inspired others, she fought for the causes and the people she believed in, she always did her best, and she used her mistakes as a lesson for the next generation. I will always miss Leia, especially as this Star Wars saga appears to have no end in sight. But mostly, I will miss Carrie. I grew up on Star Wars, like many of us. Our love for this saga is about nostalgia and our beloved characters. When Carrie died, a piece of my childhood died with it, as I'm sure it did for many others. We will never forget her, we will always love her, she will always be our general, our friend, and our beloved princess.
Best Voice Acting/Motion Capture Performance
Winner - Andy Serkis "War For the Planet of the Apes"
Runner Up - Anthony Gonzalez "Coco"
Commentary - Andy Serkis revolutionized the motion-capture genre, and his work as Caesar in this finale, as well as a the whole current Planet of the Apes trilogy was once again worthy of Oscar contention, and once again, ignored. One day, the Academy will catch up, and they will eventually recognize the difficulty and the art of voice and motion capture acting. Until then, here is an incredibly small honor, for one of our generations most ignored talents.
Winner - Christopher Nolan "Dunkirk"
Runner Up - Greta Gerwig "Lady Bird"
Commentary - I hate to be repetitive, so mostly look at the top category. Basically, Nolan created a visually-stunning masterpiece to add to his already impressive filmography, and was easily the best choice for this category, in my opinion.
Winner - The Post
Runner Up - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Girls Trip, and The Big Sick
Commentary - I really was amazed at just how deep this cast was. You come for the Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep show, but you stay for the amazing work of some of the finest television, veteran character, and even stage actors. To prove just how impressive this cast is, I think it is simpler to just list a few of the names: Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Carrie Coon, Tracey Letts, Jesse Plemmons, Zach Woods, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Alison Brie, Matthew Rhys, Jessie Mueller, Stark Sands and Michael Stuhlbarg.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner - James Ivory "Call Me By Your Name"
Runner Up - Aaron Sorkin "Molly's Game"
Commentary - James Ivory beautifully adapted Andre Aciman's novel, and gave it the heart, tension, heartbreak, and caring touch it deserved. Ivory has been writing beautiful personal dramas for years, but this might be his true late-career masterpiece.
Best Original Screenplay
Winner - Greta Gerwig "Lady Bird"
Runner Up - Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani "The Big Sick"
Commentary - This was a tough category because both The Big Sick and Lady Bird were such funny, touching, and personal stories, whose witty dialogue, and beautifully drawn characters were magnificently constructed. But Lady Bird wins in a tight one.
Winner - Roger Deakins "Blade Runner 2049"
Runners Up - Hoyte Van Hoytema "Dunkirk" and Rachel Morrison "Mudbound"
Commentary - GIVE. THIS. MAN. A. DAMN. OSCAR
Best Visual Effects
Winner - War for the Planet of the Apes
Runners Up - Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049
Commentary - War for the Planet of the Apes, like its predecessors easily had the best visual effects of the year, and even great work like Star Wars and Blade Runner really could not compete.
Worst Film of the Year
Loser - The Dark Tower
Runners Up - Justice League and The Snowman
Commentary - Stephen King's book series of The Dark Tower is a towering literary masterpiece. It is such a shame that its film adaptation was such a jumbled, poorly constructed mess of a film. When Idris Elba can't save a film, you know it is really bad.
Top Twenty Films of 2018
1. Lady Bird
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
4. The Big Sick
5. Call Me By Your Name
6. Blade Runner 2049
7. The Shape of Water
8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
9. The Post
11. Wonder Woman
12. Wind River
13. Get Out
14. Phantom Thread
15. Darkest Hour
16. (TIE) Faces Places and Ex Libris – The New York Public Library
18. Molly’s Game
19. Girls Trip
20. I, Tonya