Supporting Performance: John Goodman - 10 Cloverfield Lane
10 Cloverfield Lane is a wonderfully enjoyable suspense film from start to surprising finish. First time feature film director Dan
Trachtenberg's debut rivals Tim Miller (Deadpool) as one of the most impressive this year. Essential in every way is John Goodman's turn as
an ostensible good Samaritan holding a man and woman in confinement within his bomb shelter; allegedly protecting them from the
dangers outside. Goodman is suitably untrustworthy, but not necessarily dishonest. It's his unsettling performance that keeps us in
constant suspense about where the true danger lies.
Runner-up: Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
In terms of effects, there was simply no film last year that came close to The Jungle Book. John Favreau's dazzling adaptation/remake
features wall-to-wall superlative visual effects. From the spectacular jungle landscapes to the photoreal digital characters, no film relied so
heavily on visual effects. And none succeeded as wildly.
Sound Mixing: The Jungle Book
As fantastic as the visuals were, The Jungle Book's sound mix is also formidable. Score, effects and vocal performance are expertly
assembled. The wide soundstage further brings this artificial jungle brilliantly to life.
Sound Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
There's nothing like a war film to show off impressive sound design, and Mel Gibson's excellent Hacksaw Ridge doesn't disappoint. The
second half of the film explodes into horrifying action, and the sound is as terrifying and immersive as the very best in action filmmaking.
Production Design: Arrival
No production design this year was as striking as the imagery of Arrival. The haunting atmosphere is made palpable thanks to the
otherwordly design of the alien ship and its inhabitants. Director Denis Villeneuve allows his camera to linger and slowly sweep across the
impressive sets. The creature design is outstanding and original, forgoing many of the standard preconceptions about what aliens should
look like. Much of the film centers on communication, and the production design impressively integrates this into many aspects of the
Runner-up: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Honorable Mention: The Jungle Book
Original Score: The Jungle Book - John Debney
Journeyman composer John Debney's score to The Jungle Book is both gorgeous and thrilling. Debney has always been a talented action
writer, but with Disney's live-action/animated hybrid, he finds a heart that we don't often see (er, hear). Debney creates gorgeous new
themes, while also smartly integrating material from Disney's 1967 classic.
I've always been more impressed with makeup that makes actors look worse, rather than more beautiful. I would say Deadpool fits nicely
into that category. The film delights in showcasing gore and various disgusting imagery. Chief among them is Ryan Reynolds' mutilated face.
Like the movie itself, it's gross and kind of awesome.
Runner-up: Star Trek Beyond
Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
While Hacksaw Ridge is a well-paced, tightly-edited film all-around, it's the second half that really wins this award. The war sequences are a
mesmerizing display of horror and chaos, yet always maintain coherence and spatial consistency. As furious as the action can be in this final
act, it never feels like we're watching a montage of random violence. It is thrilling action filmmaking.
Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has some great visuals. The production design and cinematography are both great, but even
better is the costume design. The designs wonderfully succeed at capturing the spirit of 1920s New York and merging them with the
elegant wizarding garb of the Harry Potter films.
Director Villeneuve is no stranger to impressive photography. His previous films (Prisoners and Sicario) both earned Oscar nominations for
DP Roger Deakins. Arrival was shot by Bradford Young, and the visuals are just as impressive as we expect from a Villeneuve production.
Every frame of this film oozes atmosphere and emotion. So much so that it could be considered a performance in itself. The use of light,
shadow, and darkness is essential to the film, and is a rather obvious pick as the best of the year.
Performance: Ryan Reynolds - Deadpool
That's right. I went there. I thought about going with a more traditional pick, but I'll let the other awards handle that. Reynolds has certainly
been in his share of garbage, but here's a role (and a film) that defies expectations at every turn. His performance is everything to this film.
He's hilarious, self-effacing, outlandish, and in a few moments, even genuinely sympathetic. As the title character, this is Reynolds' film, and
he leads it with an exuberant and magnetic confidence.
Runner-up: Taraji P. Henson - Hidden Figures
Honorable Mentions: Amy Adams - Arrival, Andrew Garfield - Hacksaw Ridge
Screenplay: Arrival - Eric Heisserer
I don't think there's anything quite like an intelligent science fiction film. Arrival has all the elements of a great one. Based on a short story
by Ted Chiang, this is a film filled with slow-burning, cerebral tension, and some genuinely poignant emotion. It's thoughtful and smart in it's
realistic depiction of an alien 'invasion.' It keeps us in constant suspense, all leading to a stunning, mind-bending conclusion.
Runner-Up: Deadpool - Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Directing: Denis Villeneuve - Arrival
Arrival was one of the most visually-stunning films of the year. And even though it contains some very good effects and excellent
production design, it's a film that's as impressive in it's minimalism as it is in its moments of grandeur. This is an arresting film to watch
thanks to Villeneuve's fluid, deliberate camerawork and its consistently foreboding tone. Equally as affecting is the film's surprising
emotional impact. The director wonderfully balances the large and small pictures, inventively intertwining the worldwide phenomena of the
'arrival' with strong characterizations and impactful, personal drama.
Best Picture: Arrival
No other film in 2016 was as engrossing as Arrival. This is cerebral sci-fi at its best. Thoughtful and smartly-written, it draws us in with its
somber atmosphere and expressive visuals thanks to the superb direction of Villeneuve.
There's no action. The aliens don't attack our major cities. Instead, the film focuses on humanity's efforts to understand these visitors, and
the various pitfalls a lack of communication and prejudice can form. And it's absolutely fascinating.
The film also receives an incredible performance from Amy Adams, which is mesmerizing in moments of quiet discovery, as well as gut-
wrenching emotion. It's a wonderful introverted performance; the like of which is very difficult to pull off, but somehow even more
satisfying than the grandiose, unnatural monologues we see so often in 'for your consideration' reels.
Arrival is haunting and beautiful; a triumphant reminder that science fiction blockbusters can be intelligent, majestic and personal.
|While reshoots on Star Wars: Rogue One were highly publicized, few knew about the last minute change to Captain America:
Civil War regarding the central conflict among The Avengers.