The First Annual “Should Be The Oscars”: My Picks For The Best Individuals of Film in 2016

Best Screenplay:

The Edge of Seventeen

The Lobster

Moonlight

Arrival

Winner:

Manchester by the Sea

Now, it’s partially true that I’m rewarding Manchester by the Sea for being the most script. It’s dense with dialogue and plotted to hell within a fairly simple indie film story. It’s also managing two wildly diverging tones, this thing is loaded with jokes as well as emotionally difficult and tearjerking moments. But what Lonergan’s script is so amazing is that yes, it does have a lot going on. But it’s all near perfectly managed, the tone is managed perfectly and the swing between them actually adds to the thematics. The dialogue all feels natural following out of the characters. The way the script holds details and reveals is a masterclass, I think specifically of the tragic past of Lee Chandler’s character. It’s a minor miracle of scripting, and is well worth your reading.

Best Supporting Actor:

Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!

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Issey Ogata, Silence

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Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

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Winner(s) (Tie):

Yeah, I’m cheating. Deal with it. Ties happen in the real Oscars sometimes.

Andre Holland, Moonlight

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Talking about any one of the two main characters from Moonlight as an acting piece is difficult, because our conception is put together from three separate performances. But I choose the adult partially out of ease of judging the skill (there’s less difficulty in separating director and actor with adults) and partially because what they’re doing is truly amazing.

Andre Holland’s Kevin is incredible. The kind of sexy, confident and quiet performance that Wong Kar-Wai would be dying to get a hold of, it’s the role he plays as a Supporting actor that truly is what blows me away. Moonlight is a film of scene partners, and Holland is the kind of partner that pushes anyone to the limit. It’s the way he can keep poking and prodding at Trevante Rhodes, making every reaction and shift feel natural. It’s the way Holland uses silence in the conversation to give meaning, it’s the way his eyes seem to always tell a different story from his smile. It’s one of the best looks of the year, when he plays “Hello Stranger” and pours his soul out to Chiron. Just awe-inspiring.

Daniel Radcliffe, Swiss Army Man

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Daniel Radcliffe doesn’t have to put himself out there like this. The former Harry Potter never has to work again and certainly has the clout to play vanity the rest of his career. Instead, Radcliffe commits his body in every possible way for Swiss Army Man, letting himself get dragged and flopped and abused in the name of supporting Dano’s character. He also gives depth, shading, and nuance to a farting corpse, making every step of his discovery of humanity utterly believable. It’s the kind of performance you have to see to understand and you still may not understand.

Best Supporting Actress:

Kate McKinnon, Ghostbusters

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Golshifeth Farahani, Paterson

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Angourie Rice, The Nice Guys

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Viola Davis, Fences

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Winner:

Kim Tae-Ri, The Handmaiden

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This is Kim Tae-Ri’s first feature performance, so it can only become all the more of a marvel what she manages to pull off. She, like most everyone in this film, plays a non-literal dual role. She is both submissive ingenue and dastardly criminal. Kim manages to find both and blend them, showing exactly how each informs the other. Combined with a burning chemistry with Kim Min-Hee, Kim is an absolute delight to watch in this film, and a talent to keep your eye on.

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