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The Films of 2016. The 17th annual FiLM BiTCH Awards

PICTURE | ACTING | VISUALS | AURALS | EXTRAS | SPECIAL | SCENES 

nominations complete

 

Best Actress
discuss
Annette Bening
"Dorothea"
20th CENTURY WOMEN
Sonia Braga
"Clara"
AQUARIUS
Viola Davis
"Rose"
FENCES
Isabelle Huppert
"Michele Leblanc"
ELLE
Natalie Portman
"Jackie"
JACKIE

 Is any actor better with a line reading or a reaction shot that can serve multiple purposes at once? Warm but not gullible, deep without self-examing, this star turn is everything. Dorothea wanted to be a pilot; Bening just lifts off and soars in this role.
Elemental. Whether emerging from ocean waves, sensually getting her groove on, or standing her ground in ways that read as inspiring, habitual and self-serving all at once, this movie queen is a force of nature.

 Her volcanic eruption from years of quiet self-effacement is the big draw but watch the before and after for the real heartbreak: the way she lovingly performs "Troy's wife" rather than Rose in the first half, and how she recedes again after from habit, but love and joy lost

An absolute triumph of performative cool and psychological heat. Huppert, at the peak of her inimitable gifts, wields her dry wit like a whip, whether snapping at co-stars or self-flagellating. Bonus points: Things to Come

Larrain frames her with claustrophobic precision but she rewards him with Jackie's performative stiffness and multiple colors within that bizarre inimitable voice. Best of all is her resting face in tight grieving closeup: both stupor and maelstrom.

 

Finalists: Amy Adams is luminously intelligent but still mystified by earth-changing circumstances in Arrival. Even more impressive is how she radiates preternatural empathy, totally selling the 'aliens would trust her' narrative leap; Emma Stone charms in La La Land and really delivers with full charismatic movie stardom with "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" -- (What a year for Best Actress. Breaks my heart not to have a seven-wide list!)

Semi-Finalists: Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane, Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins, Sandra Húller in Toni Erdmann, Ruth Negga in Loving, and Emily Blunt running drunk circles around The Girl on the Train

 

Best Actor
discuss
Casey Affleck
"Lee Chandler"
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Ryan Gosling
"Sebastian"
LA LA LAND
Hugh Grant
"St Clair Bayfield"
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS
Viggo Mortensen
"Ben"
CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
Denzel Washington
"Troy"
FENCES

 That hunched posture, the way his mouth barely moves when he speaks. Lee is so tightly wound that the eruptions (barroom brawls and that harrowing police station scene) feel inevitable. Those haunted eyes continually replay the tragedy.
While he lacks the technique of musical stars of yore, it's clear he could have been one. La La Land makes fantastic use of his physical grace, soulful eyes, and both his classicissm and modernity as a romantic hero. Bonus points for those piano skills. He doesn't play St Clair as an opportunistic spouse but he doesn't not play it that way either, if you understand. His charm and loyalty to Florence is all the more moving due to the complicated and compromised textures of this star turn

Viggo excels as this intellectually rugged idealist who's a contradiction of rigidity in his rejection of conformity. The slow dawning that his children are more than extensions of himself is moving. He's losing them before they leave him.

Bless him for capturing this towering nattering performance of a frustrated loser. Self-aggrandazing and self-pitying in equal measure, Denzel breathes majestic life into this tragic iconic August Wilson character.

 

Finalists: Colin Farrell's mastery of The Lobster's unusual tone is something else. So pitiable but funny, too, especially in his micro-aggressions against his absurd situation

Semi Finalists: Shahab Hosseini in The Salesman, Adam Driver in Paterson, Chris Pine in Hell or High Water, Michael Fassbender in The Light Between Oceans, Peter Simonscek in Toni Erdmann, and Sunny Pawar in Lion

 

 

Best Supporting Actress
discuss
Elle Fanning
"Julie"
20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Greta Gerwig
"Abbie"
20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Naomie Harris
"Paula"
MOONLIGHT
Riley Keough
"Krystal"
AMERICAN HONEY
Nicole Kidman
"Sue Brierley"
LION
She does her best work yet as a promiscuous teenager who knows less than she thinks but will definitely get there. Bonus points for the careful delineation of when she's putting on airs, when she's honestly speaking her truth, and when they're mixed up together and she isn't sure. 

This very 21st century star is a huge boon to this memoir as the connective tissue between adults (past) and kids (future). Gerwig is juggling a lot here -- childwoman spirit, health problems, creative drive -- but feels utterly spontaneous. Bonus pts: "men·stru·a·tion"

Three distinct dazzling views of the same addict; Watch as she recedes from larger than life theatrical (the child's view) to fading pitied obstacle (her son now a teenager) and finally to something like a grieving touchstone, with shared history. What was lost in her private war?

 

So real you'd think they just saw her on the street and started following with a camera. Keough fascinates with spiteful glimpses as to what drives this callous nomad. Imagine if she'd been born into wealth; a less miserable soul or even more top dog-eats-dogs hurtful?

Yes, she gets a showcase monologue that obliterates the traditional confines of similar "sad mother" roles. But she's perfect before that too, emanating heaps of love and affection but the pained tenacity of metering it out carefully; she knows it's a long haul.

 

Finalists: Kate Dickie is agonizingly self-flagellating and pious in The Witch; Olivia Colman perfectly sells the satiric vision of The Lobster. Her comedy is so cruelly deadpan it never betrays its pulse and would judge you for having one; and Rossy de Palma is so perfect as the distrustful housekeeper in Julieta that you want to follow her into her own side movie whenever she walks offscreen.

Semi-Finalists: Molly Shannon in Other People, Antonia Zeggers in The Club, Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures, Gugu Mbatha Raw in Ms Sloane, and Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea

 

Best Supporting Actor
discuss
Mahershara Ali
"Juan"
MOONLIGHT
Tom Bennett
"Sir James Martin"
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
Alden Ehrenreich
"Hobie Doyle"
HAIL CAESAR
Ralph Fiennes
"Harry Hawkes"
A BIGGER SPLASH
Trevante Rhodes
"Black"
MOONLIGHT
Though he's only in the first third of this triptych, his ghost understandably haunts the rest of it, such is Ali's gravitas and the complex weight of the masculine exterior and guilt-plagued interior he's modelling for "Little"

A remarkable feat of playing dumb within a very smart movie. Sir Martin never knows what to say but can't stop saying it. Bonus points for that thoroughly unexamined happiness: in this case ignorance is bliss.

From the moment he first pivots to the camera, huge cowboy hat framing a dim but endearingly guileless movie starmug, he's stolen the picture as effortlessly as Doyle is effortful once he's in a tux.

Best known for magnificently pained stiff men, Harry is a shaggy let it all hang out 180. Fiennes aces that familiar if rare push and pull of your friend with the personality so intense its both irresistible and exhausting.

An impossible task: Melt down three performances by other actors. Stir stagnant years into their soulful mix. Wear your exterior like a well worn but still ill-fitting suit of armor. Somehow Rhodes does all this. And then some.
 

Finalists: Stephen Henderson is lived in, relatable, and nuanced, particularly when he pushes back against the role he's usually willing to play for his best friend in Fences; Jeff Bridges is utterly Jeff Bridgesian in Hell or High Water but this is always a good thing in the proper context -- he's especially good at revealing affection for his partner (Gil Birmingham, also strong) while always keeping him at a ribbing distance; Finally Billy Crudup does his best work in years as a sweet directionless handyman who lets those 20th Century Women come to him.

Semi Finalists:John Goodman for 10 Cloverfield Lane, Ralph Ineson in The Witch, Michael Shannon in Nocturnal Animals, and Lucas Hedges in Manchester by the Sea