…and the 2019 BAM Awards go to…

Without further ado, here are my honorees for 2019. The honored film and/or performer is in Bold.

Best Picture

Avengers: Endgame

The Goldfinch

It: Chapter 2

Midsommar

Us

No film I saw this year was as layered and as worthy of revisiting.

Most Overlooked Picture

Not awarded.

Is not being awarded this year because the category had morphed into being about films that didn’t have a distributor or were under distributed. I saw no films that qualified in that sense this past year. 

Best Director

Ari Aster Midsommar

John Crowley The Goldfinch

Andy Muschietti It: Chapter 2

Jordan Peele Us

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo Avengers: Endgame

Peele’s vision for this film oozes off this film from the opening frame.

Best Actress 

Jessica Chastain It: Chapter 2

Lupita Nyong’o Us

Aubrey Plaza Child’s Play

Florence Pugh Midsommar

Octavia Spencer Ma

Lupita Nyong’o delivers the two best performances of the year in this film.

Best Actor

Robert Downey, Jr. Avengers: Endgame

Winston Duke Us

Taron Egerton Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix Joker

James Ransone It: Chapter 2

Phoenix is a one-man show and a rather spectacular one at that.

Best Supporting Actress 

Awkwafina Jumanji: The Next Level

Carrie Fisher Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Isabelle Huppert Greta

Nicole Kidman The Goldfinch

Juliette Lewis Ma

Best Supporting Actor

Danny Devito Jumanji: The Next Level

Angus Imrie The Kid Who Would Be King

Samuel L. Jackson Captain Marvel

Will Poulter Midsommar

Bill Skarsgård It: Chapter 2

It’s really not about the de-aging, Sam Jackson steals a lot of this movie.

Best Cast

Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evan, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, et al. Avengers: Endgame

Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Willa Fitzgerald, Finn Wolfhard, Aimee Laurence, Carly Connors, Ryan Foust, Jack DiFalco, Collin Shea Shirrmacher, Nicky Torchia, et al. The Goldfinch

Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Luke Roesseler, Jackson Robert Scott, Sladen Peltier, Sophia Lillis, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, et al. It: Chapter 2

Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Medekwe, Henrik Norlén, et al. Midsommar

Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker Us

What happened with It: Chapter 2 was near-impossible: they found a cast capable of believably being grown-up versions of the Losers and were equally in synch, making it an even more impressive ensemble piece.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Akira Akbar Captain Marvel

Beatrice Kitsos Child’s Play

Sophia Lillis It: Chapter 2

Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen The Curse of La Llorona

Shahadi Wright Joseph Us

As opposed to It: Chapter 2, Us is a much smaller ensemble piece as such much more of the load is shouldered by each cast member. Shahadi Wright Joseph and her counterpart interact quite a bit carrying much of that load.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Evan Alex Us

Gabriel Bateman, Child’s Play

Oakes Fegley The Goldfinch

Jackson Robert Scott The Prodigy

Louis Ashbourne Serkis The Kid Who Would Be King

To give a film called The Prodigy a chance to work requires a prodigious performance. Jackson Robert Scott here fully displays the abilities that the It films only hinted at.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Rhianna Dorris The Kid Who Would Be King

McKenna Grace Captain Marvel

Faithe Herman Shazam!

Aimee Laurence The Goldfinch

Finley Rose Slater Playing with Fire

Rhianna Dorris’s character is one half of a tandem of reluctant heroes and plays the most nuanced of the young characters beautifully.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role 

Dean Chaumoo The Kid Who Would Be King

Jack Dylan Grazer Shazam!

Marcel Ruiz Breakthrough

Jackson Robert Scott It: Chapter 2

Tom Taylor The Kid Who Would Be King

Considering the synopsis Ruiz had more screen time than I anticipated, his performance is powerful, truthful, and indelible.

Best Youth Ensemble

Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Izaac Wang, Millie Davis, Christian Darrel Scott, Macie Juiles Good Boys

Oakes Fegley, Finn Wolfhard, Aimee Laurence, Carly Connors, Ryan Foust, Jack DiFalco, Collin Shea Shirrmacher, Nicky Torchia, The Goldfinch

Jack Dylan Grazer, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Luke Roesseler, Jackson Robert Scott, Sladen Peltier, Sophia Lillis, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, It: Chapter 2

Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Dean Chaumoo, Rhianna Dorris, The Kid Who Would Be King

Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Ethan Pugiotto, Landon Doak, David Kohlsmith Shazam!

There were additional young cast members this time who also had their moments, so yes, they win an encore prize because they’re spectacular.

Best Original Screenplay

Ari Aster Midsommar

Joe Cornish The Kid Who Would Be King

Lee Hall Rocketman

Jennifer Lee Frozen II

Jordan Peele Us

Once again Peele’s singular vision is allowed shine as he brings his own concept to the screen, this time with a greater degree of success that in his previous endeavor.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely Avengers: Endgame

Tyler Burton Smith, Don Mancini, John Lafia and Tom Holland Child’s Play

Peter Straughan and Donna Tartt The Goldfinch

Gary Dauberman and Stephen King It: Chapter 2

Christ McKenna & Erik Sommers Spider-Man: Far from Home

Dauberman’s task this time around is no less enviable than it was the first time around. The characters, so well-created before, must now be presented in two versions and are executed equally well.

Best Score

Michael Abels Us

Joseph Bishara The Prodigy

Trevor Gureckis The Goldfinch

Bobby Krlic Midsommar

John Williams Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

To create an economy of words I’ve avoided citing all nominees in my explications. Here I cannot do that. Joseph Bishara is vastly underrated and I watched the credits to see what that Hungarian tune was and was stunned he wrote it. Gureckis’s work is lyrical. Krlic’s score is haunting and Williams’ work is his best in the series in the new trilogy. However, Abels’ work is ominous, pervasive, and has lingered with me.

Best Editing

Jason Ballantine It: Chapter 2

Kelley Dixon The Goldfinch

Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt Avengers: Endgame

Lucian Johnstone Midsommar

Nicholas Monsour Us

The pas de deux sequence is what sealed it for me.

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Avengers: Endgame

It: Chapter 2

Midsommar

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Us

The sound mix is a large part of what makes this film so unsettling.

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins The Goldfinch

Mike Gioulakis Us

Pavel Pogorzelski Midsommar

Lawrence Sher Joker

Checco Varese It: Chapter 2

There aren’t many flashy vistas and the setpieces alternate between opulent New York society, Amsterdam, and quasi-abandoned sections of Las Vegas but with Deakins light and shadow are the stars always.

Best Costume Design

Julian Day Rocketman

Andrea Flesch Midsommar

Sanja Milkovic Hays Captain Marvel

Luis Sequeira It: Chapter 2

Jany Tamime The Kid Who Would Be King

Taking on Elton John as a costumer is no easy task, even less so when you have represent him on stage and off as well as varying time periods with other characters.

Best Art Direction

Avengers: Endgame

The Goldfinch

It: Chapter 2

Midsommar

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

The key to suspension of disbelief in this film is selling the location and how the characters hand themselves freely to it, a large part of that is accomplished through the intricate and beautiful art design.

Best Makeup

It: Chapter 2

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Us

Zombieland: Double Tap

Joker

It’s not just about clown paint but also stage blood, TV studio makeup beauty makeups–the variety within the film.

Best Visual Effects

Avengers: Endgame

Midsommar

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

What this film did so impressively is that it put cartoon characters in a real world and made them look as real, like cartoon characters would if they could walk off screen.

Best Soundtrack

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Happy Death Day 2U

Jumanji: The Next Level

Playing with Fire

Rocketman

Sure, it’s easy to say the music of Elton John is the soundtrack of the year. But the songs are re-recorded and rearranged, sung by his character at three ages, and at the end Taron Egerton’s version of a song blends almost seamlessly into Elton’s.

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

Tom Holland

Tom Holland (/GQ)

Holland’s appearances as Spider-Man continue to be stellar. One of the litmus tests of my Entertainer of the Year Award are appearances through the year. Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home took care of the spring and summer appearances. At Christmas he leant his impressive voice talent to Spies in Disguise. What about the fall? Well, when it appeared Spider-Man was doomed to cinematic limbo outside the MCU after Disney and Sony couldn’t come to an agreement, he stepped in behind the scenes and helped remedy that situation. It was the kind of movie news needed this year.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award(s)

George Lucas

George Lucas’s credentials need hardly be listed here. He was the architect of the Star Wars franchise and one the architects of the Indiana Jones franchise. And, of course, there are his tech innovations with THX, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. Normally, I want my honoree of this award to have a credit in the year of his/her honoring. Lucas does and his contribution is unconventional: of course, he’s credited with “Based on characters created by” but he also helped shape the ending which I loved.

Neutron Star Award(s)

Gunnar Björnstrand

In my viewing and re-viewing of Bergman films this past year I came to appreciate more fully the actors the he frequently worked with, none more so than Björnstrand who appeared in his works from 1944 to 1983

Special Jury Award(s)

None.

2019 BAM Award Nominations

Much of what I wrote in last year‘s intro applies this year: There were not monthly considerations posts or shortlists this year. However, I have been tracking eligible titles I’ve seen on Letterboxd. There you’d see that my viewings of eligible titles (and films in general) dipped. It went down to about the level it was when I started making these as a high school student. 

That quote is true in many ways and sometimes life happens and the releases viewed slow down by choice, circumstance or both. This year was a lot of both. Many things I prioritized highly I didn’t get to see, but as I realized a few years ago when posting these awards on my blog these awards are kind of like a yearbook. They may include many films or few, all the awards contenders or none, some I wrote on extensively and many I did not; these awards are my attempt to encapsulate what impressed me and why. 

Whom I select and why will be announced on January 11th. So without further ado, here are this year’s nominees…

Best Picture

Avengers: Endgame

The Goldfinch

It: Chapter 2

Midsommar

Us

Most Overlooked Picture

Not awarded.

Best Director

Ari Aster Midsommar

John Crowley The Goldfinch

Andy Muschietti It: Chapter 2

Jordan Peele Us

Anthony Russo and Joe Russo Avengers: Endgame

Best Actress 

Jessica Chastain It: Chapter 2

Lupita Nyong’o Us

Aubrey Plaza Child’s Play

Florence Pugh Midsommar

Octavia Spencer Ma

Best Actor

Robert Downey, Jr. Avengers: Endgame

Winston Duke Us

Taron Egerton Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix Joker

James Ransone It: Chapter 2

Best Supporting Actress 

Awkwafina Jumanji: The Next Level

Carrie Fisher Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Isabelle Huppert Greta

Nicole Kidman The Goldfinch

Juliette Lewis Ma

Best Supporting Actor

Danny Devito Jumanji: The Next Level

Angus Imrie The Kid Who Would Be King

Samuel L. Jackson Captain Marvel

Will Poulter Midsommar

Bill Skarsgård It: Chapter 2

Best Cast

Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evan, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Brie Larson, Tom Holland, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, et al. Avengers: Endgame

Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Willa Fitzgerald, Finn Wolfhard, Aimee Laurence, Carly Connors, Ryan Foust, Jack DiFalco, Collin Shea Shirrmacher, Nicky Torchia, et al. The Goldfinch

Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Bill Skarsgård, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Luke Roesseler, Jackson Robert Scott, Sladen Peltier, Sophia Lillis, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, et al. It: Chapter 2

Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren, William Jackson Harper, Will Poulter, Ellora Torchia, Archie Medekwe, Henrik Norlén, et al. Midsommar

Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright-Joseph, Evan Alex, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker Us

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Akira Akbar Captain Marvel

Beatrice Kitsos Child’s Play

Sophia Lillis It: Chapter 2

Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen The Curse of La Llorona

Shahadi Wright Joseph Us

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Evan Alex Us

Gabriel Bateman, Child’s Play

Oakes Fegley The Goldfinch

Jackson Robert Scott The Prodigy

Louis Ashbourne Serkis The Kid Who Would Be King

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Rhianna Dorris The Kid Who Would Be King

McKenna Grace Captain Marvel

Faithe Herman Shazam!

Aimee Laurence The Goldfinch

Finley Rose Slater Playing with Fire

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role 

Dean Chaumoo The Kid Who Would Be King

Jack Dylan Grazer Shazam!

Marcel Ruiz Breakthrough

Jackson Robert Scott It: Chapter 2

Tom Taylor The Kid Who Would Be King

Best Youth Ensemble

Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, Brady Noon, Izaac Wang, Millie Davis, Christian Darrel Scott, Macie Juiles Good Boys

Oakes Fegley, Finn Wolfhard, Aimee Laurence, Carly Connors, Ryan Foust, Jack DiFalco, Collin Shea Shirrmacher, Nicky Torchia, The Goldfinch

Jack Dylan Grazer, Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Luke Roesseler, Jackson Robert Scott, Sladen Peltier, Sophia Lillis, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, It: Chapter 2

Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Tom Taylor, Dean Chaumoo, Rhianna Dorris, The Kid Who Would Be King

Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Ethan Pugiotto, Landon Doak, David Kohlsmith Shazam!

Best Original Screenplay

Ari Aster Midsommar

Joe Cornish The Kid Who Would Be King

Lee Hall Rocketman

Jennifer Lee Frozen II

Jordan Peele Us

Best Adapted Screenplay

Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely Avengers: Endgame

Tyler Burton Smith, Don Mancini, John Lafia and Tom Holland Child’s Play

Peter Straughan and Donna Tartt The Goldfinch

Gary Dauberman and Stephen King It: Chapter 2

Christ McKenna & Erik Sommers Spider-Man: Far from Home

Best Score

Michael Abels Us

Joseph Bishara The Prodigy

Trevor Gureckis The Goldfinch

Bobby Krlic Midsommar

John Williams Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Editing

Jason Ballantine It: Chapter 2

Kelley Dixon The Goldfinch

Jeffrey Ford and Matthew Schmidt Avengers: Endgame

Lucian Johnstone Midsommar

Nicholas Monsour Us

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Avengers: Endgame

It: Chapter 2

Midsommar

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Us

Best Cinematography

Roger Deakins The Goldfinch

Mike Gioulakis Us

Pavel Pogorzelski Midsommar

Lawrence Sher Joker

Checco Varese It: Chapter 2

Best Costume Design

Julian Day Rocketman

Andrea Flesch Midsommar

Sanja Milkovic Hays Captain Marvel

Luis Sequeira It: Chapter 2

Jany Tamime The Kid Who Would Be King

Best Art Direction

Avengers: Endgame

The Goldfinch

It: Chapter 2

Midsommar

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Makeup

It: Chapter 2

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Us

Zombieland: Double Tap

Joker

Best Visual Effects

Avengers: Endgame

Midsommar

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

The Lion King

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Soundtrack

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Happy Death Day 2U

Jumanji: The Next Level

Playing with Fire

Rocketman

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

To be announced January 11th.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award(s)

To be announced January 11th.

Neutron Star Award(s)

To be announced January 11th.

Special Jury Award(s)

To be announced January 11th.

BAM Award Nominations…Tomorrow

Through 2019 my posts on this site have been sparse, but I have been tracking my viewing and will present my annual BAM Awards I plan to have the full list up tomorrow.

Viewing and posting has been more sparse than 2018 in part due to other writing pursuits. One short story I published can be read here another can be ordered in a magazine here.

The nominations again are from a smaller pool, and from mainly big studio films, but I am putting the same amount or care into selecting nominees as when I’ve had more than twice as many eligible titles. Watch this space as I hope to be a little more active and diversified here this year.

…And the 2018 BAM Award goes to…

Best Picture

eighth_grade_xlg

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

all_these_small_moments_xlg

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

CGITW-7-20-17-116.RAF

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

img_9979

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

img_9988

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

img_9993

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

img_9997

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

new-black-panther-cast-photos-released

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

Eighth Grade - Still 1

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

img_0012 2

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

img_0020

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

a-wrinkle-in-time-movie-review-2018-disney

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

john-carpenter

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

eighth_grade

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

2018 BAM Nominations

Introduction

There were not monthly considerations posts or shortlists this year. However, I have been tracking eligible titles I’ve seen on Letterboxd. There you’d see that my viewings of eligible titles (and films in general) dipped. It went down to about the level it was when I started making these as a high school student. 

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That quote is true in many ways and sometimes life happens and the releases viewed slow down by choice, circumstance or both. This year was a lot of both. Many things I prioritized highly I didn’t get to see, but as I realized a few years ago when posting these awards on my blog these awards are kind of like a yearbook. They may include many films or few, all the awards contenders or none, some I wrote on extensively and many I did not; these awards are my attempt to encapsulate what impressed me and why. 

Whom I select and why will be announced on January 10th. So without further ado, here are this year’s nominees…

Best Picture

A Quiet Place

All These Small Moments

Alpha

Annihilation

Black Panther 

Eighth Grade

Hereditary

Insect

Paddington 2

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

 

Most Overlooked Picture

All These Small Moments

Every Day

The House with a Clock in its Walls

Insect

Mowgli

Best Director

Bo Burnham Eighth Grade

Ryan Coogler Black Panther

Melissa Miller Costanzo All These Small Moments

Alex Garland Annihilation

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Best Actress 

Emily Blunt Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt A Quiet Place

Toni Collette Hereditary 

Jemima Kirke All These Small Moments

Natalie Portman Annihilation

Best Actor

Jason Bateman Game Night

Chadwick Boseman Black Panther

John Krasinski A Quiet Place

Brendan Meyer All These Small Moments

Kodi Smit-McPhee Alpha

Best Supporting Actress 

Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween

Jennifer Jason Leigh Annihilation

Blake Lively A Simple Favor

Molly Ringwald All These Moments

Anya Taylor-Joy Thoroughbreds

Best Supporting Actor

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

Best Cast

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

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Pixie Davies Mary Poppins Returns

Elsie Fisher Eighth Grade

Isabela Moner Instant Family

Storm Reid A Wrinkle in Time

Millicent Simmonds A Quiet Place

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

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

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

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

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role 

Ian Alexander Every Day

Sam McCarthy All These Small Moments

Orton O’Brien Christopher Robin 

Gustavo Quiroz Instant Family

Nathanael Saleh Mary Poppins Returns 

Best Youth Ensemble

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

Best Original Screenplay

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

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 Svankmajer and Karel Capek and Josef Capek Insect

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

Best Score

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

Best Editing

Christopher Tellefsen A Quiet Place

Russell Costanzo and Matt Garner All These Small Moments

Sandra Granovsky Alpha

Andrew Wehde Eighth Grade

Jan Danhel Insect

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Best Cinematography

Dion Beebe Mary Poppins Returns

Charlotte Bruus Christensen A Quiet Place

Martin Gslacht Alpha

Matthias Königsweiser Christopher Robin

Pawel Pogorzelski Hereditary

Best Costume Design

Jenny Beavan Christopher Robin

Ruth E. Carter Black Panther

Veronika Hrubá Insect

Judianna Makovsky Avengers: Infinity War

Sandy Powell Mary Poppins Returns

Best Art Direction

A Quiet Place

Insect 

Mary Poppins Returns

Paddington 2

Hereditary 

Best Makeup

A Wrinkle in Time

Alpha

Black Panther

Halloween

The Predator

Best Visual Effects

A Quiet Place

Alpha

Annihilation

Avengers: Infinity War

Black Panther

Best Soundtrack

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 Whishaw Mary Poppins Returns

“Love Thy Neighbour” Tobago and d’Lime Paddington 2

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

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

To be announced January 10th.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award(s)

To be announced January 10th.

Neutron Star Award(s)

To be announced January 10th.

Special Jury Award(s)

To be announced January 10th. 

 

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.

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.

it

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.

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#WorkingGirl #MelanieGriffith #CarlySimon #meme

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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

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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

lady-bird-laurie-metcalf

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

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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 Wallfisch 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.