Continuing the Unconventional Citations of 2017, where I remember the little things that hopefully cinephiles talk about around the cooler, lunch table, or the “safe haven” of a message board or chat.
Go to the gallery below and check out the citations, along with nominees in select categories. The winners of those will be announced with the rest of the Personal Winners on Friday, accompanying the Top 10 Films of 2017.
BEST LIMITED PERFORMANCES
Sandy Martin as “Dixon’s Mother” in “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Lucas Hedges as “Danny” in “Lady Bird”
Jonathan Majors as “Henry” in “Hostiles”
Matt Damon as “Loki” in “Thor: Ragnarok”
Austin Stowell as “Larry King” in “Battle of the Sexes”
These performances are not hefty enough to get listed in a supporting lineup but they made enough of an impression to be included in 2017’s citations. We’ll also remember Michelle Williams quiet heartbreak in “Wonderstruck,” Sarah Paulson‘s supportive wife in “The Post,” and Zendaya‘s introduction into the MCU in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”
Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Saying goodbye is difficult. Saying goodbye forever is unimaginable. While this category has conventionally looked for the hot and steamy, there’s no doubt there was a poetic and somber moment embedded in Luke and Leia’s greeting and goodbye in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” As Luke enters, full of courage and wisdom, Leia’s sympathetic and heartbreaking goodbye to her brother is profound. Insert the tragic truth that our favorite princess is no longer with us and you can feel the tear ducts fill up.
Admittedly, Carey Mulligan’s character’s decision to sleep with her husband’s brother may trouble many. However, there’s no refuting the passion and burning lust that encapsulates both her and co-star Garrett Hedlund in “Mudbound.” A quiet, surprising visit in the middle of the night holds mass when Margaret Qualley and Rebecca Dayan exchange “comfort” in “Novitiate.” Finally, after a night of dancing and subtle flirting, a motel room begins a chain of secrets for both Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and her hairdresser (Andrea Riseborough) in sadly overlooked “Battle of the Sexes.”
Benjamin Bratt in “Coco”
Cate Blanchett in “Thor: Ragnarok”
Allison Williams in “Get Out”
Bill Skarsgard in “It”
Adam Driver in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
I was tempted to categorize the villains into male and female this year because there was an embarrassment of riches on both ends. Some of the other highlights that miss the cut included Barry Keoghan’s spaghetti eating psychopath in “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” the pig-hating twin Tilda Swinton in “Okja,” and the multiple personalities of James McAvoy in “Split.”
BEST ACTION SEQUENCE
Opening Battle in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
Forest Fight in “Logan”
Battle on Crait (The Salt Planet) in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
Spider-Man on the Staten Island Ferry in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”
Wonder Woman vs. The Soldiers in “Wonder Woman”
The Colonel and Caesar finally come to face each other in the finale “War for Planet of the Apes” franchise which gets the heart racing and it couldn’t be greater. Additionally, the opening of “Baby Driver” sets up music and thrills in one of the most exciting ways possible.
BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE
Kumail Nanjiani in “The Big Sick”
There are plenty of ways to interpret a “comedy” category. The insert of chuckles seem to give plenty of contenders passes to submit themselves into the Comedy or Musical lineups at the Golden Globes. However, I like to weigh it on a “51%” rule, where the genre is present in more than half of the film to qualify. Judging on those merits, Kumail Nanjiani embodies the spirit of himself in a faithful, ravishing manner in “The Big Sick.” He embraces the awkward beats with Zoe Kazan‘s parents (both played remarkably by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter) before effortlessly venturing off into serious territories.
If Nanjiani is #1, then Tiffany Haddish’s hilarious turn in the moneymaking “Girls Trip” is a “#1.a” as one of the year’s funniest gems. Add the faultless work of James Franco as Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist,” before going into supporting and scene-stealing turns of Daniel Craig in “Logan Lucky,” and Jack Black in “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle,” and we have a banner year for comedy.
BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (MALE)
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Jack Dylan Grazer, “It”
Kelvin Harrison, Jr., “It Comes at Night”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Algee Smith, “Detroit”
Voice work is always worth citing if people feel inclined to do so. With that being said, the discovery of the multi-talented Anthony Gonzalez in Pixar’s “Coco” is one of the year’s great finds. He’s also accompanied by the hilarity of Paul Walter Hauser in “I, Tonya” and Kumail Nanjiani in “The Big Sick.”
BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (FEMALE)
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Beanie Feldstein, “Lady Bird”
Sophie Lillis, “It”
Millicent Simmonds, “Wonderstruck”
Daniela Vega, “A Fantastic Woman”
Many knew who she was prior to taking on “Wonder Woman,” but now the entire world knows who Gal Gadot is and it feels so good. Also, Tiffany Haddish’s future will show her as a force in the comedy genre as she demonstrated in “Girls Trip,” while Margaret Qualley will surely become an indie giant as shown in “Novitiate.”
Check back tomorrow for my personal Oscar ballot. Friday will announce the winners and the Top 10 of 2017.