My Own Damn Movie Awards for 2016

Here’s my own damn list of favorites for 2016…

Best Pictures of 2016

  1. Hell or High Water (Best Picture, Best Screenplay)
  2. Arrival (Best Sound)
  3. Moonlight (Best Director)
  4. Moana
  5. The Handmaiden
  6. Manchester by the Sea
  7. Rogue One (Best Visuals)
  8. Captain America: Civil War
  9. Swiss Army Man
  10. The Nice Guys

Notable others include Silence, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, The Edge of Seventeen, Don’t Breathe, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Witch, Nocturnal Animals, and Midnight Special.

Best Actresses of 2016

  1. Amy Adams – Arrival
  2. Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
  3. Kim Tae-Ri – The Handmaiden
  4. Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
  5. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  6. Anya Taylor-Joy – The Witch
  7. Kim Min-Hee – The Handmaiden
  8. Viola Davis – Fences

Best Actors of 2016

  1. Chris Pine – Hell or High Water
  2. Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals
  3. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
  4. Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
  5. Ryan Gosling – The Nice Guys
  6. Andrew Garfield – Silence
  7. Paul Dano – Swiss Army Man
  8. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nocturnal Animals

Lots of great flicks this year. I honestly had a hard time getting the list under twenty. Some, though, were incredibly easy to push to the top. Let’s quickly go through some of the best.

The Handmaiden is just this wonderful puzzle box where every 20 minutes after you open a new part, it changes in positively surprising ways. A complex tale, for sure, but laid out in a most entertaining way. Sometimes gross, but always beautiful, it’s a must-see.

Moana starts somewhat procedurally and with typical archetypes, but then flips the script entirely. Everything about this movie makes me giddy. The story, the music, and the visual feast that Disney serves you, along with one mighty girl as the centerpiece, combine to make one of their best animated outtings of all time.

Considering the silence of Moonlight and the subtlety of its main character, Chiron, everything about this film is absolutely deafening. It’s lyrical, as if you’re watching a song. Directed so deliberately, there is just no way to ignore any moment. You will, without a doubt, walk away from the end with hope, smiling ear to ear, and soaked in its generous humanity.

Arrival is a very small, poignant, and touching story told on a very large stage. It’s also an outstanding movie. More importantly, though, it about finding common ground and embracing benevolence while rejecting fear. Sounds like lessons I’d hope we’d all love to master.

Just amazing stories all around, but one did shine brighter than the rest.

Hell or High Water is a contemporary Western, through and through. The horses are cars, the settings are desperate, and the cowboys are dying. Parallels are easily drawn between the past when the white man ripped away the Comanche’s homeland and the present with banks taking away farms, stores, and homes. It is truly a story of the 99 and the 1 and what happens when you put someone in the corner of a tight cage. Those someones, brothers who are wholly portrayed by Chris Pine and Ben Foster, are you anti-heroes and even with all of their flaws, you easily fall in love with them. This is a perfect screenplay about moral complexity, family, and survival. Entirely rich with detail and masterfully implemented, Hell or High Water is the best movie of 2016.