Top 10 Movies of 2016

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The 2017 Academy Awards are finally upon us, and this year we can safely praise the industry for not imitating #OscarsSoWhite. The hashtag heard round the world last year explained the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations, but not this year.

The Academy has nominated four Best Picture movies about people of color (Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion and Moonlight), seven acting nods for performances of color as well as nominations in categories such as directing, screenplay and cinematography.

This year it really comes down to two movies. One focuses on black America and personal diversity while the other is about following your dreams. Moonlight and La La Land are undoubtedly the two movies to beat.

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While I’m fearful that the overrated La La Land will sweep the Oscars, Trevor Dueck argues that “two white tarts dancing and singing in Hollywood might have come out a year too late.” I’m not so sure about that though.

As the director of Moonlight Barry Jenkins explains, “They could not be more different films. I don’t think a love for one has to be to the rejection of the other. I can only speak to the film I made, which was made in the service of shining a light on a character who is often marginalized. Where that falls in the context of the awards season, I can’t say. But I love that regardless of where we are right now, a year and a half ago, we sat down to make this thing, and that’s exactly how I felt and it’s how I feel now.”

Everyone knows my stance on the undeserving Goliath that is La La Land (see here), but this feel-good musical has earned a whopping 14 nominations, a record only shared with All About Eve and Titanic. WTF, right? Even the LA Times asks who will survive the onslaught of La La Land? After sweeping the Golden Globes, it’s proven to be an unbeatable force.

But there were more great movies this year than those two. Many of those movies were ignored by the Academy entirely but were some of my favorites of the year.

Here are my top 10 personal favorite movies of 2016!

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How Many Oscars Can La La Land Lose?

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Okay, so these are not predictions, not me trying to be clever…just merely an attempt to throw a huge “what if” out there regarding how many of the 14 Oscar nominations La La Land is going to come away with in two weeks. With the voting now live, and the question of “how many” seemingly everywhere, I thought I would get thoughts spinning, and tongues wagging, by attempting to put forward some basic arguments as to how La La Land could lose each category (not necessarily in the same reality) come Oscar night.

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Best Moments of the Golden Globes 2017

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The 74th annual Golden Globes were last night, and they were hosted by a surprisingly nervous Jimmy Fallon.

The last twelve months have been tremendous accomplishment for independent films, and they dominated the Globes. Sadly, some of my favorites got snubbed, and La La Land swept through the awards winning all seven it was nominated for (the most wins for one film in Globes history).

Outside of the glaring losses, there were also a handful of hilarious flubs, awkward cuts and tremendous speeches.

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Check out my favorite moments of the 2017 Golden Globes.

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7 Great Actress Roles Oscars Forgot

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Welcome to 7 more gloriously under-looked excuses to have a good old moan. This time the ladies. The years and years of the Academy’s illustrious history in rewarding great work in cinema has generally been very kind. But boy do they forget about a lot of terrific performances. And I am talking every single year. Below are 7 performances I am particularly fond of, and I know I am not alone here. These are not necessarily my all-time favorites, but they are certainly plucked from the very best that missed out on Oscar nominations. I know, three of the actresses derive from France – what can I say, I am something of a French cinema fanboy. It could easily have been all 7. Hell, 100. For now, get acquainted with these Oscars-neglected, but extremely talented women. Enchanté.

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7 Great Actor Roles Oscars Forgot

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As we hurtle towards the film industry’s awards season beyond the festival circuit, I tend to fall deep into the heartbreak of those that don’t make it to the Oscar nominations. I know, the Academy Awards are miles away, but those in the field of reporting and predicting the Oscars are already talking about it. Not all can make the final cut of course amidst the politics of preferences, and I am never short of choices that didn’t receive AMPAS recognition. It’s impossible to choose set favorites, but I picked 7 actresses and 7 actors from the array of many that the Oscars seem to have forgot. Let’s save the dominant of the species til last and start with the men.

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Top 10 Movies of 2015 & #OscarsSoWhite

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#OscarsSoWhite, the hashtag heard around the world, has officially upstaged the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio may win his first Oscar this year. Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio is on the verge of being an afterthought.

The hashtag has been around since last years’ Oscars, and it’s being used to talk about the lack of diversity in the Oscars. People on twitter are using it to vie for movies like Straight Outta Compton, which only received one nomination for Best Original Screenplay, or for performances by Will Smith and Idris Elba.

Despite the fact that my top 10 list, along with many other bloggers, is diverse in representation, Spike Lee is pissy at what the Academy thinks and about the “lily-white Oscar nominations” this year. And he’s not the only one.

Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was so aghast with the lack if diversity in this year’s nominee list (read: her husband wasn’t nominated) that she staged a boycott against the Oscars blaming the Academy for the lack of diversity in the industry. The lack of diversity is a disappointment, but the finger-blaming needs to be at the industry where this whole process begins, not the Academy.

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And to make matters worse, the Academy is actually taking the bullet for the backlash against the white-washed Oscars. WHY?

From a different perspective on the matter, Ice Cube said he “can’t be mad” because Academy members can’t see the value in Straight Outta Compton. The film scored over $200 million worldwide, and Cube’s “not surprised” because an Oscars snub is “what they do.” While visiting with The Graham Norton Show, Cube elaborates more. He’s not planning to boycott the ceremony because he “never used to go anyway.” He threw out some more knowledge regarding the issue:

“We don’t do movies for the industry. We do movies for the fans, for the people. And the industry, you know, if they give you a trophy or not or pat you on the back or not, it’s nice but its not something that you should dwell on. We got accolades from all levels, from our core fans to our curious fans, from people who didn’t even think they wanted to see that movie. I think an older generation got an understanding on why we did that kind of music and the younger generation got a history lesson, and we got so much praise for the movie.”

Here’s my list of top 10 personal favorites of 2015. 

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Best Moments of Golden Globes 2016

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When Ricky Gervais hosts, you know things are about to get turned up.

tumblr_o0rnmzFA5M1r1q21qo1_400But despite all the bleeping through most of his monologues, the jokes were offensive as one would hope, but no where near as fun as pre-kicked off the globes from hosting- Gervais used to be. Not to mention the Globes underutilized him–the poor host didn’t even get a proper close!

There were a handful of surprises from the Globes including some serious snubs, not to my dismay, toward Spotlight and Carol. There were also major victories for actors such as Brie Larson (future Oscar winner) and Leonardo Dicaprio (future Oscar winner).

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Here is my list of favorite moments from the
Golden Globes …

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Top 10 Movies of 2014

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The 2015 Academy Awards have nominated some of the weakest films in recent history. Composing a top 10 of my personal favorite films of the year was partially a struggle with the lack of exceptional movies coupled with a vast majority of mediocre films. One of the most widely positively and negatively talked about films of the year, and the potential Oscar favorite to win, is Boyhood. While I reviewed the film as the most overrated movie of the year, it represents the year as a whole…good, but not great. The Academy appears to be resting on some of the safest films that can be considered important and groundbreaking cinema, but fall on the cusp of mediocrity. There were a lot of great films that got ignored this year that may or may not have made my list like Inherent Vice or Guardians of the Galaxy, but are some great movies that shouldn’t be overlooked by viewers.

This is my third year composing a top ten list, and while I’m satisfied with these 10 films, I’m disappointed in the year as a whole. These are what I consider my personal favorites (not a top 10 of what I consider to be the best in well-rounded cinema). Here’s hoping 2015 has more to offer with greater competition and greater risks in the filmmaking industry.

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Top 10 of 2013

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The 2014 Oscars and I had a lot to agree on, but also a few minor disagreements. The winners were all unquestionably worthy of their awards, and the acceptance speeches were some of the best I’ve seen in recent history (motivational speeches over name-blasting goes far y’all!). My only qualms with this year were a few omissions in directing, acting and best picture, but I’ll hold my tongue on movie politics.

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While this was not my favorite year for movies, 2013 relied heavily on exposing the culture we live in, a culture we could potentially live in and a look at one of our country’s darkest cultures in history. Movies like The Bling Ring and Spring Breakers offer an unflinching, realistic look at the corruption and superficiality of 21st century youth, while the movie Her takes us to a not-so-distant future where relationships of any kind have the power to produce as much joy as they do sorrow.

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2014 also pushed an emphasis on relationships; how we treat people and how others treat us. Nebraska gave us a look at the humorous lengths we take for our family, while magnifying the destruction of aging. Movies like Fruitvale Station offer a story of hope, reinvention and the importance to empathize with people who we may not know. Whatever the relationship may be, compassion for the human spirit is a necessity for survival.

Here’s my list of my top 10 favorites of 2013–some are obvious choices, while some are obvious curve balls.

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Top 10 of 2012

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After watching many films in theaters and on Netflix, I’ve finally compiled what I consider the top tier of 2012. Two foreign films, one documentary, a few Oscar nominees and some incredible snubs of the year made my list. The Academy doesn’t always get it right, but I’m curious to see what “surprise” they shock us with this year.

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