Best of 2017: If I Had an Oscar Ballot

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As the Best of 2017 series gears up with “unconventional citations,” thought pieces from the filmmakers and actors themselves, and about a dozen other things to celebrate the year, I present to you MY PERSONAL Oscar ballot.

Always trying to be a champion of diversity and inclusion, I’m proud in many aspects of this list, but as always, I wish I saw more and even had buyer’s remorse on a few categories.

Check them out down below and come back tomorrow for the winners and the rankings of the Top 10 of 2017.

Best Motion PictureBest Motion Picture
The Beguiled” (Youree Henley, Sofia Coppola)
Coco” (Darla K. Anderson)
Cries from Syria” (Evgeny Afineevsky, Aaron I. Butler, Den Tolmor)
Hostiles” (Scott Cooper, Ken Kao, John Lesher)
I, Tonya” (Tom Ackerly, Margot Robbie, Steven Rogers, Bryan Unkeless)
Lady Bird” (Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neill, Scott Rudin)
Last Flag Flying” (Ginger Sledge, Richard Linklater, John Sloss)
Mudbound” (Sally Jo Effenson, Cassian Elwes, Charles D. King, Kim Roth)
Novitiate” (Carole J. Peterman, Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler)
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, Martin McDonagh)

A top 20 listing can be just as telling on a film year, and that is proven by the movies that missed the cut but had their own impact. Presented in order: “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” created an evolution of the beloved series while “The Disaster Artist” captured the dreams of men and put them firmly in the spotlight.  “The Shape of Water” showed that love knows no species while “In the Fade” examined the toll that grief can have on a person.  “mother!” had plenty to say about humanity while “Blade Runner 2049” dazzled with visuals of the future.  “It” was simply the best horror film of the year while “Darkest Hour” was the political commentary on what leadership should do when misunderstood.  And finally “Call Me by Your Name” captures a beautiful snapshot of a boy’s first love while “Detroit” invigorates with tension and history.

Best Director 1Best Director
Scott Cooper, “Hostiles”
Sofia Coppola, “The Beguiled”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Craig Gillespie, “I, Tonya”
Dee Rees, “Mudbound”

Just missing out was Maggie Betts‘ sensational capture of women in the Catholic church in “Novitiate” while Martin McDonagh‘s snapshot of comedy in dark places was a joy to behold.  Information is key, and Evgeny Afineevsky delivers it all with passion and love in “Cries from Syria.”

Best Actor in a Leading RoleBest Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell, “Last Flag Flying”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Jeremy Renner, “Wind River”

There’s more to what you think Ryan Gosling is giving you in “Blade Runner 2049” and it’s one of his strongest to date.  Sam Elliott is on fire in “The Hero,” and the demon inside is painted graciously in Joel Edgerton in “It Comes at Night.”

Best Actress in a Leading RoleBest Actress in a Leading Role
Diane Kruger, “In the Fade”
Margaret Qualley, “Novitiate”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
Kate Winslet, “Wonder Wheel”

The spirit of a teenager is alive as shown by Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird” while Sally Hawkins embraces the quiet strength and resolve in “The Shape of Water.”  Jennifer Lawrence also makes one of her most daring leaps yet in acting as seen in “mother!”

Best Actor in a Supporting RoleBest Actor in a Supporting Role
Stephen Dillane, “Darkest Hour”
Woody Harrelson, “The Glass Castle”
Paul Walter Hauser, “I, Tonya”
Will Poulter, Detroit”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

To choose between any of the men in “Mudbound” proved to be a test of will, but Jason Mitchell‘s heartbreaking portrayal has proven that he’s here to stay.  Ben Stiller shows what he really has in his arsenal as seen in “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” while Christopher Plummer sets the screen ablaze in “All the Money in the World.”

Best Actress in a Supporting RoleBest Actress in a Supporting Role
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Melissa Leo, “Novitiate”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Tatiana Maslany, “Stronger”

A mother with a heart of gold is always appreciated, and Julia Roberts hits it out of the park in “Wonder” while Julianne Moore embraces the silence in “Wonderstruck.”  Sipping on milk has never looked go gruesome as Allison Williams demonstrates in “Get Out.”

Best Cast EnsembleBest Cast Ensemble
The Beguiled” – Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst, Oona Laurence, Angourie Rice, Addison Riecke, Emma Howard
Hostiles” – Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Rory Cochrane, Jonathan Majors, Ben Foster, Wes Studi, Adam Beach, Stephen Lang, Bill Camp, Jesse Plemons, Sam Shepard, Timothee Chalamet, Q’orianka Kilcher
It” – Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillia, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Owen Teague, Jackson Robert Scott
Mudbound” – Jason Mitchell, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Carey Mulligan, Jonathan Banks, Rob Morgan, Mary J. Blige
Novitiate” – Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron, Morgan Saylor, Maddie Hasson, Liana Liberato

The cast of “mother!” all serve a purpose while “The Big Sick” has players that all deliver.  The power of “The Post” echoes the spirit of “Spotlight” thanks to its talents.

Best Original ScreenplayBest Original Screenplay
Coco” (Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Alfrich, Adrian Molina)
I, Tonya” (Steven Rogers)
Lady Bird” (Greta Gerwig)
Novitiate” (Maggie Betts)
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Martin McDonagh)

The attention to detail while taking liberties in history in “Darkest Hour” is felt by scribe Anthony McCarten while the humor and drama of “The Big Sick” by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon is sublime.  Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor’s adult fantasy “The Shape of Water” has more to say than human mates with a creature.

Best Adapted ScreenplayBest Adapted Screenplay
Call Me by Your Name” (James Ivory)
The Disaster Artist” (Scott Neudstadter, Michael H. Weber)
Mudbound” (Dee Rees, Virgil Williams)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Rian Johnson)
Wonder” (Steve Conrad, Stephen Chbosky, Jack Thorne)

The sincerity in “Last Flag Flying” is palpable thanks to Richard Linklater and Darryl Ponicsan’s foundation while “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick unfolds like a beautiful gift.  The three-part structure of “In the Fade” by author and co-writer Hark Bohm and Fatih Akin is sensational on almost every level.

Best Original ScoreBest Original Score
Blade Runner 2049” (Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer)
Loving Vincent” (Clint Mansell)
Phantom Thread” (Jonny Greenwood)
Victoria and Abdul” (Thomas Newman)
Wonderstruck” (Carter Burwell)

It felt almost unconscionable to not include Alexandre Desplat’s “The Shape of Water” and Dario Marianelli’s “Darkest Hour” in a banner year for composers but yet here we are.  Same goes for Hans Zimmer’s work in “Dunkirk.”

Best CinematographyBest Cinematography
Blade Runner 2049” (Roger Deakins)
Hostiles” (Masanobu Takaynagi)
Mudbound” (Rachel Morrison)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Steve Yedlin)
Stronger” (Sean Bobbitt)

Sitting on the shoulders of greatness, Matthew Libatique’s framing of “mother!” was one of the astounding achievements of the year as well as Bruno Delbonnel’s peak through Winston Churchill’s hand in “Darkest Hour.”  There’s also levels of talent that Paul Thomas Anderson exhibits as a cameraman in “Phantom Thread” that some are not appreciating.

Best Costume DesignBest Costume Design
The Disaster Artist” (Brenda Abbanagandolo)
Hostiles” (Jenny Eagan)
I, Tonya” (Jennifer Johnson)
Mudbound” (Michael T. Boyd)
The Post” (Ann Roth)

It may be simple to just throw together a nun’s outfit but to have each of their habits tells a story the way that Vanessa Porter has them in “Novitiate” is remarkable.  In a film about fashion, you can’t expect any shortcomings, and we get perfection by Mark Bridges in “Phantom Thread.”  Lastly Luis Sequiera’s work in “The Shape of Water” is subtle yet brilliant.

Best Film EditingBest Film Editing
Dunkirk” (Lee Smith)
I, Tonya” (Tatiana S. Reigel)
Lady Bird” (Nick Huoy)
mother!” (Andrew Weisblum)
Mudbound” (Mako Kamitsuma)

Jon Gregory’s lightning fast work on “Three Billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri” is stupendous while the choices made in “Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond” may be easy to overlook but not here.  Joe Walker continues just to get better and better as seen in “Blade Runner 2049.”

Best Production Design 1Best Production Design
Blade Runner 2049” (Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola)
Darkest Hour” (Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer)
Dunkirk” (Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis)
The Shape of Water” (Paul Denham Austerberry, Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin)
Wonderstruck” (Mark Friedberg, Debra Schutt)

Spaceships and casinos in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” runways and mansions in “Phantom Thread,” and the home of the creator in “mother!” were all heavily considered and nonetheless, crowning achievements to the year of productions.

Best Documentary FeatureBest Documentary Feature
11/8/16”  (Duane Anderson, Don Argott, Yung Chang, Garth Donovan, Petra Epperlein, Vikram Gandhi, Raul Gasteazoro, J. Gonçalves, Andrew Grace, Alma Har’el, Sheena M. Joyce, Daniel Junge, Alison Klayman, Ciara Lacy, Martha Shane, Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Bassam Tariq, Michael Tucker)
City of Ghosts” (Matthew Heineman)
Cries from Syria” (Evgeny Afineevsky)
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond” (Chris Smith)
Strong Island” (Yance Ford)

Cats have never been so large as seen in “Kedi” and we get a deeper look into a prolific woman in “Jane.”

Best SoundBest Sound
Dunkirk” (Gregg Landaker, Gary Rizzo, Mark Weingarten, Michael W. Mitchell, Randy Torres)
Get Out” (Jeffree Bloomer, Jonathan Wales, Trevor Gates)
Hostiles” (Paul Urmson, Wyatt Sprague, Lawrence Zipf)
mother!” (Simon Poudrette, Skip Lievsay, Craig Henighan, Jill Purdy)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Stuart Wilson, Matthew Wood)

Fear is a living force due to the sound work in “Detroit” while the war is firmly felt in “War for the Planet of the Apes.”  Hoping for a sequel, we should acknowledge the sound work in “Power Rangers.”

Best Visual EffectsBest Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049” (John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer)
Spider-Man: Homecoming” (Theodore Bialek, Danny Dimian, Lou Pecora, Janek Sirrs, Doug Spilatro)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan)
Thor: Ragnarok” (Jake Morrison, Chad Wiebe, Kyle McCulloch, Bruce Steinheimer)
War for the Planet of the Apes” (Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist)

Not necessarily as sexy as bigger blockbusters but “mother!” has lots to contribute to the world of visuals while “Power Rangers” morphs into its own entertainment gargantuan.  We should also cite that even the final third of “Wonder Woman” had problems, all its visual sentiments were excellent.

Best Song From/Used in a Motion Picture
Call Me by Your Name” (“Mystery of Love”)

Coco” (“Proud Corazon”)

Coco” (“Remember Me”)

Coco” (“Un Poco Loco”)

Cries from Syria” (“Prayers for the World”)

Diane Warren is just too amazing for her own good as she delivers constantly and consistently as heard in “Marshall” with “Stand Up for Something.”

Best Animated FeatureBest Animated Feature
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Loving Vincent”

The cuteness is present in “Captain Underpants” but to be honest, the animated year needed some more life and was on the weaker side of things.

Share your own “Unconventional” citations in the comments below.

What do you think?

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Written by Clayton Davis

Clayton Davis is the esteemed Editor and Owner of Born in Bronx, NY to a Puerto Rican mother and Black father, he’s been criticizing film and television for over a decade. Clayton is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to the awards season, the Critics Choice Awards. He also founded the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association, the first Latino-based critics’ organization in the United States. He’s also an active member of the African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, International Press Academy, Black Reel Awards, and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Clayton has been quoted and appeared in various outlets that include The New York Times,, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter.


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Joey Magidson

Glad to see Sam Elliott almost crack your list!

Calvin Damon

I’m just going to assume that you haven’t seen The Lego Batman Movie. I still haven’t seen all of the movies I want to see and some of my categories may be incomplete because I haven’t seen enough movies (or at least good ones) to fill it up, but here I go Best Picture: Dunkirk, Three Billboards, Blade Runner 2049, War For the Planet of the Apes, Logan, Get Out, Mother!, The Disaster Artist, Baby Driver, It Comes At Night Runner ups: Wind River, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, First They Killed My Father, Creep 2, Brigsby Bear, The… Read more »

Cornelius Buttersby

Just as a heads up – the image used to represent Dunkirk’s Production Design appears to have actually been taken from Atonement.

travis larson

Best picture: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; I, Tonya; Dunkirk, The Florida Project, Call Me By Your Name, Mudbound, Detroit, Good Time, Lady Bird, Blade Runner 2049 Director: Martin McDonagh- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Denis Villeneuve- Blade Runner 2049, Christopher Nolan- Dunkirk, Craig Gillespie- I, Tonya; Dees Rees- Mudbound Actor: Robert Pattenson- Good Time, Timothee Chalamet- Call Me by Your Name, James Franco- The Disaster Artist, Willem Dafoe- The Florida Project, Gary Oldman- Darkest Hour Actress: Brooklyn Prince- The Florida Project, Margot Robbie- I, Tonya; Frances McDormand- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Saoirse Ronan- Lady Bird,Jennifer Lawrence- mother! Supporting… Read more »

Andrew Gillespie

BEST PICTURE The Big Sick Call Me By Your Name Coco The Disaster Artist Dunkirk Get Out Lady Bird mother! Star Wars: The Last Jedi Stronger BEST DIRECTOR Darren Aronofsky-mother! Greta Gerwig-Lady Bird Luca Guadagnino-Call Me By Your Name Christopher Nolan-Dunkirk Jordan Peele-Get Out BEST ACTOR Timothee Chalamet-Call Me By Your Name James Franco-The Disaster Artist Jake Gyllenhaal-Stronger Hugh Jackman-Logan Daniel Kaluuya-Get Out BEST ACTRESS Jennifer Lawrence-mother! Margot Robbie-I, Tonya Saoirse Ronan-Lady Bird Emma Stone-Battle of the Sexes Kristen Stewart-Personal Shopper BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Adam Driver-Star Wars: The Last Jedi Jason Mitchell-Mudbound Sam Rockwell-Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Patrick Stewart-Logan… Read more »


Loved reading the list…always love hearing the opinions of everyone that works on the site. I put both Ben Stiller and Allison Williams in the lead categories on my lists. You put them both in supporting. Am I off on those?


Best Picture Baby Driver – Nira Park, Tim Bevan, and Eric Fellner Blade Runner 2049 – Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Bud Yorkin, and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin Dunkirk – Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan Logan – Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg, and Lauren Schuler Donner The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale Best Director James Mangold – Logan Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water Denis Villeneuve – Blade Runner 2049 Edgar Wright – Baby Driver Best Lead Actor James Franco – The Disaster Artist Hugh Jackman – Logan James McAvoy… Read more »


Keep in mind that I have only seen like 155 movies, and there are still many I need to see, so this is more of an unofficial ballot then anything. Plus I have chosen not to include Original Song, Best Documentary, Short Documentary, Live Action Short, Animated Short, or Foreign Language film, as I don’t feel I have seen enough to warrant me choosing five in those categories. Best Picture: Baby Driver Blade Runner 2049 Colossal Dunkirk Get Out It Comes At Night I, Tonya Logan mother! Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Honorable Mentions: Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2… Read more »


Films Still Unseen: The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread, The Post, Molly’s Game, Hostiles, Novitiate, Cries from Syria, Stronger Best Picture The Big Sick (Amazon Studios) Coco (Walt Disney/Pixar) Darkest Hour (Focus Features) The Florida Project (A24) Lady Bird (A24) Last Flag Flying (Amazon Studios) Logan (20th Century Fox) mother! (Paramount Pictures) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Best Director Darren Arronofsky – mother! Sean Baker – The Florida Project Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird James Mangold – Logan Lee Unkrich – Coco Best Lead Actor Steve Carell – Last Flag… Read more »


Films Still Unseen: The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread, The Post, Molly’s Game, Hostiles, Novitiate, Cries from Syria, Stronger Best Picture The Big Sick (Amazon Studios) Coco (Walt Disney/Pixar) Darkest Hour (Focus Features) The Florida Project (A24) Lady Bird (A24) Last Flag Flying (Amazon Studios) Logan (20th Century Fox) mother! (Paramount Pictures) Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Walt Disney Motion Pictures Studios) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Best Director Darren Arronofsky – mother! Sean Baker – The Florida Project Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird James Mangold – Logan Lee Unkrich – Coco Best Lead Actor Steve Carell – Last Flag… Read more »


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