February 05, 2017

The Best Films and Performances of 2016

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It’s time to put a bow on 2016, ladies and gentlemen! New Year’s Eve is tomorrow, but before that party, today will be a festivity of sorts. Yes, it’s time to reveal my picks for the year’s best films and performances. From early year releases that held on all the way to a few late breaking players, my lists have a whole range of titles. The year has been a volatile one, both in terms of world events and also when it comes to cinema. 2016 was the year where things kind of got nuts politically and with celebrity deaths, but it was also the year wearisome incredible movies came out. Plenty of people will focus on the former, so I’ll concentrate on the latter today.

Let’s get started!

Casey Affleck  Michele Williams Manchester by the Sea
Below you will see both my picks for the very best movies of 2016 as well as the best performances of 2016. In terms of the movies, I’ll be doing a top 30 list, with a few honorable mentions, just because. The same will go for the performances I’m keenest on, where I’ll do a top ten and honorable mentions. Finally, I’ll conclude with awards in a whole bunch of categories. After this, there will be no question what I favored this year. Astute readers probably know my top ten, but even if you’re in the dark, that won’t last much longer. Anyway, on to the good stuff…

Starting off, here’s my top 30 films for 2016:

30. Toni Erdmann
29. Life, Animated
28. Paterson
27. Captain America: Civil War
26. Arrival
25. 13th
24. Sully
23. 10 Cloverfield Lane
22. Snowden
21. The Lobster
20. Cafe Society
19. Miss Sloane
18. Captain Fantastic
17. Newtown
16. 20th Century Women
15. Sausage Party
14. American Honey
13. Patriots Day
12. Weiner
11. Moonlight
10. The Nice Guys
9. Indignation
8. The Edge of Seventeen
7. Sing Street
6. Deadpool
5. Everybody Wants Some
4. Jackie
3. Manchester by the Sea
2. La La Land
1. Hell or High Water

Honorable Mentions: Bleed for This, Demolition, Doctor Strange, Don’t Think Twice, Fences, Green Room, Midnight Special, O.J.: Made in America, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and Silence

Natalie Portman in Jackie
Here also are my top ten performances for the year:

10. Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea
9. Zoe Kazan for The Monster
8. Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water
7. Emma Stone for La La Land
6. Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
5. Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic
4. Glen Powell for Everybody Wants Some
3. Ryan Gosling for The Nice Guys
2. Natalie Portman for Jackie
1. Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea

Honorable Mentions: Jessica Chastain for Miss Sloane, Ben Foster for Hell or High Water, Sarah Gadon for Indignation, Mary Elizabeth Winstead for 10 Cloverfield Lane, and Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool

And now, my personal awards for the year that was 2016:

Best Picture: Hell or High Water (runner up: La La Land and Manchester by the Sea)

Best Director: Damien Chazelle for La La Land (runner up: Pablo Larrain for Jackie and David Mackenzie for Hell or High Water)

Best Actor: Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea (runner up: Ryan Gosling for The Nice Guys and Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic)

Best Actress: Natalie Portman for Jackie (runner up: Zoe Kazan for The Monster and Emma Stone for La La Land)

Best Supporting Actor: Glen Powell for Everybody Wants Some (runner up: Mahershala Ali for Moonlight and Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water)

Best Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea (runner up: Sarah Gadon for Indignation and Kristen Stewart for Cafe Society)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Indignation (runner up: Arrival and Deadpool)

Best Original Screenplay: Hell or High Water (runner up: La La Land and Manchester by the Sea)

Best Animated Feature: Sausage Party (runner up: Moana and The Secret Life of Pets)

Best Documentary Feature: Weiner (runner up: 13th and Newtown)

Best Foreign Language Feature: Toni Erdmann (runner up: Elle and The Unknown Woman)

Best Production Design: La La Land (runner up: Indignation and Jackie)

Best Cinematography: La La Land (runner up: Cafe Society and Moonlight)

Best Costume Design: Jackie (runner up: La La Land and Rogue One)

Best Film Editing: Hell or High Water (runner up: La La Land and Patriots Day)

Best Makeup: Mad Max: Jackie (runner up: La La Land and Rogue One)

Best Sound: La La Land (runner up: Patriots Day and Rogue One)

Best Original Score: Jackie (runner up: La La Land and Patriots Day)

Best Original Song: Audition (The Fools Who Dream) from La La Land (runner up: City of Stars from La La Land and To Find you from Sing Street)

Best Visual Effects: Rogue One (runner up: Arrival and Passengers)

*Bonus Category*

Best Cast Ensemble: Manchester by the Sea (runner up Hell or High Water and Moonlight)

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Here’s to a great 2017, both for movies and just life in general!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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