Sunday, March 6, 2016

The 2016 I'm Right Awards

Greetings and salutations, welcome to the sixth (!) annual I’m Right Awards!  I can’t believe I’ve been doing this stupid thing for six years now, you’d figure eventually I’d get a life.  Well, you’d be wrong about that, and probably other stuff too, ya dummy.  (The last few months have taught me that apparently insulting people makes you popular, so I’m trying it out.  See, e.g., Trump v. Bush). Meanwhile, I’m right, about movies at least.

The rules are pretty much unchanged from the last couple of years: I’m going to run through and give my own five nominees and winners for all of the traditional Oscar film categories, with a few little tweaks. I’ve removed the categories that I don’t have an opinion about, due to either a) not having scene (m)any, like Best Documentary, or b) I don’t care about, like Best Makeup and Hairstyling. But I am a just and benevolent god, and for every category I’ve taken away, I’ve added one of my own (okay not quite, I didn't replace the three shorts categories). These new categories are mostly the same as they’ve been the last couple of years, but there are a few tweaks, and I’m trying out a brand new one.  Hooray!

All of this is, of course, only in my own humble opinion…though I am right. It says so in the title.

And, without much further ado…the Pauls!

Best Visual Effects

The Nominees:

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Practical effects are back, baby!  All of these, and more like Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation*, except for Avengers made extensive use of actual, real life visual effects, and as a direct result we had quite a crop of exciting action movies this year.  I don’t have any problem with CGI in theory, and certainly these movies used plenty.  But overreliance on CG makes movies look fake, and it ages in dog years.  Just rewatch Attack of the Clones for a great example (or don’t, because it’s terrible.  Though Anakin is right, sand does get everywhere).  It just seems fake, and you can practically see the green screens, which can’t have helped the already terrible performances.  Anyways, enough unprovoked shots at a fourteen-year old-movie.  A shitty fourteen-year-old movie.

For all the reasons stated above, and because, as Patton Oswalt put it, watching it is like “snort[ing] 10 cubic feet of meth & jump[ing] into a gasoline fire,” the winner is Mad Max: Furry RoadErr, make that Fury road.  Sorry, my bad.

*Yes, that misspelling was intentional, you whiny pedant.  This insulting thing working yet?

Best Performance by an Animal, Idea, or Inanimate Object

The first original category, this one’s been around for a few years but a quick primer if you’re new (or forgot. Or don’t care): This is the category for something non-human that leaves a particularly strong impression. Past winners include Joey the Horse from War Horse, the French Flag from Les Miserables, and Debauchery from The Wolf of Wall Street.

The Nominees:

Subprime Mortgages—The Big Short
The Lincoln Letter—The Hateful Eight
Abs—Magic Mike XXL
Mama Bear—The Revenant

After years of simmering tensions, the CGI animal community really started making its voice heard this year over the shameful history of discrimination against them at the Pauls, lead by activists such as Richard Parker from Life of Pi and Thranduil’s moose from The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. After some highly animated this year the Pauls move firmly into the 21st century with our first CG animal nominee: the mama bear that assaults DiCaprio in The Revenant.

But they’ll need to wait at least another year for their first winner, as there was no animal (real or otherwise), idea, or inanimate object that made more of an impression this year than Room from, well, Room.  The first half of the film takes place there, and it looms over the second half as well.

Best Film Editing

The Nominees:

The Big Short
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Steve Jobs

I’m really not sure how I can in good conscience go with anything but the editing in Mad Max: Fury Road, which was just as crazypants coockoo bananas (that’s a technical editing term) as the rest of the film, to absolutely wonderful effect.

Best Costume Design

The Nominees:

The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I like to try and get a mix of time periods covered in this category, and I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t manage to get a contemporarily-set movie in there (always the hardest to do, because the costuming hardly ever stands out).  Carol won a long, drawn-out war with Brooklyn for the coveted and oddly specific “Film Set Largely in New York City That Begins in 1952” slot, but it isn’t our winner.  No, our winner just kinda has to be, yet again, Mad Max: Fury Road, the costuming in which is, and again this is sort of technical insider jargon, whackadoodle apeshit crazy.

Best Cinematography

The Nominees

The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

This was a really strong cinematography year, as any year must be with prominent work from Roger Deakins, Emmanuel Lubezki, Janusz Zygmunt Kamiński (middle name included because, well, I mean, look at it) and more of our A-List cinematographers* all submitting great work.  As you may notice, two of those three aren’t even included above, and there were some really hard cuts here.

But that said, the winner wasn’t actually that hard to pick, and I’m going with Lubezki’s superlative work in The Revenant, which was just gorgeous.  Lubezki has now won two Pauls in a row (last year for Birdman), and was probably the runner up the year before for Gravity (I went with 12 Years a Slave.  He did win the Oscar for that [as well as Birdman and The Revenant.  Can I get a Three-Peat!], which is an okay consolation prize I guess).  Plus, he shot the brilliant The Tree of Life in 2011, and may or may not have another Malick movie coming out this year, though you never really know with Malick.  Emmanuel Lubezki is having a pretty good decade, is what I’m saying.

*Maybe there’s some alternate dimension where cinematographers, not actors, are the celebrities of the filmmaking.  “Hoyte Van Hoytema Out Partying Too Late? Family and Friends Worried. Read the People Magazine Exclusive.”  Deakins would definitely get the most action.

Best Scene

The second original category, this one should be pretty self-explanatory.  Since I debuted this category it has always had ten nominees, but it’s the only category with more than five and it’s always bugged me (because conformity, I guess?).  So I tried my darndest to winnow it down, but it was too hard so I gave up.  Also, like, stare decisis or something.

 I’m ditching the “one scene per movie” rule from last year, because screw diversity.  Err, wait, that came out wrong.  But if a movie has more than one dynamite scene, I want to recognize that.  As usual, I’ve kept the scene naming vague to avoid spoilers. Hopefully, if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know what I’m referring to.

The Nominees:

First Christmas in Brooklyn—Brooklyn
The 12th Round—Creed
The Final Power Outage—Ex Machina
The Ice-Skating Dream—Inside Out
“Take Her to the Moon For Me”—Inside Out
Speak Low—Phoenix
The Conference Call with the Ex-Priest—Spotlight
Solos on the Bridge—Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Detroit Concert—Straight Outta Compton
The Fancy Party—When Marnie Was There

Unfortunately I couldn’t quite make room for a comedy scene on there this year, though the Knicks Dancer climax of Trainwreck was probably the last cut.  And the elimination of the “One Scene Per Movie” is a little bit of a mixed bag for Inside Out; it gets two nominees, but they’re both super great and split the vote, which leaves the winner the movie I guarantee you haven’t seen, Speak Low from the German film Phoenix.   But jokes aside, Phoenix absolutely deserves this win for its (emotionally) explosive finale, which even the film’s detractors admit is fantastic ending.  Indeed, some have argued that the film is little more than a delivery mechanism for its final scene.  In some ways I agree, but I tend to mean that as a compliment.

Line of the Year

Hey, a new category! Yipee!  This one is similar to Best Scene, but for one line of dialogue that really stood out and had impact.  Also, this one I did manage to winnow down to five nominees.  This is replacing Best Animated Feature, because there just weren’t enough animated movies this year that were any good to fill out a category.  Plus, as you’ll see in a moment, it won’t change the final win tally much.

If any of these are misquoted, I don’t care and you can keep it to yourself.

The Nominees:

“You’re Betting Against the American Economy”—The Big Short
“Take Her to the Moon For Me”—Inside Out
“Six percent of fifteen hundred would be…ninety priests in Boston”—Spotlight
“Fuck tha Police”—Straight Outta Compton
“We’re Werewolves, Not Swearwolves”—What We Do in the Shadows

Hey, I managed to get a comedy line in there! That’s the funniest (or at least most memorable) line from the funniest movie of the year, so I thought it was only appropriate.  But our winner is, of course, “Take Her to the Moon For Me,” from Inside Out, which I’m going to stop writing about right now before I start crying.

Best Production Design

Hey, I finally remembered to change the name of this category (it was called Best Art Direction by the Oscars until 2012, and me until this year).

The Nominees:

Ex Machina
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I couldn’t decide between The Hateful Eight and The Revenant for the, again oddly specific, “Grimy, Nihilistic, Violent 19th Century Frontier Film” slot so I went with the one I liked better as a movie.   As tempted as I was to give this one to Ex Machina, which is the one on this list that almost certainly had the lowest budget for its art direction (and certainly the lowest budget overall), and the best sci-fi movie of the year starring Oscaar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson*, I just couldn't do it.  I mean...Mad Max: Fury Road, man.

*Don’t worry, I’ll keep the shots at Force Awakens minimal.  After all, even if it was disappointing, and its fans hugely fun to tweak, I did like it quite a bit.

Best Sound Editing

My traditional preface, because the distinction always confuses me: Sound Editing is the actual creation of sound effects, while Mixing is the process of placing them (together with score and dialogue n’ stuff) into the actual film. Or whatever.

The Nominees:

Inside Out
The Martian
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Hey, The Revenant makes its triumphant comeback.  Take that, Tarantino.  For our winner, I just want you to imagine a lightsaber sound.  If you need assistance, here you go.  I was particularly impressed with sound effect on Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, which matched it’s sort of rough, unfinished appearance so well.

(Oh yeah, right, Star Wars: The Force Awakening.  Not official without that bold font).

Best Sound Mixing

The Nominees:

Ex Machina
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

While I do like to mix up the two sound categories if I can justify it, I really can’t this year, and this one’s gotta go to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I don’t think it was John Williams’ best work (though to be fair, he is 84), which is part of why you won’t see it below, but sound effects, dialogue, and score are all just utilized perfectly in the film.  Though I aaaaaaaaalmost knocked it out of winning just because I’m still mad that “Duel of the Fates” (or some version thereof) didn’t kick in during the climactic duel (...of the fates).  That’s basically composer malpractice.

Best Use of Music

Hey, another new one!  This category replaces best original score, for two reasons.  First, I’ve eliminated Best Original Song for years, largely because I think it’s sort of silly in the context of movies, very few of which have original songs to begin with.  But I’d like to be able to recognize good use of songs in movies, whether original or not.  Also, I always feel a little weird with Original Score, because I so very rarely notice a film’s score my first time watching it.  It has to be really good, like Lord of the Rings or Godfather good, or really bad/obtrusive.  But I’d still like somewhere to put it. 

Thus, we get this unholy Frankenstein (‘s monster) of a category.  Let’s see how it goes.

The Nominees:

The Hateful Eight
Magic Mike XXL
Straight Outta Compton

And, befitting the amalgam nature of the category, I’m going with The Hateful Eight both for its (great) score as well as its very precise use of a song (the one sung by Daisy) to great effect.  Plus, the song lead to Kurt Russell smashing a very real, nearly priceless antique guitar that had been loaned for use as a reference to the movie, so it has that going for it to.   If you have no idea what I'm taking about, click here.

Most Enjoyable

As the title indicates, this award is the movie that was the purest fun I had watching a 2015 movie. Could be a kick-ass action movie, a really entertaining comedy, whatever. At some level, movies are supposed to be, you know, entertaining, and this category is my nod to that. Also note that this isn’t the Best Movie That’s Also Fun; a movie that’s pretty fun but very good (something like Die Hard ) wouldn’t necessarily win even if it’s one of the best movies of the year.

The Nominees:

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mad Max: Fury Road
Magic Mike XXL
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
What We Do In the Shadows

With all due respect to Mad Max (which is a close second here and definitely a better film overall), I’m actually going with the comedy of the year, the delightful vampire mockumentary What We Do In the Shadows.  And it gets the award even though when I saw it, there was a dude near me in the theater who I think was both super high and had seen the movie before, and he started laughing obnoxiously loudly a few moments before every joke.  So it's really saying something that I enjoyed it as much as I did.

Best Original Screenplay

I do this one (and Adapted) a little differently than the Academy.  They have pretty strict rules about what is original and what is adapted; for example, sequels are always adapted because they include pre-existing characters/setting.  I’m a little looser, and care much more about whether or not a script is an original story.  For example, I put scripts that are closely based on historical events in Adapted, as it's really as much of an adaptation of existing material as adapting a book is (and in practice, most historical movies tend to be based on a particular book anyways).  But a sequel with a new story?  That shit’s original, dawg.

The Nominees:

Ex Machina
The Hateful Eight
Inside Out
When Marnie Was There

Strong batch, for sure, but an easy winner Inside Out’s script is, like, totally genius, man.  And that’s all I can think of to say on this one.  Am I running out of steam writing this monstrosity? We shall find out

Best Adapted Screenplay

So yeah, see above for what this means

The Nominees:

The Big Short
The Martian
Steve Jobs

I feel reasonably confident that this will be the only winner of this category for the forseeable future that is based initially on a blog*, and our winner is the technically impressive, optimistic but realistic, and very, very funny script for The Martian.

*Yes, I know, it was more that he published his book on his blog, not that the book was based on his blog.  Hell, it’s not really different than Dickens publishing his books chapter-by-chapter in zines in the 19th century.  But it’s a funny story, even if it isn’t really a true one

Best Vocal Performance

And, returning for the third year, one of my favorites!

The Nominees:

David Thewliss—Anomalisa
James Spader—Avengers: Age of Ultron
Richard Kind—Inside Out
Amy Poehler—Inside Out
Sara Takatsuki—When Marnie Was There

Really I could have (and was definitely tempted to) populated this whole category with the voice cast of Inside Out, which is universally amazing.  Bill Hader and, especially, Phyllis Smith were both incredibly hard cuts, but the work of the other three was really, really good as well (Thewliss’ vocal performance was the one part of the otherwise very disappointing Anomalisa that worked for me).  But the winner really just kinda has to be Amy Poehler from Inside Out, who is so perfectly cast as Joy that it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the role.

(Note: I only saw the subtitled version of When Marnie Was There, so I can’t really comment on the English dub)

Scene Stealer of the Year

This one is for someone especially memorably from a movie who only appears in a small handful of scenes, and who might not really have enough screentime to really create a full supporting performance. Consequently, a scene stealing performance need not even be all that “good” by normal standards.  It just needs to be fun, and memorable.

The Nominees:

Jenn Murray—Brooklyn
Zoe Bell—The Hateful Eight
iOTA—Mad Max: Fury Road
Jada Pinkett Smith—Magic Mike XXL
John Goodman—Trumbo

I betcha there’s at least a couple of those people who you have no idea who they are, which really captures the spirit of this category.  This one was really hard to cut down as well, and I really had to enforce the “they can only be in a couple scenes” rule, which allowed/forced me to get rid of, among others, Michael Pena from Antman, John Cena from Trainwreck, and (most lamentably) Jason Statham from Spy.

But our winner, of course, has to be iOTA from Mad Max: Fury Road.  Who the fuck is iOTA?  Good question!  He plays “The Doof Warrior.”  Okay, you say, follow-up question: Who the fuck is The Doof Warrior?  Well, maybe this will refresh your memory. Oh yeah, that’s right.  Flame guitar guy.  Like I could pick anyone else.

Best Ensemble

Another returning original category, this one celebrates the overall casting and depth of performance in a movie.

The Nominees:

The Hateful Eight
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Steve Jobs

The Big Short might’ve made this (probably in Star Wars’ spot, even though the ensemble was probably the best part of that movie) if it wasn’t for Bale’s ridiculous overacting; Ruffalo does something similar in Spotlight, though it’s only really bad in one scene, and the rest of the ensemble is better.

And though I came close to giving this one to the unabashedly theatrical (which suits this category rather well) Steve Jobs, I’m instead going the exact opposite direction and giving it to the extraordinarily untheatrical but extremely deep and well-acted The Martian.  You know you’ve got a good ensemble when even the bit parts (like Donald Glover, who got pretty close to a Scene Stealer nomination) just knock it out of the park.

Best Supporting Actress

The Nominees:

Alicia Vikander—Ex Machina
Jennifer Jason Leigh—The Hateful Eight
Bryce Dallas Howard—Jurassic World (just kidding)
Olivia Cook—Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Rachel McAdams—Spotlight
Kate Winslet—Steve Jobs

I don’t know if Hollywood is improving or I’m just doing better at seeing a broader array of movies, but every year it seems like I have more and better options in this (and, to a lesser but still positive degree, Lead) category.  The downside of that, of course, is that it’s getting harder to narrow this one down.  We were also very close to a rare action movie nominee in a supporting category, with Rebecca Ferguson from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.

But though it was a deep field and hard to winnow down to five, no one really stood out as a clear winner.  I’m going with Jennifer Jason Leigh from The Hateful Eight, but it’s a (relatively) weak winner and I don’t feel great about it.

Indeed, had I confined myself to how the Oscars designated categories I probably would’ve gone with Rooney Mara from Carol, but that’s at least in part because she got the most to do.  Why did she get the most to do? Because she’s one of the leads of that movie, no matter how she actually got nominated.  An annual tradition of this piece is railing against category fraud, and Mara this year is a pretty bad one.  Carol (as the title might suggest) is more Carol’s story, and Blanchett gets more screentime, but not by much, and Therese is almost as important. 

I judge these things by whose story the movie is telling, and a good indicator of that is how many scenes a character has without the other lead.  Therese has quite a few scenes in which Carol is absent, and if the character were a man he would absolutely have been considered a lead.  The Oscars just don’t like nominating same-gender co-leads, and it hasn’t happened since 1991 when both Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis were nominated as leads for Thelma and Louise (on the men’s side it hasn’t happened since both F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce were nominated for Amadeus). I, however, have no such qualms.

/rant over/

Best Supporting Actor

The Nominees:

Sylvester Stallone—Creed
Idris Elba—Beasts of No Nation
Oscar Isaac—Ex Machina
Kurt Russell—The Hateful Eight
Tom Hardy—The Revenant

Yeah that’s right, both Tango andCash are nominated!  Though neither of them are particularly close to winning, nor is Elba.  Unlike Supporting Actress, here I though there were two real standouts, and this one came down to Issac vs. Hardy.  But I have to give it to Poe Dameron himself, Mr. Oscar Isaac of Ex Machina, who just runs circles around Domhnall Gleeson and honestly kinda Alicia Vikander as well.  He plays Nathan as both a totally open book and totally inscrutable, and figuring out what exactly his intentions and plans are (and it’s never entirely clear) is one of the great pleasures of the movie.

Best Actress

The Nominees:

Cate Blanchett—Carol
Charlize Theron—Mad Max: Fury Road
Nina Hoss—Phoenix
Brie Larson—Room
Amy Schumer—Trainwreck

Finally Amy Adams took a year off so I can avoid feeling bad leaving my ladylove off of this list (though she has two very intriguing projects slated to come out later this year.  And no, Batman Vs. Superman isn’t one of them).  And after all of that complaining in the Supporting Actress section, I don’t even nominate Rooney here…which of course is a perfect example of why category fraud exists in the first place; she probably would’ve won as Supporting but can’t even break into the top five leads.  Do I have Amy Schumer ahead of her for a comedy?  Hell yeah I do, Schumer was great in that movie.

Despite a strong challenge from the always-superlative Cate Blanchett (who was reasonably close to a double nomination with Truth), I have to agree with the conventional wisdom here.  Brie Larson was just amazing in Room, and deserves all the praise she’s been given.  I’m a Brie hipster, and no not with the cheese (well, that too); I was into her way before it was cool (no not THAT long ago).  I’ve been on her corner since at least “The United States of Tara” TV show, and this is her second Best Actress Paul (she won two years ago for her work in Short Term 12).

Best Actor

The Nominees:

Michael B. Jordan—Creed
Michael Fassbender—Macbeth
Matt Damon—The Martian
Jacob Tremblay—Room
Michael Fassbender—Steve Jobs

Whoah, what is going on? A double nomination, a nomination for a semi-comedy (that’s me being polite to the Golden Globes’ ludicrous categorization of The Martian), a nomination for a sports movie, AND a child actor, all in the same year?!  Well, though all of these performances were really, really good, what’s going on here is, at least in part, a weak year.  This was the weakest Lead Actor year since I’ve started doing this, and was hard to winnow down to five for the opposite reason as usual; there weren’t really five male lead performances that particularly impressed me.  And yes, even with it being a weak year, DiCaprio still didn’t make it on.  I get it, he was cold.

There are two though that would likely have made it even in a stronger year, Fassbender (in Steve Jobs) and our winner, Matt Damon in The Martian.  Damon is charming, tough, funny, heroic, inspiring, charismatic, and just compelling, and effortlessly carries long stretches of the film where he is completely alone.  Damon is underrated as an actor (as opposed to a general leading-man type, where he is, I’d say, properly rated), but even so this is almost certainly a career best.  It basically has to be to beat Fassbender, and beat him in two different movies no less!

Best Director

For the second year in a row, I’m splitting my Best Picture and Best Director winners, which is probably bullshit but I’m doing anyways.  I have to admit, it’s at least in part due to how little I understand how exactly directing an animated movie works.  Uh, spoilers for the last category

The Nominees:

Ryan Coogler—Creed
Quentin Tarantino—The Hateful Eight
Pete Docter—Inside Out
George Miller—Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott—The Martian

Tarantino baaaarely makes it over our old favorite Scott Templeton (/Tom McCarthy.  That was a Wire joke) for Spotlight, a movie I slightly prefer to The Hateful Eight but think was directed just a wee bit worse (and yes, perhaps I am falling into the old “overvaluing loud to quiet quality” trap, but so be it).  

With all due respect to the delightful Mad Max: Fury Road (to which I’ve shown a lot of love here), I thought the best directed movie of 2015 was Ridley Scott’s The Martian.  Who says septuagenarian Brits can’t direct the hell out of a delightful, fun, funny, and highly entertaining sci-fi movie?  What, that isn’t a stereotype at all? Okay, I’ll take your word for it.  Hmm, so if that’s our Best Director winner, and I already said the Best Picture was an animated movie, whatever could it be?

Best Picture

The Nominees:

Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
When Marnie Was There

Whoah, wait, there are actually two animated movies on there!  But I think there will be little suspense in announcing that our Best Picture of 2015 winner is Pixar’s new masterpiece, Cars 2.  Whoops, wait, that was typed from an opposite dimension.  What I meant to write was The Good Dinosaur.  Wait, no, crap, why isn’t this working.  Okay, third time’s the charm, here we go: And the winner is…Inside Out.  Yes, there we go.

I think this was overall an average-to-slightly-below-average year (on letterboxd I only gave two movies, Inside Out and The Martian, 4.5 or above; most years there are at least three or four), but Inside Out is so good that it single-handedly raises the year considerably.  Inside Out is so smart, so funny, so emotional (in more ways than one), and just such an impeccably made movie that there’s no way you can appreciate all of the film’s charms on a first viewing, and indeed on my first rewatch a couple weeks ago I was unsurprised to find myself loving it even more than the first time.

I guess what I’m saying is it’s really good.

So that about wraps it up for the 2016 I’m Right Awards.  I’ll be back next year; if 2L year didn’t stop me from doing this, I can’t imagine 3L year will (though my first year as an actual attorney might be a different story.  But I’ll worry about that later).  So look forward to lots of nervous jokes about the bar exam next year.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

The final tally:

Anomalisa: One nomination and zero Pauls

Avengers: Age of Ultron: Three nominations and zero Pauls

Beasts of No Nation: One nomination and zero Pauls

The Big Short: Four nominations and zero Pauls

Brooklyn:  Two nominations and zero Pauls

Carol: Two nominations and zero Pauls

Creed: Nine nominations and zero Pauls (uh oh…)

Ex Machina: Seven nominations and one Paul (Best Supporting Actor for Oscar Isaac)

The Hateful Eight: Eleven nominations and two Pauls (Best Use of Music and Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Jason Leigh)

Inside Out: Ten nominations and four Pauls (Line of the Year, Best Original Screenplay, Best Vocal Performance for Amy Poehler, and Best Picture)

Macbeth: Three nominations and zero Pauls

Mad Max: Fury Road: Twelve nominations and five Pauls (Best Visual Effects, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Art Direction, and Scene Stealer of the Year for iOTA)

Magic Mike XXL: Four nominations and zero Pauls

The Martian: Nine nominations and four Pauls (Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Ensemble, Best Actor for Matt Damon, and Best Director for Ridley Scott)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: One nomination and zero Pauls

Phoenix: Four nominations and one Paul (Best Scene)

The Revenant: Four nominations and one Paul (Best Cinematography)

Room:  Three nominations and two Pauls (Best Performance by an Animal, Idea, or Inanimate Object for Room and Best Actress for Brie Larson)

Spectre: One nomination and zero Pauls

Spotlight:  Five nominations and zero Pauls

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens:  Eight nominations and two Pauls (Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing)

Steve Jobs:  Five nominations and zero Pauls

Straight Outta Compton:  Three nominations and zero Pauls

Trainwreck:  One nomination and zero Pauls

Trumbo: One nomination and zero Pauls

What We Do In the Shadows: Two nominations and one Paul (Most Enjoyable Feature)

When Marnie Was There:  Four nominations and zero Pauls

That’s twenty-seven movies nominated and ten with at least one win (both numbers a little down from last year, which makes sense; 2015 was a little top-heavy) out of the fifty-four I saw as of this writing (for a complete list of what I’ve seen from 2015, in totally fluid and arbitrary order of overall preference, click here. Note: that list will be updated as I see more movies, so if there’s more than fifty-four there, I’ve seen stuff since writing this).

Now, just for fun:

Most Overnominated: Either The Revenant or Star Wars; the former was super pretty but that’s about it, and the later was better but also hugely disappointing.

Most Undernominated: Probably What We Do In the Shadows, which kinda makes sense (many of these categories are tough for comedies to break into).

Winner of the Inside Llewyn Davis Award for most nominations without winning: That’d be Creed.  Sorry Wallace (also a Wire reference).

Best Movie You’d Never Know I’d Seen By Reading This: Ant-Man or maybe Kingsman: The Secret ServiceAnt-Man in particular was a late cut from a bunch of categories.

Movie I Promise I Saw But Just Couldn’t Find Anywhere On Here For: Definitely Bridge of Spies, which was totally fine, and I’m kinda surprised it didn’t manage to butt into any of the categories. 

Worst Movie Represented: Anomalisa, which (in Charlie Kaufman style) was hugely ambitious in its way but I just don’t think worked.  But I stand by Thewliss being great in it.

Worst Piece of Crap I Saw from 2014: A little (and I mean little) movie called Chloe and Theo, which I’ll mention again in more detail in a little bit.

Movie I Should Be Most Ashamed of Not Seeing Before Writing This: Probably The Danish Girl, or perhaps Joy.  Or maybe Son of Saul.  Overall I think I did a pretty dang good job.

Movie That I Insist Is Actually Kinda Good But No One Agrees With Me: There isn’t really one that I’m way out on a limb for this year, though I think I liked Steve Jobs quite a bit more than most.  I also think Age of Ultron is already getting kinda underrated.

Movie That I Insist Is Awful But No One Agrees With Me: That’d be The Assassin, a terminally boring Chinese (and I mean both PRC and ROC, it’s a co-production.  Harmony!) period piece that is inexplicably critically acclaimed.

Most Pleasantly Surprising: I didn’t love it, but Straight Outta Compton was a really entertaining, well-made (albeit somewhat meandering, especially in the second half) musical biopic.  Mad Max might also count here, though I was pretty pumped ever since the first trailer.  What We Do in the Shadows is another possibility.
Most Disappointing: Unfortunately this might be the most competitive category of the whole year.  In various ways Age of Ultron, Star Wars, Anomalisa, Beasts of No Nation and Sicario (among others!) could all qualify.  But I’m actually going with The Good Dinosaur, which was an inexplicably listless and uninspired effort from Pixar, and probably their worst original movie.  Yes, worse than Cars.  But Inside Out gives them something of a pass.

Inexplicable Slandering of a Historical Figure of the Year:  Edward G. Robinson in Trumbo.  Though the real Robinson did testify in front of HUAC and disavow communist sympathy (saying he’d been “duped”) he absolutely did not name names like the movie portrays him doing.

The “The Most Acting is Not Necessarily the Best Acting” Award:  Christian Bale in The Big Short wins a tight one over Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight.  Angela Bassett in Chi-Raq would also like to be heard.

The “I’ll Be in My Bunk” Award:  Lea Seydoux in Spectre.  Hoo boy.

Rebootquel” of the Year: I pretty much agree with everything Faraci says in that article; Mad Max and Creed were the two successful ones, Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys the bad ones (though I think I liked Terminator a little more than he did), and Star Wars somewhere in the middle

The “I Watched for the Weirdest Reason” Award:  Chloe and Theo again.  So why did I watch this tiny, crappy, direct-to-DVD anti-global warning polemic starring pre-fame Dakota Johnson?  Well, a year or two ago I noticed that the MPAA number (the sequential number assigned by the MPAA after it has given a movie a rating, which it has been doing since the late sixties) was getting into the mid forty thousands.  I began to look for the number after most new movies I watched, and as it hit 49,000 I promised I would watch whatever movie earned MPAA number 50,000 exactly, come hell or high water.  Well, neither hell nor high water appeared, but Chloe and Theo did.

The “The Artist Award for Main Promotional Image That Comes from Latest in the Film”:  Brooklyn.  The image in the main poster is from like 30 seconds before the movie ends.

Impression of the Year:  Dean O’Gorman as Kirk Douglas in Trumbo.  It’s uncanny.

And that's it. G'night* all and, if by some miracle (or desperate boredom, or maybe you're, like, in prison and this is all you have access to) you're still here than thanks for reading. Or, wait, shit, I forgot my new strategy was to insult people. So, uhh…what a loser for reading all this crap, what are you, a nerd?  Idiot.

*Or g'day, or g'morning, or...hell, I don't know when  you're reading this.

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