Sunday, January 31, 2016

My nominations for the 2015 Flickchart Awards

As you already know, I'm an active member of the Flickchart user community, participating in the site's exclusive Facebook discussion group (exclusive in the sense that you have to be invited to join), and blogging for the site's blog as well (though pretty infrequently since I exhausted myself on a weekly series in 2013).

Part of this "scared responsibility" is to help choose the nominees for the annual Flickchart Awards, the site's version of the Oscars, with some of the same categories and some that are notably different. After we "chosen ones" determine the nominees, the whole Flickchart user community can vote on the winners, and typically come up with some interesting (though not entirely unpredictable) choices. (In other words, the quality genre picture or the one directed by Christopher Nolan usually seems to win best picture.)

I'm glad to be a part of this, though actually filling out my ballot is something I find very tedious -- something I put off until nearly the January 31st deadline every year. Twenty sixteen was no exception. The tedium comes not from choosing actual nominees, though this is something that gives me fits as well. It's actually that each category contains a point system. You can nominate five in each category, but you are also apportioning 50 points to those nominees in a way you see fit, with a maximum of 15 points going to any one nominee. So if you feel strongly about three nominees and not the other two, you can give those three 15 points apiece and divide the remaining five points between the last two.

If it were just the nominees, I'd still worry about whether I'd determined my exact perfect choices from the previous year's films -- all while not deviating from the Oscar nominations just for the sake of deviating, but trying not to hew too closely to them either. (Which usually works out fine because I haven't seen all the movies that received Oscar nominations anyway.) But then the math throws in one extra level of difficulty that just leads to procrastination.

I did finish my ballot this morning, though -- my January 31st, though still January 30th in the U.S. And I figured, if I went to the trouble and put the work in, might as well get a blog post out of it as well.

So forthwith, a piece of bonus 2015 year-end content, which contains the categories, my nominees, the points they received, and a brief comment that explains my thinking, not to mention possibly highlighting some 2015 film I didn't send enough love in my previous year-end wrap-up posts.

- Best Foreign Language Film: Goodnight Mommy (15), A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (14), The Look of Silence (12), Samba (5), The Assassin (4)

Comment: It was a poor year for foreign language films, as I've already discussed. Goodnight Mommy was the best qualifying film I saw, and I ranked it #32 for the year. (I ranked Wild Tales higher, but as that was nominated for an Oscar in 2014, I didn't feel like I could include it for the Flickchart Awards.) I just didn't really dig The Assassin, sorry. 

- Best Documentary: The Nightmare (15), Amy (15), Going Clear (12), The Look of Silence (7), The Wanted 18 (1)

Comment: My favorite documentary was also my favorite horror film. Go figure. I did rank the documentary The Armor of Light higher, but since I didn't figure anyone had seen it but me, it seemed like a wasted vote here. (But keep that title in your mind -- it's terrific.)

- Best Animated Film: Inside Out (15), Shawn the Sheep Movie (10), Hotel Transylvania 2 (5)

Comment: Because I refused to cast votes for Minions or The Good Dinosaur, I submitted only three nominees. That's fine, but then it's just a maximum of 30 points to spend on them, rather than 50. 

- Worst Film of 2015: The Human Centipede 3 (15), Pan (15), Irrational Man (15), Jupiter Ascending (3), Mockingjay Part 2 (2)

Comment: I tried to go with choices that were prominent enough to possibly get votes from other people, which means that only three of my bottom five are here. I listed Jupiter Ascending and Hunger Games rather than Accidental Love and Hits. Hunger Games might not deserve to be nominated in this category, but I just really didn't like it. 

- Most Anticipated Film of 2016: Star Wars Rogue One (15), Finding Dory (15), Hail Caesar (10), La La Land (5), Midnight Special (5)

Comment: I didn't want to delve too deeply into what's coming out in 2016 to answer this one, so I just chose some titles I was aware of.

- Best Underranked Film (best film that has been ranked less than 5,000 times) - Love & Mercy (15), The Last Five Years (15), The Duke of Burgundy (7), Tangerine (7), Queen of Earth (6)

Comment: This category was interesting in that it revealed to me that exactly half of the films in my top ten for 2015 qualify: my #4, #5, #7, #8 and #10. So those were the ones I included in this category. Which means my top ten had a good mix of mainstream films and more obscure choices. (The "mainstream" choices: Inside Out, Creed, Sicario, The Hateful Eight and The Revenant.)

- Most Underrated Film (film you thought didn't get the audience it deserved) - The Walk (15), Love & Mercy (15), Woman in Gold (10), The End of the Tour (5), Sicario (5)

Comment: I could have included films like Tangerine and The Duke of Burgundy here, but I don't think those movies were expected to have large audiences. So instead I went for under-performing films, which allows me to put a spotlight in particular on The Walk, a film I was trying to keep in my top ten all year but which eventually landed at #12. Some people will tell you that the actual walk is worth the price of admission. I'll tell you that the whole thing is worth the price of admission. 

- Most Overrated Film (film you though received more attention than it deserved) - Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (15), Trainwreck (15), Mistress America (10), Ant-Man (5), Carol (5)

Comment: I feel a little mean including Carol here, because it's a good film, I just wasn't blown away by it. The rest are films I genuinely don't like all that much. I kind of hate Mistress America, actually. 

- Most Disappointing Film (film that didn't live up to your expectations) - Terminator Genisys (15), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (15), Mistress America (10), The Good Dinosaur (5), Carol (5) 

Comment: And here we get Mistress America again, because yeah, I did have expectations for it based on Noah Baumbach. It's valid to ask me whether another Terminator film actually should have had my expectations high, but let's just say I thought the trailers looked really good. I didn't really have expectations for Mockingjay, per se, but I was eager to see how things would conclude. Mostly I just wanted to take another dig at it. 

- Most Surprising Film (film that defied your expectations) - Creed (15), Queen of Earth (14), The Big Short (10), Spy (8), Blackhat (3)

Comment: Creed should just run away with this one, but this was also the occasion for me to recognize being happily surprised by a Melissa McCarthy movie (though I also saw and really liked The Heat after that) and to give a shout out to a film I watched just as a matter of course, Michael Mann's Blackhat, but really enjoyed. 

- Best Looking Film - Creed (12), Sicario (12), The Walk (12), The Revenant (12), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2) 

Comment: A chance to acknowledge the great DPs of Sicario and The Revenant (Roger Deakins and Emmanuel Lubezki), the unique and distinct visions of Creed and The Walk, and Star Wars

- Best Writing - Inside Out (15), Creed (14), Sicario (12), The Hateful Eight (8), Room (1)

Comment: This one I did a bit more by feel. I chose my top three films of the year, the film written by Quentin Tarantino, and then Room, just because I don't know. It was a film that was residing in my top ten, but then eventually I just decided I wasn't thinking about it as much as I should for a film ranked that high. It ended up at #15. 

- Best Directing - Ryan Coogler, Creed (15), Denis Villeneuve, Sicario (14), Bill Pohlad, Love & Mercy (12), Richard LaGravenese, The Last Five Years (5), Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl (4)

Comment: Pretty straightforward as this is four of my top five films, excluding my #1, even though I'm sure Pete Docter bears a large portion of the responsibility for the tone of Inside Out. Then I decided to throw a vote to the female director who most impressed me this year and was one of two big breakouts from Diary of a Teenage Girl, the other being star Bel Powley (as we will see later). 

- Biggest Breakthrough (actor, director, filmmaker, studio, etc. that you 1st noticed this year) - Tessa Thompson (15), Daisy Ridley (15), Bel Powley (15), Marielle Heller (3), Alex Garland (2)

Comment: And here's Powley now! Probably the year's most naturalistic performance by a newcomer, though Ridley was pretty awesome too. And here's Heller again. 

- Best Supporting Actress - Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy (15), Tessa Thompson, Creed (15), Tatiana Maslany, Woman in Gold (10), Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina (7), Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight (3)

Comment: "Banks or bust" should have been my slogan for all awards campaigning this year. I kept talking about how great she was in Love & Mercy and awarded her with maximum points. However, special nod to Maslany for being the emotional center of the incredibly moving Woman in Gold -- plus I think I just wanted to acknowledge her, since 2015 was the year I discovered Orphan Black and her absolutely otherworldly range as an actress. 

- Best Supporting Actor - Sylvester Stallone, Creed (15), Benicio del Toro, Sicario (10), Samuel L. Jackson, The Hateful Eight (10), Tom Hardy, The Revenant (8), Christian Bale, The Big Short (7)

Comment: Stallone Stallone Stallone. But this was also a chance to acknowledge two other Oscar snubs: Jackson and del Toro. Who are both minorities! Hey! Darn, I just realized I meant to nominate Room's Jacob Tremblay here but forget. He should really be a lead, though, which complicates choosing him. 

- Best Actress - Elisabeth Moss, Queen of Earth (15), Sidse Babett Knudsen, The Duke of Burgundy (14), Brie Larson, Room (10), Emily Blunt, Sicario (10), Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road (1)

Comment: This was the category with the most number of deserving contenders who weren't nominated for Oscars. I haven't heard enough discussion about the fact that Theron surprisingly wasn't nominated, since everyone thought she was a lock. But she gets my fewest points. Moss gave one of the most astonishing performances I've ever seen, and I was also campaigning for Blunt. However, it was watching The Duke of Burgundy again last night that gave me renewed appreciation for just how subtle the work of Knudsen is in that film. This is a jam-packed category. 

- Best Actor - Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (15), Paul Dano, Love & Mercy (12), Jason Segel, The End of the Tour (12), Michael B. Jordan, Creed (10), John Cusack, Love & Mercy (1)

Comment: I'm fine with this award going to Leo since I think he deserves it. Best acting, most dangerous acting, most committed acting. All of it. However, I think Dano and Segel were robbed of nominations, and Jordan is a great option as a minority (#oscarssowhite). I had one more point so I gave it to a deserving Cusack.

- Best Overall Cast - Inside Out (15), Sicario (14), The Hateful Eight (10), The Revenant (6), Ex Machina (5)

Comment: Just looked at impressive ensembles where I thought there were no weak spots. Ex Machina stretched my definition of "ensemble" a bit but I thought it should get some love. Then again, Sicario has only three main performance as well -- as does The Revenant. So I guess my logic in this category was flawed at best. 

- 2015 Outstanding Achievement in Film (any person in film who had a stand out year) - Alicia Vikander (15), Oscar Isaac (15), Domhnall Gleeson (10), Samuel L. Jackson (5), Thomas Mann (5)

Comment: The work was done for me on this one as this is something I sort out for my year-end wrap-up post. I just went with the three I chose as "three who had a good year" and then two from my honorable mentions (Mann will seem like the real WTF choice to the guy tabulating the votes). Here I boosted Vikander to 15 points because even though I haven't seen The Danish Girl, she actually got nominated for an Oscar for it, so I thought it was fair to give her some additional credit beyond her two films I did see.

- Best Scene (your favorite scene from a 2015 film) - Single-take boxing match, Creed (15), Dance scene, Ex Machina (15), Juarez, Sicario (10), Bear attack, The Revenant (5), The walk, The Walk (5)

Comment: This was one category I didn't want to lose much sleep over, as any number of scenes would have been worth nominating, even from films that were otherwise not my favorites. So I tried to stick to the top of my list, with four of the scenes coming from my top 12 and then one other from my #25, just because it was the first answer that occurred to me when I considered this category. Yeah, that dance scene with Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina is terrific. 

- Best Picture - Inside Out (15), Creed (15), Sicario (10), Love & Mercy (5), The Hateful Eight (5)

Comment: Five of my top six films. I could have chosen some other criteria but ultimately I didn't. I left off The Last Five Years because I knew there was no chance anyone else would actually nominate it in this category. And though I'm willing to throw away votes in other categories, this doesn't seem like the one where I should be doing that.

Hey, if I write another corresponding blog post next year, maybe filling out my ballot won't seem so tedious in January of '17. 


Hannah K said...

>I left off The Last Five Years because I knew there was no chance anyone else would actually nominate it in this category.

Hey, now. I did.

But, yeah, I'm sure I was the only one.

Derek Armstrong said...

Ha! I actually thought of changing that to "I knew I would be one of only two people to vote for it," since I knew you obviously would as long as you filled out a ballot. But ultimately I just left it as is.

But you know my feelings about that film. :-)