05 March 2018

The Speakeasies (or The Year in Movies according to Yours Truly) 2017

In which yours truly does the nominating, voting, and presenting.
There's also a Best of 2017 List at the end. 

This is the first time I've ever done this. It was fun. I will take this route every year henceforth. What follows is who I would nominate and select for the major Academy Award categories, based on the 52 (pretty weak for me actually) feature films I saw from the year 2017.

Winners in bold.

Here. We. Go.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Michael Cera (and just about every other male actor) - "Molly's Game"
Willem Defoe - "The Florida Project"
Richard Jenkins - "The Shape of Water"
Bob Odenkirk - "The Post"
Sam Rockwell - "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Defoe was my horse for the longest time. Then, Sam Rockwell. I laugh at the haters. He's my easy choice here and clearly the winner for most other Awards entities as well. This is the one I category where I line up with the Academy the most. I can't fathom a world though where none of the men in "Molly's Game" were nominated for an Oscar. And Bob Odenkirk rules.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Beanie Feldstein - "Lady Bird"
Sophia Lillis - "IT"
Laurie Metcalf - "Lady Bird"
Carrie Mulligan - "Mudbound"
Jenny Slate - "Landline"

Why did not one person talk about Beanie Feldstein's heartbreaking sweet fierceness as the best friend in "Lady Bird"? Or the power that emerged from the crap "IT" put Sophia Lillis through? Or how badass Carrie Mulligan is in "Mudbound" (wait...people did sort of talk about that some...)? Or how much I love Jenny Slate? Still, Laurie Metcalf is the clear winner of this category.


Roger Deakins - "Blade Runner 2049"
Darius Khondji - "The Lost City of Z"
Rachel Morrison - "Mudbound"
Michael Bauman (Gaffer), Colin Anderson (Camera Operator), Erik Brown (First Assistant Cameraman), Jeff Kunkel (Grip) - "Phantom Thread"
Dan Laustsen - "The Shape of Water"

Stick it, Deakins. You got beat and should've won exactly 10 years ago. "The Lost City of Z" is the most beautiful film of the year. Every frame so rich. The last shot will haunt me for the rest of my life. The rest of the nominees speak for themselves. And all seriousness. Glad Deakins got his Oscar.

Music (Original Score)

Alexandre Desplat - "The Shape of Water"
Johnny Greenwood - "Phantom Thread"
Daniel Hart - "A Ghost Story"
Daniel Lopatin - "Good Time"
Christopher Spelman - "The Lost City of Z"

It's really not even close. But "Good Time" is actually in second place for me. Shit is scary.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Sofia Coppola - "The Beguiled"
James Gray - "The Lost City of Z"
James Ivory - "Call Me By Your Name"
Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green - "Logan"
Aaron Sorkin - "Molly's Game"

I'm honestly not sure how James Gray so convincingly captured such a large story is such a tight package and made it work. That movie is goooood.

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Paul Thomas Anderson - "Phantom Thread"
Martin McDonagh - "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Liz Hannah and Josh Singer - "The Post"
Jordan Peele - "Get Out"
Greta Gerwig - "Lady Bird"

No story this year was as much story than McDonagh's. We are lucky to live in such a crazy world in which a man can write so well about such a crazy world. An Irishman captured the nutso American landscape of today by making a messy movie about messiness. I LOVE IT.

Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain - "Molly's Game"
Vicky Krieps - "Phantom Thread"
Tatiana Maslany - "Stronger"
Aubrey Plaza - "Ingrid Goes West" (or "The Little Hours")
Saoirse Ronan - "Lady Bird"

Ummmm...did anybody actually SEE "Stronger"? Good God! Maslany is so ridiculous good, and yes! that is a leading performance. Frances McDormand wouldn't have wanted to be nominated, so I left her off. But she should be hired to give the acceptance speech every year.


Paul Thomas Anderson - "Phantom Thread"

Sean Baker - "The Florida Project"
James Gray - "The Lost City of Z"
Greta Gerwig - "Lady Bird"
Josh and Benny Safdie - "Good Time"

Dude locked himself in a house with Daniel Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville and a camera crew and shit got weird. The result is another work of the actual master.

Actor in a Leading Role

Timothée Chalamet - "Call Me By Your Name"
Daniel Day-Lewis - "Phantom Thread"
Jake Gyllenhaal - "Stronger"
Robert Pattinson - "Good Time"
Adam Sandler - "The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"

Ummm...did anybody actually SEE "The Meyerowitz Stories..."? Because Adam Sandler is unreal, and I would've given him the statue for the first five minutes alone. Until I saw "Call Me By Your Name" and realized that Chalamet's is actually the best leading male performance of the year by a long shot. It's amazing how that kid embodied a character's outward emotions so perfectly.

Best Picture

"The Florida Project"
"A Ghost Story"
"Good Time"
"Lady Bird"
"The Lost City of Z"
"The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"
"Phantom Thread"
"The Post"
"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"

The movie I pick as my favorite of the year is usually the one that impacts my emotions the most. No movie captured what is both so beautiful and so wrong with MY Personal America than Sean Baker's "The Florida Project." I could've nominated it in more categories than I did. I could've talked about it more. I'll talk about it now: Kids I teach every day are the kids in this movie. Parents like this live down the street from me, like walking distance. Baker's is a cinema of what's happening right now in your neighborhood. It is true and vibrant and beautiful. It trumps my second place ("Three Billboards...") in being real. It's not an artificial exploration of America's bad temper. It's a slice of American life that nobody is looking at. And I wish more people had stopped to look at this one. It is the most moving and loving cinematic treat of the year.

Until next year...

This is a living document. It will be changed and added to as I see more movies from 2017 in the years to come.

Every 2017 Release I've Seen
(from best to worst, based on my own gut feeling as of March 4th of 2018)

"The Florida Project"

"Phantom Thread"

"The Post"

"Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri"

"The Lost City of Z"

"A Ghost Story"


"Lady Bird"

"Good Time"

"The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)"

"Molly's Game"

"Wind River"


"Call Me By Your Name"

"Ingrid Goes West"


"Get Out"

"The Shape of Water"


"Blade Runner 2049"

"I, Tonya"


"The Beguiled"


"Star Wars: The Last Jedi"

"Wonder Woman"

"Darkest Hour"

"American Made"


"Baby Driver"

"Alien: Covenant"

"The Big Sick"


"The Disaster Artist"

"Free Fire"

"Atomic Blonde"

"Brad's Status"


"Battle of the Sexes"


"Fist Fight"


"Beauty and the Beast"

"Personal Shopper"

"John Wick: Chapter 2"

"The Little Hours"

"Girls Trip"

"Roman J. Israel, Esq."

"The Killing of Sacred Deer"

"Logan Lucky"

"The House"



  1. I didn't care for Stronger but Maslany should've been a shoo in for Supporting Actress at least. She was wonderful. I never saw Lost City of Z, but I agree with a lot of your other picks. Franco gave my favorite male lead performance but when it comes down to the nominees, Chalamet was tremendous. Both he and Kaluuya were far better than Oldman, IMO.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Sorry for the long delay. I loved Stronger. It's the type of inspirational movie that avoids most of the normal pathways. Lost City of Z is well worth a watch. Gorgeous filmmaking.

  2. LOVE so much of this. Love your love for The Florida Project, definitely one of the best of the year. Love your shout out to Tatiana Maslany, who is incredible in Stronger (as is Jake Gyllenhaal). LOVE LOVE LOVE all the mentions for Lost City of Z - that last shot is downright breathtaking, and has stayed with me all year.

    And also, and perhaps most of all, LOVE that this is going up after the Oscars. Mine will be up later this week, too. Now that the film year is finally truly over.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Dan. Sorry for the long delay. Life, man. The Florida Project is that one movie of the year for me that was just more important than all the rest. Totally agree on Maslany and Lost City of course. Will go over and check your site. It's been too long.

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  4. Agree with most of your picks. Loved your pick for Metcalf.

    My personal top 10 (to be finalized later this month):
    10. Blade Runner 2049
    9. I, Tonya
    8. Phantom Thread
    7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
    6. Get Out
    5. Dunkirk
    4. Call Me by Your Name
    3. The Big Sick
    2. The Shape of Water
    1. Lady Bird

    I will also post my personal awards later this month (as soon as I pick a good name for the awards).

  5. Yeah, the Johnny Greenwood score for Phantom Thread was powerful, really added a lot to the mood of the film. Great to see the snubbed Pattinson is among your selections! Shame you disliked Killing of Sacred Deer-it's my current #1 of 2017. I noticed you loved Florida Project and didn't nominate Bria Vinaite or Brooklynn Prince, I assume you liked their performances but no enough to nominate them.

    1. Love Greenwood's work. It's incredible. Hearing great things about his score for You Were Never Really Here as well. Killing of a Sacred Deer really just failed tonally for me. The deadpan Lanthimos thing works better when theirs a really high darkly comedic concept (a la The Lobster and Dogtooth). In short, just too dark for my taste. I LOVED all the performances in The Florida Project. Just wanted to spread some love around to other performances. They are top ten.

  6. Great work! Love Mulligan’s nomination for Mudbound, I thought she was so quietly arresting in that film.

    The Lost City of Z looked incredible. I so appreciate the amount of time James Gray puts into the look of his films.

    LOVE Maslany’s win for Stronger. That was my favorite female performance of the year. I can’t wait to see more of her work.

    1. Thanks, Alex. Sorry for the long delay in response. Busy these days. Mulligan really blew me away there for sure. And you're right. James Gray really does go for it with the visuals. I need to go back and watch some of his earlier work. And yeah. Maslany. Totally unexpected greatness. Love when that happens.

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