The last 12 months is just about done and dusted, and so my review of the year in film, and my pick for 2018’s best.
Solo was, pretty much, exactly what I expected. It’s not the best Star Wars film, and it certainly isn’t the worst. I did not find myself questioning why this film was made in the first place.
The highest point of praise is simply that Solo captures the inherent fun of the Stars Wars universe, in its Saturday morning serial style adventure plot, full of set-pieces, with lots of unique, fantastical characters, ridiculous bad guys and a devil-may-care anti-hero out to make his name in the universe. At times, dealing with the hyper analysis of the recent Star Wars offerings, you tend to forget that these films are supposed to be escapist myth-making at their heart, and Solo gets that, embracing its silliness without ever becoming a laugh-fest, and maintaining the drama without ever becoming too dramatic.
Indeed, the father-son screenwriting team of Lawrence and Jonathan Kazdan have crafted something that at times feels a bit more like Indiana Jones than Star Wars, and that’s OK. There are no Jedi, no Force powers, no intergalactic politics and no sense that the fate of the universe is at stake: just a bunch of criminals out to do crime.
I liked Solo. It’s a nice diverting sci-fi adventure, that shows us more of several characters we all love, in a universe that even the most begrudging of purists will like settling into again for two hours and change. The cast does a good job, it looks great and I think that it nails the depiction and character of the titular smuggler. It was worth making, and I think that history will be kind to it. I can’t say “Great shot kid, that was one in a million”, but at least I don’t have to say “What a piece of junk!”.
9. Black ‘47
Black ‘47 has drawn some comment, and criticism, for the way that the Famine is used as mere backdrop to a rather simplistic action plot-line, and there is some merit in that. But I feel that there is a certain amount of missing of the point in such criticism. Black ‘47 is not a documentary after all, and the revenge plot has some hidden depths.
Through it, Black ‘47 explores the injustice of the English ascendency in Ireland, how it exacerbated the Famine and how the Irish Catholic underclass was invariably pushed into a violent response to seek and protect their inalienable rights. It gives you a whistle-stop tour of some the worst moments of the event, not least the evictions in the face of the poll tax, the exporting of grain (that even one idealistic English character decides he has to take a stand against), “souperism” and the patronising attempts of the authorities to insist that it’s really the Catholic Irish’s fault.
Black ‘47 goes about its business in a well-paced narrative, as Feeney’s quest steadily escalates in a number of really well put together set-pieces, that exhibit inventive ways of differentiating themselves without becoming too tawdry. The film ties every murderous move to a higher point: the injustice of the RIC, the self-interest of the informer, a sectarian court system, cruel land-agents and the big house society that has worsened the suffering considerably.
It is a very decent watch, a more than acceptable effort to bring one of the nation’s defining historical crises to the big screen and make it palatable enough for an audience that isn’t really interested in misery-porn. The cast is decent, the script is limited in scope but effective when focused on, and Daly directs well. Some tonal issues and an ill-thought ending detract, but Black ‘47 is a film that I do think does a great service to the cause of historical drama and representations of Irish history.
This is both a funny recap of the life of Doug Kenney and the National Lampoon in general, as well as being a surprisingly affecting biopic of a comedy mind so easily dragged down by the unbearable pressures of increasing notoriety and needing to keep a multimedia empire going.
It helps that the film is embodying Lampoon’s style even as it recreates it with Martin Mull’s narrator looking back on his life and loves, and gleefully calling attention to such absurdities as Will Forte being 15 years too old to play Kenney. And this is the Kenney story: Forte plays Kenney with that crucial sense of pathos, as he does his level best to avoid letting his manic-depressive side show, and never quite succeeds. The sad reality that so many geniuses of comedy suffer such mental health issues makes it all the worse to watch, as Kenney veers between being at the pinnacle of his craft and suicidal thoughts.
The film never lets up with the funny, but there is a serious side to A Futile And Stupid Gesture that should not be ignored, weaving its way around the drama: Kenney struggles with a marriage he committed to a bit too young, with colleagues that get more of the national spotlight than him and with the Hollywood machine that doesn’t really get his vision. And, at the heart of it all, there’s a very human desire to just have the approval of his parents, who don’t seem inclined to give it. The final joke of A Stupid And Futile Gesture naturally revolves around Kenney’s final days. The film doesn’t belabour its focus and, in one of the few moments of sentimentality, offers a simple visual tribute to Kenney’s last moments, before going right back to its absurdist leanings.
Some will certainly by thrown by the tonal extremes exhibited here, as the director positively delights in those absurdist leanings even while Kenney’s mental collapse plays out, but it’s true to the very thing that defined Kenney’s life. The golden age of comedy that he helped to usher in is long since over, but his role in shaping what has come after resonates. A Stupid And Futile Gesture might be flawed, but that seems oddly appropriate givens its strengths.
Deborah Ellis’ novel tells a grim tale at times, of gender inequality and a desperate fight for survival, but Cartoon Saloon, and Nora Twomey again, have tackled serious topics before, doing so with tact and verve. More importantly, they have done so with a searing honesty. If The Breadwinner is to be an animated adaptation, I can think of no other studio and director I would rather have be responsible.
Right from the off, The Breadwinner frames itself as a look at two different views of Afghanistan, the one that is, and the one that could be, one steeped in harsh, painful reality, and one steeped in fantastical freedom and idealism. With an engaging tale within a tale narrative, The Breadwinner ebbs and flows with the story that it has to tell, maintaining its grim look at the unfortunate life of women under the rule of Taliban while also giving itself the breathing room to tell what is essentially an eastern-style fairy-tale.
In the real world, Parshava has to risk life and limb in order to do something as simple as purchase basic necessities for her female family members, and The Breadwinner excels at showcasing Parshava’s trembling efforts to do this as herself, and then her trembling efforts to do this as “Aatish” and then that wonderful moment of transformation, as she realises the freedom that she now enjoys when she is perceived as being of the male gender. Meanwhile, in the fantasy world with its different animation style, we get a heart-rending, yet oft-humorous, look at a very different, but very inter-connected, story.
While it will certainly lack the localised pull of The Book Of Kells or Song Of The Sea, The Breadwinner may be Cartoon Saloon’s finest hour, a mature, thoughtful animation, that pulls few punches in its depiction of theocratical dictatorship, abuse of women and the defilement of childhood, yet somehow successfully meshing this with some more child-friendly material. Never patronising, rarely bland, The Breadwinner is another fine example of the kind of stuff that Irish animation studios can create, which remains important in a genre awash with the unexceptional.
Black Panther (see below) proved a bit of a redemption for the series, and it got me suitably interested in Infinity War, despite my fears that we would be getting an overloaded 160 minute quip-fest. But how could I not stick with the MCU this far? For better or worse, these films have made a gigantic impact on the medium, and Infinity War is the apex, at least for the moment. And, despite some serious reservations that I have about the film’s conclusion, I was glad that I stuck with the MCU, at least this far.
I really liked this film. It’s fair to say my expectations were subdued, but Infinity War is, at its very worst, a fun summer blockbuster that any fan of the MCU will love, even if parts of it continue to underwhelm as other aspects of the series have. Infinity War had epic pretensions, and this is an epic story, an inter-galactic thrill-ride, that surprised me about as much as the first Avengers film did. With the seriousness that some people treat these films with, it’s nice to actually just enjoy a crossover story that reminds you of how exciting such things were in their comic book source material.
Well-paced throughout with a seamless blend of plot advancement and inventive, engaging action sequences, Infinity War balances a hell of a lot in terms of characters, side-plots and everything else, but manages to just about pull it off. The cast is, as always, excellent, and then there is Thanos, Josh Brolin’s show-stealing villain, who, along with Black Panther’s Killmonger, has redefined what we have come to expect from one of the MCU’s traditional weak links. He drives Infinity War forward, and even makes its ending, that signals the film is essentially Part One of a five hour tale that will be completed next year, a bit more bearable than it should be.
Infinity War may have a bit of an overreliance on CGI, it may resort to humour for humours sake a bit too much, and the ending is a major black spot. But it also manages to craft an exciting, mostly engaging action film around a multitude of characters, has come up with arguably the MCU’s best antagonist ever to anchor the whole experience, features a cast with an endearing comfortableness in their roles and demonstrates an understanding of long-form pacing that deserves some serious praise.
Annihilation is an odd beast, whose remarkable pre-production is eye-raising enough, before you even get close to its actual subject matter. That Alex Garland felt confident enough to write a script for an adaptation of a book he had only a memory of is one thing, but that the film has actually been made on that basis, with Garland in charge, is something else. And for such a strange, positively unique experience, it’s astonishing to me that Annihilation got as little attention as it did. Love it, hate it, or confused by it, Annihilation deserves a bigger audience and a bit more discussion than it has been capable of attracting.
I mean, in a world where the #metoo movement and its associated campaigning for gender equality in Hollywood is a major part of the landscape, here is a high-concept, relatively well-financed sci-fi movie, whose central cast is almost entirely female. And that cast does sterling work, in a production that runs the gambit from discussions on the nature of grief, the perils of investigative science, the nature of reality and, finally, whether human life has a tendency for self-destruction hardwired into its DNA.
It’s weighty stuff, and we should not overlook the complexity of Annihilation in terms of criticism either. I would say that plenty will be put off by Garland’s artistry, which does not seek to create a well-rounded story free from ambiguity, with questions asked and answered. Unlike other films that favour vague symbolism and over-reliance on audience interpretation to propel themselves forward, Annihilation seems more like a filmed version of “It isn’t the destination that matters” playing out masterfully.
Annihilation never really got the audience its ambition and female driven story deserved. For better or worse, this just isn’t the kind of film that would draw in a big audience, when more palatable and less confusing fare is on offer down just about any avenue. But maybe it was able to grab just enough notice that the pre-eminent streaming platform may feel inclined to given projects of a similar scope a chance, where the theatres and the studios wont. On its own merits, it’s another remarkable offering from Garland in the director’s chair, with a fine cast, an engaging story and a depth that is positively rare in big-screen sci-fi nowadays.
Spike Lee has never been a director I can say I’ve been totally enamoured with, but that’s probably because a large proportion of his films aren’t really made for me or someone of my background. But I would be lying if I said the story being presented here wasn’t intriguing, on two levels: the idea of an undercover cop drama where the cop is black and the criminal target is the KKK, and a film about historical race relations in America at a time in the present when they appear to be disintegrating more and more. Lee has his controversies, and his duds if we’re all being honest, but you couldn’t imagine many other directors better placed to deliver on the source material here.
As a taut police drama about cops going undercover to infiltrate a violent group of racists, it succeeds admirably. The investigation straddles the line between tense and darkly humorous, the interactions with the actual Klansmen are riven with tension and the film is edited and paced with skill. There are questions aplenty to answer here, and Lee takes us through them all in what could rightfully be called a mishmash of themes, but which still somehow all ties together.
Are the American police, traditionally one of the most racist institutions in America, really the right tool to go about fighting the Klan? Does unspoken cop brotherhood mean more than confronting internal racism? Is there merit to the ideals of violent black revolution, or is it better to try and change things slower and more peacefully? That large parts of the account – a planned bombing, Harrier’s character, elements of the actual undercover work – have been fictionalised doesn’t really matter: Lee knows when to change things to suit the narrative and the message.
While I haven’t changed my mind too much on Lee as a somewhat over-rated director with a tendency to lose the point of his creations too easily, BlacKkKlansman is probably his best work in a long time and is easily my favourite film of his. Washington steps out from his father’s shadow, a tense police drama and an expose of race mix well together and the film carries a powerful, timely message that more people in America and beyond could do with being exposed to the deeper we get into the rabbit hole of Trump’s disastrous Presidency. There’s light in there somewhere, and we might find it someday. Until then, it’s good to be reminded why the fight goes on.
3. Isle Of Dogs
Back after an unprecedented four years absence from the director’s chair, it’s fair to say that Wes Anderson’s latest had non-literal tongues (and tails!) wagging, with his return to the stop-motion animation process that delivered such rich results with his unexpectedly incredible adaptation of Fantastic Mr Fox. The time he has taken between projects this time would, understandably enough, have many wondering just what he was cooking up over so lengthy a time.
Isle Of Dogs (and yes Wes, I get the title) is certainly a fantastical tale. A villainous government, pushing a radical pro-cat agenda that stretches back millennia, seeks to eradicate the dog population, and our scruffy protagonists have to survive by virtue of a semi-mystical epic journey through a landscape that, in naming conventions and principals, resembles something out of Game Of Thrones. And yet, Isle Of Dogs has that which all the other Anderson films have as well, and in spades: characters that, while sometimes simple, are intriguing, sympathetic and just plain endearing. No matter what the physical and narrative landscape, once Anderson has those, everything else falls into place, alongside a repeat of his common central themes: dysfunctional families, sibling rivalry, isolation and a pushback against fascistic oppression.
But it is in the visual, both in terms of the actual animation and in the way it is shot, that we find the most potent source of emoting. Anderson, with Fantastic Mr Fox under his belt, has only improved on the animation front. The details are astounding in their obsessiveness: Anderson, a director so intensely focused, is the kind of guy who clearly won’t accept anything less than perfection. Always and anon there is Anderson’s flat symmetrical style, as if every shot you are looking at is a still painting that just happens to be coming to life.
Every iota of his work seems designed with intense specificity to appeal to the heart and to the brain, in every stirring line, beautifully crafted shot or interesting character. It seems plain to me that Anderson should be acknowledged as one of the greatest living film-makers, and perhaps one of the greatest ever, the modern embodiment of auteur theory. Isle Of Dogs, a stunning and pretty film, with intriguing things to show and to say, is only one part of the reason why, but what a part it is, all things considered.
I said while reviewing the last few MCU films that this shared cinematic universe was side-stepping its way from being primarily superhero/action-adventure focused, to being primarily comedy films, and that this was not something I was all that into anymore. But I also said that the next MCU release – Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther – was a film I would still be supporting, because there were other, very important, reasons for doing so. The quality of the film was, in many ways, immaterial. Much like Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman last year, making sure that Black Panther was a success is a goal in itself.
And I would be churlish if I was to claim that the need for Black Panther to be a success does not colour my thinking on the film. The world of film and Hollywood needs more diversity, be it in gender or be it in race: a megabucks MCU project with a largely black cast is Marvel Studios answer to that call.
The end result is a great experience. The almost entirely minority cast does sterling work, from Boseman’s conflicted hero showcasing an action hero, a leader and lover through to the real star of the show, Michael B. Jordan’s “Killmonger”, probably the most interesting villain the MCU has come up with yet. The film zips along at a frenetic pace, filled with great set-pieces and a world that is remarkably well-realised, apart from anything the comic book genre has come up with recently. At times it is a bit by the numbers, but any sense of sameness in the narrative can be excused by the high quality of the production. And you cannot overlook the central message of the film either, a challenging statement on the nature of race relations, and a complex presentation of how moral or virtuous various attempts to deal with racism may be, far and above the typical tawdry themes that litter this genre.
It is in the details – the African characters, setting, music, themes – that it excels. But more than anything else, it’s a film, a comic book film even, with a minority cast, that is both good from a critical perspective, and has done incredibly in the commercial stakes. And that is a welcome thing. I’ll watch a second Black Panther, gladly, not just because I want to support a film like this, but it helps. If the MCU keeps pumping out stuff like Black Panther, like Ant-Man, like Spider-Man, then they’ll still have me as a customer.
After a rocky spell where the growing commercialism, signified by the bloated Cars franchise and its spin-offs, seemed to show that the Disneyfication of Pixar was inevitable, the studio righted course in recent years with a succession of solid, even inspiring efforts, like Inside Out.
The common thread remains as story-telling and characters that cut to the heart of human emotion, regardless of what is actually on-screen, be it living toys, geriatrics in a balloon house or, in this case, a cavalcade of talking skeletons. Pixar’s 2018 effort, taking its cues from Mexican mythology, is the latest in a new generation of Pixar classics, this time taking the confluence of music and memory as its touchstone.
Coco is a brilliantly constructed treatise on death, how we react to it and how we remember the people who have passed. It could have been lost in complication, but it’s gloriously simple in execution. Through Miguel’s journey through the Land of the Dead, Pixar challenges the audience to consider the importance of remembering where you’ve come from and the way your family shapes you; how artistic expression is (quite literally) good for the soul; and that the simplest things can bring warmth, joy and life to the most decrepit of hearts.
But as much as that, the film works on a visual level, with the Land of the Dead a sight to behold. This twisted urban metropolis defies traditional concepts of architecture while remaining very familiar: the marigold bridge for example, a simple enough structure, but one imbued with that majestic sense of magic and visual wonder. The entire gargantuan concept of the Land of the Dead, from de la Cruz’ tower to the shanty town for the nearly forgotten, is Pixar doing their very best to bring such an otherworldly place to life.
Oh, and the music, that wonderfully peppy Mexican guitar. You’ll nod along to de la Cruz’s back catalogue, to the redacted bawdiness of “Juanita”, to the joyful rhythms of “Un Poco Loco” and, of course the many variations of the films signature piece, “Remember Me”, best depicted as a softly spoken lullaby from a father to a distant child. “Never underestimate the power of music” says de la Cruz near the beginning: he’s right, as Coco would be nowhere near the experience that it is without the musical acumen it displays throughout.
Films that have the ability to connect with the audience so intimately and so simply should be celebrated, and it’s a testament to the greatness of Pixar that they just keep doing it over and over. Coco is another one of their greats, that deserves to be on the same pedestal as Up, Wall-E, Toy Story 3 or The Incredibles. The cast is fantastic, the visuals are immense, the music is spectacular: Coco is winning on all fronts, an emotionally rewarding homage to Mexican culture and the importance of family. It is the best film of 2018.
Honourable mentions elsewhere are varied and numerous. The Post was another solid Spielbergian effort, though it needed the magnificent performance of Meryl Street to really make it as good as it was. Unsane, for the method of its production, deserves some consideration for its impact on film this year. Orbiter 9 was a very engaging sci-fi drama/romance. And, in a year where I didn’t see many worthwhile documentaries, Survivors Guide To Prison caught my eye as a well constructed thesis on a very important topic.
As for the worst of the year, well that is a tight race, but in the end I am going to have to go with Duncan Jones’ Mute, over the likes of Robin Hood or The Titan. Mute was just a more general failure on every level – plot, script, world-building and performances – that lacked even the rudimentary saving grace of unintentional laughter, just a rather sad ego project from a director whose best days may already be behind him.
And so, to the awards.
Awarded to the actor who has impressed the most throughout the year in leading roles.
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman)
Some great candidates this year, but it is fitting and appropriate that I plump for John David Washington’s fantastic performance in BlacKkKlansman, which gave an already weighty film some serious engine power in terms of the emotional stakes. Little known before then, he is surely going to be a much bigger deal going forward.
Honourable Mentions: Anthony Gonzalez (Coco), Chadwick Bozeman (Black Panther), Will Forte (A Futile And Stupid Gesture), Tom Hanks (The Post), Michael B. Jordan (Creed 2)
Best Supporting Actor
Awarded to the actor who has impressed the most throughout the year in roles other than the lead.
Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
There was a time, after Fantastic Four, when I worried that Jordan, whom I first enjoyed watching in Friday Night Lights, might not become the star he was meant to be. Two Creed’s and an MCU masterclass later, and those fears have been dispelled. In Black Panther Jordan gives the world the best comic book villain in years, something that deserves serious acclaim.
Honourable Mentions: Gael Garcia Bernal (Coco), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War), Sylvester Stallone (Creed II), Woody Harrellson (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
Awarded to the actress who has impressed the most throughout the year in leading roles.
Meryl Streep (The Post)
It’s good to see a full crop of candidates this year, and a well-deserved win for the film veteran hardly in need of any more praise. The Post may not have been a perfect film but Streep’s performance was pretty much close to the concept, going from a doormat in a world dominated by male voices to making one of the most important decisions in the history of journalistic integrity.
Honourable Mentions: Natalie Portman (Annihilation), Saara Chaudry (The Breadwinner), Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man And The Wasp), Clara Lago (Orbiter 9), Claire Foy (Unsane)
Best Supporting Actress
Awarded to the actress who has most impressed throughout the year in roles other than the lead.
Tessa Thompson (Creed II, Annihilation)
Thompson was good enough, if a bit side-lined, in Creed II, but stood out in a much more notable way in the excellent Annihilation, a film that deserves some credit for its nearly all-female cast. Any one of the four supporting cast members to Portman’s lead could have been considered here, but Thompson was the best, showcasing a heart-breaking fragility throughout.
Honourable Mentions: Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther), Florence Pugh (Outlaw King), Shim Eun-kyoung (Psychokinesis) Emelia Clarke (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Annihilation)
Awarded to the best cast, generally, of any film during the year.
It was this or Avengers: Infinity War really, two films overflowing with fantastic principals, but Black Panther did a better job of giving them all time and space to really excel.
Honourable Mentions: Isle Of Dogs, Annihilation, Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Post
Awarded to the best director of the year.
Wes Anderson (Isle Of Dogs)
A very tight contest, but I can’t heap enough praise on Anderson, for coming back after a four-year absence with another masterpiece in visual presentation, that matches and then exceeds his previous efforts.
Honourable Mentions: Lee Unkrich (Coco), Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Alex Garland (Annihilation), The Russo Brothers (Avengers: Infinity War)
Awarded to the film that has the best production values of the year, in terms of sets, props and other associated elements.
The MCU train keeps on rolling. The world of Wakanda comes to life brilliantly in Black Panther, in every set and set-piece.
Honourable Mentions: Avengers: Infinity War, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Black ’47, Outlaw King, Orbiter 9
Awarded to the film with the best use of computer-generated imagery and graphics.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
I say it every year it seems: from start to finish, Star Wars delivers, again.
Honourable Mentions: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Mortal Engines, Annhilation
Awarded to the composer/ film with the best instrumental (non-lyrical) music of the year.
Alexandre Desplat (Isle Of Dogs)
A very tough one this year, but long time veteran Desplat made Isle Of Dogs and auditory delight from start to finish, with a unique blend of Anderson’s usual strings and drums with eastern influences.
Honourable Mentions: Ludwig Goransson (Black Panther), John Powell/John Williams (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Alan Silvestri (Avengers: Infinity War), Michael Giacchino (Coco), Geoff Barrow/Ben Salisbury (Annihilation)
Awarded to the film with the best songs, generally, of the year.
A very easy decision this year. From “Un Poco Loco” to “Juanita” to the brilliant variations on “Remember Me” (and lets not forget the Spanish versions), Coco coasts to victory in this category.
Honourable Mentions: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Black ‘47, Creed II, The Polka King
Best Original Song
Awarded to the best song created for a film of the year.
“Remember Me” – Cast (Coco),
I can’t even bring myself to settle on one version of this, but if I had to it would be the closing version where Anthony Gonzalez sings it with Ana Ofelia Murguia. A wonderful song.
Honourable Mentions: “Up Poco Loco” – Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal (Coco), “Everyone Knows Juanita” – Gael Garcia Bernal (Coco), “All The Stars” – Kendrick Lamar, SZA (Black Panther), “Kill’Em With Success” – Mike Will Made-It, Eearz, Schoolboy Q, 2 Chainz (Creed II)
Best Adapted Script
Awarded to the best script adapted from another source of the year.
BlacKkKlansman (Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee)
Overflowing with drama, humour and intrigue, the adaptation of Ron Stallworth’s memoir is a huge part of what makes BlacKkKlansman as good as it is.
Honourable Mentions: Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole), Annihilation (Alex Garland), Avengers: Infinity War (Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeeley), The Breadwinner (Anita Doron, Deborah Ellis), A Futile And Stupid Gesture (John Aboud, Michael Colton)
Best Original Script
Awarded to the best original script of the year.
Coco (Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich, Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz)
For a film all about the music, the writing team sure wrote it brilliantly, a love-letter to its auditory influences, that also features a slew of fascinating characters and a number of immense verbal showdowns.
Honourable Mentions: Isle Of Dogs (Wes Anderson), Solo: A Star Wars Story (Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan), Amateur (Ryan Coo), Orbiter 9 (Hatem Khraiche), Unsane (Johnathan Bernstein, James Greer)
Awarded to the best camerawork of any film of the year.
Annihilation (Rob Hardy)
Brilliantly crafted in every shot, Annihilation is a proper sci-fi experience.
Honourable Mentions: Black Panther (Rachel Morrison), Isle Of Dogs (Tristan Oliver), BlacKkKlansman (Chayse Irvin), A Futile And Stupid Gesture (Michael Atkinson), Solo: A Star Wars Story (Bradford Young)
Awarded to the film with the best combined make-up, hairstyling and costuming work of the year.
Marvel breaks the Star Wars domination, but it is well deserved.
Honourable Mentions: Solo: A Star Wars Story, Avengers: Infinity War, Annihilation, Black ‘47, Mortal Engines
Awarded to the best comedic film of the year.
A Futile And Stupid Gesture
Awarded to the best animated film of the year.
Awarded to the best romantic film of the year.
Awarded to the best science fiction film of the year.
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.
A Survivors Guide To Prison
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.
Miguel sings to his grandmother – (Coco)
Best Action Scene
Awarded to the best action/fight scene of the year.
Trying To Get The Glove Off Thanos (Avengers: Infinity War)
Best Battle Scene
Awarded to the best large-scale battle scene of the year.
Finale (Black Panther)
Best Delivered Line
Awarded to the best written and delivered line(s) of the year.
“Just bury me in the ocean with my ancestors who jumped from ships, ’cause they knew death was better than bondage.”
-Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)
Awarded to the best single set-piece sequence or segment of the year.
The Kessel Run (Solo: A Star Wars Story)
Awarded to the year’s best presented protagonist character.
T’Challa/Black Panther (Black Panther)
Awarded to the year’s best presented antagonist character.
Erik Killmonger (Black Panther)
“Diamond In The Rough” Award
Awarded to the actor/actress who gives the best performance of an otherwise bad movie.
Liam Neeson (The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs)
“Bang For Your Buck” Award
Awarded to the best film in the shortest running time.
The Breadwinner (94 minutes)
Awarded to a film that is still good despite its plot holes.
Avengers: Infinity War
“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.
Helena and Alex (Orbiter 9)
“Lonely Planet Guide To…” Award
Awarded to the best world/universe building within a film.
“On The Shoulders Of Giants” Award
Awarded to the best sequel, reboot or remake of the year.
Avengers: Infinity War
“Equality Now” Award
Awarded to the film that features the best use of female characters.
“Surprisingly Tolerable” Award
Awarded to the worst movie idea that turned good.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
“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.
Avengers: Infinity War
“You Can’t Take The Sky From Me” Award
Awarded to the best thing of the year
“Remember me…” (Coco)
That’s all from me for 2018, and I’ll see you on the other side, where awaits Alita, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Chaos Walking, Fighting With My Family, Captain Marvel, Captive State, Shazam!, Hellboy, Avengers: Endgame, Pokemon: Pikachu Detective, John Wick 3: Parabellum, Aladdin, Ad Astra, The Kid, Dark Phoenix, Toy Story 4, Ford vs Ferrari, Spider-Man: Far From Home, The Lion King, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Artemis Fow,L Downton Abbey, Joker, Zombieland Too, Midway, Frozen II and Star Wars: Episode IX, among others. See you next year.
(All images are copyright of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Element Pictures, Netflix, Elevation Pictures, StudioCanal, Paramount Pictures, Focus Features and Fox Searchlight Pictures).