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Movie Critic Dave's Best of Film 2018
January 02, 2019
By: Movie Critic Dave
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And with a turn of the calendar, the 2018 cinematic year is officially behind us. The Golden Globes will announce their winners on Sunday (January 6th), while Oscar Nominations take place Tuesday, January 22nd. That means it's shaping up to be a busy month, so now is as good a time as any to unveil my Best of Film for 2018. Below, I highlight my favorite screenplays, performances, directors and movies from this past year. Many of which will become fixtures during this upcoming awards season, and some are lesser known gems that are certainly worth checking out. So here they are, the best of the best from this past year in film:

 
Best Adapted Screenplay

Honorable Mention: Boy ErasedThunder RoadFirst ManIf Beale Street Could Talk and The Wife

#5. BlacKkKlansman

#4. Leave No Trace

#3. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

#2. Avengers: Infinity War

And the winner is ...




#1. A Star Is Born

Bradley Cooper's directorial debut was clearly a calculated feat, and one that truly delivers across all areas of filmmaking. But it all starts with the script for A Star Is Born, it's here that the romantic, albeit heartbreaking, tale of one performer's rise to fame while the other fades from the spotlight is captured with such subtle delicacy. The screenplay was written by Eric Roth and Will Fetters in addition to Cooper's influence. A Star Is Born reveals such a powerful story that spans a multitude of emotions en route to becoming the year's most exceptional adapted screenplay.


Best Original Screenplay

Honorable Mention: SadieFirst ReformedHereditaryAmerican Animals and Upgrade

#5. Vice

#4. Thoroughbreds

#3. The Favourite

#2. Green Book

And the winner is ...




#1. Blindspotting

It's hard to go against Green Book here but I was completely "wowed" upon exiting the theater after catching Blindspotting at last year's SXSW festival. And that feeling of being "blown away" quickly morphed into staunch admiration with every subsequent viewing. Blindspotting marches to the beat with a formidable cadence that navigates through themes of urban gentrification and subconscious racism with a deep-rooted introspection. You'll laugh out loud during sequences of sheer hilarity and you'll clench at your seat through moments of gut-wrenching intensity, all while catering to poetic Hamilton-like freestyle raps that become a recurring cornerstone of this poignant and unbelievably original film.


Best Supporting Actress

Honorable Mention: Emma Stone (The Favourite)Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased)Natalie Portman (Vox Lux)Elle Fanning (Galveston) and Margot Robbie (Mary Queen of Scots)

#5. Amy Adams (
Vice)

#4. Regina King (
If Beale Street Could Talk)

#3. Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace)

#2. Claire Foy (
First Man)

And the winner is ...




#1. Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Much can be made about Emma Stone's dastardly turn in Yorgos Lanthimos' critically-adored period-piece comedy, The Favourite. In fact, I'd venture to guess that her supporting turn actually produced more screen time that either of her Oscar-destined counterparts (Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman). However, Weisz is the proper choice for this honor with a career-best performance that silences the rest of the field. Her portrayal of a stern and honorable aid to the Queen whose prosperous position becomes threatened by a new maid (Stone) is nothing short of brilliant. Her character has conviction, programmed to operate in what she believes is the best interest of England no matter the cost. There's no supporting role finer than this one and I can only hope that Weisz earns the Oscar statue she deserves.


Best Supporting Actor

Honorable Mention: J.K Simmons (The Front Runner)Russell Crowe (Boy Erased)Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)Timothée Chalamet (Beautiful Boy) and Jonathan Pryce (The Wife)

#5. Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)

#4. Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite)

#3. Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

#2. Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)

And the winner is ...




#1. Mahershala Ali (Green Book)

Mahershala Ali secured an Oscar win in 2017 for his supporting work in Barry Jenkins' Moonlight but he suffered a surprising upset at the Globes. I anticipate that history will correct itself this weekend when Mahershala wins his first Golden Globe for his phenomenal onscreen showing in Green Book. Ali stars as a world renowned pianist touring the deep Jim Crow south in the early 60s, while struggling to find his place in the world. It just so happens that "place" comes in the form of an unexpected lifelong friendship with his driver and "muscle" Tony (played by Viggo Mortensen). Ali's performance here even surpasses that of his Academy Award winning turn from two years ago.


Best Actress

Honorable Mention: Glenn Close (The Wife)Sophia Mitri Schloss (Sadie)Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns)Carey Mulligan (Wildlife) and Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots)

#5. Olivia Cooke (
Thoroughbreds)

#4. Olivia Colman (The Favourite)

#3. Toni Collette (
Hereditary)

#2. Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born)

And the winner is ...




#1. Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

As an outspoken critic of Melissa McCarthy's recent work, I'm as thrilled as anyone for her colossal performance in Can You Ever Forgive Me?. McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, a best-selling biographer struggling to make ends meet after a drought in her writing. But when she discovers a quick and easy money-making scheme that just so happens to be illegal, Israel and her accomplice (played by Richard E. Grant) find themselves in some hot water. McCarthy's turn is sadly tragic, full of carefree wit and one of the most genuinely crafted female characters in a long time. She forces you to forge a connection with someone who is clearly in the wrong, it's a difficult sell and McCarthy makes it seem effortless in one of the year's finest films.


Best Actor

Honorable Mention: Ryan Gosling (First Man), Sverrir Gudnason (Borg vs McEnroe)Christian Bale (Vice)Jim Cummings (Thunder Roadand Evan Peters (American Animals)

#5. Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

#4. Lucas Hedges (Boy Erased)

#3. Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)

#2. Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting)

And the winner is ...




#1. Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

Much like his co-star mentioned above, Viggo Mortsensen is absolutely transcendent in Peter Farrelly's Green Book. Nailing the born-and-raised Brooklyn accent with an appetite of legendary proportions, Viggo transforms into the uneducated but lovable brute, Tony Lip. Tony accepts a job as the driver and bodyguard for a famous African-American pianist touring the deep south in the early 60s. On the surface these two men couldn't appear more different. But after spending months on the road together learning about life and perspective from one another, Tony and his boss develop a mutual respect and appreciation that forges a lifetime bond. There's no end to the hilarity brought about by Viggo's performance, but he's more than just a source of laughter. Tony Lip instantly becomes an iconic meathead with a heart of gold.


Best Director

Honorable Mention: Peter Farrelly (Green Book)Alfonso Cuarón (Roma)Damien Chazelle (First Man)Barry Jenkins (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

#5. Steve McQueen (Widows)

#4. Ari Aster (
Hereditary)

#3. Carlos López Estrada (Blindspotting)

#2. Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

And the winner is ...




#1. Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born)

A Star Is Born has a very real chance of steam-rolling through the competition this awards seasons and that has a lot to do with Bradley Cooper's masterful direction in his debut feature. Cooper's work offscreen outshines his fantastic turn as fading rock star, Jasckson Maine, and thanks meant as the biggest compliment possible. Sharp camerawork and beautiful captured moments are just scratching the surface of Cooper's long list of achievements. A Star Is Born immerses itself in emotion, soul-crushing and uplifting scenes that put you in the shoes of its lead characters. And it isn't just stellar performances that make it work, Cooper's detailed direction helps pull all of these glowing attributes together to deliver a truly phenomenal filmmaking debut.


Best Picture

Honorable Mention: Avengers: Infinity WarHereditaryLeave No TraceViceThoroughbredsBoy ErasedSadieThunder Road and First Man

#5. The Favourite

#4. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

#3. A Star Is Born

#2. Blindspotting

And the winner is ...




#1. Green Book

If I could make one simple, all-encompassing statement about 2018's Best Picture, it's that Green Book is hands-down the most enjoyable film of the year. And in a time where negativity reigns supreme across all avenues of life, Peter Farrelly's wonderfully uplifting film outshines all others, acting as a light at the end of this gloomy period in history. I choose to look on the bright side and no film illimunates as bright as Green Book. This extraordinary true story of unlikely acquaintances forming an unbreakable friendship is exactly the bromance comedy we need right now. It reminds us that in a world full of ugliness and blind hatred, love and respect prevails and it can blossom into something absolutely beautiful. And if you're looking for a relentless laugh-out-loud comedy that offers phenomenal characters and superb acting, all tightly wrapped in the year's most feel-good viewing experience, then Green Book's the movie for you. Go see it!