Neutron Star Award: Carrie Fisher

A neutron star is one that glows more brightly after it “death,” similarly these filmmakers and actors do. It’s a counterpart to the Lifetime Achievement Award which is intended for filmmakers and actors who are very much alive and kicking.

2017 Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher’s death in late 2016 was a cruel shock. The tragedy was of course compounded by the fact that her mother Debbie Reynolds died the very next day.

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Shortly after their deaths HBO released a doc about them that they were producing anyway. I saw Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds shortly after it became available. It was an insightful, touching and bittersweet look at their life together. It underscored the fact that too much about her career didn’t get attention until after the fact. I remember maybe vaguely hearing about her script doctoring once but by the time the fact came up again I couldn’t recall if that was something I ever knew or if it was new information.

And that list of titles is quite good.

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And, of course, after the fact I would find things that either I forgot she was in (Austin Powers International Man of Mystery) or never knew realized was in (When Harry Met Sally…, Hannah and Her Sisters).

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Then, of course, there was The Last Jedi. Of course, when I went to see it I knew it would be one of the last new films I’d see her in (Wonderwell is slated for release this year) but I didn’t expect Leia’s role to be that much larger than it was previously and that much more epic. In the nominating process I asked myself the hard question: was she included in the nominees only because it was a posthumous honor? Absolutely not.

For those reasons and so many more Carrie Fisher gets the honor this year.

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Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Award: Stephen King

If you’ve been to my site over the years it’s not secret that I am a huge fan of Stephen King, and I have sought almost any opportunity I could find to write about him.

Here are some notable instances:

A review of It (1990)
A series on his as-of-yet unadapted works
A series on adaptations of his work focusing mostly on Maximum Overdrive

However, in the BAM Awards as entertainer of the year was not something I foresaw.

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Throughout the year I made mental notes of actors and directors who had multiple credits to their name who made their mark through a large swath of the calendar year. I usually like these awards to be like revelations rather than conscious decisions. Once I tried resisting choosing King, I knew he was the only choice.

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And I only resisted because picking the creator of source material would be a new frontier, but it is worthy of inclusion. I always cite the author of source material in my nominations on equal footing with the screenwriters.

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With it seeming, based on early looks, that King was going to have a very good year, many retrospectives came but the new work showed there are people working now who want to work with his material, and know how to mold it for film.

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And it was a very good year for Stephen King, and the BAM Awards were no exception. Films based on his works garnered 30 nominations; including three of five Best Adapted Screenplay nominations.

He also saw two more of his works turned into TV shows Mr. Mercedes and The Mist.

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He and his son Owen released the timely novel Sleeping Beauties, and he has a new novel due out this spring; so it’s clear he’s still kicking but his impact on me and many has been long-lasting and will continue, but 2017 cinematically was a standout for highlighting his work, and it’s why he’s the recipient of this prize.

2017 Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Awards (2 of 2): Jessica Lange

The delay in posting any and all of these honorary awards has been due in large part to wrapping a long first draft of a piece of fiction and the fact that a record keeping mistake almost led me to pick the same Lifetime Achievement recipient as last year. Not that John Williams hasn’t done enough for multiple lifetimes but let’s spread the wealth.

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As such I will post at least one honoree a day to balance this blog with my other works. 

As I deliberated picking people who aren’t exceptionally old as other awards do, I wasn’t inspired by many of my options until I looked at the history of my own awards and how in recent years I had seen the reemergence of some of my favorites into the nominated list. So, that seemed like the perfect reason to celebrate all of their works as I also like to select people who are still making an impact.

Without further adieu the honoree…

Jessica Lange

First some stats…

6 total nominations; 3 wins
Won as Lead Actress and Supporting Actress (One of three)
Nominated four straight years (19972000)

Best Actress nominee in 1997 (A Thousand Acres)
Best Actress nominee in 1998 (Hush)
Best Actress winner in 1999 (Cousin Bette)
Best Actress winner in 2000 (Titus)
Best Cast nominee in 2000 (Titus)
Best Supporting Actress winner in 2014 (In Secret)

In the early days of these awards when I was prone to revisionism and trying to create credible nominees from 1981. I was compelled to go back and watch as many things as I could by my favorite directors and actors. Jessica Lange was among these actresses.

Titus (1999, Fox Searchlight)

Even scrapping those provisional, untrue awards she made more than enough of a mark. Her nominations as Best Actress in four consecutive years was a feat I didn’t notice until I started composing this piece (I like to compose these award without being conscious of things like how many nominations a film is racking up or if so-and-so made it in the year before).

I believe I first knew of Jessica Lange when in a high school cinema class we screened the 1976 King Kong. That allowed me then to seek out and watch many of her films in approximate chronological order. Eventually she became an actress I made a point of going out to the movies to see.

In Secret (2014, Roadside Attractions)

Like many other admirers, I was thrilled when American Horror Story acted as a renaissance for her career. When In Secret was released I rushed out to see it, and I thought for a Zola novel I did not know much about it portrayed a story of that vintage in as modern a way as possible without reinventing it, and Lange stole the entire film, and she was not only nominated again but won her third BAM Award.

In 2015 it was time for her to move on from AHS, but recently she made another tour-de-force appearance on a television series Feud: Bette and Joan, which bears mentioning here as she played Joan Crawford and was dealing with the struggle of being a woman of a certain age in Hollywood, and contrary to her trajectory playing an actress whose talents were never fully appreciated. That role showed that she by no means is done, as I prefer these honorees to be.

2017 Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Awards (1 of 2): Melanie Griffith

When I posted my BAM Award honorees, it was another long day and I claimed I’d post special awards the following day. The delay in posting any and all of these honorary awards has been due in large part to wrapping a long first draft of a piece of fiction and the fact that a record keeping mistake almost led me to pick the same Lifetime Achievement recipient as last year. Not that John Williams hasn’t done enough for multiple lifetimes, but let’s spread the wealth.

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As such I will instead post at least one honoree a day to balance this blog with my other works.

As I deliberated picking people who aren’t exceptionally old as other awards do, I wasn’t inspired by many of my options until I looked at the history of my own awards and how in recent years I had seen the reemergence of some of my favorites into the nominated list. So, that seemed like the perfect reason to celebrate all of their works as I also like to select people who are still making an impact.

Without further adieu the first honoree…

Melanie Griffith

First, some stats…

6 total nominations; 2 wins
Won as Lead Actress and Supporting Actress (One of three)
Nominated four times in six years (19962001)

Best Supporting Actress winner in 1996 (Mulholland Falls)
Best Supporting Actress nominee 1997 (Lolita)
Best Actress nominee in 1999 (Shadow of Doubt)
Best Actress winner in 2001 (Cecil B. Demented)
Best Cast nominee in 2001 (Cecil B. Demented)
Best Cast Nominee in 2017 (The Disaster Artist).

Even before the era wherein the BAM Awards were a part of my life Melanie Griffith had already made an impression on me, and in retrospect I went on to view many of her films.

#WorkingGirl #MelanieGriffith #CarlySimon #meme

A post shared by Bernardo Miller-Villela (@bernardodeassisvillela) on

Prior to her most well-known work (Working Girl) she had already made a splash with two films that would end up standing the test of time (Body Double and Something Wild).

While the string of films she was in following Working Girl had varying degrees of success commercially, critically, I enjoy most and like her work in them even more (Pacific Heights, Bonfire of the Vanities, Paradise, Shining Through, Born Yesterday, Milk Money, Nobody’s Fool, Buffalo Girls, Celebrity, Another Day in Paradise, Crazy in Alabama and RKO 281 among those not yet mentioned).

Paradise (1991, Touchstone Pictures)

Smaller independent works intervened between her last BAM nomination and The Disaster Artist, but I’d not happened to come across them or gone out of my way to see them, though I should have. The Disaster Artist was a tremendous jolt, a reminder that I’ve not tracked down enough of her works as she was one of the first actors or directors I made a point of seeing.

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“Do you even want to be an actor?” her character, an acting instructor, says to Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) in The Disaster Artist. He responds in the affirmative. “Well, you hide it well,” she retorts, and in a film about the making of a cult film, and in many ways the cruelty of Hollywood and entertainment in general; Melanie’s part, and Sharon Stone, as an objectifying talent agent, seems a very conscious and shrewd commentary: these are talented, professional women deserving of respect and recognition.

Melanie’s honor from my awards is overdue.

And the 2017 BAM Award Goes To…

This year I switched up a few things. First, as opposed to live-blogging the nominees I’m live-blogging the announcements category-by-category. I will also be brief in any writing I add to the categories (except maybe special categories) as I feel most may just skim anyway. Plus, I feel a sparsity of words may underscore the fact that when it comes to the BAM Awards, which reflect my year in film alone, as arduous as the decision-making process is it is the nomination that means the most.

The selected nominee is in BOLD  and pictured.

UPDATE: The 2017 specific categories are done. The special awards will get their own post tomorrow, the 10th, just as they did last year. 

Best Picture

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The Big Sick
Blade Runner 2049
Coco
Get Out
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
It
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Split
Wind River
Wonderstruck

My blurb on It, the other Best Picture nominees, and about ten more films will be coming in my best of 2017 list.

Most Overlooked Picture

columbus-poster

1922
All Saints
Columbus
The Dark Tower
The Glass Castle
The Space Between Us
Rico, Oskar und der Diebstahlstein
Wind River
Wonderstruck
XX

Between the time I saw this film and started thinking about awards I did not think about it that often. When considering each category it kept coming up. There’s a reason why. Here’s my original Letterboxd review.

A deftly handled meticulously-framed and lit film that within its subtle introduction to its characters finds their hearts and souls at times of quiet, introspective crisis and allows the characters to find each other and voice their concerns. The movements are small but meaningful and underscored by a score that folds itself into the visual, aiding the overall impact. Haley Lu Richardson is a revelation.

Best Director

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Andy Muschietti It
Jordan Peele Get Out
Michael Showalter The Big Sick
M. Night Shyamalan Split
Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina Coco

All I said about how It came together below is thanks to Muschietti’s vision. His previous film was Mama which I thought had a brilliant and protracted climactic sequence. He brought that to this film as well and it was needed.

Best Actress

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Carla Gugino Gerald’s Game
Sally Hawkins The Shape of Water
Haley Lu Richardson Columbus
Aubrey Plaza Ingrid Goes West
Frances McDormand Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Saoirse Ronan Lady Bird

To emote so effectively without words is quite literally the essence of film acting. It’s unfortunate for the film that there’s that fanciful musical number but that isn’t held against Hawkins.

Best Actor

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James Franco The Disaster Artist
Ryan Gosling Blade Runner 2049
Daniel Kaluuya Get Out
James McAvoy Split
Kumail Nanjiani The Big Sick
Denzel Washington Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Getting this category down to five was one of the things that made me expand acting categories. It just wasn’t going to happen. These performances are varied, and arresting in their own way. It’d be an oversimplification to say James McAvoy was selected for playing a character with multiple personalities. What really does it how he becomes the characters entirely. It’s a work of genius on his part.

Best Supporting Actress

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Betty Buckley Split
Carrie Fisher Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Holly Hunter The Big Sick
Catherine Keener Get Out
Laurie Metcalf Lady Bird
Carla Juri Blade Runner 2049

This was another tough one and all these ladies deserve their due. Carla Juri doesn’t have much time on screen but all her scenes are replete with pathos, Katherine Keener is appropriately hypnotic in Get Out; in a sort of reverse side of the coin Betty Buckley’s captivating, sensitive portrayal of a psychiatrist who is willing to see past the commonplace in Split. Carrie Fisher brought a sagacity and played much bigger scenes in this Star Wars as opposed to the one prior and buoyed an even better film. But as much was follow Lady Bird’s travails in the eponymous film it is Laurie Metcalf that ends up dominating it.

Best Supporting Actor

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Sterling K. Brown Marshall
Dave Franco The Disaster Artist
Richard Jenkins The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Bill Skarsgård It

Ultimately, what decided this one was arc and the execution of it. Sam Rockwell is stellar at all stages of his character’s progression.

 

Best Cast

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Benicio Del Toro, Frank Oz, Warwick Davis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gareth Edwards

The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Kurt Braunohler, Vella Lovell, David Alan Grier, Ed Herbstman, Shenaz Treasury, Kuhoo Verma, Mitra Jouhari, Myra Lucretia Taylor

Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, LilRel Howert, Erika Alexander

The Disaster Artist

James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, Paul Scheer, Ari Graynor, Jacki WeaverMegan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Nathan Fielder, Hannibal Buress, Bob Odenkirk, Ike Batinholtz, Kevin Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Scott, Danny McBride, Kristen Bell, J.J. Abrams, Lizzy Caplan, Judd Apatow, Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

It

Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jackson Robert Scott, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Bill Skarsgård, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Owen Teague, Stephen Bogaert, Stuart Hughes, Geoffrey Pounsett, Molly Jane Atkinson

Wind River

Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Julia Jones, Teo Briones, Apesanahkwat, Graham Greene, Elizabeth Olsen, Tantoo Cardinal, Eric Lange, Gil Birmingham, Althea Sam, Tokala Clifford, Jon Bernthal

When selecting a collective award it can be difficult to parse it out. The truism “You’re only as strong as your weakest link” can be used. But That couldn’t break this down. What ultimately made all the difference was moments of deep emotional impact that hit me from as many players in parts large and small. The kids of It have most of their movies moments, many people get their fair share in The Big SickStar Wars, and Get OutThe Disaster Artist works so well because there are so many actors I like in it having a ball. But the cast of Wind River hit me almost to a man with moments of emotional resonance but also unadulterated humanity and portraying the human condition is what acting is and this was the best example of it in all of its shades.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

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Ella Anderson The Glass Castle
Sophia Lillis It
Millicent Simmonds Wonderstruck
Izabela Vidovic Wonder
Lulu Wilson Annabelle: Creation
Maddie Ziegler The Book of Henry

As the category below this one also got rather difficult to choose, but eventually I did. All these nominees are very noteworthy. If you only know Ella Anderson from her role on Henry Danger you owe it to yourself to see The Glass Castle if you couldn’t tell the talent that was there its on full display in this part. Millicent Simmonds also does some silent work and breaks out carrying her own half of Wonderstruck easily. Izabela Vidovic is a marvel in Wonder and breathes such life into Thornton Wilder’s Our Town it was a joy to behold. Lulu Wilson is here again and she may be nominated quite a few more times the way she;s going. But the burst-on-to-the-scene dominant performance imbuing Beverly Marsh will all the attributes she needed to have is Sophia Lillis, she’s cool, she’s misunderstood, funny, genuinely kind to all her Losers’ Club friends even the ones who are hangin’ tough, and is fighting her own villain at home; and she pulls it off with the ease of a veteran, which is why she gets the award.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Bear with me the format will be a little different here. First came these realizations.

One thing that’s curious is that as you proceed through a process over and over you start noticing things about it you never considered before. The first split in the youth categories was to allow young actors in smaller roles to get recognition too. And then why not give kids equal footing (in terms of categories) with their adult counterparts? With so many more opportunities now with cable, premium cable, streaming services offering not just series but films it seems odd to try and cite statistics about young performers transitioning to adult roles. It’s an unfair comparison. But what I can tell through this change in focus at my awards that the opportunities may still be unequal (skewed against women and girls) but the talent not just abounds but it is canny. But the newest observation is that having a category that actors could age out of may make it seem like destiny that a multiple nominee will get it “next year” or that the field just opened up because a a multiple-winner is now in the adult bracket (recent examples being Elle Fanning and Kodi Smit-McPhee). But the award has to be merit-based and given with the realization that literally any of these actors could have been chosen.

The above was all well and good and leading to an actual decision among these nominees.

It’s been one of the two hardest categories to pick all year. This year in the interest of symmetry and due to decision fatigue in part I gave all the Youth Categories six nominees rather than having the occasional category balloon as I had for a while. But I didn’t regret it at all and all the nominees are great!

Alas, when it came time to post who I was going to award on my 5,897th mind-change I accidentally thought of the wrong name when going to do an image search. Then I realized going back to my roots that I created this award as a reaction to the Oscars. They’ve had six ties in 89 years, on every 14.833. This is the 22nd edition of my awards. I’m owed a tie, it was hard enough getting down to two. The BAMs go to…

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Oakes Fegley Wonderstruck
Noah Jupe Suburbicon
Judah Lewis The Babysitter
Jaeden Lieberher It
Tom Taylor The Dark Tower
Jacob Tremblay Wonder

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

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Lilly Aspell Wonder Woman
Chiara Aurelia Gerald’s Game
Lola Flanery Home Again
Peyton Kennedy XX
Amiah Miller War for the Planet of the Apes
Olivia Kate Rice The Glass Castle

Playing the younger version of an adult protagonist can be at times thankless and also a narrative afterthought. Lilly Aspell does quite well in the prologue of Wonder Woman but then Gal shows up and is Wonder Woman and you have to take a view of the whole film to keep her in mind. Amiah Miller’s silent presence in War for the Planet of the Apes is great but doesn’t transcend scenes. Lola Flanery is the standout of the young girls in Home Again and The Glass Castle has a tremendous young group but also parallel timeframes that divide time. Chiara Aurelia, however, features in flashbacks that are crucial to Gerald’s Game and her performance is breathtaking and resonates deeply.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

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Jack Dylan Grazer It
Wyatt Oleff It
Chosen Jacobs It
Noah Jupe Wonder
Jeremy Ray Taylor It
Finn Wolfhard It

Again like Best Song a vast majority of the choices here were from the same film. Noah Jupe is also included in Best Performance by a Young Actor in Suburbicon, so he clearly had a breakout year. How to choose among the Losers’ Club basically came down to two factors: who feeling out of place would have adversely affected the film and if all things were equal who added the most to the film. Finn actually had the disadvantage of my knowing his work from Stranger Things, however, Mike Wheeler and Richie Tozier are but superficially similar. Richie’s truer feelings are held closer to the vest than Mike’s are. Richie jokes and curses about everything whether it’s appropriate or not, many times its a defense mechanism against his fears and any other insecurity he may feel, he has to do these things elicit laughs, shrugs, eye-rolls, be relatable but also be that kid who you’d say ‘Yeah, he gets on our nerves but he’s my friend,’ that and his being the biggest foil to Bill’s single-minded mission make Finn the choice.

Best Youth Ensemble

The_Losers_Club

The Glass Castle 

Ella Anderson, Chandler Head, Charlie Shotwell, Iain Armitage, Sadie Sink, Olivia Kate Rice, Shree Grace Crooks, and Ellen Grace Redfield
It

Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jackson Robert Scott and Nicholas Hamilton

Wonder 

Jacob Tremblay, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar, Ty Consiglio, Kyle Breitkopf, James Hughes, Elle McKinnon, Millie Davis, et al.

Wonderstruck 

Millicent Simmonds, Oakes Fegley, Jaden Michael, Sawyer Niehaus, et al.

Rico, Oskar und der Diebstahlstein 

Anton Petzold, Juri Winkler, and  Tristan Göbel
The Beguiled

Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, and Emma Howard

If you saw the nominations you probably saw this selection coming, however, not to be lost in that is the fact that all these ensembles are great, and the films worth very much worth viewing especially the under seen The Glass Castle. As for the ensemble in It they rival any of the groups that have won this award thus far.

Best Original Screenplay

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Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani The Big Sick
Jordan Peele Get Out
Lee Unkrich & Jason Katz & Matthew Aldrich & Adrian Morris Coco
M. Night Shyamalan Split
Martin McDonagh Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Original screenplays are where, above all, I want to have my mind blown. One of the most mind-blowing moments I saw on film in 2017 was the introduction of the The Sunken Place. That and the concepts, the very weird, real, and only slightly off-kilter world of Get Out garner it this award.

Best Adapted Screenplay

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Zak Hilditch and Stephen King 1922
Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, and Philip K. Dick Blade Runner 2049
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; Greg Sestero and Tom Bisse The Disaster Artist
Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard, and Stephen King Gerald’s Game
Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman, and Stephen King It

Here, and only here, is where source material matters. 2017 saw the taming of three Stephen King beasts; two that are quite a challenge to handle; as impressive as the choices that were made in Gerald’s Game were the 21st century tack of halving It and moving it from the 1950s to the 1980s are master strokes that reinvent the story keep its spirit and make it a work wholly in and of itself simultaneously.

Best Score

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Carter Burwell Wonderstruck
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis Wind River
John Williams Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Benjamin Walfisch It
Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch Blade Runner 2049

This one was tough. Through the years many musicians accumulate great scores (John Williams, Hans Zimmer), and some recent stars emerge and had multiple possibilities this year (Carter Burwell), but I couldn’t shake Benjamin Wallfisch out of two nominations, and his work on It combined all the techniques and styles that helped the other nominees get in: variety (Burwell), vocals (Cave & Ellis), Electronic music (Wallfisch/Zimmer) and classical orchestration (Williams), that and the score for It amped its effectiveness greatly.

Best Editing

it

Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss Baby Driver
Jason Ballantine It
Jon Gregory Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Gregory Plotkin Get Out
Joe Walker Blade Runner 2049

Editing, among many other things, is the art of making a movie flow. Everyone can feel it if they’re attuned. In simplest terms its an anti-running time award. It clocks in at 135 minutes and is a blur; a whirlwind of emotional isolation that is what these kids are experiencing and as they join one another they strengthen. Its horror at its most relentless and the edit has much to do with it.

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

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Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
It
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Again Dunkirk created some division among those who saw it, but when looking at categories I don’t look at the film overall but how it performs in its discipline. The sound of this film pounded me in my chest throughout which is the point: immersion. And in that way the film is immaculate.

Best Cinematography

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Roger A. Deakins Blade Runner 2049
Hoyte Van Hoytema Dunkirk
Ben Richardson Wind River
Edward Lachman Wonderstruck
Chung-hoon Chung It

Basically, I can get if you don’t like Blade Runner 2049, if it’s too plodding for you or what have you, but how can you not love looking at it?

Best Costume Design

20Wonderstruck-web1-superJumbo

The Dark Tower
The Greatest Show
It
Wonderstruck
Victoria & Abdul

Typically what I want to see for costume design is not merely period but blending times, cultures or “worlds.” Wonderstruck did this most seamlessly.

Best Makeup

wonder_film

1922
Gerald’s Game
It
The Shape of Water
Wonder

As much as I look for different techniques and touches and aesthetics it’s hard to go against a film whose work is a constant presence.

Best Visual Effects

Blade-Runner-2049-billboard

Bladerunner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

It’s often difficult to make this decision because of the myriad techniques and uses for effects work. Many times it just comes down to world-building and Blade Runner 2049 created quite a mesmerizing one.

Best Soundtrack

Baby_Driver_Soundtrack

Baby Driver
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2
Ingrid Goes West
The Disaster Artist
The Shape of Water

Last year marked the return of this category as in 2015 I started noting great use of source music anew. Last year with even more focus on it I easily fielded a category. This year again it was easy to find films where there were great songs and they mattered. None more so than in Baby Driver. 

Best Song

“This Is Me” Keala Settle and The Greatest Show Ensemble The Greatest Showman
“Remember Me” (Reunion) Anthony Gonzalez, Ana Ofelia Murguía Coco
“Un Poco Loco” Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal Coco
“La Llorona” Alanna Ubach, Antonio Sol Coco
“Proud Corazón” Anthony Gonzalez Coco

It was Coco pulling off a four-nomination feat in this category that pushed out cover songs from consideration. Having said that Greyson Chance’s “Hungry Eyes” for ABC’s Dirty Dancing remake is remarkable and deserves a listen if you have yet to hear it.

2017 BAM Award Nominations

Here are the nominees for the 2017 BAM Awards. Winners will be announced on January 9th. Some films did qualify after 12/24. Some gross omissions, as speculated in the shortlists were corrected. Collages that may feature in the honoree post will feature on my Instagram page over the course of the next week. Without any further ado … enjoy!

Best Picture

The Big Sick
Blade Runner 2049
Coco
Get Out
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
It
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Split
Wind River
Wonderstruck

Best Foreign Film 

Few qualifiers. Jury prize may be announced on January 9th.

Most Overlooked Picture

1922
All Saints
Columbus
The Dark Tower
The Glass Castle
The Space Between Us
Rico, Oskar und der Diebstahlstein
Wind River
Wonderstruck
XX

Best Documentary 

Few qualifiers. Jury prize may be announced on January 9th.

Best Director

Andy Muschietti It
Jordan Peele Get Out
Michael Showalter The Big Sick
M. Night Shyamalan Split
Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina Coco

Best Actress

Carla Gugino Gerald’s Game
Sally Hawkins The Shape of Water
Haley Lu Richardson Columbus
Aubrey Plaza Ingrid Goes West
Frances McDormand Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Saoirse Ronan Lady Bird

Best Actor

James Franco The Disaster Artist
Ryan Gosling Blade Runner 2049
Daniel Kaluuya Get Out
James McAvoy Split
Kumail Nanjiani The Big Sick
Denzel Washington Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best Supporting Actress

Betty Buckley Split
Carrie Fisher Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Holly Hunter The Big Sick
Catherine Keener Get Out
Laurie Metcalf Lady Bird
Carla Juri Blade Runner 2049

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown Marshall
Dave Franco The Disaster Artist
Richard Jenkins The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Bill Skarsgård It

Best Cast

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Kelly Marie Tran, Benicio Del Toro, Frank Oz, Warwick Davis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Gareth Edwards

The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Bo Burnham, Aidy Bryant, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano, Anupam Kher, Zenobia Shroff, Adeel Akhtar, Kurt Braunohler, Vella Lovell, David Alan Grier, Ed Herbstman, Shenaz Treasury, Kuhoo Verma, Mitra Jouhari, Myra Lucretia Taylor

Get Out

Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Marcus Henderson, Betty Gabriel, Lakeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, LilRel Howert, Erika Alexander

The Disaster Artist

James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Melanie Griffith, Sharon Stone, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, Paul Scheer, Ari Graynor, Jacki WeaverMegan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Nathan Fielder, Hannibal Buress, Bob Odenkirk, Ike Batinholtz, Kevin Smith, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Scott, Danny McBride, Kristen Bell, J.J. Abrams, Lizzy Caplan, Judd Apatow, Zach Braff, Bryan Cranston, Christopher Mintz-Plasse

It

Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jackson Robert Scott, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Bill Skarsgård, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Owen Teague, Stephen Bogaert, Stuart Hughes, Geoffrey Pounsett, Molly Jane Atkinson

Wind River

Kelsey Asbille, Jeremy Renner, Julia Jones, Teo Briones, Apesanahkwat, Graham Greene, Elizabeth Olsen, Tantoo Cardinal, Eric Lange, Gil Birmingham, Althea Sam, Tokala Clifford, Jon Bernthal

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Ella Anderson The Glass Castle
Sophia Lillis It
Millicent Simmonds Wonderstruck
Izabela Vidovic Wonder
Lulu Wilson Annabelle: Creation
Maddie Ziegler The Book of Henry

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Oakes Fegley Wonderstruck
Noah Jupe Suburbicon
Judah Lewis The Babysitter
Jaeden Lieberher It
Tom Taylor The Dark Tower
Jacob Tremblay Wonder

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Lilly Aspell Wonder Woman
Chiara Aurelia Gerald’s Game
Lola Flanery Home Again
Peyton Kennedy XX
Amiah Miller War for the Planet of the Apes
Olivia Kate Rice The Glass Castle

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Jack Dylan Grazer It
Wyatt Oleff It
Chosen Jacobs It
Noah Jupe Wonder
Jeremy Ray Taylor It
Finn Wolfhard It

Best Youth Ensemble

The Glass Castle 

Ella Anderson, Chandler Head, Charlie Shotwell, Iain Armitage, Sadie Sink, Olivia Kate Rice, Shree Grace Crooks, and Ellen Grace Redfield
It

Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jackson Robert Scott and Nicholas Hamilton

Wonder 

Jacob Tremblay, Izabela Vidovic, Noah Jupe, Bryce Gheisar, Ty Consiglio, Kyle Breitkopf, James Hughes, Elle McKinnon, Millie Davis, et al.

Wonderstruck 

Millicent Simmonds, Oakes Fegley, Jaden Michael, Sawyer Niehaus, et al.

Rico, Oskar und der Diebstahlstein 

Anton Petzold, Juri Winkler, and  Tristan Göbel
The Beguiled

Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, and Emma Howard

Best Original Screenplay

Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani The Big Sick
Jordan Peele Get Out
Lee Unkrich & Jason Katz & Matthew Aldrich & Adrian Morris Coco
M. Night Shyamalan Split
Martin McDonagh Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay

Zak Hilditch and Stephen King 1922
Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, and Philip K. Dick Blade Runner 2049
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber; Greg Sestero and Tom Bisse The Disaster Artist
Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard, and Stephen King Gerald’s Game
Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman,  and Stephen King It

Best Score

Carter Burwell Wonderstruck
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis Wind River
John Williams Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Benjamin Walfisch It
Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch Blade Runner 2049

Best Editing

Jonathan Amos and Paul Machliss Baby Driver
Jason Ballantine It
Jon Gregory Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Gregory Plotkin Get Out
Joe Walker Blade Runner 2049

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
It
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Cinematography

Roger A. Deakins Blade Runner 2049
Hoyte Van Hoytema Dunkirk
Ben Richardson Wind River
Edward Lachman Wonderstruck
Chung-hoon Chung It

Best Art Direction

1922
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
It
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Costume Design

 

The Dark Tower
The Greatest Show
It
Wonderstruck
Victoria & Abdul

Best Makeup

1922
Gerald’s Game
It
The Shape of Water
Wonder

Best Visual Effects

Bladerunner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Soundtrack

Baby Driver
Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2
Ingrid Goes West
The Disaster Artist
The Shape of Water

Best Song

“This Is Me” Keala Settle and The Greatest Show Ensemble The Greatest Showman
“Remember Me” (Reunion) Anthony Gonzalez, Ana Ofelia Murguía Coco
“Un Poco Loco” Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal Coco
“La Llorona” Alanna Ubach, Antonio Sol Coco
“Proud Corazón” Anthony Gonzalez Coco

Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer(s) of the Year Award(s)

To be announced.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award(s)

To be announced.

Neutron Star Award(s)

To be announced. 

Special Jury Award(s)

To be announced.

2017 BAM Award Shortlists

For the uninitiated here’s the way the shortlist system for my BAM Awards works:

  • This year I tracked eligible titles on my Letterboxd account.
  • What stood out in award categories was then tracked on a spreadsheet. A field filled out (e.g. Daniel Kaluuya Get Out for Best Actor) is one consideration.
  • The considerations in each category are tallied and if there are are enough, based on the number on nominees I’ll include, a shortlist is created. These lists are below.
  • NOTE: Categories with too few considerations will go straight to nominations and will not have a shortlist.
  • Being a committee of one mistakes are possible. These shortlists are not set in stone but very close.
  • Possible changes to the shortlists that may affect the nomination will be made due to: a) films viewed for the first time from 12/24-12/31 that qualify and b) gross omissions, which I don’t anticipate but are possible.
  • Nominees will be announced on 1/2/2018 and winners announced on 1/9/2018.

Without further adieu here are this years shortlists.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Consideration total: 15
Shortlist: 8

Anton Petzold Rico, Oskar und der Diebstahlstein
Jaden Lieberher It
Jason Ian Drucker Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
Judah Lewis The Babysitter
Noah Jupe Suburbicon

Oakes Fegley Wonderstruck
Peter Dacunha Mommy’s Little Boy
Tom Taylor The Dark Tower

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Considerations: 18
Shortlist: 9

Bryce Gheisar Wonder
Noah Jupe Wonder
Juri Winkler Rico, Oskar und der Diebstahlstein
Finn Wolfhard It
Jack Dylan Grazer It
Chosen Jacobs It
Jeremy Ray Taylor It
Wyatt Oleff It
Jackson Robert Scott It

Best performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

No shortlist

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

No shortlist

Best Youth Ensemble

Considerations: 18
Shortlist: 9

The Glass Castle
It
Castle Shiverstone
Rico, Oskar und der Diebstahlstein
The Beguiled
Wonderstruck
A Bad Moms Christmas
Daddy’s Home 2
Wonder

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Considerations: 35
Shortlist: 17

Betty Buckley Split
Candice Bergen Home Again
Carla Juri Blade Runner 2049
Carrie Fisher Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Catherine Keener Get Out
Elizabeth Olsen Wind River
Goldie Hawn Snatched
Holly Hunter The Big Sick
Julia Roberts Wonder
Julianne Moore Suburbicon
Kate Hudson Marshall
Kirsten Dunst The Beguiled
Laurie Metcalf Lady Bird
Melanie Griffith The Disaster Artist
Sharon Stone The Disaster Artist
Michelle Pfeiffer Murder on the Orient Express
Molly Parker 1922

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Considerations: 52
Shortlist: 26

Austin Abrams Brad’s Status
Benny Safdie Good Time
Bill Skarsgård It
Chris Pine Wonder Woman
Colin Farrell Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Dave Franco The Disaster Artist
Dylan Schmid 1922
Gil Birmingham Wind River
Harrison Ford Blade Runner 2049
Henry Thomas Gerald’s Game
Tom Hiddleston Thor: Ragnarok
Josh Gad Marshall
Kurt Russel Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
LilRey Howery Get Out
Mark Hamill Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Mark Rylance Dunkirk
Oscar Isaac Suburbicon
Owen Wilson Wonder
Ray Romano The Big Sick
Robert Downey, Jr. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Jacob Batalon Spider-Man: Homecoming
Michael Keaton Spider-Man: Homecoming
Sterling K. Brown Marshall
Steve Carell Battle of the Sexes
Woody Harrelson Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Sam Rockwell Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Considerations: 40
Shortlist: 20

Barry Pepper 1922
Bruce Greenwood Gerald’s Game
Chadwick Boseman Marshall
Charlie Hunnam The Lost City of Z
Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Daniel Kaluuya Get Out
Denzel Washington Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Idris Elba The Mountain Between Us
Jake Gyllenhaal Stronger
James Franco The Disaster Artist
James McAvoy Split
Kumail Nanjiani The Big Sick
Matt Damon Suburbicon
Oscar Isaac Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Robert De Niro The Wizard of Lies
Robert Pattinson Good Time
Ryan Gosling Blade Runner 2049
Steve Carell Brad’s Status
Steve Coogan The Dinner
Tom Holland Spider-Man: Homecoming

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Considerations: 24
Shortlist: 12

Anya Taylor-Joy Split
Aubrey Plaza Ingrid Goes West
Carla Gugino Gerald’s Game
Daisy Ridley Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Elizabeth Olsen Wind River
Frances McDormand Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Gal Gadot Wonder Woman
Haley Lu Richardson Columbus
Kate Winslet The Mountain Between Us
Samara Weaving The Babysitter
Saoirse Ronan Lady Bird
Tatiana Maslany Stronger
Zoe Kazan The Big Sick

Best Cast

Considerations: 25
Shortlist: 12

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Suburbicon
The Big Sick
Marshall
The Beguiled
Get Out
The Disaster Artist
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Glass Castle
It
Wonder
Wind River
Columbus

Best Picture

Shortlist: 18 films (or more)
Nominees: 10

Coco
The Big Sick
Get Out
It
Split
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Blade Runner 2049
Baby Driver
Wonderstruck
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Wonder
Wind River
Lady Bird
1922
Wonder Woman
Dunkirk
Columbus

Best Director

Considerations: 17
Shortlist: None

Best Original Screenplay

Considerations: 17
Shortlist: 8

Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani The Big Sick
Edgar Wright Baby Driver
Greta Gerwig Lady Bird
Jordan Peele Get Out
Lee Unkrich & Jason Katz & Matthew Aldrich & Adrian Morris Coco
M. Night Shyamalan Split
Martin McDonagh Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Taylor Sheridan Wind River

Best Adapted Screenplay

Considerations: 10
Shortlist: None

Best Cinematography

Considerations: 24
Shortlist: 12

Ben Davis Three Billbords Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Ben Richardson 1922
Ben Richardson Wind River
Chung-hoon Chung It
Edward Lachman Wonderstruck
Hoyte van Hoytema Dunkirk
Mandy Walker The Mountain Between Us
Phillippe Le Sourde The Beguiled
Rasmus Vidbræk The Dark Tower
Roger A. Deakins Blade Runner 2049
Sean Price Williams Good Time
Steve Yedlin Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Foreign Language Film

Not enough films to qualify. Maybe a jury award.

Most Overlooked Film

Considerations: 10
Shortlist: None

Best Documentary

Jury Prize – No shortlist

Best Score

NOTE: This category lacks a shortlist owing to the need to revisit several scores before making final decisions.

Considerations: 22
Shortlist: None

Best (Original) Song

Considerations: 8
Shortlist: None

Best Costume Design

Considerations: 27
Shortlist: 13

Murder on the Orient Express
It
Wonderstruck
Dunkirk
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Dark Tower
A Dog’s Purpose
Wonder Woman
The Lost City of Z
The Beguiled
Marshall
Victoria & Abdul

Best Makeup

Considerations: 27
Shortlist: 13

It
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Dark Tower
Wonder
1922
Annabelle: Creation
Split
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Gerald’s Game
The Babysitter
LBJ
Jigsaw

Best Visual Effects

Considerations: 18
Shortlist: 9

Alien: Covenant
Blad Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
It
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Dark Tower
War for the Planet of the Apes

 

Best Art Direction

Considerations: 22
Shortlist: 11

1922
Alien: Covenant
Beauty and the Beast
Blade Runner 2049
Columbus
It
Murder on the Orient Express
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Dark Tower
Victoria & Abdul
Wonderstruck

Best Soundtrack

Considerations: 14
Shortlist: None

Best Editing

Considerations: 21
Shortlist: 10

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Columbus
Get Out
It
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Dark Tower
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Wind River
Wonderstruck

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Considerations: 16
Shortlist: 8

Baby Driver
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
It
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Dark Tower
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder Woman
Wonderstruck

 

Best Films of 2016

Typically I post the best films of the year as a series of posts where I write about each individually. Since I didn’t see enough films in 2016 to make more than a top 10, and that list is reflected and discussed in the BAM Awards. I post merely a screencap of my Letterboxd list, in case anyone is curious as to the order the films appear in.

bestof2016

2016 BAM Awards: Honorary Awards

Robert Downey, Jr. Entertainer of the Year Awards

Dwayne Johnson

hbo-ballers-dwayne-johnson-the-rock-car

To say that I never expected when he was making a name for himself in the WWE that I’d one day award Dwayne Johnson anything would be an understatement.

However, with the second season of the HBO show BallersCentral Intelligence, and one of the bigger Gray Area films of the year, Moana.

Johnson has come a long way, but has always seemed a parallel on a higher plain than another honoree on this page.

It was a great year for him, he has three big 2017 films and has become one of the more enjoyable personalities onscreen and one of the few movie stars.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Paris Agreement For Climate Change Signing

In an indicator of my 2016, both the men I chose as entertainers of the year, have additions to the Gray Area. With DiCaprio it is The Ivory Game that is in that category. His award is more a behind the scenes one, specifically in the link between The Revenant and Before the Flood which created a personal narrative in a macrocosmic view that enlightened and enlivened both.

DiCaprio is also one of a notable few (recently Emma Watson also has) speakers at the UN who are using their celebrity for some good.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Awards

If there was one thing that 2016 showed the world, it’s that there should not be a limitation on appreciation. While my lifetime awards want to try to award those “not on their deathbed” it’s become even clearer to all that there are not guarantees and being too premature awarding in a category like this is not the end of the world.

In that spirit I picked two this year, and may find a way to squeeze in three for 2017. Here they are:

John Williams

johnwilliams-1050x700

50 Academy Award Nominations.

5 Oscars.

Nearly all of Spielberg’s credits.

The basis upon which the scoring of Star Wars and Harry Potter scores are built by others.

3 BAM Awards (1997, 2001, and 2002).

7 BAM Award Nominations.

Countless other memorable moments. Clearly deserving and frankly overdue.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

arnold-schwarzenegger-election-speech-fhm

Movie stardom is a rare commodity now it seems, and Schwarzenegger definitely has always had that kind of magnetism.

However, after serving two terms as the governor of California, in 2011, as Arnold Schwarzenegger started to appear on the big screen again, I realized something: I’d missed him on-screen. 2016 was an off-year in as much as most of what he’s worked on lately will be out in 2017 and beyond, which is part of the tradition I like to follow (to have things forthcoming of note like (TripletsThe Legend of ConanJourney to China: Mystery of the Iron MaskAftermathWhy We’re Killing Gunther and more) but he still managed to make people take notice:

But while that brought entertainment value to his now-too-rare, sane conservatism this is not a political trophy. Since 2011 he has returned to the Terminator franchise (in which he was far superior to the narrative of the most recent film), delivered perhaps his best performance in Maggie, not only cemented his action legacy but muscled his way into Liam Neeson’s action niche, and, of course, we all know what he was to action in the ’80s.

Neutron Star Awards

10498930_1

Walter Lantz

One series of viewings I was able to achieve was to watch my Woody Woodpecker box set this year. I always was a fan of that cast of characters, from my childhood, but I had gotten to such a removed perspective from having seen them that I thought it might’ve been mythologized nostalgia.

In finding things about Lantz, those characters (especially the secondary ones), I see that was not the case. There are more out there to find, they should not be overlooked, and I’ll be glad to see them. This man on a smaller scale made a world of characters to take note of. Not just Woody but Andy Panda, Chilly Willy, Wally Walrus, Buzz Buzzard, and others.

Qusai Abtini

aptopix-mideast-syria-child-actor

In a better world I never would’ve learned who Qusai Abtini was, in a better world the show he was one wouldn’t have needed to exist. However, it also shows the power of the arts as escapism, even when the comedy is very close-to-home.

Abtini starred in Um Abdou Aleppan, a sitcom started in 2014 in Aleppo’s rebel section, the first production to start as so:

A Syrian sitcom which takes place in one of the historic stone houses in the old city of Aleppo and in which all the roles are played by children has lost one of its stars this month: a tragic reality that has intruded on the innocence of the show. A 14-year-old boy Qusai Abtini, was killed when a missile struck the car he was in as he tried to escape Aleppo. Fresh-faced with a toothy grin and thick black hair, Abtini had become a local celebrity. His life and death underscored the suffering of Aleppans. Their city was once the commercial center of Syria with a thriving, unique culture. It has now been torn to pieces by fighting, with whole neighborhoods left in ruin. since the summer of 2012, when Aleppo split into rebel- and government-held districts and the two sides turned on each other, tens of thousands in the city have been killed. 14 year-old Qusai Abtini is now one of the killed.

Special Jury Awards

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

When I was young, in my teens most likely (based on how it looked in my mind) I daydreamed about death being no obstacle to a casting decision. Is a Ghost-Peter Cushing ready to headline a film? No, but knowing it would be there, it still had me in the first scene and I was surprised that they went there so much. It is marvelous.

tarkin-palpatine-and-vader-in-revenge-of-the-sith

Debra Paget, For Example

tumblr_o5cp93nqzf1qbhnrvo1_500

wins this award for exemplary for artistry of the video essay, and the best short of 2016. It was previously reviewed here.

This film is available to view on Fandor.

2016 BAM Award Winners

2016 BAM Award Winners

In 2016 it was likely the year with fewest qualified films since I was a teenager. Having said that I only held back in fully nominating categories. Looking at this like a film festival, the program size can shrink or increase but the nominees and honorees are still the crème de la crème.

Honorees are pictured.

I’ll update this post live. If the list is incomplete when you visit. Check back!

Best Song

“Equal Rights” Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Atticus Schaffer, and Pink Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

“Incredible Thoughts” Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Atticus Schaffer, Michael Bolton, and Justin Timberlake (as Mr. Fish) Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

“Turn Up the Beef” Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, Atticus Schaffer, and Emma Stone Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

“Can’t Stop the Feeling (Film Version)” Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Kunal Nayyar Trolls

“I Wan’na Be Like You” Christopher Walken The Jungle Book“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” Regina Spektor Kubo and the Two Strings

and the award goes to…

img_3387

An honorable mention definitely goes to Christopher Walken’s marvelous rendition of “I Wan’na be Like You.”

Odds were always in Popstar‘s favor earning three nominations. However, “Turn Up the Beef” aside from catchiness, hilarity, and featuring Emma Stone; features the infamous “catch-phrase” verse which plays a huge role in the narrative.

It is the first BAM Award for Samberg, Schaffer, and Taccone. The second for Stone.

Best Soundtrack 

Aquarius
Die Boskampi’s
Keanu
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
The River Thief

And the award goes to…

img_3387

Last year I admitted I should’ve had this category back in this mix. This year I followed through. While many didn’t jump out, I liked all the nominees immensely. I got Popstar almost immediately, they’re catchy, I like the lyrics, and it still makes me laugh; and even in its stupidity it is also commenting on things, so that’s a bonus.

Best Visual Effects

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Pete’s Dragon
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

And the award goes to…

img_3482

Rogue One did a lot very well, and stood out with fewer weaknesses than the other films. More on this later…

Best Makeup

O Diabo Mora Aqui
Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The Revenant
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

And the award goes to…

Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie

img_3399

I tried to avoid having a movie about Donald Trump’s insipid book win anything. Believe me. As funny as it is, I was somewhat afraid he’d take it as a compliment. However, making Johnny Depp look like a circa 1987 Trump is a pretty YUGE feat. So YUGE it can’t be ignored. Kind of like Russian hacking.

Best Costume Design

Der Bunker
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The Revenant
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

And the award goes to…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

img_3408

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children just did more and better; it hit the trifecta (period, fantasy, and contemporary design) and was gorgeous in doing so.

Best Art Direction

Aquarius
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
The Jungle Book
Rogue One: Star Wars Story

And the award goes to…

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

img_3412

In a similar way to its costume design, but on a grander scale, and in a terrestrial fantasy tale Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children does wonders.

Best Cinematography

Jarin Blascke The Witch
Greig Fraser Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Emmanuel Lubezki The Revenant
Wolfgang Thaler Theeb
Pedro Sotero, Fabricio Tadeu Aquarius

And the award goes to…

Emmanuel Lubezki The Revenant

img_3418

All of these films had tremendous images that helped in telling their stories, The Revenant was replete with them.

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Captain America: Civil War
The Jungle Book
The Revenant
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Witch

And the award goes to…

The Jungle Book

img_3423

Rewatching this at home recently really drove home how immersive and real the sound design and mix for this film was, essential in creating Mowgli’s jungle.

Best Editing

Brett Granato, Maya Mumma, and Ben Sozanski O.J.: Made in America
John Gilroy, Colin Goudie, and Jabez Olssen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt Captain America: Civil War
Louise Ford The Witch
Eduardo Serrano Aquarius

And the award goes to…

Brett Granato, Maya Mumma, and Ben Sozanski O.J.: Made in America

img_3428

This film is like a book in its detail, complexity, and plotting (the length helps) but it moves effortlessly like a long harrowing nightmare. It’s incredible and documentary editing is a daunting task. Well done indeed.

Best Score

Jerry Lane Theeb
Andrew Lockington Incarnate
Mogwai, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Gabriel Satolalla Before the Flood
Mark Korven The Witch
Dominic Lewis Money Monster

And the award goes to…

img_3480

This is always such a hard category to chose. Ultimately those shortlisted match the action well, and the nominees do that plus add a unique twist of some kind to its music. The Witch‘s music feels like a throwback like the film and it works brilliantly.

Best Adapted Screenplay

David Lowery & Toby Holbrooks, Malcolm Marmostein, Seton I. Miller and S.S. Field Pete’s Dragon
Justin Marks and Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book
Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Mark Millar Captain America: Civil War
Anders Øholm and Kenneth Bøgh Andersen Antboy 3
Christ Weitz, Tony Gilroy and John Knoll, Gary Whitta and George Lucas Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

And the award goes to…

Pete’s Dragon

img_3434

If you not only improve on the original but create something vastly different and superior, you get what Disney did with Pete’s Dragon. As a double-feature they’s be quite a contrast, but what is contained in the new version is special independent of that comparison, and why it stands tall above the rest of the field.

Best Original Screenplay

Robert Eggers The Witch
Nikias Chryssos Der Bunker
Byron Howard & Rich Moore & Jared Bush & Jim Reardon & Josie Trinidad & Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee; Jared Bush & Phil Johnston Zootopia
Kleber Mendonça Filho Aquarius
J.K. Rowling Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

And the award goes to…

Nikias Chryssos Der Bunker

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Some quotes from my review may explain why I chose this film:

Der Bunker is a film that almost needs to be seen to be conveyed but here goes nothing; I will begin by quoting the great John Waters in saying “Get more out of life. See a fucked up movie.”

In summation:

Der Bunker is a comedy that’s great for a laugh but it is of the far-too-rare variety in this day and age that makes you think as well.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Beau Gadsdon Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Astrid Juncher-Benzon Antboy 3
Oona Laurence Pete’s Dragon
Alexa Nisenson Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Faith Wood-Blagrove Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

And the award goes to…

Alexa Nisenson Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

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These girls are all spectacular in their roles but Alexa Nisenson breaks out when Middle School changes gears and tales it to an unexpected level and completely steals the show.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Thomas Barbusca Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Samuel Ting Graf Antboy 3
Isaiah Tootoosis The Revenant
Harvey Scrimshaw The Witch
Emjay Anthony Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie
David Mazouz Incarnate

And the award goes to…

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I couldn’t narrow this category to five as there were six very deserving nominees, but this award was sealed on my first viewing of this film in what is nothing short of a breathtaking performance. To say more would be to spoil The Witch.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Gabriel Bateman Lights Out
Thor Braun De Boskampi’s
Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat Theeb
Oakes Fegley Pete’s Dragon
Daniel Huttlestone London Town
Neel Sethi The Jungle Book

And the award goes to…

Daniel Huttlestone London Town

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This is another packed category, and any number of the actors could have been chosen. Many of these kids worked alone quite a bit, carried the films they were in, and had tough work to do. However, in a manner of degrees Daniel Huttlestone edges it out.

After his breakout in Les Miserables I wouldn’t have been surprised to find myself awarding Dan Huttlestone, but what was a minor upset is that while this film is musical he does not sing in this one. He plays some quite heightened scenes and conveys world-weariness, youthful enthusiasm of new things with sensativity.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Ruby Barnhill The BFG
Jessi Goei Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Isabela Moner Legends of the Hidden Temple
Madison Wolfe The Conjuring 2
Lulu Wilson Ouija: The Origin of Evil
And the award goes to…

Madison Wolfe The Conjuring 2

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It’s commonplace for British actors to fool American audiences into believing that they are  from our country. It’s a rarer feat for the opposite to be true, even more rare for a young performer. That combined with her intensity and control is why Madison Wolfe gets the win in a highly talented field.

Best Youth Ensemble

Oona Laurence, Emjay Anthony, Cade Mansfield Cooksey, Ava Alyse Anthony, Kennedy Anthony, Cameron Avants, Gabriel Byrd, Queen Byrd, Parker Hankins, Pixie Hankins, and Zach Mooney Bad Moms
Thor Braun, Rick Lens, Thijn Brobbel, Luciano Hiwat, Dylan Pijper, Joes Brauers, Maas Bronkhuyzen, and Dennis Reinsma De Boskampi’s
Adam Greaves-Neil, Gabriele Dentoni, Niccolò Alaimo, and Finn McLeod Ireland The Young Messiah
Isabela Moner, Jet Jurgensmeyer, and Colin Critchley Legends of the Hidden Temple
Griffin Gluck, Thomas Barbusca, Alexa Nisenson, Jessi Goei, Jacob Hopkins, Patrick Fagan, and Isabela Moner, Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life
Oscar Dietz, Amalie Kruse Jensen, Samuel Ting Graf, Astrid Juncher-Benzon, and Cecile AsturpTarp Antboy 3

And the award goes to…

De Boskampi’s

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These were all talented and deep casts. What propelled De Boskampi’s (The Little Gangster) to the win is that many cast members in this film were leads in prior projects and all brought it here, some in roles rather different than they previously had. They’re funny with spot-on timing, and serious when they have to be. It’s worth looking for this one.

Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Fripan Der Bunker
Tom Hardy The Revenant
Tom Holland Captain America: Civil War
Jack O’Connell Money Monster
Will Poulter The Revenant

And the award goes to…

Daniel Fripan Der Bunker

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In that same review I compare Fripan to a performance that came over thirty years prior that is iconic. That is how an extremely capable field is topped.

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bello Lights Out
Tiffany Haddish Keanu
Kathryn Hahn Bad Moms
Anna Kendrick Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Frances O’Connor The Conjuring 2

And the award goes to…

Kathryn Hahn Bad Moms

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This field is great, and mostly comedic, but I was unafraid of including comedy and horror this year. The most scene-stealingest, tour de force of the year in a I’ll-make-this-better-all-by-myself-if-I-have-to way was Hahn’s in this movie. The good news for Bad Moms is that it is pretty damn funny aside from her. She takes it above and beyond.

Best Actor

Joel Courtney The River Thief
Johnny Depp Donald Trump’s The Art the Deal: The Movie
Joshua Dickinson The Mirror
Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant
Diego Luna Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Andy Samberg Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

And the award goes to…

Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant

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First, yes, this is a six-nominee category again. Two of the nominees had only the strike against them that they are young. I did not want to hold that against them. There is validity to the argument that you don’t want Best Actor to turn into “Most Acting” but as opposed to the live-wire DiCaprio I loved seeing every so often this was an altogether new one, a borderline transcendent one, and that’s why I chose him as the recipient.

Best Actress

Sonia Braga Aquarius
Raleigh Cain The River Thief
Toni Collette Glassland
Anya Taylor-Joy The Witch
Oona Von Maydell Der Bunker

And the award goes to…

Sonia Braga Aquarius

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There is great potential in Cain and Taylor-Joy. Collette is a dynamo and Von Maydell a revelation, but one woman ran away with this: Sonia Braga.

When I heard this film was coming around, then that Sonia Braga was in it; I was pumped. Yes, I’m Brazilian but it’s been far too long since I saw her in a role of significance. More recently I’d seen her daughter Alice make a small splash here in the US. With this coming out of Brazil and her appearing on Luke Cage (which I need to see) it’s a bounceback for one of Brazil’s, and the world’s, finest actresses. But this is not a glorified achievement award. She is absolute dynamite in this film and jumps off the screen with cool, resolved, steel, rarely big, always connected, and intense; it’s masterful.

Best Cast

Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Renner, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Tom Holland, Daniel Brühl, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Martin Freeman, Marisa Tomei, John Kani, John Slattery, Hope Davis, and Alfre Woodard in Captain America: Civil War

Pedro Caetano, Pedro Carvalho, Mariana Cortines, Diego Goullart, Ivo Müller, Sidney Santiago, Clara Verdier in O Diabo Mora Aqui

Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccona, Sarah Silverman, Tim Meadows, Maya Rudolph, Joan Cusack, Imogen Poots, Chris Redd, Evan Fine, Max Jenkins, Elliot Smith, Ringo Starr, Simon Cowell, Mariah Carey, Pink, Kevin Nealon, Mario Lopez, Will Arnett, Bill Hader, Eric André, Paul Scheer, Will Forte, Weird Al, Michael Bolton, Emma Stone, Justin Timberlake , etc. in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Joshua Burge, Duane Howard, Melaw Nakehk’o, Fabrice Adde, Arthur RedCloud, Christopher Rosamund, Robert Moloney, Lukas Haas, and Isaiah Tootoosis in The Revenant

Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen, Wen Jiang, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Henry, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen, Jimmy Smits, Alistair Petrie, James Earl Jones, Anthony Daniels, Warwick Davis, etc. in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

And the award goes to…

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This was another tough one two casts the awarded, and O Diabo Mora Aqui (The Devil Lives Here), whom had no glaring weakness. This cast extracted that much more pathos and gravitas in their work and moved me in a way I’d not been moved in this series beforehand. Spectacular work.

Best Director

Nikias Chryssos Der Bunker
Ezra Edelman O.J.: Made in America
Gareth Edwards Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Robert Eggers The Witch
Kleber Mendonça Filho Aquarius

And the award goes to…

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One thing that can play into these awards is improbability: if you told me some time ago that there would be a rather different take on a Star Wars film, in a spin-off mode, and that would deepen and enrich the myth, address some overarching concerns but still remain mostly autonomous, I’d have say you were crazy. Edwards overcame all that, the weight of expectation and brought som innovation to the film in other ways, too.

Best Documentary

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The honorable mention is for Before the Flood but O.J.: Made in a America is truly something special.

Most Overlooked Picture

Antboy 3
De Boskampi’s
Der Bunker
O Diabo Mora Aqui
The River Thief

And the award goes to…

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Typically this award had gone to films without US distribution. This time the one that deserves a wider audience most won out. For more on why The River Thief fits the bill check my review.

Best Foreign Film

Antboy 3
Aquarius
De Boskampi’s
Der Bunker
O Diabo Mora Aqui

And the award goes to…

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The tale of a woman who is the last holdout in her would-be gentrified apartment building sounds like a simple tale one that couldn’t be elaborated on too much or be that great, but the brilliance of this film is it realizes how to fit thoughts and dramatic expressions on many things into one cohesive story. Mesmerizing work.

Best Picture

Aquarius
Before the Flood
Der Bunker
O.J.: Made in America
Pete’s Dragon
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
The Revenant
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
The Witch

And the award goes to…

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I’m not going to expect Star Wars to change the game every decade or so, but sure enough after the installment that made me get it, there comes that makes me want to go all in for the anthology titles. Bring them!

NOTE: The honorary awards do not deserve a short shrift, so they will be move to tomorrow (1/10, or later today depending on your time zone).

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