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The Best of 2015

spotlight michael keaton mark ruffalo
2015 was a very interesting year, both cinematically and personally. On the movie front, which is what you all care about, we had plenty of quality, though more than likely the year will be remembered for Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominating the landscape. Of course, I’m hardly complaining, considering how much I loved the flick, but there were plenty of other noteworthy films that hit during the year as well. As such, with today being the end of 2015, it’s time for my annual tribute piece, which will be more than just a simple top ten list…much more. You’ll see what I mean shortly, but I want to try to pay tribute to the entirety of what made the year so special. The past 365 days had tons to offer, and I’ll attempt to reflect that in this piece. Then, it’ll be on to 2016 and a whole new year of films, in addition to new predictions to kick off the year tomorrow…

What you’ll see below is a look at what I liked best in 2015, taken from the 320 or so films that I saw. Instead of simply doing a top ten, I’ve got a top 30 to show you a wider range of my favorites. Also here is my personal awards for the year, complete with some runner ups. This will include some of the overlooked/underrated things that I cited yesterday, but plenty of other things as well. It’s a fairly comprehensive look at what I found superior in 2015. I avoided talking about what I didn’t like, focusing instead on the positive. Take a look, enjoy, and here’s to the year that was!

anomalisa 2015
Here’s my top 30 for 2015:

30. Beasts of No Nation
29. 45 Years
28. Racing Extinction
27. Carol
26. Magic Mike XXL
25. Slow West
24. Time Out of Mind
23. Mistress America
22. The Stanford Prison Experiement
21. Heaven Knows What
20. Inside Out
19. Trumbo
18. Where to Invade Next
17. Sicario
16. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
15. Room
14. The Hateful Eight
13. Grandma
12. Sleeping with Other People
11. The End of the Tour
10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
9. Youth
8. It Follows
7. Creed
6. The Martian
5. 5 to 7
4. Trainwreck
3. Steve Jobs
2. Anomalisa
1. Spotlight

Matt Damon the Martian
And now, my personal awards for the year that was 2015:

Best Picture: Spotlight (runner up: Anomalisa and Steve Jobs)

Best Director: Ridley Scott for The Martian (runner up: Tom McCarthy for Spotlight and David Robert Mitchell for It Follows)

Best Actor: Jason Segel for The End of the Tour (runner up: Michael Caine for Youth and Paul Dano for Love & Mercy)

Best Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh for Anomalisa (runner up: Maika Monroe for It Follows and Lily Tomlin for Grandma)

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo for Spotlight (runner up: Sam Elliot for Grandma and Sylvester Stallone for Creed)

Best Supporting Actress: Rooney Mara for Carol (runner up: Brie Larson for Trainwreck and Kristen Stewart for Clouds of Sils Maria)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Anomalisa (runner up: The Martian and Steve Jobs)

Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight (runner up: It Follows and Trainwreck)

Best Animated Feature: Anomalisa (The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out)

Best Documentary Feature: Where to Invade Next (runner up: The Hunting Ground and Misery Loves Comedy)

Best Foreign Language Feature: Goodnight Mommy (runner up: Son of Saul and White God)

Best Production Design: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (runner up: Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian)

Best Cinematography: Creed (runner up: It Follows and Sicario)

Best Costume Design: Mad Max: Fury Road (runner up: The Hateful Eight and Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Best Film Editing: Spotlight (runner up: It Follows and Steve Jobs)

Best Makeup: Mad Max: Fury Road (runner up: Lost River and Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Best Sound: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (runner up: It Follows and Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Original Score: The Hateful Eight (runner up: It Follows and Sicario)

Best Original Song: Cold One from Ricki and the Flash (runner up: Love Me Like You Do from Fifty Shades of Grey and Flashlight from Pitch Perfect 2)

Best Visual Effects: Mad Max: Fury Road (runner up: Jurassic World and Ted 2)

*Bonus Category*

Best Cast Ensemble: Spotlight (runner up The Martian and Steve Jobs)

steve jobs Fassbender
Here’s to a great 2016!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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