Best of 2017: The Unconventional Categories Part 2

it movie pennywise losers
2. "It" (2017) - Andy Muschetti (Director)

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.


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.”

star wars the last jedi luke leia reunion mark hamill 1067370 1280x0BEST KISS

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.”


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.

kumail nanjiani big sickBEST 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 MaleBREAKTHROUGH 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 FemaleBREAKTHROUGH 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.

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

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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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Rubén González

I like a lot these unconventional categories Clayton mentions. My picks for some of them would be: – Limited performers: Matthias Schoenaerts in Our Souls at Midnight. I also LOVED Sandy Martin in Three Billboards, wish she had more screen time – Best Villain: Will Poulter in Detroit. The worst thing to me is that he plays a real person that did all those horrible stuff and that there are real people in the real world that are also like that. Barry in The Killing of a Sacred Deer was also very creepy as was Allison and her faimly in… Read more »

Joey Magidson

Limited Performance: Matt Damon in Thor: Ragnarok
Best Kiss: Stronger
Best Villain: Benjamin Bratt in Coco
Best Action Sequence: Opening Space Battle in Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Best Comedic Performance: Bryan Cranston in Last Flag Flying
Breakthrough Male: Kumail Nanjiani
Breakthrough Female: Beanie Feldstein


Limited Performance: Hard to deny how awesome Domnhall Gleeson does in such limited time onscreen during “mother!”. Best Kiss: I was gonna put Lady Bird’s first time with Kyle, since it’s both hilarious and poignant, but Luke & Leia is kind of hard to top when you put it like that. Best Villain: Phillip Krauss, played by Will Poulter, remained the single greatest performance of the year for the longest time for me. Honorable mentions to Kylo Ren, the Vulture, Alison Williams’ girlfriend in Get Out, and a wealth of others. Best Male Breakthrough: Saying anybody other than Timothee Chalamet… Read more »


Best Limited Performance: Lucas Hedges – Lady Bird Nominees: Shira Haas – The Zookeeper’s Wife, Domnhall Gleeson – mother!, Veronica Ngo – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ulrich Tukur – In the Fade Best Kiss: Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Riley Keough – It Comes at Night Nominees: Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough – Battle of the Sexes, John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Gemma Arterton and Sam Claflin – Their Finest, Jaeden Lieberher and Sophia Lillis – It Best Villain: Jason Sudeikis – Colossal Nominees: Will Poulter – Detroit, Allison Williams – Get Out,… Read more »

Tim Bruns

BEST LIMITED PERFORMANCE Keisha Castle-Hughes, Thank You for Your Service Betty Gabriel, Get Out Domhnall Gleeson, Mother! Lucas Hedges, Lady Bird Robin Wright, Wonder Woman BEST KISS Timothee Chalamet & Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name Sally Hawkins & Doug Jones, The Shape of Water Jaeden Lieberher & Sophia Lillis, It Margaret Qualley & Rebecca Dayun, Novitiate Charlize Theron & Sofia Boutella, Atomic Blonde BEST VILLAIN Cate Blanchett, Thor: Ragnarok Barry Keoghan, The Killing of a Sacred Deer Will Poulter, Detroit Jason Sudeikis, Colossal Tilda Swinton, Okja BEST COMEDIC PERFORMANCE Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip Lil Rey Howery, Get Out… Read more »

Andrew Gillespie

BEST LIMITED PERFORMANCES Betty Gabriel-Get Out Ari Graynor-The Disaster Artist Odeya Rush-Lady Bird Taika Waititi-Thor: Ragnarok Christine Woods-I don’t feel at home in this world anymore. BEST KISS Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer-Call Me By Your Name Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany-Stronger Lucas Hedges and John Karna-Lady Bird Jada Pinkett Smith and a wall-Girls Trip Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough-Battle of the Sexes BEST VILLAIN Adam Driver-Star Wars: The Last Jedi James McAvoy-Split Jason Sudeikis-Colossal Tilda Swinton-Okja Allison Williams-Get Out BEST ACTION SEQUENCE Escaping with Okja-Okja Final Battle with Immigrant Song-Thor: Ragnarok Forest chase-Logan No Man’s Land-Wonder Woman Throne Room-Star… Read more »

Matt St.Clair

For me:

Limited Performance: Douglas Everett Davis ,Beach Rats
Best Kiss: Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
Best Villain: Allison Williams, Get Out
Best Action Sequence: One Take Fight Scene in Atomic Blonde
Best Comedic Performance: Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
Best Breakthrough Performance (Male): Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Best Breakthrough Performance (Female): Sophia Lillis, It


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