…And the 2018 BAM Award goes to…

Best Picture

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A Quiet Place

All These Small Moments

Alpha

Annihilation

Black Panther

Eighth Grade

Hereditary

Insect

Paddington 2

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I don’t tally nominations until I finish each category and then release the nominees. Similarly, I try to pick each category individually regardless of what won prior categories. Sometimes this leads to diverse winners, sometimes not. My 2017 viewings were more than double my 2018 but last year’s Best Picture It won eight awards, yet this year’s choice will have won five.

Even trying to isolate categories if there is to be disparity between Best Editing, Best Director, and/or Best Picture it needs to be conscious and there was no separating it here.

Most Overlooked Picture

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All These Small Moments

Every Day

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Insect

Mowgli

In more recent years I had nearly all the films on the same level in terms of their being overlooked, either undistributed in the US or seeking one. The only film in that category until quite late in the year was All These Small Moments. Orion Classics picked it up and I believe it receives its limited release next weekend. Check it out.

Best Director

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Bo Burnham Eighth Grade

Ryan Coogler Black Panther

Melissa Miller Costanzo All These Small Moments

Alex Garland Annihilation

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

What I wrote about Bo’s screenplay (below) as opposed to other things he’s written applies exponentially here. Shepherding a film to completion is not the same as directing a comedy show,  especially when you’re not one of the performers. Feature film debut? Hard to believe.

Best Actress

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Emily Blunt Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt A Quiet Place

Toni Collette Hereditary

Jemima Kirke All These Small Moments

Natalie Portman Annihilation

I don’t try and subscribe to conventional wisdom like nominees from the same film, or the same actor in a category twice, canceling out. I’m a committee of one. It came down in deliberations to two performances in the horror genre Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place and Toni Collette in Hereditary. In the end, I kept coming back to the fact that this was Toni Collette’s best work to date, which says so much, too much for anyone else to overcome.

Best Actor

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Jason Bateman Game Night

Chadwick Boseman Black Panther

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Brendan Meyer All These Small Moments

Kodi Smit-McPhee Alpha

This category took me the longest to decide and was the last one I finalized. I will not hesitate to nominate a great comedic performance, so Jason Bateman, was in. Everyone in A Quiet Place was working with minimal dialogue, so in each category other actors had “come from behind” to get the pick, so John Krasinski was a serious contender. Chadwick Boseman had to carry himself with regality, do accent work, intense dialogue scenes and action. And despite the fact that I doubled the acting field and divided the awards by age, I will not bar an actor in their early-twenties from nomination, even if they’re playing a teenager as Meyer and Smit-McPhee are. Smit-McPhee also had many dialogue-free scenes, when he spoke he did so in a pastiche of indigenous North American tongues, did much of his scene work alone, against an animal or CG. In the end the only thing that might’ve precluded his winning was my not wanting to set precedent as he would be the first to “graduate” from winning Young Actor awards to later win adult ones, but I avoid “message” winners at all costs.

Best Supporting Actress

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Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween

Jennifer Jason Leigh Annihilation

Blake Lively A Simple Favor

Molly Ringwald All These Moments

Anya Taylor-Joy Thoroughbreds

Sometimes when you see a familiar face on screen that you don’t see as much as you used to it can bring a smile to your face, but it doesn’t surpass mere nostalgia. Here it does, Ringwald’s work here blew me away and as as I stated on my Letterboxd review she  “has some of the most beautifully acted moments of restrained pain and meaningful subtext in the film.”

Best Supporting Actor

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Thomas Brodie-Sangster Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Hugh Grant Paddington 2

Michael B. Jordan Black Panther

Dennis Quaid I Can Only Imagine

Alex Wolff Hereditary

Truisms abound on villainous characters, the best are relatable and multidimensional and at their best identifiable. Having a great villain doesn’t guarantee a great performance, but a great performance and a great villain is something rare and special. Michael B. Jordan has that here.

Best Cast

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Molly Ringwald, Jemima Kirke, Harley Quinn Smith, Brian d’Arcy James, Brendan Meyer, Roscoe Orman, Salena Qureshi, and Sam McCarthy All These Small Moments

Natalie Portman, Benedict Wong, Sonoya Mizuno, David Gyasi, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh,  Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Tessa Thompson, Sammy Hayman and Josh Danford Annihilation

Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward, and Leon Rossum A Quiet Place

Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Leatitia Wright, Sterling K. Brown, Angela Basset, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis, Florence Kasumba, John Kani, David S. Lee, Nabiyah Be, et al. Black Panther

Alex Wolff, Gabriel Byrne, Toni Collette, Milly Shapiro, et al. Hereditary

Large ensembles are some times at a disadvantage inasmuch as there isn’t always enough screen-time to go around and with more people there are mathematically more possible weakest links. Sometimes everyone in a large cast does rise to the occasion and the experience is richer than it otherwise would’ve been as it was in Black Panther.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

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Pixie Davies Mary Poppins Returns

Elsie Fisher Eighth Grade

Isabela Moner Instant Family

Storm Reid A Wrinkle in Time

Millicent Simmonds A Quiet Place

Ultimately, this became a showdown of verisimilitude. Not only that but actresses representing realities we don’t often see on screen. Elsie Fisher edges slightly ahead because she conveys some of the most believable and searing adolescent awkwardness I’ve seen and also conveys a unique yet universal character, she too does great work without dialogue, which is the crux of film acting.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

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Rohan Chand Mowgli

Joel Dawson Mary Poppins Returns

Noah Jupe A Quiet Place

Deric McCabe A Wrinkle in Time

Owen Vaccaro The House with a Clock in its Walls

Working with minimal dialogue does not by default lead to a brilliant performance, in this film everyone is, but after a breakout year Jupe brings his talent into another stratosphere.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

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Bronte Carmichael Christopher Robin

Julianna Gamiz Instant Family

Abby Ryder Fortson Ant-Man and the Wasp

McKenna Roberts Skyscraper

Isabella Sermon Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Not only was this a question of screen-time but also of the complexity of the role, with those considerations Isabella Sermon was the clear choice.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

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Ian Alexander Every Day

Sam McCarthy All These Small Moments

Orton O’Brien Christopher Robin

Gustavo Quiroz Instant Family

Nathanael Saleh Mary Poppins Returns

This was a particularly difficult one because the screen-time for all actors was varied. Every Day with a multitude of people playing A gave most actors working that role one very good scene. Ian Alexander was the best of the best. Orton O’Brien played small but poignant flashbacks. Gustavo Quiroz and Nathanael Saleh probably had the most screen-time but in terms of quantity and quality it had to be Sam McCarthy.

Best Youth Ensemble

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Storm Reid, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, and Rowan Blanchard A Wrinkle in Time

Elsie Fisher, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zolghardi, Fred Hechinger, Luke Prael, Shacha Temirov, Thomas John O’Reilly, Tiffany Grossfeld and William Alexander Wunsch Eighth Grade

Angourie Rice, Lucas Jade Zumann, Ian Alexander, Charles Vandervaart, et al.  Every Day

Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Billy Barratt, Felix Collar, and Kate Atwell  Mary Poppins Returns

Isabela Moner, Gustavo Quiroz, Julianna Gamiz and Carson Holmes Instant Family

Cast awards can either be seen as a numbers game or a depth game. With group efforts, no matter how large or small a group, you are only as strong as your weakest link. None of these nominated casts have a weak link, but all of the actors in this quartet are on part with one another.

Best Orignal Screenplay

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Brian Woods & Scott Beck and John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Melissa Miller Costanzo All These Small Moments

Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt and Albert Hughes Alpha

Bo Burnham Eighth Grade

Ari Aster Hereditary

Bo Burnham has written and performed standup. He’s written and performed music and poetry. It is another thing entirely to write in another medium such as film for myriad characters. He has done so here expertly.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Alex Garland and Jeff VanderMeer Annihilation

Christopher Markus and Joe Russo, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon, Steve Englehart, Steve Gan, Bill Mantlo, Keith Giffen, Jim Starlin, Larry Lieber Avengers: Infinity War

Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole; Stan Lee and Jack Kirby Black Panther

Jan Švankmajer and Karel Čapek and Josef Čapek Insect

Paul King and Simon Farnaby, Michael Bond, and Jon Croker Paddington 2

A classic piece of absurdist satire theatre plus Švankmajer fully committed to simulacrum is a match made in heaven.

Best Score

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John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, and Daniel Davies Halloween

Marco Beltrami A Quiet Place

Joseph S. DeBeasi and Michael Stearns Alpha

Dario Marianelli Paddington 2

Anna Meredith Eighth Grade

The score for this Halloween being composed by three men, only one of whom is John Carpenter, might lead one to believe there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Quite the opposite is true, it is brilliant. And while building on a legendary theme might seem an easy task, it also adds expectation. This score delivers in spades, especially with the end track “Halloween Triumphant.” It’s a marvel. There’s a Spotify link above. Enjoy!

Best Editing

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Christopher Tellefsen A Quiet Place

Russell Costanzo and Matt Garner All These Small Moments

Sandra Granovsky Alpha

Andrew Wehde Eighth Grade

Jan Danhel Insect

It came down to flow, decisions on cut-points and the expert use underutilized techniques such as superimpositions.

Sound Editing/Mixing

A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Director/Writer/Actor John Krasinski talks about many aspects of the film in this Notes on a Scene segment, but he discusses sound often, and his thoughts permeate the film and communicate to the audience, which is why it is the honored film in this category.

Best Cinematography

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Dion Beebe Mary Poppins Returns

Charlotte Bruus Christensen A Quiet Place

Martin Gslacht Alpha

Matthias Königsweiser Christopher Robin

Pawel Pogorzelski Hereditary

There are more motifs to this film than you’d imagine and they are all tremendously well-lit and composed. Brilliant work.

Best Costume Design

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Jenny Beavan Christopher Robin

Ruth E. Carter Black Panther

Veronika Hrubá Insect

Judianna Makovsky Avengers: Infinity War

Sandy Powell Mary Poppins Returns

Of all the departments in this film this was the most persistently excellent, and in the animated sequence Powell’s clothes actually stole the show from a modern take on a classical Disney approach.

Best Art Direction

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A Quiet Place

Insect

Mary Poppins Returns

Paddington 2

Hereditary

I’m trying to economize words this year, but while it should go without saying that all nominees did wonderful work and all decisions were fraught with difficulty. These films  were rather different in approach and goal, in the end it ended up being about how many sets were created and how great they all were.

Best Makeup

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A Wrinkle in Time

Alpha

Black Panther

Halloween

The Predator

Sometimes beauty makeups that highlight the fantastical can and should win as it does here.

Best Visual Effects

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A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

There are visual effects that act as spectacle and those that serve story, the best work symbiotically accomplishes both.

Best Soundtrack

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A Simple Favor

Black Panther

Game Night

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Tag

Best Original Song

“Goodbye, Farewell” Jim Cummings, Brad Garrett, Toby Jones, Peter Capaldi, Sophie Okonedo, Nick Mohammed, and Sarah Sheen Christopher Robin

“The Place Where Lost Things Go” Emily Blunt Mary Poppins Returns

“A Conversation” Ben WhishawMary Poppins Returns

“Love Thy Neighbour” Tobago and d’LimePaddington 2

“Rub and Scrub” Tobago and d’ Lime Paddington 2

This is not only the song of the year, relevant to the plot, but it was also worthy of being a  Mary Poppins song.

Best Documentary

Not awarded.

Best Foreign Film

Not awarded.

Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award

Emily Blunt

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Being nominated twice in the same year does not guarantee you the award as the transcendent performer of the year by default. Being as magnetic, wonderful, and bookending the year with A Quiet Place and Mary Poppins Returns made it a cinch.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

Jan Švankmajer

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Picking Švankmajer for this award was the first decision I made for these awards. I have featured his work on the site several times, including his cracking one of my film discoveries lists and a feature in one of my earliest posts, when I backed a crowdfunding campaign for his final film, in Bermanesque fashion, it did not disappoint and earned several nominations.

Neutron Star Award

Ingmar Bergman

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While my viewings overall were down, the handful of new-to-me Bergman films I saw thanks to Criterion’s amazing new box set spurred yet another renaissance of my awe for his genius.

Special Jury Award(s)

Nominations

A Quiet Place – 13 (2 wins)

Black Panther – 11 (2 wins)

Mary Poppins Returns – 10 (3 wins)

All These Small Moments – 8 (3 wins)

Alpha– 8 (2 wins)

Annihilation – 8 (1 win)

Hereditary – 7 (1 win)

Paddington 2 – 7

Eighth Grade – 6 (5 wins)

Christopher Robin – 5

Insect – 5 (1 win)

Instant Family – 4 

A Wrinkle in Time – 4 (2 wins)

Avengers: Infinity War – 4

Every Day – 3

Halloween – 3 (1 win)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – 2

The House with a Clock in its Walls – 2

Mowgli – 2

Game Night – 2

A Simple Favor – 2 (1 Win)

Ant-Man and the Wasp – 1

Skyscraper – 1

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom – 1

Maze Runner: The Death Cure – 1

I Can Only Imagine – 1

Tag – 1

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