There isn’t a shot with all three of them in it and it didn’t seem right to leave one of them out. The best, wittiest and most hilarious film of what was actually a great year for films.

My Top 20

  1. The Favourite
  2. First Man
  3. Roma
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk
  5. A Star is Born
  6. BlackKklansman
  7. Cold War
  8. Black Panther
  9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  10. Mary Poppins Returns
  11. Avengers: Infinity War
  12. Incredibles 2
  13. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  14. Capernaum
  15. A Quiet Place
  16. Stan & Ollie
  17. Shoplifters
  18. Paddington 2
  19. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  20. The Other Side of the Wind

This is the best Top 5 in five years but it’s the best Top 6 since 2006.  In fact, BlackKklansman is the best #6 film since 2005 and one of the best ever.  It’s the best Top 10 since 2007.

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Roma
  • Best Director:  Alfonso Cuarón  (Roma)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  If Beale Street Could Talk  /  Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  • Best Original Screenplay:  First Reformed
  • Best Actor:  Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)  /  Ethan Hawke  (First Reformed)  *
  • Best Actress:  Olivia Colman  (The Favourite)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Richard E. Grant  (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Regina King  (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Best Cinematography:  Roma
  • Best Animated Film:  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Best Foreign Film:  Roma

note:  By my old system, Malek wins by seven points and by my new one, Hawke wins by seven.  Seemed more fair to list them both.  Roma sets a new Consensus record for Cinematography (for wins, noms and points) but like Schindler’s List before it, is kept from a clean sweep by a bizarre loss at the ASC.  Spider-Verse sets new Consensus records for points and wins for a non-Pixar film.

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Green Book
  • Best Director:  Alfonso Cuarón  (Roma)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  BlackKklansman
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Green Book
  • Best Actor: Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody)
  • Best Actress:  Olivia Colman  (The Favourite)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali  (Green Book)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Regina King  (If Beale Street Could Talk)
  • Best Cinematography:  Roma
  • Best Animated Film:  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Best Foreign Film:  Roma

Top 10 Films  (TSPDT):

  1. Roma
  2. Burning
  3. First Reformed
  4. The Favourite
  5. Cold War
  6. Leave No Trace
  7. BlackKklansman
  8. If Beale Street Could Talk
  9. Shoplifters
  10. The Rider

note:  After four Best Picture nominees in 2016 and seven last year, there are only three in the Top 10 this year.  You have to go to #15 to get a fourth and #21 for a fifth while the other three don’t make their list of 50.

Top 10 Films  (Awards Points):

  1. Roma  –  2407
  2. The Favourite  –  1881
  3. A Star is Born  –  1540
  4. Green Book  –  1377
  5. If Beale Street Could Talk  –  1180
  6. Vice  –  1109
  7. Bohemian Rhapsody  –  1043
  8. BlackKklansman  –  1015
  9. Black Panther  –  914
  10. First Man  –  870

note:  Things are all over the place again.  Roma is a little down from the #1 for 2017 but The Favourite and A Star is Born are way down for #2 and 3 and those were already the lowest since 2011 for each.  But it’s only the second time that eight films have hit 1000 points and both Black Panther and First Man hit new highs for their places.  The Top 5 films only account for 62.88% of the Top 10 points, the lowest figure since 1989 and the sixth lowest ever.  The Top 5 had the lowest cumulative total since 2011 while the 6-10 total is the second highest ever (behind only 2012).  That’s not just the matter of there being more points to go around because First Man had 36.14% of the #1 score, the fourth highest percentage ever for a #10 film and the highest since 1989.

Top 10 Films  (2018 Best Picture Awards):

  1. Roma
  2. Green Book
  3. The Favourite
  4. A Star is Born
  5. BlackKklansman
  6. Bohemian Rhapsody
  7. Black Panther
  8. Vice
  9. If Beale Street Could Talk
  10. The Rider

Top 10 Films  (Domestic Box Office Gross):

  1. Black Panther  –  $700.05 mil
  2. Avengers: Infinity War  –  $678.81 mil
  3. Incredibles 2  –  $608.58 mil
  4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom  –  $417.71 mil
  5. Aquaman –  $335.06 mil
  6. Deadpool 2  –  $318.49 mil
  7. The Grinch –  $270.62 mil
  8. Mission: Impossible – Fallout  –  $220.15 mil
  9. Ant-Man and the Wasp  –  $216.64 mil
  10. Bohemian Rhapsody –  $216.19 mil

Note:  For the fourth year in a row the #1 film is a Disney film.  Disney earns more with three films (the top three on the list) than any other studio makes in the whole year.  Three years after becoming the first studio to have two $400 million films in one year and a year after becoming the first studio to have two $500 million films in one year it becomes the first studio to have two $600 million films and it manages to have three.  Incredibles 2 would have been the biggest film in any other except five years and would be the biggest film ever for all other studios except for three and it’s the third biggest film for its studio this year.  All hail to the Disney kings of film grosses.  And don’t try to diminish it by mentioning inflation because all three of those films are in the Top 50 even when adjusted for inflation and the only studio in motion picture history to release three Top 50 films in one year was Universal in 1973 (The Sting, The Exorcist) and Disney had three, in fact three within less than six months.
Black Panther, at 51.97%, has the highest percentage of its worldwide gross from its domestic gross for any domestic #1 in ten years.  This year has the highest ever #2, 3 and 4 and the fourth highest #5, 6 and 7.  The Top 10 does fall just short of 2015 for the highest all-time.  Incredibles accounts for over 15% of the box office, the most for a #3 but M:I accounts for just 5.53%, the worst for a #8 since tracking begins in 1981.
This year I only managed to see six of these films in the theater, though two of them (Black Panther, Avengers) I saw more than once.

Top 10 Films  (Worldwide Box Office Gross):

  1. Avengers: Infinity War  –  $2048.4 mil
  2. Black Panther  –  $1346.9 mil
  3. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom  –  $1309.5 mil
  4. Incredibles 2  –  $1242.8 mil
  5. Aquaman –  $1147.2 mil
  6. Bohemian Rhapsody  –  $899.7 mil
  7. Venom  –  $855.0 mil
  8. Mission: Impossible – Fallout  –  $791.1 mil
  9. Deadpool 2  –  $765.9 mil
  10. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald –  $653.7 mil

Note:  Avengers is the second Disney studio to $2 billion, the first studio to have multiple films reach that level.  Avengers, at $1.36 billion has the highest international gross since Avatar and the third highest ever.
I still saw six of these in the theater with Fantastic Beasts replacing Grinch.  A year after Warners did badly here, they have two films that earn over 70% of their worldwide grosses internationally.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Drama:

  • Best Picture:  First Man
  • Best Director:  Damien Chazelle  (First Man)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Roma
  • Best Actor:  Ryan Gosling  (First Man)
  • Best Actress:  Melissa McCarthy  (Can You Ever Forgive Me)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Richard E. Grant  (Can You Ever Forgive Me)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Regina King  (If Beale Street Could Talk)

Comedy:

  • Best Picture:  The Favourite
  • Best Director:  Yorgos Lanthimos  (The Favourite)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  A Star is Born
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Favourite
  • Best Actor:  Bradley Cooper  (A Star is Born)
  • Best Actress:  Lady Gaga  (A Star is Born)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Sam Elliott  (A Star is Born)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Emma Stone  (The Favourite)

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  The Favourite
  • Best Director:  Damien Chazelle  (First Man)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Best Original Screenplay:  The Favourite
  • Best Actor:  Bradley Cooper  (A Star is Born)
  • Best Actress:  Lady Gaga  (A Star is Born)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Richard E. Grant  (Can You Ever Forgive Me)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Emma Stone  (The Favourite)
  • Best Editing:  First Man
  • Best Cinematography:  First Man
  • Best Original Score:  First Man
  • Best Sound:  First Man
  • Best Art Direction:  Black Panther
  • Best Visual Effects:  First Man
  • Best Sound Editing:  First Man
  • Best Costume Design:  The Favourite
  • Best Makeup:  Black Panther
  • Best Original Song:  “Shallow”  (A Star is Born)
  • Best Animated Film:  Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Best Foreign Film:  Roma

Foreign Films:  Posting this later than in most recent years has helped enormously here.  I am only missing one Oscar nominee (Never Look Away) and two semi-finalists (Birds of Passage, Ayka).  What’s more, this is a very strong year.  Aside from the best Nighthawk winner since at least 2006 (best Oscar winner since 2000), this year, even without those three films has the best Top 5 in five years and the second best since 2004, a Top 5 that is 51 points better than the year before.  If any of those three films (or any of the other 73 Oscar submissions I haven’t seen yet) is even a low ***.5, this year will be the best Top 10 since 2004 with four **** films (Roma, Cold War, Capernaum, Shoplifters) and four ***.5 films (The Cakemaker, The Guilty, Border, Burning).  If I rate Never Look Away at even the lowest *** (or anything higher), this will rank as the best group of Oscar nominees in the category’s history – the Academy definitely got that one right.

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  Mary Poppins Returns
  • Best Line  (comedic):  “You speak Groot?”  “I took it on Asgard.  It was an elective.”  (Bradley Cooper and Chris Hemsworth in Avengers: Infinity War)
  • Best Line  (dramatic):  “You stole my voice.”  (Sam Elliott in A Star is Born)
  • Best Opening:  Incredibles 2
  • Best Ending:  A Star is Born
  • Best Scene:  “Shallow” in A Star is Born
  • Most Gut-Wrenching Scene:  the birth scene in Roma
  • Most Heart-Wrenching Scene:  the ending of A Star is Born
  • Most Terrifying Scene:  trying to stop the noise at the beginning of A Quiet Place
  • Funniest Scene:  the Disney princesses scene in Ralph Breaks the Internet  /  Jack-Jack vs. the raccoon in Incredibles 2
  • Best Use of a Song (comedic):  “A Cover is Not the Book”  in Mary Poppins Returns
  • Best Use of a Song (dramatic):  “Shallow”  in A Star is Born
  • Best Soundtrack:  A Star is Born
  • Best Ensemble:  Vice
  • Funniest Film:  The Favourite
  • Funniest Performance:  Brendan Gleeson in Paddington 2
  • Most Creepily Effective Film:  A Quiet Place
  • Best Guilty Pleasure:  The Meg
  • Most Over-Rated Film:  Vice
  • Worst Film:  Gotti
  • Worst Sequel:  Fifty Shades Freed
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Lady Gaga in A Star is Born
  • Sexiest Performance:  Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow
  • Highest Attractiveness / Acting Ability Ratio:  Dakota Johnson in Fifty Shades Freed
  • Female Star of the Year:  Emily Blunt  (Mary Poppins Returns  /  A Quiet Place)
  • Male Star of the Year:  Bradley Cooper  (A Star is Born  /  Avengers: Infinity War  /  The Mule)
  • Highest Ratio Discrepancy Between Two Performances:  John C. Reilly  (Stan & Ollie  /  Holmes & Watson)
  • Read the Comics, SKIP the Films:  Venom  /  Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
  • Coolest Performance (male):  Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story
  • Coolest Performance (female):  Letitia Wright in Black Panther
  • Best Teaser:  Avengers: Infinity War
  • Best Trailer:  Incredibles 2
  • Best Tagline:  “Every con has its pros”  (Ocean’s 8)
  • Best Cameo:  Stan Lee in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Funniest Cameo:  Brad Pitt in Deadpool 2
  • Best Animated Character Performance:  Shameik Moore in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Best Motion Capture Performance:  Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Solo: A Star Wars Story

Film History:  Shoplifters wins the Palme d’Or at Cannes (and then becomes the first winner to earn an Oscar nom for Best Foreign Film in six years).  A year after The Shape of Water becomes just the third Golden Lion to earn an Oscar nom for Best Picture, Roma does it.  The Miseducation of Cameron Post wins the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.  If Beale Street Could Talk is the big winner at the Indie Spirits.  Holmes & Watson “wins” the Razzie which it deserved just for the idea that Will Ferrell should play Sherlock.

In February we lose John Mahoney and composer Jóhann Jóhannson.  French actress Stéphane Audran dies at age 85.  Isao Takahata, who gave us one of the most moving, depressing films ever made (The Grave of the Fireflies) dies in April and Oscar winner Miloš Forman the following week.  Brilliant editor Anne V. Coates dies in April.  A few days later, Margot Kidder dies, prompting a text to my brother: “Who would have thought that Lex Luthor would outlive both Superman and Lois Lane?”  Neil Simon finally stops writing plays.  Burt Reynolds who outlived his career multiple times, finally doesn’t.  Stan Lee dies but his cameos keep coming.  November sees the loss of brilliant screenwriter and total old guy on a lawn, William Goldman.  Nicolas Roeg dies and I’m sorry but I still don’t like his films very much but Bernardo Bertolucci also dies, the second Top 100 director to die this year.  Penny Marshall dies in December, ending a year with a lot of people dying from shows I watched as a child (David Ogden Stiers, Charlotte Rae).

Academy Awards:  Here’s a number of things I pulled from Steve Pond before the Oscars actually happened (he did a column on things that could happen):

  • The first Best Picture win for Universal since 1993.
  • The first Best Director winner for a foreign language film.
  • The fifth time in six years that a Mexican born director won Best Director and it still leaves Damien Chazelle as the only American to win this decade.
  • Alfonso Cuarón is the first person to win Director and Cinematography.
  • The first black winners ever in Production Design, Costume Design and Animated Film.
  • Only the 2nd and 3rd (after Irene Cara winning Song in 1984) black females to win an Oscar in a non-acting category.
  • Bradley Cooper becomes the first director to sing the Oscar winning song in his own movie.
  • Glenn Close sets a new female acting record for noms without a win.
  • Pixar loses in Best Animated Film for the first time since 2006 ending a seven film streak.
  • Roma is the first Mexican film to win Best Foreign Film.

Far more trivia can be found here.  Two things I didn’t get from Pond – Green Book (as mentioned below) won the exact same Oscars as Globes, just the third Picture winner to do that and for just the fourth time (joining 1984, 1994, 2003), all of the major winners at the Oscars (Picture, Director, one of the writing categories, all four acting) won the Globe first.

My Oscar Notables are:

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Original Screenplay for Green Book
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Picture for Vice
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Cinematography for First Man
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Vice
  • Best Eligible Film with No Oscar Nominations:  Stan & Ollie
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Supporting Actress
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Production Design, Visual Effects, Original Song, Animated Film, Foreign Film

Golden Globes:  Bohemian Rhapsody becomes only the second film to win Picture – Drama at the Globes without a Director nomination and the only one without a Director or Screenplay nomination.  For the first time since the Screenplay category began in 1965 no Drama is nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay.  Green Book becomes just the third Oscar winner in history to win the exact same Oscars as Globes joining Gentleman’s Agreement and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Awards:  With Screenplay and Score awards from the only group that didn’t give it Supporting Actress, If Beale Street Could Talk is the only film to win something at all six critics groups.  Yet, even with multiple awards from four groups it only has 642 points, the fifth lowest of the 19 films to get awards from all six groups.  Roma becomes the first foreign film to win three Best Picture awards and joins Far From Heaven and Tree of Life as the only film to win all five Cinematography awards.  Green Book has by far the fewest critics points for an Oscar winner since 2012 and is the first Oscar winner since 2010 and only the second since 2002 to not win a Director or Screenplay award from at least one critics group.  It is the first Oscar winner since Driving Miss Daisy whose only critics awards came from the NBR.

The Favourite earns 12 BAFTA noms (tied for the most since 2010 and tied for 15th most ever) wins 7 awards (tied for the 2nd most ever) and earns 575 points (8th most ever) but doesn’t win Picture.  It sets records for most wins (several had 6) and most points (beating Elizabeth which went 6 for 12 and also won British Film but lost Picture) for a film that doesn’t win Picture.  Roma becomes the first foreign language film to win the BAFTA since 1987 and earns the fourth most points ever for a foreign language film.

A very strange year at the Guilds.  Roma becomes the first film to win the DGA but only one other award since 2000, the only previous time a foreign film won the award.  In fact, Roma has the exact same guild resume as Crouching Tiger: DGA win, PGA, WGA, ASC, ACE, ADC losses (in spite of easily winning the Cinematography Consensus) and winning one of three MPSE nominations.  Meanwhile, Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse becomes the first animated film to ever land in 1st place in guild points while also setting a new animated record (because the ADG added a category for animated films).  It finishes in first because A Star is Born, though it earns 16 nominations (tied for 8th most all-time) only wins one award (the fewest ever won by a film with more 14 or more noms); it joined Lincoln as the only films ever nominated for the PGA, SAG Ensemble, DGA, WGA, ACE, ASC, CAS and ADG to win none of them and the first to also earn Actor and Actress noms at SAG and also win neither of them as well.  In fact, of the only five previous films to earn PGA, SAG, DGA, WGA, Actor and Actress nominations, all of them won at least two of those six awards while A Star is Born won none.  Meanwhile, Eighth Grade becomes the first film to win the WGA with no other guild nominations since 2003.

Green Book has the fewest points at the BFCA for an eventual Oscar winner (255) since CrashRoma is the first Foreign film to win the BFCA.  The Favourite sets a new record by going 0 for 11 at the BFCA.

Best Director:

  • Consensus Top 5
  1. Alfonso Cuarón  (Oscar, DGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globe, NYFC, NSFC, CFC)
  2. Bradley Cooper  (NBR, DGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globe)
  3. Spike Lee  (Oscar, DGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globe)
  4. Yorgos Lanthimos  (Oscar, BAFTA, BFCA, BSFC, CFC)
  5. Adam McKay  (Oscar, DGA, BFCA, Globe)
  • My Top 10
  1. Damien Chazelle  (BFCA)
  2. Alfonso Cuarón
  3. Yorgos Lanthimos
  4. Spike Lee
  5. Barry Jenkins
  6. Pawel Pawlikowski  (Oscar, BAFTA)
  7. Bradley Cooper
  8. Ryan Coogler
  9. John Krasinski
  10. Rob Marshall

A very good Top 7 then a little drop then a big drop.  I hate to do what the Oscars do and not nominate Cooper with his film but it’s the way it works out.  Jenkins did receive nominations from things I track for the Director Consensus (Satellite, Indie) but not for other categories so I didn’t list them to avoid confusion.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Consensus Top 5
  1. If Beale Street Could Talk  (Oscar, WGA, Globe, BAFTA, BFCA, NBR, CFC)
  2. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (tie)  (Oscar, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA, LAFC, BSFC)
  3. BlackKklansman  (Oscar, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA)
  4. A Star is Born  (Oscar, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA)
  5. The Death of Stalin  (BAFTA, NSFC)
  • My Top 10
  1. If Beale Street Could Talk
  2. First Man  (BAFTA, BFCA)
  3. BlackKklansman
  4. A Star is Born
  5. Black Panther  (WGA, BFCA)
  6. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  7. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  8. Incredibles 2
  9. Mary Poppins Returns
  10. Stan & Ollie

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Consensus Top 5
  1. First Reformed  (Oscar, BFCA, NYFC, NBR, CFC)
  2. Green Book  (Oscar, WGA, Globe, BAFTA, BFCA)
  3. The Favourite  (Oscar, Globe, BAFTA, BFCA)
  4. Roma  (Oscar, WGA, Globe, BAFTA, BFCA)
  5. Vice  (Oscar, WGA, Globe, BAFTA, BFCA)
  • My Top 10
  1. The Favourite
  2. Roma
  3. Cold War
  4. A Quiet Place
  5. Shoplifters
  6. Sorry to Bother You
  7. Capernaum
  8. The Other Side of the Wind
  9. Tully
  10. The Cakemaker

Eighth Grade won the WGA making it the first winner since 2006 not to win the Consensus, the first since 2002 not to finish in the Top 2 at the Consensus and the first ever to not even earn a Consensus nom.
My own list, as you can see, does not say much for American scriptwriting this year.  Half of my list are Foreign language films, The Favourite is British and The Other Side of the Wind was written back in the 70’s.

Best Actor:

  • Consensus Top 5
  1. Ethan Hawke  (NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, CFC, BFCA)
  2. Rami Malek  (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  3. Viggo Mortensen  (NBR, SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe-Comedy, BFCA)
  4. Christian Bale  (NBR, SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe-Comedy, BFCA)
  5. Bradley Cooper  (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  • My Top 10
  1. Bradley Cooper
  2. Christian Bale
  3. Rami Malek
  4. Ryan Gosling  (BFCA)
  5. Viggo Mortensen
  6. John David Washington  (SAG, Globe)
  7. Willem Dafoe  (Oscar, Globe, BFCA)
  8. John C. Reilly  (BSFC, Globe – Comedy)
  9. Steve Coogan  (BAFTA)
  10. Ethan Hawke

Whether you go with Hawke or Malek, the winner has the fewest Consensus points for a winner since 2001 and it’s the first winner with less than 20% of the Consensus since 1988.  With Hawke as the winner, you get all sorts of extra stuff – first winner without a SAG nom since SAG began, first without an Oscar nom since 1952, first without a BAFTA nom since 1998, first without a Globe nom since 1973.
It’s a really strong Top 10 with Robert Redford just outside.

Best Actress:

  • Consensus Top 5
  1. Olivia Colman  (Oscar, BAFTA, Globe – Comedy, LAFC, NSFC, CFC – sup, SAG, BFCA)
  2. Glenn Close  (SAG, Globe, BFCA, Oscar, BAFTA)
  3. Lady Gaga  (BFCA, NBR, Oscar, SAG, BAFTA, Globe)
  4. Melissa McCarthy  (BSFC, Oscar, SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  5. Emily Blunt  (SAG, Globe – Comedy, BFCA)
  • My Top 10
  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Olivia Colman
  3. Melissa McCarthy
  4. Glenn Close
  5. Emily Blunt
  6. Yalitza Aparicio  (Oscar, BFCA)
  7. Charlize Theron  (Globe – Comedy)
  8. Viola Davis  (BAFTA)
  9. Joanna Kulig  (Cold War)
  10. Saorise Ronan  (Mary Queen of Scots)

There’s a big drop from the Top 4 at the Consensus.  The first four are easily the Consensus (5 noms each at least) while Blunt barely beats out Toni Collette for 5th place.
On my own list, there’s not a lot of difference between the #1 and 4 spots and there’s not a lot between the #7 and 10 spots.  Just outside my Top 10, but very even with the 7-10 group are Collette, Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace) and Emma Thompson (Children Act).

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Consensus Top 5
  1. Richard E. Grant  (NYFC, BSFC, CFC, SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  2. Maherhsala Ali  (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  3. Adam Driver  (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  4. Sam Elliott  (NBR, SAG, Oscar, BFCA)
  5. Steven Yuen  (LAFC, NSFC)
  • My Top 10
  1. Richard E. Grant
  2. Sam Elliott
  3. Mahershala Ali
  4. Adam Driver
  5. Michael B. Jordan  (BFCA)
  6. Steve Carell  (Vice)
  7. Timothee Chalemet  (SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  8. Sam Rockwell  (Oscar, BAFTA, Globe)
  9. Hugh Grant  (BAFTA)
  10. Ben Foster  (Leave No Trace)

Grant has the fewest points for a winner since 2012.  On the other hand, Ali ties Rockwell from the year before for the most Consensus points for a #2.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Consensus Top 5
  1. Regina King  (Oscar, Globe, BFCA, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC)
  2. Rachel Weisz  (Oscar, SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  3. Emma Stone  (Oscar, SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  4. Amy Adams  (Oscar, SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  5. Claire Foy  (BAFTA, Globe, BFCA)
  • My Top 10
  1. Emma Stone
  2. Rachel Weisz
  3. Regina King
  4. Amy Adams
  5. Claire Foy
  6. Marina de Tavira  (Oscar)
  7. Emily Blunt  (SAG)
  8. Margot Robbie  (SAG, BAFTA)
  9. Millicent Simmonds  (A Quiet Place)
  10. Nicole Kidman  (BFCA)

King sets a new high for points without SAG or BAFTA noms.  She crushes Mary Steenburgen’s 1980 record for points without either of those noms.  Emily Blunt becomes the first SAG winner to not receive a Consensus nom and the first since 2007 not to finish in the top two.
My own list has an excellent top three (all very even), a really strong next three and then a whole mess starting with #7 that are fairly even with Michelle Yeoh just outside the Top 10.


Under-appreciated Film of 2018:

Solo: A Star Wars Story  (dir. Ron Howard)

“Oh yeah, and if you’ve given SOLO a higher rating than MAD MAX: FURY ROAD – which I’d bet my life you already have – then I await the full review with fascination.”  F.T.

Well, F.T., here you go.

It is true that I did not like Mad Max: Fury Road.  In fact, while I am able to separate my feelings on the film for my rating of the film, I gave it **.5 because I felt the film had no writing to it, with no evidence of a story and not a single actual character, let alone characterization.  With a bunch of things that made no sense, a group of women drove out into the desert then drove back.  Even the title didn’t make sense and the film would probably have been better if they had dropped Max as a character and Miller had made an original film instead of a retread of his character.  It had one very good performance from Charlize Theron but no actual character there.  All that being said about why I didn’t think the film was good, on a personal level, I hated it, hated that everyone seemed to think it was brilliant, hated that it managed a Best Picture spot when my #1 film of the year, Carol, wasn’t nominated, hated that its Cuisinart editing managed to win the Oscar.

Now, all of that being said, I liked Solo a lot.  I didn’t love it.  I didn’t rate it at four stars.  It easily, by a long way, the second weakest of the live action Star Wars films, only ahead of Phantom Menace.  Not only that, but the filmmakers almost kill the film at the end when they make a bizarre choice that only works for people who are absolute die hard Star Wars fans and if Disney was trying to expand the Star Wars market that was absolutely the wrong way to do it.

So why do I rate Solo so much higher than a film that everyone keeps telling me is one of the best of the decade?  Because I am a writer and this film has a story, has characters and even has growth among the characters.  The Han Solo that we meet at the beginning of this film has elements from the Han Solo that we know and love from the other Star Wars films but he is not yet that man.  He is really still just a boy, trying to survive on his wits and his charm and his drive to stay alive and to succeed.  But he thinks and moves fast (though often not wisely), he is a great pilot and he is, what he always was, a lovable rogue.  You can always see that he was the man who would come back to help Luke with the Death Star, who wouldn’t actually run out on Leia, who would do what he know had to be done, but you can also see what made him the way he was in those films, the man who takes the pay, who almost just walks away, who shoots first.  He didn’t arrive there by accident.  The world made him that way.

Solo works because Alden Ehrenreich finds the right performance at the core of the character, the fear of failure, the drive to succeed, the charm and the cockiness.  But it works even more because it works within the parameters of the Star Wars universe.  We get the early meeting with Lando Calrissian and a performance from Donald Glover that just oozes charm and confidence while also hiding his own failures.  He’s the kind of man who, when his ship is on fire, will still say not to use that particular cape because it was made special.  And he has a droid that is nothing short of spectacular.  In the third Star Wars film, Lucas brought in the Ewoks in an attempt to appeal to children and it was only partially successful and, worse, for Phantom Menace he created Jar-Jar and really tried to dumb things down.  The new filmmakers have been more successful with that kind of thing, with the fantastic BB-8 for the two new episodes, the snarky K-2S0 for Rogue One and now L3-37.  What Phoebe Waller-Bridge (and if you’ve never seen Fleabag, see it if you get the chance) does with this character is brilliant, not only for the tone that she brings to every line, but if you watch the behind the scenes and realize most of what you see on screen is actually her performance (parts of her that were visible were erased with green screen), not only in the vocal performance but in the physical one as well.

What’s more, the story is good and fun and the exact kind of thing that these “story” films should be used for.  It doesn’t have the weight and heft in the Star Wars universe to be a proper episode in the saga but it’s a good, fun story that shows us how Han, the kid, could become Han, the man who will gun down his own friend before he can fire.

Now, all of that being said, the film is far from perfect.  The scenes with Paul Bettany smell of cliches and the bizarre visual effects on his face are just a strange distraction (and Bettany himself didn’t know about it until he saw the finished film).  What’s more, to have the true villain behind this be the one that they chose was stupid.  You have to have been watching either Clone Wars or Rebels (and thus be a hard-core fan) to not just react “What the fuck?” and honestly it was stupid to bring that character back in those shows in the first place (not to mention that Rebels gives away the character’s final fate so what’s the point of bringing in this villain that we know can’t be used very well).  Given how important an ending can be, it almost kills the film.

But, then we get that final card game, of Han doing just what he needs to do to get that ship that we know belongs to him, a ship that now has “a most peculiar dialect” as 3PO will put in Empire.  And if we don’t ever get the sequel they planned, well maybe that is for the best given that the plans seemed odd.  That’s okay.  We know where Han is headed and his future is just what we want it to be.

extra review:

Solo was under-appreciated by critics and at the box office (at least compared to previous Star Wars films) but it was still a blockbuster and it earned some award nominations (Ron Howard mentioned getting sympathetic tweets and e-mails over the “disappointing” opening and noted that it was the largest opening of his career).  For a film that really flew under the radar but was consistently entertaining, I submit Tag, a film that made less than a quarter of what Solo made (with an opening 1/10 of what the #1 film made the same opening weekend) and didn’t earn a single award nomination.


Second Under-appreciated Film of 2018

Tag  (dir. Jeff Tomsic)

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve.  Jesus, did you?”  Stephen King  –  “The Body”

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about that quote, especially since I was twelve years old when I first read it.  I was determined to keep those friends as we grew older but as so often happens, things got in the way.  We live in different places and I’m not a Facebook person so only one of them do I have real contact with, though he and I very close.  But the line resonates amazingly with this film.

“This game, it’s given us a reason to be in each other’s lives for all these years.”  That’s what Ed Helms as Hogie says, explaining to the Wall Street Journal reporter who has decided, instead of writing a story about a kind of boring businessman and instead writing about the game of tag he’s playing with his friends every May for the last 30 years.

The film makes great use of several great character actors that dive into their roles.  As the friends we get Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson (brilliantly playing the stoned friend), Hannibal Burress, Jeremy Renner (fantastically athletic) with Steve Berg entertaining as the hanger-on who desperately wants to be part of the game and Isla Fisher in a hilariously sexy, aggressive performance as Helms’ wife who loves her husband, loves his passion for the game and knows she’s the best at the game and should be allowed to play (girls aren’t allowed – the game was started by nine year old boys, after all) but also knows she’s too competitive to play.

This film contains three of the most entertaining action scenes of recent years, not just because they have been brilliantly choreographed but because, with Jeremy Renner’s hilarious deadpan description of what is going on, it manages to bring a new level of humor to such scenes that are usually fairly humorless.  They keep the film exciting and funny and always entertaining.  They have magnificent stunts (bear in mind that doing one of them, Renner broke his right elbow and his left wrist) and Renner is in such great shape (he was the heir apparent at one point for both the Bourne and the M:I franchises) that they are always believable as well as entertaining.  The third one gets even better because it gives the others a chance to give their own voiceover (“Hazelnut?  What kind of bitch drinks hazelnut?”).

These all also work really well because the film has some truly magnificent editing.  The way it bounces back and forth between the characters has some truly great cuts and it’s part of what makes the film so entertaining.  It has fantastic dialogue, the kind of thing you get when you have a bunch of friends who have known each other their whole lives:”Let’s synchronize our watches.”  “I don’t know how to do that.”  “I don’t wear a watch.”  “Time is a construct.” or “You’re on Team Callahan?” and all of things that the line implies in the film.  The dialogue shows depth of their friendships and how friends talk after a long time.

What’s more, the film does what films need to do: while in the midst of some tragedy, they manage to find some humor.  In what seems like a sad ending (I don’t want to say what it is if you haven’t seen it), it also manages to find just the exactly right ending, one of the best endings of the year, that makes it all hilarious again.