Best of 2018: Giving the “Unconventional” Prizes Out – Part 2

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Continuing the Best of 2018 series, yesterday saw the first wave of personal feelings and citations on what the last year had to offer and what were the standouts.

Down below, we look at the remaining of the “Unconventional” categories and the very best of each one.

Make sure to share your thoughts and personal winners in the comments section.

BEST KISS

Rachel McAdams & Rachel Weisz in “Disobedience” (Bleecker Street)
dir. Sebastian Lelio

There are a few instances that Rachel McAdams and Rachel Weisz are intimate in Sebastian Lelio’s amazing portrait of forbidden love but nothing as palpable as their kiss in Ronet’s deceased father’s house as they walk its memories.  Years of pent-up longing and frustration is exhibited in one fruitful kiss.

RUNNERS-UP: Following one of the cutest marriage proposals, Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson find their love unified in “Creed II” while a typical airplane-run-after-the-girl scene in “Crazy Rich Asians” is bookended by the chemistry between Henry Goulding and Constance Wu.  Arguably a tad off-putting because Liam Neeson seems to be “overdoing” the passionate kissing in the opening shot of “Widows,” his co-star Viola Davis is equally sizzling at the moment.

BEST VILLAIN

Michael B. Jordan, “Black Panther” (Marvel)
dir. Ryan Coogler

Taking the moral argument of race and revenge, Michael B. Jordan’s poisonous Killmonger keeps the audience at bay in their dislike and sympathizing feelings as he wages war on Wakanda and the world in “Black Panther.”  Jordan’s career-best turn is heightened but a stunning ensemble and technical merits that further explore his rage.  There’s no better line this year than “Hi Auntie…”

RUNNERS-UP: Thanos is a beast of nature in “Avengers: Infinity War” and Josh Brolin hits every nuanced emotion out of the park while in “Boy Erased,” Joel Edgerton directs himself to a different type of evil that needs to be eradicated today.  There’s also no better villain than someone who is secretly working behind the scenes to trick its prey into doing its bidding for them and Ann Dowd is just that in “Hereditary.”

BEST ACTION SEQUENCE

“Battle at Wakanda” in “Avengers: Infinity War” (Marvel)
dir. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

There’s so much going on in “Avengers: Infinity War” in terms of multiple stories and subplots that the Russo Brothers explore effortlessly.  Your heartbeats go into overtime when Thanos’ children and a bunch of our favorite Avengers do battle on the grounds of the beautiful Wakanda.  And then there’s that moment that Thor enters and lights it all up, all leading up to a moment where our heroes are turned to ashes.

RUNNERS-UP: Much of the newest “Star Wars” entry was forgettable but the “Train Heist” in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was not one of them and undoubtedly the best scene of the film.  The fight between Deadpool and Cable on the Convoy in “Deadpool 2” is quite exciting, especially given Zazie Beetz’s contribution while the “Moon Landing” in “First Man” is a revelation of the senses.

BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE

Jesse Plemons in “Game Night” (Warner Bros.)
dir. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

There’s a legitimate case that Jesse Plemons delivers one of the year’s finest performances in the hilarious “Game Night.”  A true scene stealer that gets the film’s biggest laughs and his work can’t go unnoticed.  Sharing scenes with other surprisingly funny performers like Rachel McAdams and Billy Magnussen (both very close to grabbing this prize themselves), there was really no other choice that could be made.

RUNNERS-UP: The first story of the anthology film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” is owned by the determined Tim Blake Nelson while Ryan Reynolds elevated his predecessor in “Deadpool 2.”  Voice performers are also funny as is the case with Jake Johnson’s Peter Parker in “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” a performance that has one of the perfect blends of laughs and serious.

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (MALE)

Brian Tyree Henry
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (Annapurna Pictures) – dir. Barry Jenkins
“Hotel Artemis” (Global Road) – dir. Drew Pearce
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (Sony Pictures) – dir. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman
“White Boy Rick” (Sony Pictures) – dir. Yann Demange
“Widows” (20th Century Fox) – dir. Steve McQueen

You have to go back to the landing of Jessica Chastain in 2011 to find someone who made a more impressionable impact on the film year.  Brian Tyree Henry’s supporting works in six films were nearly the highlight of each one.  With some roles more prominent than others, the co-star of TV’s “Atlanta” has made his transition into the film world and it is marvelous.

RUNNERS-UP: The future of cinema is going to be just fine as proven by the youth performances of Richie Merritt in “White Boy Rick” and Ed Oxenbould in “Wildlife,” both being the anchor of their respective films.  It’s always exciting to see a non-professional actor finding his footing with ease as proven by Brady Jandreau in “The Rider.”

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE (FEMALE)

Cynthia Erivo
“Bad Times at the El Royale” (20th Century Fox) – dir. Drew Goddard
“Widows” (20th Century Fox) – dir. Steve McQueen

Women were an embarrassment of riches this year and I could have easily made a ten-way tie here and it would have been justified but I thought about who will represent the answer to a question I ask myself a few years from now: who emerged out of 2018?  I just kept coming back to Cynthia Erivo, with two powerhouse performances in “Bad Times at the El Royale” and “Widows,” I’m certain these two works will feed her career and put us in store for some of the finest portrayals we’ve seen in cinema in the near future.

RUNNERS-UP: Typically this space is for 3 actresses but I am grateful to have discovered and found Yalitiza Aparicio in “Roma” and Joanna Kulig in “Cold War” and Kiki Layne in “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie in “Leave No Trace” and Amandla Stenberg in “The Hate U Give.”  I’m also grateful to have discovered the depth of Lady Gaga’s gifts in “A Star is Born” and the prowess of Zazie Beetz in “Deadpool 2,” all bookended by Elsie Fisher’s magnificence in “Eighth Grade.”  I think that just about covers it all.

If you missed the “Unconventional Categories” Part 1, check here.

Later today, the “Personal Ballot” and Top 10 Films of 2018.

Share your comments and choices in the comments below!

Be sure to check out the Official Oscar Predictions Page to see where 2018 movie contenders rank!