And so, the day before the magnificent desolation that will be the 92nd Oscars, I present the winners of the 2nd Annual Adam's Final Cut Awards. For a list of the nominations, click here.
To start, the awards for BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR and BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS go to Michael B. Jordan as Erik "Killmonger" Stevens (Black Panther) and Blake Lively as Emily Nelson (A Simple Favor).
Both stole the films they were featured in and persisted to be remembered. Michael B. Jordan injected an aggressive and intellectual spirit that cemented him as one of the MCU's strongest villains. Blake Lively, on the other hand, was altogether charismatic, mysterious, and human. Though we never really knew what was happening with Emily, Lively's performance insisted this person could exist.
The award for BEST ORIGINAL SONG goes to "The Cover Is Not the Book" from Mary Poppins Returns. Though all the songs were phenomenal and underrepresented at the Oscars, "Cover" was the clear highlight of Poppins, a lively sequence that entertainingly spelled out the moral and dug its cane and flapper haircut into our brains.
The award for BEST ORIGINAL SCORE goes to If Beale Street Could Talk. Though I never saw the film, the score for Barry Jenkins's Moonlight follow-up is a real work of art in a sea of great music. Compare Nicholas Britell's "Eros" track to any other track this year, and it becomes clear: there is no other option.
The award for BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY goes to Thomas Townend's work on You Were Never Really Here. The award for BEST VISUAL EFFECTS goes to Annihilation, which created transcendent visuals in a lower-budget picture. And Paul Schrader wins the award for BEST SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL AND ADAPTED for his screenplay to First Reformed, a challenging film about Christianity and its relationship with the world.
The awards of BEST ACTOR and BEST ACTRESS go to Ethan Hawke as Rev. Ernst Toller (First Reformed) and Toni Collette as Annie Graham (Hereditary). Collette arguably gave the absolute best performance of the year, especially in that dinner scene, and Hawke, though understated, was truly excellent as a reverend in despair and moral conflict.
BEST ACTION FILM goes to Mission: Impossible--Fallout, which easily had some of the most incredible, death-defying stunts of the year while also holding together a fairly solid narrative. And Solo: A Star Wars Story was my MOST UNEXPECTED DELIGHT, for reasons I've discussed ad nauseum on this site.
Rounding out the awards, Paul Schrader wins Best Director for his work on First Reformed. And the SPECIAL AWARD for Best Presentation goes to 2001: A Space Odyssey's limited IMAX engagement. It was far and away my favorite experience at the theater in 2018, and a most excellent way to discover an 1960s classic - pristine image, large screen, and great sound. Films are timeless, and there's no better place to prove that than the cinema.
And finally, BEST PICTURE goes to Morgan Neville's stand-out documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor?, which used Fred Rogers story to remind us to be lights in the world and to find the medium for our spiritual calling. Though robbed by the Oscars, it is perhaps the most important movie one could watch from 2018.
2018 was solid year at the movies. For many, nothing really stood out. But for me, that meant a lot of films were equally solid. I'm looking forward to seeing what 2019 brings, but most importantly, I'm looking forward to seeing how a certain ship will sail without a host at the helm on Sunday night.
Whatever you have to say about me or the movies, comment below!