Film Rankings And Awards 2021

It has certainly been another interesting 12 months, that’s for sure. Cinemas re-opened, but streaming remained the primary avenue of new films for me this year, and one suspects that may well just become the norm going forward. But there was still lots of good, a few bad, a fair bit in-between to talk about. Up first, my rankings for film of the year.

10. I Never Cry

I Never Cry is a film with a strong central narrative, an engaging protagonist and forms in itself one of the more thought-provoking coming-of-age stories that I have seen in a while. With a quick set-up in Poland where we see the frustrated Olka we pretty quickly get thrown into the meat-and-bones of the story, a modern-day fable of familial obligation clashing with cold-hard reality and teenaged cynicism. The journey is one that is filled with a succession of impediments: in something like The Divine Comedy, Olka fills her Dublin days encountering a number of different people, who either offer a new obstacle to her quest or just add to the increasing number of layers that make-up her now deceased father.

I Never Cry goes through this laundry-list of experiences with decent pace, never stopping too long in any given scene or sequence. The only real character of consequence is Olka, who begins her journey in the firm belief that her father was a distant stranger good only for the car he promised to buy her one day, and ends it in a somewhat different place entirely. Understanding how her father died, what his life was like in Ireland and what’s really important when it comes to things like money, are the main waypoints between arriving in Ireland and getting back to her home country. Getting to know our father is something everyone wants to do, but having to do it after they die makes for some fascinating story-telling. And in the end Olka really only learns a very small amount, left in largely as much ignorance as she was when she started, save for a few critical details.

Stafiej is quite good in the lead role, capturing something of the teenage mindset when it comes to their parents, their expectations and what they think of an increasingly bleak globalised world. Adolescent sullenness is such a hard thing to accurately capture on-screen, without coming off like a cartoon or a maniac, but she nails it, this facade of stubborn nonchalance that masks a crippling maelstrom of emotional turmoil. Through the series of encounters that Olka goes through, we see her grow and mature a little bit, coming to realise that her father was more than a regularly sent cheque. I Never Cry does a more than decent job of exploring the realities of the emigrant experience, and of giving us a look into the heart of what it means to be an emigrant nation, to be, as the director put it in an interview, a “euro-orphan”.

Olka (Zofia Stafiej) in I Never Cry.

9. The Dig

The Dig is quite good for what it is, a quiet, almost relaxing, examination of the personalities at the heart of the Sutton Ho find in the summer of 1939. Ralph Fiennes’ self-taught archaeologist is an imminently likable man. Carey Mulligan’s Pretty is a lonely widow facing into her final days, with the understandable maelstrom of emotions that such things bring. The two are brought together in unlikely circumstances, but compliment each other quite nicely. The drama around the excavation really is sort of secondary: more interesting than all that are scenes with a deeper emotional resonance, like Mulligan’s perfectly played reaction when Brown’s wife (played well in a few brief scenes by Monica Dolan) shows up and spoils dinner plans.

All the while, the grim spectre of a larger round of death plays out in the background in the late summer of 1939. The aura is of a warped mixture of panic, fear, lust and wanting to seize the day while you still can. “Cest la guerre” in its infancy, and the dread that it adds to proceedings serves the main plot well. The director lets the background utterly dominate the frame, the actual principals seeming rather small and unimportant by comparison and the effect is very isolating. The film also consistently plays dialogue more as a narration, with characters in a scene sitting or walking silently as verbal exchanges between the two are played over. This unusual technique adds a sense of distance to a lot of the proceedings, with it often seeming like two people in the same small room are actually very far apart: I suppose very much the intention.

The Dig is, for the most part, an enjoyable enough picture, the kind of thing that I welcome Netflix giving a home to. The cast is doing quite good work, and the main story is both an emotional examination of a somewhat niche subject, and a framework for an intelligent discussion of rather weighty existential manners. It looks brilliant, and it sounds good. It’s a film that grew on me the more I considered it and, even with some problems related to length and sub-plots, it’s still a very worthy addition to the filmography of 2021.

Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) and Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) in The Dig.

8. Sputnik

Sputnik is a film that has plenty of jump scares, a surprising amount of gore and may, in fact, cause you to hesitate when it comes to turning out the lights at night, at least just a little. The alien creature that constitutes both one of its main antagonists and its monstrous force provides the jump scares, various heads getting pulled off or otherwise ripped to shreds bring the gore, and an overabundance on shadowy environments and infrared camera does the rest. But Sputnik is far more than just some throwaway alien horror movie that any studio could have made at any time. No, this is a film with ideas and with a brain, and manages to get across both perceptions rather well.

Its main idea would seem to be a challenge to the audience to consider the difference between a parasite and a symbiote. One leeches off the host body, the other forms a circle that benefits both parties: it takes a while for the characters in Sputnik to determine what the creature inside of cosmonaut Konstantin actually is in terms of that divide. The parallels to a Soviet state that is obsessed with creating and then protecting its heroes, at the cost of eliminating societal parasites who don’t confirm to that culture of self-sacrifice, are fairly clear, but still presented in a manner that I enjoyed, maybe because it isn’t overdone. Akinshina is a bit of a revelation to me, but she’s quite good here, playing the role of a controversial scientist now way over her head with aplomb. The reserve that comes with being a member of a totalitarian society is there, but also the palpable feeling of wanting to break free of it.

Fyodorov is a bit harder to grasp in terms of his performance, but the aloofness and false bravado that he injects into Konstantin seems more appropriate the more you dig into the film, and come to realise the secrets that the character is hiding. Perhaps the entire experience is a bit too long and has an ending that is as melodramatic as it is convenient, but other than that I think that Sputnik is a fine example of making something engaging, thoughtful and maybe occasionally thrilling using a very limited list of principals and finances.

Konstantin (Pyotr Fyodorov) in Sputnik.

7. The White Tiger

The White Tiger is an interesting film, a very unique take on a (literal) rags-to-riches story. I mean, it starts with the main character declaring confidently that the next century will belong “to the brown and yellow man” as he commences a one sided dialogue with a visiting Chinese Premier. We will come to understand his antipathy for the west and for American impacts on Indian society (his “master”, a decent Rajkummar Rao, and his wife, Priyanka Chopra Jones, are the worst kind of “woke” stereotypes on-screen, full of unearned condescension and faux concern for the less fortunate). It’s just one part of a pretty intriguing tapestry, that walks the line between jaw-dropping perversion and genuinely inspiring. Caste systems, ingrained political corruption being a fact of life, the most negative outcomes of globalisation, they are all here and explored in abundance.

Gourav is a bit of a revelation in this film, taking us from a beaten down member of India’s “small bellies” to the entrepreneur (a word he loves to use) who rules his own little part of India by the conclusion. He’s full of interesting narration (helped of course by the adapted script of director Rahmin Bahrani), not least his repeated parable of a chicken coop to describe the manner in which lower tier Indians happily acquiesce to a society that will seem them all end up under the metaphorical butchers knife. The journey of this character is fascinating, walking a line between uplifting and revolting, as he seeks to escape from the chicken coop system.

Always and anon, the lens captures an air of decay, dirt and a build-up of refuse, and not just in scenes set in rubbish dumps: there’s a moggy element to nearly every frame of The White Tiger. Bahrani still has the freedom to get a little creative separately from this more general sense. It has a few problems with a sometimes too traditional structure and perhaps is a tad too long for its own good, but other than that this a solid adaptation that tells a very important story.

Balram (Adarsh Gourav) in The White Tiger.

6. Love And Monsters

Like the best kind of sci-fi, Love And Monsters succeeds by wrapping some very human characters and some very relatable problems in an extreme setting. That problem is basically loneliness, which can strike in normal circumstances, and when giant ants are crashing into your bunker: Joel, a guy suffering through a bit of arrested development, can’t stand that he is the odd man out in his own colony, with everyone else having hooked up with someone. You could set this film in a college campus, in a high school, anywhere really, and still get the same feeling, because the monsters are just set-dressing really. The point of the film is Joel dealing with that loneliness, and whether he is doing so in a positive manner (spoiler: he isn’t). In the early looks of a young man who has to listen to other copulating, in the middle section as he balances his growing experiences in a harsh outside world with this idealistic dream of hooking up with a lost love, and in later sections when Joel has to really evaluate what it is he is really looking for, Love And Monsters handles this theme with a maturity and insight that I was not expecting

It would be easy for the Joel character to come off as very creepy, almost incel like (he’s basically lost his later teenage years and early twenties to a bunker life, so no wonder he’s obsessed with that one girl). He has to be pitched to the audience just right, but I think Dylan O’Brien does a really great job with him. He makes Joel actually rather charming: a well-meaning, if slightly repressed, goofball, who just wants to make a connection with someone.On the other side Aimee could easily be a nothing character, just an object for Joel to coo over and chase, but through Henwick she comes into her own throughout the film, and has some excellent moments in the last act when she, in a gentle way, gets to outline to Joel that her life didn’t stop when she last saw him.

And it has a truly stellar supporting cast (Michael Rooker an especial stand-out), looks absolutely fantastic for the distribution model and does such a good job with universe-building that I sort of think it should be the template for the genre. Love And Monsters has its flaws – a slightly too episodic nature is the main one – but it does so much right, and crafts a universe so complete, that it’s almost hard to believe that it isn’t based on some kind of written property. Young adult dystopia felt pretty tired and played out before I saw this movie, but not so much anymore: Love And Monsters proves that their life (and giant insects) in the old girl yet.

Joel (Dylan O’Brien) in Love And Monsters.

5. News Of The World

News Of The World is a basic story in its deepest sense: an older male figure, a younger female figure, both full of their own traumas, conceits and desperation, now crashing into each other in unlikely circumstances. And, as expected with this director, this is a top-notch effort, engrossing to the last, with an engaging adventure story that shows a slightly different perspective on the old west than many might be used to.

Tom Hanks never ceases to amaze. I find it hard to put into words just why he is as good an actor as he is, but I will attempt it anyway: there are few in the profession who are as good at fully inhabiting the roles given to them as he is, wherein they can give the appropriate displays of emotion, extreme or limited, that can really get inside the hearts of an audience. Hanks does that again here. On the other hand, Helena Zengel also deserves a great deal of credit. She handles her role very well, able to imbue her character with a mix of nonchalant acceptance of the hardness of the world with a deep-deeded pain, in her characters case in response to being an orphan twice over. The two are able to form a very close and affecting interaction through the course of News Of The World, one that has enough in it to make you forget soon enough about inevitable comparisons to True Grit or The Searchers.

Mixing in obvious allegories to real world political developments – let’s just say that Hanks’ newsreader battles “fake news” as much as anyone nowadays, and for much the same reasons – with this deeply impactful story, Paul Greengrass then just sweetens the pot with a departure from his cinema verite style in favour of something more traditional with a demonstrated dichotomy between untouched wilderness and the onrushing human presence. But it always comes back to Hanks and Zengel, with the two making News Of The World, which at times strays into predictability, more than what it is, and that is a feat worthy of praise.

Jefferson Kidd (Tom Hanks) and Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) in News Of The World.

4. The French Dispatch

It might be the most overplayed bit of criticism that you will see anytime that Wes Anderson releases a new film, but that’s just because it is fundamentally true: he’s a director you either love or hate, and if you hate him there’s noting in The French Dispatch that will change your mind. Like all of his films, it’s very much Wes Anderson: the symmetrical framing, the colour scheme, the fast-spoken unearthly dialogue and themes of seeking human connection in a very alien world. If you haven’t been on the Anderson train (or should we say Darjeeling Unlimited?) before now, getting on at this stop now isn’t going to result in an enjoyable voyage for you. But if you’re like me, and you have enjoyed Wes Anderson’s unique brand of filmmaking in the past, then The French Dispatch will be another one to enjoy.

Its got all of his hallmarks, and to spare: between the way that Anderson tries to turn every scene into some manner of mirrored still-life that just happens to have moving people in it and the way that the time period and language make you think you are looking into a story from a different universe, you are most definitely in the mindspace of the director. Like many of his other films things unfold in an episodic fashion, though it has never been as pronounced as it is here: The French Dispatch is very much an anthology film, with its various “articles” having connection in theme and in setting, but very much independent short films all of their own.

From Owen Wilson’s travel writer zipping around the 2D landscape of Ennui, through Benicio del Toro’s tortured prison artist, onto Timothee Chalamet’s wayward student revolutionary and ending with Jeffrey Wright’s madcap recitation of a uniquer dining experience, The French Dispatch rarely lets up with its blend of alien environments, singular deliveries of dialogue, impressive work from its varied cast, an excellent score and Anderson’s ability to turn every last frame of his work into something worth studying. If, like me, you find so much to enjoy in Anderson’s work, from the way he writes to the way that he places his camera to the depth of information that populates every moment of his films, then The French Dispatch will blow you away, wow you, entrance you and everything in-between. It isn’t his very best work, but it isn’t far off either.

Arthur Howitzer Jr (Bill Murray) and Waiter (Pablo Pauley) in The French Dispatch.

3. Spider-Man: No Way Home

I would go so far as to say they have nailed it again, if it possible to be both completely satisfied with a movie and also think it isn’t approaching the level of Far From HomeNo Way Home is an enthralling spectacle, an ambitious effort to, if we are being honest, ape the multiverse success of Into The Spider Verse that succeeds on nearly all fronts. These crew, this cast, get Spider-Man.

I’ve loved watching Tom Holland’s journey as a young man growing up amid this spectacular circumstances and this continues here, as his Parker struggles under the weight of being, suddenly, the most famous person in the world. He brings everything that you need for this character, most importantly an appropriate mix of an extremely strong moral centre and a frustration over the pressures of the role, and he’s just one of an endlessly superb cast.. There is the right mix of action beats, fan service interactions and plot heavy drama to keep you from getting too restless. You won’t ever be bored, or even too overawed by what No Way Home presents. These kinds of franchise crossovers are practically old-hat at this point really, but No Way Home finds a way to keep them inventive, and marks itself as something akin to a celebration of 20 years of Spider-Man movies.

Ultimately No Way Home is about the importance of connections. Those connections go beyond the barriers of the multiverse, and they go beyond death too. I really appreciated that kind of message, just as much as I appreciated most of everything else about No Way Home. It could stand to rein in the constant impulse that creators have with Spider-Man to occasionally act as if he should be a tragic figure on a par with Bruce Wayne, but other than that this is yet another example of the kind of big, brash, unapologetically complex superhero epic that reminds me why I fell in love with this character in 2002, and have repeated the experience several times over. I suspect I have another such swooning in me yet.

Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: No Way Home

2. The Green Knight

There’s a lot to unpack here but I’ll start by saying how much I loved David Lowery’s dark take on this story. From source material that is focused very much on Gawain’s almost impeccable sense of honour, we are here presented with a different Gawain, who likes drinking, having sex with prostitutes and only answers the titular Knight’s challenge because it is a means whereby he can impress King Arthur. This is not a Gawain who enters into his quest with a strong moral compass, this is a Gawain who is looking to find out if he really has one at all.

The resulting quest is an episodic thing, but one that rarely disappoints. Patel is quite good here, his would-be knight that great mix of likable, detestable, naive, worldly and a lot in-between. He’s a deeply flawed person whose ambition outweighs his abilities, and yet we do find ourselves rooting for him, maybe because of how well Patel plays this sometimes audience surrogate who routinely finds himself coming up against fantastical obstacles. There’s a cutthroat band of grubby scavengers; the spirit of St Winifred who in the course of only a few minutes manages to subtly introduce an element of #metoo to the whole affair; a temptress in a castle who brings Gawain’s weakness to the fore in a very sordid manner; magical foxes, giants, and, oh yes, the Green Knight right at the end of the story. He will present Gawain with the hardest challenge of all: answering the question as to whether the upholding of our word is worth dying for. 

This is the kind of film that I think only comes along a few times a year really: that wonderful marriage of fine directing, fine acting, fine narrative and fine production. The Green Knight has them all, and is a thinker to boot, constructing themes of environmentalism, magic, trust and class boundaries in among everything else. It’s a fine adaptation of this old story, and one that is not liable to leave the memory in a hurry.

Gawain (Dev Patel) in The Green Knight.

1. The Mitchells Vs The Machines

It took five months of 2021 for me to finally meet a proper “Film Of The Year” contender, but when I did it grabbed hold of that title and never let go. Christopher Miller, Phil Lord and the people behind Gravity Falls were never likely to make something I wouldn’t like, and The Mitchells Vs The Machines is something that I like very, very much. It does so on the back of a wonderful story, an hilarious and moving script, gorgeous visuals and a sense of confidence about itself that is genuinely inspiring to see. This is, to use an unlikely cliche, a real rocket-buster of a movie, the kind of thing that hits all of the required sweet spots for the genre and style, and then goes above and beyond to deliver something really unique and wonderful. This is animation and comedic/action as it really should be.

There’s so much here that I fear I would just allow this quick summation of my thoughts to overflow into mindless superlatives, so I will be as brief as I can: The Mitchells Vs The Machines soars thanks to the strength of the father/daughter relationship narrative that is at it’s heart, with Abbi Jackson and Danny McBride both giving excellent performances; the well-realised characters in the entire titular family, who all get stand-out moments of their own and let you settle into their story with their easy interactions; a subtle, cleverly done commentary on the benefits and pitfalls of social media as it pertains to personal relationships; an excellent villain, voiced with aplomb by Olivia Colman; some astounding visuals from the people behind Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse; and heaps and heaps of laughs.

But it isn’t just that the film is belly-laugh funny throughout, it’s that it is able to effectively marry this to the family drama without it becoming distracting or the drama becoming overwrought. This is a balance that honestly should be the benchmark for such efforts going forward, and it is the key strength of the production, leaving aside all of the other keys strengths. There wasn’t a 30 second stretch of this film that I didn’t love. Entertaining, engaging, The Mitchells Vs The Machines makes me hungry to see what both this director, writing team and production duo can come up with next, as they seem to have difficulty actually missing the target. They certainly didn’t with this one, because this is the film of the year.

Aaron (Michael Rianda), Rick (Danny McBride), Katie (Abbi Jacobson) and Linda (Maya Rudolph) in The Mitchells Vs The Machines.

Now, as has become usual, a brief word on dishonourable mentions. Malcolm And Marie was an early entry for this, a film that dramatically misjudged the sympatheticness of either part of its two-hander. Another Round was a similar misjudgment, that tried to make a comedy out of alcoholism and largely failed to. Thunder Force was a bad indictment of how far Melissa McCarthy has fallen. Diana: The Musical was, well, a very not-well-thought-out idea in the first place. But the worst film of the year for me has to easily go to Home Sweet Home Alone, a needless sequel that constituted both a lazy cash-in on a franchise and a season, mixed with a radical misunderstanding of just how such films work: the burglers should never be the heroes!

And so, to awards.

Best Actor

Awarded to the actor who has impressed the most throughout the year in leading roles.

Dev Patel (The Green Knight)

In a story that a required a great deal from the lead, in terms of carrying the weight of an episodic story rich with varied themes, Patel succeeded spectacularly. His Gawain easily slots in as one of the all time great Arthurian performances.

Honourable mentions: Tom Holland (Spider-Man: No Way Home), Danny McBride (The Mitchells Vs The Machines), Ralph Fiennes (The Dig), Dylan O’Brien (Love And Monsters), Tom Hanks (News Of The World)

Best Supporting Actor

Awarded to the actor who has impressed the most throughout the year in roles other than the lead.

Gregory Diaz IV (In The Heights)

In a musical that maybe failed to live up to its stage progenitor at times, Diaz livened things up considerably in efforts to add new material, putting in a great shift acting and singing as In The Heights called greater attention to the “Dreamers”

Honourable Mentions: Timothee Chalamet (The French Dispatch), Michael Rooker (Love And Monsters), Shamier Anderson (Stowaway), Jason Mamoa (Dune), Barry Keoghan (The Green Knight)

Best Actress

Awarded to the actress who has impressed the most throughout the year in leading roles.

Abbi Jacobson (The Mitchells Vs The Machines)

This is the first time I’ve given an acting award to VA, but it’s deserved here. Jacobson gives the Katie character everything that it needs to be emotionally engaging and impactful, from getting across her own dreams to establishing that relationship with her family.

Honourable Mentions: Frances McDormand (Nomadland), Anna Kendrick (Stowaway), Jodie Comer (The Last Duel), Zofia Stafiej (I Never Cry), Helena Zengel (News Of The World)

Best Supporting Actress

Awarded to the actress who has most impressed throughout the year in roles other than the lead.

Olga Merediz (In The Heights)

Hey, it made it to the top of the acting stakes twice, and who could blame me? Merediz’ role as the neighbourhood matriarch is critical to In The Heights, and that’s before her movie-stealing performance for “Paciencia Y Fe”

Honourable Mentions: Alicia Vikander (The Green Knight), Zendaya (Spider-Man: No Way Home), Toni Collette (Stowaway), Jessica Henwick (Love And Monsters), Elise Schaap (Ferry)

Best Ensemble

Awarded to the best cast, generally, of any film during the year.

The French Dispatch

The temptation to give this award to Wes Anderson’s trope of familiars is pretty much irresistible. Some may not like the way he has his principals deliver their lines and craft their performances, but I am not one of those people.

Honourable Mentions: The Mitchells Vs The Machine, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Love And Monsters, The Green Knight

Best Director

Awarded to the best director of the year.

David Lowery (The Green Knight)

This is always a tough one to narrow down, but Lowery gets the nod from me ahead of several other worthy candidates owing to the amount of visual invention he was able to bring to The Green Knight, the performance he got out of Patel and how he was able to include so much thematically in such a short space of time.

Honourable Mentions: Michael Rianda (The Mitchells Vs The Machines), Jon M. Chu (In The Heights), Wes Anderson (The French Dispatch), Joe Penna (Stowaway), Michael Matthews (Love And Monsters)

Best Production

Awarded to the film that has the best production values of the year, in terms of sets, props and other associated elements.

The French Dispatch

Take a look at any individual frame of this film and you will find layers, in set, props, details, that other productions can only dream of. Mise en scene has never been so apropos.

Honourable Mentions: Spider-Man: No Way Home, Love And Monsters, The Green Knight, Dune, In The Heights

Best CGI

Awarded to the film with the best use of computer-generated imagery and graphics.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

A rollercoaster ride of colour and invention from start to finish, this is an easy win for the film of the year.

Honourable Mentions: Raya And The Last Dragon, Dune, Encanto, Love And Monsters, Stowaway

Best Score

Awarded to the composer/ film with the best instrumental (non-lyrical) music of the year.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines (Mark Mothersbaugh)

At first listen this can seem like an unexceptional accompaniment of twangy tones and optimistic beats, but then Mothersbaugh gets into the dark synth and you realise you are experiencing a score with a much greater level of depth than you might have thought.

Honourable Mentions: The French Dispatch (Alexandre Depslatt), Spider-Man: No Way Home (Michael Giacchino), Love And Monsters (Marco Beltrami & Marcus Trumpp), No Time To Die (Hanz Zimmer), Black Holes: The Edge Of All We Know (Zoe Keating)

Best Soundtrack

Awarded to the film with the best songs, generally, of the year.

Summer Of Soul

Hard to look beyond a documentary that features the pinnacle of marginalised music styles from one of the most important years in musical history.

Honourable Mentions: The Harder They Fall, Encanto, In The Heights, The Mitchells Vs The Machines, Army Of The Dead

Best Original Song

Awarded to the best song created for a film of the year.

“No Time To Die” – Billy Eilish (No Time To Die)

Its taken a long time for Eilish to finally be in a position to win awards for her brilliantly written and captivatingly haunting contribution to the James Bond canon, but nothing has topped her in the interim.

Honourable Mentions: “On My Way” – Alex Lahey (The Mitchells Vs The Machines), “Lead The Way” – Jhene Aiko (Raya And The Last Dragon), “Home All Summer” – Leslie Grace & Anthony Ramos ft Marc Anthony (In The Heights), “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” – Ensemble (Encanto), “O Nyghtegale” – Daniel Hart & Atheena Frizzell (The Green Knight)

Best Adapted Script

Awarded to the best script adapted from another source of the year.

The Green Knight (David Lowery)

Taking the very old words of a classic Middle Ages piece of writing and turning it into an accessible, yet unique, script, means Lowery more than deserves this nod.

Honourable Mentions: The White Tiger (Rahmin Bahrani), The Dig (Moira Buffani), Spider-Man: No Way Home (Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers), Nomadland (Chloe Zhao), News Of The World (Paul Greengrass & Luke Davies)

Best Original Script

Awarded to the best original script of the year.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines (Mike Rianda & Jeff Rowe)

A very easy choice to make, with the script for this just perfect for the story, the characters and what the film wants to get across.

Honourable Mentions: The Mitchells Vs The Machines (Mike Rianda & Jeff Rowe), The French Dispatch (Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola, Hugo Guiness & Jason Schwartzman), I Never Cry (Piotr Domalewski), Sputnik (Oleg Malovichko & Andrei Zolotarev), Love And Monsters (Brian Duffield & Matthew Robsinson), Lapsis (Noah Hutton)

Best Cinematography

Awarded to the best camerawork of any film of the year.

The Green Knight (Andrew Droz Palermo)

With a myriad of entrancing visuals from first frame to last, this is a well deserved nod for an NFB newcomer.

Honourable Mentions: The French Dispatch (Robert D. Yeoman), The White Tiger (Paula Carnera), Love And Monsters (Lacklan Milne), In The Heights (Alice Brooks), Stowaway (Klemens Becker)

Best Make-Up/Hairstyling/Costuming

Awarded to the film with the best combined make-up, hairstyling and costuming work of the year.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Had to be this one. Whatever about its visual style. No Way Home did sterling work in the way it made its principals appear, and that deserves recognition.

Honourable Mentions: The Last Duel, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, In The Heights, The French Dispatch, News Of The World

The Ashling Award

Awarded to my girlfriend’s favourite film of the year.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

Best Comedy

Awarded to the best comedic film of the year.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

Best Animation

Awarded to the best animated film of the year.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

Best Romance

Awarded to the best romantic film of the year.

Love And Monsters

Best Sci-Fi

Awarded to the best science fiction film of the year.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

Best Comic Book

Awarded to the best film based on a comic book/graphic novel of the year.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Best Documentary

Awarded to the best non-fiction film with a documentarian focus.

Summer Of Soul

Best Historical

Awarded to the best historical film of the year.

News Of The World

Best Irish

Awarded to the best Irish film of the year.

I Never Cry

Best Scene

Awarded to the best, non-action, scene of the year.

The Floating Jellyfish (Love And Monsters)

Best Action Scene

Awarded to the best action/fight scene of the year.

The Duel (The Last Duel)

Best Battle Scene

Awarded to the best large-scale battle scene of the year.

Something Darker (Zack Snyder’s Justice League)

Best Delivered Line

Awarded to the best written and delivered line(s) of the year.

“Well done Sir Knight. Now…off with your head.” – Ralph Ineson (The Green Knight)

Best Set-Piece

Awarded to the best single set-piece sequence of the year.

The Journey Home (The Green Knight)

Best Hero

Awarded to the year’s best presented protagonist character.

Katie (The Mitchells Vs The Machines)

Best Villain

Awarded to the year’s best presented antagonist character.

PAL (The Mitchells Vs The Machines)

“Diamond In The Rough” Award

Awarded to the actor/actress who gives the best performance of an otherwise bad movie.

Zendaya (Malcolm And Marie)

“Bang For Your Buck” Award

Awarded to the best film in the shortest running time.

I Never Cry (98 minutes)

“Inception” Award

Awarded to a film that is still good despite its plot holes.

Zach Snyder’s Justice League

“Walter Mitty” Award

Awarded to a film that is still good despite its clichéd elements.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

“Lonely Planet Guide To…” Award

Awarded to the best world/universe building within a film.

Love And Monsters

“On The Shoulders Of Giants” Award

Awarded to the best sequel, reboot or remake of the year.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

“Equality Now” Award

Awarded to the film that features the best use of female characters.

The Mitchells Vs The Machines

“Surprisingly Tolerable” Award

Awarded to the worst movie idea that turned good.

Zach Snyder’s Justice League

“Why Is No One Applauding?” Award

Awarded to the film that has been rated too lowly by the critical community.

Zach Snyder’s Justice League

“We’re Going To That” Award

Awarded to the film with the best trailer(s) of the year.

Zach Snyder’s Justice League

“You Can’t Take The Sky From Me” Award

Awarded to the best thing of the year.

“Behold! The Twilight of Man!” (The Mitchells Vs The Machines)

That’ll do it for 2021. When we get the chance to visit cinemas again safely (or get to keep enjoying streaming options) I’m looking forward to Cyrano, Death On The Nile, Uncharted, The Batman, Downton Abbey: A New Era, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, John Wick: Chapter Four, Lightyear, Elvis, Black Adam, The Flash, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Creed III.

(All images are copyright of Forum Field Polan, Netflix, Sony Pictures, Searchlight Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing and A24).

This entry was posted in Reviews, TV/Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Film Rankings And Awards 2021

  1. Pingback: Film Awards Archive | Never Felt Better

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