Another year has finished and it's time to list my favorite movies of the year. 2016 was, in many ways, a god awful year. But as far as the year in film, it was mostly pretty good; a little less impressive than last year, but better than the year before that. As per usual, below you'll find the 25 movies I loved the most this year, plus some extra ones and the ones I didn't enjoy so much.
Emmy nominations are tomorrow and yet again I am posting my preference ballot in each of the major categories across all three genres for your (but mostly my own) enjoyment. Last year's actual Emmy nominations were pretty decent, so here's hoping that this year's will live up as well. Although, with the sheer amount of television, it seems impossible most of these shows will find away into the elusive club.
Once again, it was a much stronger year for comedy than drama. Overall, it was much harder to narrow down the comedy (and even miniseries) categories, but some of the drama categories required some stretching. But of the many programs I watched that were eligible this year, most of the ones below are ones I would recommend, and even the ones I wouldn't have at least one worthwhile facet that earned them a spot on this ballot.
Below are my personal nominees in most of the major categories in comedy, drama and miniseries/movie. Enjoy!
For the last piece of the puzzle in completing this year's Best Of lists, I've written up my dream Oscar ballot for 2015. The Academy announces its nominees this Thursday and, while they always get plenty wrong, this year threatens to be particularly egregious. Two of the most beloved and clear masterpieces of the year, Mad Max and Carol, could be honored or mostly left in the dust in favor of some of the year's most generic prestige fare. But not at the Patty's (patent pending) where they and a number of other movies are justly celebrated! Oh, what a lovely day!
As usual, I've extended each category to six rather than five contenders (I'm sure I watch more films than the Academy does) and added a few of my own personal superlatives at the end of the list. The winners are bolded and runners-up italicized. Read below and agree or disagree as desired. Enjoy!
The time has come! 2015 has come to an end, and a few days into the new year, after having caught up on the last few titles I was missing, I've decided on my favorite films of the year. This year I managed to catch 110 movies and the year offered more pleasures than I expected. As it stands, instead of doing my usual top 20, I've elected to go to 25 this year to reflect just how great I think the year was. I've ranked them all this year so you know exactly where everything falls into place, but given the quality of the year's films, I can confidently look at all the films listed here and give them a passionate recommendation. So take a look below and enjoy my favorite films of 2015!
The Emmy nominations are being announced this week and with it comes my yearly attempt to pick my favorites in each category only to watch them be passed over in favor of Downton Abbey in a week. This year, a lot of great shows from last year came to an end, while others simply fell in quality, so much of who showed up below were new picks.
Overall, this was a pretty good year for television, but decidedly uneven in how quality was spread across categories. When comparing the two, it tended to be a stronger year for comedy than drama, although the distinction between the two at these awards has never been more confusing. And it must be said: female performers this year brought it much harder than the men did. Any number of these female categories could have expanded to nine or ten nominees, while coming up with six was difficult for any number of the men's. Meanwhile, this was not by any means a good year for miniseries and tv movies and certainly not enough to justify those categories being as large as they are.
Below are my picks in the Emmy categories I feel I viewed enough in to have an opinion. They stick mostly to Emmy eligibility and category placement, but otherwise are fever dreams compared to what will actually be nominated. Enjoy!
I could go on complaining or I could present my own choices for the Oscar nominations tomorrow. Nominees below, there are six nominees in each category to spread the love, except Best Actress which had to have seven this year (a "weak year" for women). Winners are bold, runners-up are italicized. Enjoy!
Another year comes to a close and compared to other film years, 2014 ranks squarely down the middle. Some of its highest achievements are films I know I'll think about for years to come, while others already seem a forgotten memory. None of the films listed below have to worry, though. Whether they burrowed into my brain, immediately won over my affection, or challenged me enough to feel they had accomplished something, these films below represent (for better or worse) my favorite movies of 2014. Enjoy!
Emmy nominations came and went this year with a lot of good and a lot of bad and now we're here inexplicably on a Monday to celebrate the best in television. For a season of television with a lot of highlights, I found that my picks included a lot of the same picks and a lot of old favorites. Below are my picks (and runners-up) for the best in TV over the last year. Enjoy!
Deciding on a few of these categories was truly heinous (leading actor could have easily merited a three-way tie) while others were utterly vacant (supporting actor continues to be a wasteland). Some of these categories have been set in my mind for a long time while others formed spontaneously as I wrote them which lead to a number of surprises (Spring Breakers with a pretty big technical haul).
Meanwhile, even I was surprised at all the Oscar favorites that didn't drum up my passion and the deserving candidates who surely won't show up tomorrow morning. But our favorites are favorites for a reason, not because awards bodies agree, and so with that I sum up 2013 and lay out my personal choices.
It must be said that 2013 was a fantastic year for movies. Certainly, looking back at 2012 when I had trouble even deciding on ten films that felt worthy of being on a Best Of list, it has surpassed even my depleted expectations. But what was even more impressive was how diverse the lineup of films were - numerous genres feeling accurately represented and a number of ambitious achievements that won't soon be forgotten.
List making is an inherently difficult task because there's little chance that your personal preferences won't vary as films age and tastes change. But this year, looking at my lineup, I feel confident that I've narrowed down ten films that I confidently love (and another ten that I greatly admire) that will stay with me long after the year is over. So here are ten runners-up (ranked alphabetically) and my top ten favorite films of the year. Enjoy!
Below are my picks in most of the major categories (unless I really didn't feel knowledgeable of enough of the submissions) and a few extras I've decided to include. Winners are pictured and any runner-up is noted in italics. In a few instances, I've gone beyond the official submissions of each show, but sometimes you just have to stick up for what you believe and if I don't defend what is right then who will? Enjoy, if you will.
Not that many of these choices are bad (or even close to it) yet there's lots of opportunities for exciting choices and perhaps just as many chances for disappointment. This year, more than ever, my own picks seem particularly far from the Academy's realm. Which is not to do a disservice to their choices, but to say that this year the typical Oscar fare by-and-large didn't do it for me. On the other hand, a number of under the radar films took me by surprise and found themselves popping up regularly throughout my list.
Coinciding the two is hard yet I have one basic rule: if I'm stuck between a film/performance that I admire on a technical level and one I connect with on a personal one - I'll likely choose the latter. After all, these are my choices, and who knows how long they'll stick. Some decisions were particularly grueling (Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence might be my two favorite actresses to emerge in the last few years, yet I had to choose against both of them here, although they each have taken a win from me before) and others entirely simple (the Supporting Actor category is a wasteland with only one performance I can genuinely say I'm passionate about making it an easy victory).
Each category runs between 5-6 nominees (you can never have too much) and has a bolded winner and italicized runner-up (because why not?). Most of my categories follow Oscar territory until the end where I have fun and throw in my own for good measure. Agree or disagree as you wish. Read along and enjoy!
Updating the blog kind of fizzled out for me over the second half of the year, but I saw no less films than I normally do. Overall, between theaters, DVDs and the persistent glory of Netflix, I saw about 80~ films compared to last year's 90. Hardly a quiet year, but as I compiled this list, there were few films I felt absolutely rushing to write about.
But it wasn't a bad year. And this list, filled with films I nonetheless do feel passionate about, showcases that fact. It actually ended up being semi-difficult to whittle it down to merely ten (with five runners-up because you can never have too many). List making is fun, but ultimately useless, especially looking back. Sometimes it has its purposes - my last two #1's, Drive and Black Swan, still remain films I love - but things sometimes get murkier. Last year, The Artist made my #5, and in the time since I have hardly felt compelled to go back and rewatch it even once. While my Top 5 here seem the most solid and filled with films I feel will only increase in stature with time, that caveat tells you all you need to know. And so, with that, enjoy.
It wouldn't be an awards season without obsessively making my own picks. The Emmy nominations come out this week, and there are a lot of opportunities for them to get things right, but perhaps just as many pitfalls along the way. Shows likely to be honored like The Big Bang Theory and Boardwalk Empire continue to not live up to any such hype for me, and even the likely big winner Modern Family has stopped being one of my favorite comedies. So instead, I offer my own selections, many will show up, but others will likely not. So it goes.
I'm keeping my picks to what was actually submitted to the Emmys and where. I may not agree with who is a lead vs. supporting, or what is a comedy vs. drama, but I'll humor them. That's also why a show like Sherlock is nowhere here when it might have been everywhere because it is technically a miniseries to them. When I looked back over my choices, I noticed that at least half of them are repeats from years before. By no means was this a lackluster TV season, and it was hard to cut some shows out, but for the most part, my favorites in each category continued to deliver, even in the case of my two picks for the best shows on television.
Oscar nominations are a few days away. As always, a lot of what gets in is going to be standard awards bait. But whenever the Academy gets the chance to truly break ground, they typically stay away from it. Even this year, while they have the opportunity to honor difficult-but-rewarding material like Shame or We Need To Talk About Kevin, we can't be sure they'll ultimately bite. Meanwhile, actors like Leonardo DiCaprio and Glenn Close will likely glide by on name recognition and prestige despite the fact that their films are very near terrible.
So each year, I like to highlight what I would have paid attention to if I was ever given the chance to vote for these awards. Of course, some of our tastes inevitably overlap (you cannot deny the charms of Michelle Williams or The Artist and you shouldn't try) but many do not. The Academy keeps it to five for each category (except Best Picture, which now can be 5-10, I'll be going with the latter) yet I usually let myself go beyond to six and sometimes seven. After all, what's with the reluctance to honor too many great works?
There are a number of works I didn't have time for this year, and some smaller ones that simply never came around to me. (Most notably, everyone's favorite foreign language film A Separation still has not arrived, as well as a number of other foreign and documentary entries). But these choices are almost perfectly representative of what the year was for me and more than a few surprises are surprising even for me. Winners are bolded (and pictured) while runners-up are italicized for fun. And, of course, these are inevitably subject to change, but for now, enjoy.