top 10 movies of 2016 arrival

Where the Hell Were Amy Adams and Annette Benning?

However, we now have to furrow our brows and wonder why Arrival doesn’t have nine nominations, because Amy Adams was inexplicably left out of the Best Actress category. The film works because every other element comes together, but Adams’ work is the heart and soul of the film, the warm emotional body that the hard sci-fi ideas can orbit around. And while we’re talking about lauded performances being snubbed in the Best Actress category, can we pause for a moment and wonder why Annette Benning wasn’t nominated for 20th Century Women? Does Meryl Streep really need another Oscar nomination (for Florence Foster Jenkins, of all things) when you have a perfectly amazing Annette Benning standing right over there?

20th Century Women

Nocturnal Animals and 20th Century Women Stay in the Dark

And then the Academy had to go rub salt in Amy Adams’ wounds by also not nominating her for Nocturnal Animals, which was positioned as a surefire awards contender just a few months ago. However, the film simply didn’t catch on with critics or audiences and now all it has in the Oscar race is a Best Supporting Actor nod for Michael Shannon. Granted, anything involving Michael Shannon can’t be all bad, but still. Even more egregious is the almost complete shut-out of 20th Century Women, which received a nod for writer/director Mike Mills’ screenplay but nothing more.

the handmaiden review

No Love For The Handmaiden

Remember when I wrote about the elite club of fascinating, powerful, and vital cinema that were complete ignored by the Oscars? Welcome to that club, The Handmaiden.

top 10 movies of 2016 sing street

Trolls Got Nominated Over Sing Street For Best Original Song

I’m never going to understand why Trolls (a perfectly decent children’s movie that I don’t hate as much as I don’t dwell upon) received a nomination for Best Original Song when Sing Street was shut out. Granted, more people saw Trolls and it actually had a proper awards campaign while Sing Street was left to die in the street despite having a soundtrack jam-packed with incredible music that I listen to all the time because it’s a key part of what makes the movie great. Hrumph. While we’re here, the fact that Moana only nabbed a single song nomination (for the wonderful “How Far I’ll Go”) suggests that the La La Land train (with its two song nominations) will block Lin-Manuel Miranda from EGOT-ing this year. And let’s be honest: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping should have been here, too.

top 10 movies of 2016 oj made in america

The Academy Makes it Official: O.J.: Made in America is a Movie

Film critics have spent the past few months arguing over whether or not Ezra Edelman’s eight-hour epic O.J.: Made in America is a film that aired on television or a television miniseries. Now that the Academy has nominated it for Best Documentary, it feels like we have an answer. As the lines between TV and cinema continue to blur into a fuzzy mess where traditional categorization fails to get the job done, big statements like this will help give our conversations/debates/arguments a little bit of structure.


A Crowded Documentary Category

While while the nomination of O.J.: Made in America is probably the biggest surprise in the Best Documentary category, this whole corner of the awards was stacked. While the Academy has often and infamously snubbed challenging and political documentaries, the nominations for 13th, I Am Not Your Negro, and Fire at Sea feel appropriate considering the events of the past year. The inclusion of the more warm-hearted Life, Animated feels like the exception, not the rule. While this category was stronger than usual, the snubbing of Cameraperson and Weiner still stings.

Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water

They Liked Hell or High Water That Much?!

Hell or High Water was a critical success and people liked it and it made money. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it dresses the wheel up with new shades of dust and blood. Just about everyone seems to agree that it’s a solid movie featuring strong actors doing good work. But a Best Picture nomination? That wasn’t supposed to happen! It’s not going to win a damn thing, but those four nods are are nice blast of the unexpected in a year where everything fell mostly where we thought it would.

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