We can now call it a wrap on 2017 in film. After an up and down year in cinema, here’s my top ten for the year and my annual awards.
10. The Farthest
Emer Reynolds’ brilliant documentary on the Voyager space probes works as a very scientific and a very human, delight. As focusing just on the mundane details of the probes’ construction, launch and voyage would fast get boring, Reynolds peppers interesting asides and titbits throughout, most notably a lengthy section discussing the “golden record”: its genesis, the selection of greetings to be recorded, and then the selection of music. Devoting so much time to this is important, as it turns the Voyager probes from cold machines to bastions of human creativity and art, that maybe might one day be ambassadors for our entire species.
But then there is the actual mission itself, and the glorious photography that the probes were able to send back of worlds beyond. The grainy black and white stills that turn into colourful depictions of spherical behemoths: it is impossible not to be swept away in the grandeur that the Voyager probes depicted and continue to represent. The Farthest vividly captures both the beauty of the outer planets and their moons, as well as the rapturous reaction from those back home, literally growing old in front of the camera as the length of the mission traverse’s decades. And at the end of it all, a suitable focus on Carl Sagan’s famous “pale blue dot” picture, taken not for science, but merely so we could get a stark illustration of just how small we really are in the great cosmic blackness.
While The Farthest is excessively lengthy and, perhaps, refrains from any kind of criticism of the NASA program to the point that it is largely a love-letter, it is still a very worthy documentation of a very important part of human exploration, an exploration that now marks us as having taken the first minor steps into interstellar travel.
Voyage space probe in The Farthest.
9. Spider-Man: Homecoming
Hollywood can’t get enough of the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. 15 years after Sam Raimi’s version of the character helped to revitalise the superhero genre, and five years after Mark Webb’s attempt reminded us how boring the superhero genre had become, the relatively untested Jon Watts gave the web-slinger a new on-screen home, with newcomer Tom Holland in the titular role.
And it’s undoubtedly the best Spider-Man film in over a decade, if that means anything. While it follows the formula that the MCU has long since established, it does so with successes in every department of its production, and it makes the most of two ballsy but quite correct decisions. The first is ditching any time spent on an origin for Spider-Man and the second is a large focus given to Michael Keaton’s Vulture, the MCU’s best villain since Loki. But it is Holland holding it all together, in a performance that differs from Maguire and Garfield, in that he does his best to actually play Peter Parker as a teen who enjoys what he gets to do. Throw in the good inclusion of Robert Downey Jr, a very welcome multi-ethnic cast and a competent director who has an obvious reverence of the character without drowning in sycophancy, and you have yourself a great experience.
I’ve been turning on the MCU for a while now, but Homecoming did grab me. It reminded me that it’s possible to write a bright, fun superhero movie without it being overloaded with ill-placed comedy, that superheroes can still be unequivocally pleasant to watch, and that villain characters do not have to be cardboard cut-outs. It’s one that leaves me with more optimism for the MCU’s future than I have leaving the theatre of one of its films for a long time.
Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: Homecoming
8. Paddington 2
Paul King’s excellent follow-up to the 2014 version of the beloved children’s character is actually that rarest of things, a sequel that is better than its original, perhaps because it doesn’t have to dedicate time to setting up the story it wants to tell. Instead, we are just shown this wonderfully positive, endearingly accepting and just nice to watch bear. A film that so emphasises the simple idea of kindness being a positive force in the community and in society at large is one that deserves some consideration, even if it’s being told through the lens of a clumsy anthropomorphised bear.
The subtler thing here of course is a pro-tolerance message, that feels especially necessary when one looks at modern-day Britain. Paddington’s multi-ethnic neighbourhood contains the malicious Mr Curry, a reprobate who describes Paddington as an “undesirable” and generally acts as a very loud minority that the rest of the residents try to ignore and seem hesitant to speak against. What Paddington is trying to say is not hard to discern.
Beyond that, the film is a delight on every level. The diverse cast is having a ball: Hugh Grant especially just throws himself in the role of villainous thespian Phoenix Buchanan and Brendan Gleeson fits right in as a grizzled prison cook ignorant of the ways of marmalade. It’s written brilliantly, overflowing with warmth, humour and some genuine feeling. And the plot, while hardly an earth-shattering example of the genre, is more than enough to keep you engaged, including a number of bizarre heists, a prison movie send-up (with nods to Wes Anderson) and a surprisingly well-choreographed finale onboard a speeding train.
A wonderful film, that you should check out if feeling even slightly jaded or fed-up with things. It’s impossible not to like this movie or its title character.
Paddington Bear (Ben Whishaw) in Paddington 2.
7. Get Out
When I saw Jordan Peele’s feature debut come up as ADIFF’s surprise film, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be getting an all-out horror, or a comedy. In the end, I got a little of both, but that’s too simple an explanation to give for Get Out, a brilliant takedown of American race relations as they currently stand, wrapped up in remarkably effective psychological scare-making.
In the best traditions of The Twilight Zone, Peele’s exaggeration of where white appropriation of black culture ends up – and it gets fairly extreme, to say the least – is an incisive method of getting to the core of why such things are problematic in society. The excellent Daniel Kaluuya goes from being mildly uncomfortable with the well-meaning, but racially clumsy family of his white girlfriend, to being freaked out, to being terrified, as it becomes clear that the rich white community they are a part of are a bit too into him, his talents and his skin colour.
Peele keeps the mystery and the tension rising gradually – the opening sequence of a young black man being abducted off the street is masterfully done – and he goes about interspersing things with genuinely horrifying sequences in the “sunken place”, a nightmarish concept that does more to terrify the audience then buckets of gore, an almost Spielbergian understanding of what horror should be.
Peele may err slightly in his balance of comedy and drama – Chris’ friend Lil Rey Howery provides numerous funny asides, but it doesn’t mesh all that well with everything else really – but Get Out rises above such detractions easily enough, in the strength of its symbolism, hard work of its cast, the excellence of its script, and in Peele’s own visual direction. I generally dislike horror movies intensely, but I loved Get Out primarily because it has a brain, and it makes the point it wants to make with the kind of subtly and skill you would associate with a long-term veteran of the craft. In a time of Trumpian hate speech, Black Lives Matter and Colin Kaepernick, film of this type is more important than ever.
Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and Rose (Allison Williams) in Get Out.
Ever since the first haunting chords of Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” were heard playing over the initial trailer for James Mangold’s Logan, I figured that we were in for something truly special. And so we were. Taking the relatively happy ending of Days Of Future Past and throwing it in the garbage was an incredibly risky move to take, but it ended up being the critical step in one of the best comic book films ever made.
The universe is a bleak one, a grim but not all that fantastical future where mutants are becoming a memory and the world seems barely holding together. But man, it fits, a story where the once immortal Logan is finding himself a man out of time, a samurai without a master, unless you count the deluded ravings of a senile Charles Xavier (an excellent turn from Patrick Stewart). Enter Dafne Keen as X-23, a genetic copy of Logan that sends him on an unlikely odyssey across a changed America, with a host of bad guys on their trail. Forget superpowers, or threats of world domination, or teams: this is the end of the line, and Old Man Logan is the only one holding it.
What could otherwise be exploitative boilerplate is lifted by the performances of the cast – this is Jackman’s best version of the character, most notably in a funeral scene, and Keen is a revelation – and the manner in which the script and the director are willing to take the X-Men universe and pull it apart, in a way that will undoubtedly tug at the audiences heartstrings, but is all the better for it. The film looks and sounds incredible, and while its resort to sometimes mindless bloodshed is a thing of diminishing returns by the conclusion, it’s filled with gritty relentless action, of a kind that this genre could use more of.
Logan builds, through a number of set-pieces taking their inspiration from the likes of Shane, to an emotional climax that serves as an unexpectedly rousing send-off to this franchise, that had people in the theatre with me in actual tears, something I don’t think I can say for any other comic book property ever. In a time when the MCU is in danger of becoming bland, Logan is proof that the superhero genre is not only ready to declare itself mature subject matter, but a thing of continuing relevance.
X-23 (Dafne Keen) and Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in Logan.
5. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
I suppose I will always be the kind of person who will be placing Star Wars this high. While The Last Jedi may well be one pf the most divisive entries in this franchise, it is a film that I genuinely adored, the first time I watched it, in the hours I spent thinking and writing about it, and the second time I watched it too.
Rian Johnson, writing and directing, takes what JJ Abrams set up and then sets off in his own direction, in a multi-layered plot whose primary flaw is that it tries to fit too much into its already lengthy 150+ minute plus running time. But it saves itself by having every sub-plot be of a brilliant quality, be it Rey’s mission to learn of the Force from recluse Luke Skywalker, to the Resistance’s fleets efforts to survive in the face of a relentless First Order assault, to Kylo Ren’s anxiety-fuelled desire to find himself, amid the influence of Snoke and the memory of past decisions.
We are with Rey as she struggles to handle the mysteries of the Force, with Poe as he has to learn to be a leader, with Leia as she deals with a series of crushing tragedies, and with new characters, like Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose, offering a look at a universe that is actually filled with war and associated crimes. But this is still Star Wars, and Johnson understands what makes Star Wars great: epic scope with simple plot and great characters, with related scoops of breath-taking action, whimsical adventure and invoking in the audience that sense of wonder, excitement and desire to wield a lightsaber or fly an X-Wing themselves. And Johnson does it while setting the film up as an exploration of a very un-Star Wars thing, that being the idea that failure is inevitable, but that’s OK.
The action and visuals generally are spectacular – a mute sequence at the end of the second act easily deserves iconic status in sci-fi – the script is strong and the film is paced and edited with skill. Parts could still have been cut out entirely, and there are similarities to The Empire Strikes Back, but they are fleeting and mostly homage, and nothing for the hordes to get as upset about as they (apparently) have. This is the kind of Star Wars I want to see more of. You should too. And next, Solo.
Rey (Daisy Ridley) in Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.
4. Baby Driver
I have long been a fan of Edgar Wrights brand of writing, directing and comedy, at least up until the point of The World’s End, a film I considered a very disappointing let-down from a director that seemed to have almost perfected his craft with Hot Fuzz, and will remain an iconic part of pop-culture with Shaun Of The Dead. And then came Baby Driver.
The film is an exhilarating series of set-piece chase sequences, as Wright shows off his near perfect understanding of cutting, pacing and mise en scene, from the bank robberies that define the plot to the third act chaos as the relationships between the characters start to spectacularly break down. It’s acted with aplomb by the diverse and perfectly cast principals, from Ansel Elgort’s endearing tinnitus suffering getaway driver, through to Jamie Foxx’s rather insane bank robber, and on to Kevin Spacey’s mob boss (and this may be the last time we think fondly of him). It’s scripted excellently, filled with verve, humour and character throughout. While it is let down a bit by Lily James’ disappointing romantic lead, a one-note part that may speak to Wright’s difficulty with female characters, the film was a real humdinger.
And that’s before you consider its use and implementation of its musical soundtrack, which might well be worth the price of admission alone. Utilising a wide selection of classics, hits and some little-known pieces, Wright layers his heart-stopping tale with the kind of auditory delight that goes beyond being nostalgia bait or thumping: Baby Driver is its music, in every drum-focused beat for a foot chase, to every emotionally fraught plucking of guitar chords for more reflective scenes, in every lyrical joy for scenes of soaring highs. So good is Wright’s cultivation of music, that it, in my opinion, basically makes him an expert on the subject.
I don’t mean to make it sound as if music is all that Baby Driver has going for it. But its such a well manufactured part of the experience, it has to be considered the primary success. In line with the excellently structured narrative, the cast, the script, and the strength of Wright’s visual direction, Baby Driver is an intense, emotional and ultimately rather satisfying experience, that puts Wright right back near the top of his field. In terms of traditional Hollywood blockbuster action, there is little that can match Baby Driver.
Baby (Ansel Elgort), Bats (Jamie Foxx), Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and Buddy (Jon Hamm) in Baby Driver.
3. Wonder Woman
Well, it finally happened. We got a female lead superhero movie that was great. And we got a DC property adaptation that was critically acclaimed. Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot pulled it off, with panache, with style and with no small amount of power. This is the long-awaited Wonder Woman that we have needed for decades.
Gal Gadot decisively makes the role her own, having the benefit of last year’s backdoor introduction. In every way that she needs to succeed, she succeeds: as a superhero we want to watch kick some ass; as a character that we want to connect with and see thrive; even as a romantic interest for Chris Pine’s supporting spy. But most importantly of all, she succeeds as the feminist icon that the character has been for so long: a strong, confident, assertive female role, who dominates the screen, the action and the narrative, without ever falling into the trap of bland sentimentality, and with a host of other excellent women too.
The World War One setting is an excellent choice, allowing for some differences from a Captain America formula, and for some unique action sequences, most notably a mid-point charge over no-mans-land full of evocative imagery. The action generally is well directed and delightfully kinetic. It has a romantic plot that is neither cobbled together or ill-fitting. The film suffers a bit through its choice of antagonist and the unfolding of their scheme, especially the ending, but the general idea of a feminine force for change seeking to overturn the violent political/military world of men, no matter what the objections are, is something to get excited about.
I may, perhaps, also be influenced in my placing here with just how important this film is. The superhero genre is the undisputed King of the box office for the last decade; it’s past time that Marvel, DC, and anyone else, decided that female characters (and directors, and actresses) deserved as much chance to shine as their male counterparts. Wonder Woman is paving the way, hopefully for the likes of Batgirl and Captain Marvel soon, and then more afterwards, an undisputedly good news story for women in film, in a year when such a subject has become synonymous with the recognition of how despicable their treatment has been for years. And it’s a great film to boot, a rip-roaring adventure story that is all the better for its feminine influences.
Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in Wonder Woman.
2. Their Finest
Lone Scherfig’s World War II dramedy was a stunning revelation when I got the chance to see it as part of ADIFF early this year. I went into it now quite sure what to expect, beyond maybe a rudimentary romcom elevated by its unique setting. But what I got was a wonder, of story, acting and script, that, fair to say, blew me and many others away.
The narrative is layered with intelligence and meaning, from the story of Gemma Arterton’s Catrin’s search for a more engaging role in Britain’s Blitz-spirit era fight, through her disintegrating relationship with her husband to her burgeoning relationship with Sal Claflin’s Tom. And there is plenty else besides: Bill Nighy’s washed up actor struggling to find another role to show off his talent, if he can past his ego and the sense of encroaching death; the various facets of the Nancy Starling production, which covers such diverse issues as women in propaganda films and the need for Britain to appeal to America for political reasons; and the general idea of that Blitz spirit, and a country that needs every bit of help it can get, finding a cipher through the production of this film.
It’s a credit to Scherfig, and the adapted script of Gaby Chiappe, that Their Finest can accomplish effective story-telling for all of the above, and can also be capable of interjecting a healthy and needed dose of dark humour as well, exhibiting an understanding of “Cest la guerre” type mirth making that other recent films have singularly failed to do. That biting, sarcasm filled British wit, meshes so well with the more serious stuff on offer, that includes late in the game plot twists that are sure to cut the audience deep even as they marvel you with their sheer appropriateness to the unfolding story being told.
Arterton, Claflin and Night put in award worthy performances throughout, World War II London is re-created vividly in Scherfig’s direction and the films general production quality, and it all builds and builds to an emotionally satisfying and cathartic conclusion. I was truly stunned by what a near-flawless all-round experience Their Finest was, a film that still deserves a far bigger audience than what it got. It could well have been #1, but it formed one half of an Operation Dynamo 1-2 for 2017, only eclipsed by a film of sheer perfection.
Tom (Sam Claflin) and Catrin (Gemma Arterton).
To say that Christopher Nolan was already a director I held in very high esteem would be an understatement. To say the various members of the cast for this film that I had previously viewed were highly appreciated by me would be an understatement. To say that the likes of Hanz Zimmer or Hoyte van Hoytema were people whose craft I highly respected would be an understatement. And yet, when I went to see the fruit of their combined labours in Dunkirk, they still somehow managed to reach past my sky-high expectations, and deliver a film that is among the very greatest I have ever seen.
This highly concentrated look at the Dunkirk evacuation in 1940 accomplishes so much in its bare amount of time that it cannot but be considered Nolan’s masterpiece. In its deliberately fragmented narrative, we cover the range of drama that occurred on that fateful week: the terrified soldiers on the beach, discovering to what moral grey areas they will go in the all-consuming desire to just survive, abandoning duty to country and comrades if they must; the unbearable stress of command decision making on the Mole as Stukas and U-Boats close in; the men of the RAF in the skies, having to choose between following the warnings of a decreasing fuel gauge or following their gut; the civilians in their little boats, dealing with traumatized survivors who may yet ruin them all. Dunkirk runs the gauntlet of human experience and human characters, extraordinarily doing so without much dialogue, and maintaining a constant sense of dread and tension from the first frame to the last.
Nolan uses every other tool at hand to make his point. The collective cast is absolutely suburb, from new arrivals to the screen like Fionn Whitehead and Harry Styles, to Hollywood heartthrobs like Tom Hardy, to long-time veterans of stage and screen like Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance. Hanz Zimmer’s inventive score, eschewing traditional war film horn and drums for something more technologically sophisticated, imbues every moment with the required amounts of fraught tension, reckless despair and out-right horror, the ticking clock motif among the most simple but brutally effective ideas ever put to film. And what a visual work of art, with Nolan and van Hoytema overloading your senses with their expansive glimpses at a humanity strewn beach, paradoxically claustrophobic dogfights and men and boats struggling to survive in an all-encompassing sea eager to swallow them up.
It is, from my own personal viewpoint, no exaggeration to call Dunkirk the finest ear film ever made, and certainly an effort to place on a pedestal for the medium generally. Superlatives are in increasingly short supply. The contest for this year was over the moment credits rolled on Christopher Nolan’s undisputable zenith. It is the best film of 2017.
Tommy (Fionn Whitehead) in Dunkirk.
Honourable Mentions: I wanted to take the opportunity to mention a few of the other films I have seen this year, in no particular order, that, while they may not have made my top ten, were still films that I would heavily recommend. Adam Randel’s iBoy, a Netflix release, was a spin on the superhero origin story that I really enjoyed, through a rather dark young adult lens, and featuring a great supporting performance from Maisie Williams. Brendan Muldowney’s Pilgrimage was a brilliant historical action-drama, set in a very unique time in Irish history, a stunningly re-created period of conflicting faith, languages and cultures. Chad Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter Two actually improved on its originator, both in terms of its relentless action, but in the universe of assassins and intrigue that it was set in, and in giving Keanu Reeves a continuing spotlight. Armando Iannucci’s The Death Of Stalin was both a darkly funny take on the chaos surrounding the Soviet dictator’s death, and a potently serious examination of the kind of murky undertakings that define such structures. And Kenneth Branagh’s Murder On The Orient Express was a great adaptation, with Branagh excelling in the lead role.
And to take a brief moment to talk dishonourable mentions, the worst film I have seen this year was actually the very first: Justin Kurzel’s Assassins Creed. The passion project of lead Michael Fassbender, who dragged former collaborators Kurzel and Marion Cottillard along with him, the film was a joyless, murky slog of an experience, that missed the point of its source material spectacularly and had very little else to recommend it aside from that, featuring one of the worst performances I have ever seen from Jeremy Irons, and a colour palette that could charitably be described as “smoky”, and more accurately as a bleak, unfathomable mess.
And so, to the awards.
Awarded to the actor who has impressed the most throughout the year in leading roles.
Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk)
A plethora of good candidates this year, and my choice might surprise some, but Whitehead was outstanding in an outstanding film. Dunkirk isn’t noted as an actors movie by many, perhaps because of its limited script, but Whitehead’s captivating performance as Tommy, a scared, almost cowardly solider who just wants to survive, and is near the breaking point in the process, is the answer to such assertions.
Honourable Mentions: Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), Hugh Jackman (Logan), Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out), Ben Whishaw (Paddington 2), Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Pilgrimage)
Best Supporting Actor
Awarded to the actor who has impressed the most throughout the year in roles other than the lead.
Bill Nighy (Their Finest)
Any number of Dunkirk alum could have got the nod here, but it’s the home front that wins it. Nighy is a grand old man of the screen now, and was particularly perfect for the role of Ambrose Hilliard, a somewhat washed up arrogant actor having to play “a wreck of a man”, but who goes on to give both Their Finest and The Nancy Starling the very human core that both need.
Honourable Mentions: Anuerin Barnard (Dunkirk), Adam Driver (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi), Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) Sam Claflin (Their Finest), Chris Pine (Wonder Woman)
Awarded to the actress who has impressed the most throughout the year in leading roles.
Gemma Atherton (Their Finest)
As always, it’s hard to fill up this category with enough candidates, but at least the few that I saw this year were of stellar quality. In the end, Atherton’s turn as Catrin, the propaganda ministry assistant who becomes the main driving force behind a new kind of female friendly movie-making, got the nod, with the excellent Atherton making her the kind of three-dimensional being she easily could have missed being.
Honourable Mentions: Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Justice League), Daisy Ridley (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi)
Best Supporting Actress
Awarded to the actress who has most impressed throughout the year in roles other than the lead.
Dafne Keen (Logan)
This is honestly the hardest call of the lot, but I piped for Keen in the end. Child acting is always incredibly hard to do and incredibly hard to direct: add in the feral nature of the character, and the extraordinary violence that she needs to deal out, and it becomes even harder. But with all that, Keen still showed us a person, who by the end of the film had become the beating heart of the experience.
Honourable Mentions: Alison William (Get Out), Anna de Armas (Blade Runner 2049), Maisie Williams (iBoy) Michelle Pfeiffer (Murder On The Orient Express), Carrie Fisher (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi)
Awarded to the best cast, generally, of any film during the year.
It was this or The Last Jedi really, but Dunkirk’s cast were just that bit better. Whitehead we’ve talked about already, but then there’s Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy, Kenneth Branagh, Anuerin Barnard and a host of others putting in the shift of their lives, and often having to do so with a dearth of dialogue.
Honourable Mentions: Their Finest, Baby Driver, Get Out, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Awarded to the best director of the year.
Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
There’s no real debate to be had here. Dunkirk is a visual masterpiece from start to finish, a film that thrusts Nolan, already so accomplished, into the very highest echelons of film-making greats.
Honourable Mentions: Lone Scherfig (Their Finest), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), Edgar Wright (Baby Driver), Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049), Rian Johnson (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi)
Awarded to the film that has the best production values of the year, in terms of sets, props and other associated elements.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
The Force train keeps on rolling. As ever, Star Wars’ details, its alien worlds, its spaceships, its sense of a fantasy universe that feels lived in, is second to none.
Honourable Mentions: Dunkirk, Their Finest, Wonder Woman, Pilgrimage, Blade Runner 2049
Awarded to the film with the best use of computer generated imagery and graphics.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
It’s not even worth elaborating too much on. From start to finish, Star Wars delivers, again.
Honourable Mentions: Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2
Awarded to the composer/ film with the best instrumental (non-lyrical) music of the year.
Hanz Zimmer (Dunkirk, Wonder Woman)
The Wonder Woman stuff is great, but Zimmer’s Dunkirk work is so amazing, so pivotal to the experience, I and many others have wondered whether he should be a considered a co-author of the film.
Honourable Mentions: Michael Abels (Get Out), John Williams (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi), Stephen McKeon (Pilgrimage)
Awarded to the film with the best songs, generally, of the year.
As I said in my review, comparing Baby Driver to Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol.2 on this score, “Gunn picks songs. Wright fits them”.
Honourable Mentions: Paddington 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Farthest, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Vol. 2
Best Original Song
Awarded to the best song created for a film of the year.
“Another Day Of Sun” – Cast (La La Land),
Only a few films had decent entries in this category this year and, notwithstanding my general lack of appreciation for Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, it was full of great music, and its peppy opener was the best of the lot.
Honourable Mentions: “Yellow Light” – Pharrell Williams (Despicable Me 3), “Evermore” – Dan Stevens (Beauty And The Beast), “City Of Stars” – Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone (La La Land), “A Lovely Night” – Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone (La La Land)
Best Adapted Script
Awarded to the best script adapted from another source of the year.
Their Finest (Gaby Chiappe)
Overflowing with humour, emotion and good ol’ fashioned Blitz spirit, the adaptation of Lissa Evans’ novel is a huge part of what makes Their Finest as good as it is.
Honourable Mentions: Logan (Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green), Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jonathan Goldstein John Francis Daly, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers), Wonder Woman (Allan Heinberg, Deborah Snyder, Zach Snyder, Richard Suckle), Paddington 2 (Paul King, Simon Farnaby), The Disaster Artist (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber)
Best Original Script
Awarded to the best original script of the year.
Baby Driver (Edgar Wright)
For a film all about the music, Wright sure wrote it well, a love-letter to its auditory influences, it also features a slew of fascinating characters and a number of immense verbal showdowns. Frankly, Wright blows the other contenders out of the water here.
Honourable Mentions: Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan), Rian Johnson (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi), Get Out (Jordan Peele), Pilgrimage (Jamie Hannigan),
Awarded to the best camerawork of any film of the year.
Dunkirk (Hoyte van Hoyten)
Honourable Mentions: Their Finest (Sebastian Blenkov), Wonder Woman (Matthew Jensen), Baby Driver (Bill Pope), Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (Steve Yedlin), Get Out (Toby Oliver)
Awarded to the film with the best combined make-up, hairstyling and costuming work of the year.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Well, duh too.
Honourable Mentions: Dunkirk, Their Finest, Wonder Woman, Logan, Pilgrimage
Awarded to the best comedic film of the year.
Awarded to the best animated film of the year.
The Lego Batman Movie
Awarded to the best romantic film of the year.
Awarded to the best science fiction film of the year.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Best Comic Book
Awarded to the best film based on a comic book/graphic novel of the year.
Awarded to the best non-fiction film with a documentarian focus.
Awarded to the best historical film of the year.
Awarded to the best Irish film of the year.
Awarded to the best, non-action, scene of the year.
The Climactic Rescue – (Dunkirk)
Best Action Scene
Awarded to the best action/fight scene of the year.
Going Over The Top (Wonder Woman)
Best Battle Scene
Awarded to the best large-scale battle scene of the year.
Bombing The Dreadnought (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi)
Best Delivered Line
Awarded to the best written and delivered line(s) of the year.
“Well…it’s got water…it’s got water.”
-Hugh Jackman (Logan)
Awarded to the best single set-piece sequence or segment of the year.
Opening/Onto The Beach (Dunkirk)
Awarded to the year’s best presented protagonist character.
Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Wonder Woman)
Awarded to the year’s best presented antagonist character.
Kylo Ren (Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi)
“Diamond In The Rough” Award
Awarded to the actor/actress who gives the best performance of an otherwise bad movie.
Idris Elba (The Dark Tower)
“Bang For Your Buck” Award
Awarded to the best film in the shortest running time.
Dunkirk (106 minutes)
Awarded to a film that is still good despite its plot holes.
“Walter Mitty” Award
Awarded to a film that is still good despite its clichéd elements.
“Starcrossed Lovers” Award
Awarded to the film with the best romantic plot or sub-plot.
Catrin and Tom (Their Finest)
“Lonely Planet Guide To…” Award
Awarded to the best world/universe building within a film.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
“On The Shoulders Of Giants” Award
Awarded to the best sequel, reboot or remake of the year.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
“Equality Now” Award
Awarded to the film that features the best use of female characters.
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
“Surprisingly Tolerable” Award
Awarded to the worst movie idea that turned good.
“Why Is No One Applauding?” Award
Awarded to the film that has been rated too lowly by the critical community.
“We’re Going To That” Award
Awarded to the film with the best trailer(s) of the year.
“You Can’t Take The Sky From Me” Award
Awarded to the best thing of the year
When the ticking stopped (Dunkirk)
That’s all from me for 2017, and I’ll see you on the other side, where awaits God Particle, Black Panther, Early Man, A Wrinkle In Time, The New Mutants, Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Incredibles 2, Ant-Man And The Wasp, Robin Hood, Venom, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Creed 2, Mortal Engines and Aquaman, among others. Until then.
(All images are copyright of The Irish Film Board, Sony Pictures Releasing StudioCanal, Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures and Lionsgate).