My Year in Film: 2015

Revised 1/9/15

Everybody’s got a year-end list. I’ve got a bunch of them.

A scene from ROOM.

My Top Ten Films of 2015

  1. Room
  2. The Nightmare
  3. The Martian
  4. Ex Machina
  5. It Follows
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road
  7. Inside Out
  8. Sicario
  9. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  10. The Revenant

George Miller on the set of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Best Director

Winner: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-up: David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Honorable mentions: Rodney Ascher, The Nightmare; Alex Garland, Ex Machina; Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant; Ridley Scott, The Martian; Denis Villenueve, Sicario

In general I tend to think the best director should direct the best picture, but Fury Road wasn’t in my top five and Lenny Abrahamson isn’t even on this list, so there you go. Basically even though I liked five movies more than Fury Road I still thought it was the best and most thorough example of directorial vision I’ve seen this year. Whatever that means.

A scene from ROOM.

Best Lead Actress

Winner: Brie Larson, Room

Runner-up: Rooney Mara, Carol

Honorable mentions: Emily Blunt, Sicario; Sidse Babbet Knudsen, The Duke of Burgundy; Elisabeth Moss, Queen of Earth; Shu Qi, The Assassin; Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

It was very difficult to choose between the top three. I ended up going with Larson because I named Room best picture, but it very easily could have gone to either of the other two.

A scene from LEGEND.

Best Lead Actor

Winner: Tom Hardy, Legend

Runner-up: John Cusack, Love & Mercy

Honorable mentions: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Matt Damon, The Martian; Mark DuplassCreep; Leland Orser, Faults

Legend turned out not to be as good as I hoped it would be but Tom Hardy still impressed the hell out of me. Great performance.

A scene from EX MACHINA.

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina

Runner-up: Benicio del Toro, Sicario

Honorable mentions: Pit Bukowski, Der Samurai; Adam Driver, Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Tom Hardy, The Revenant; Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight; Jacob Tremblay, Room

Oscar Isaac has been sitting at the top of this list since I saw Ex Machina. There was a point when I might have considered unseating him in favor of del Toro, but I thought the better of it.

A scene from INSIDE OUT.

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Phyllis Smith, Inside Out

Runner-up: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Honorable mentions: Jessica Chastain, Crimson Peak; Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight; Rachel McAdams, Spotlight; Natalie Press, Suffragette; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

This was another tough category. There were times I wanted to bump Smith down to #3 and put Vikander on top. But 2015 seems to have been the Year of Vikander, although moreso for Danish Girl than Ex Machina, and…

…with all honesty, voice actors always get screwed, and as good as the ensemble of Inside Out was, I think Smith was the real lynchpin.

A scene from SPOTLIGHT.

Best Ensemble Cast

Winner: Spotlight

Runner-up: Inside Out

Honorable mentions: The Hateful EightThe Martian; Star Wars: The Force AwakensWhat We Do in the ShadowsThe Voices

This was probably the hardest to decide on: I really wanted to go with Inside Out, but there was an early draft of this list that also had Brian d’Arcy James for supporting actor (alongside Ruffalo!) and Rachel McAdams for supporting actress. So there you go.

As for the rest of the categories…

A scene from INSIDE OUT.

Best Writing

Original Screenplay

Winner: Inside Out

Runner-up: Ex Machina

Honorable mentions: The Hateful EightSicarioSpotlight

Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Room

Runner-up: Phoenix

Honorable mentions: Mad Max: Fury RoadThe MartianThe Revenant

Maika Monroe stars in IT FOLLOWS.

Best Music

Best Original Score

Winner: Disasterpeace, It Follows

Runner-up: Jóhan Jóhnannson, Sicario

Honorable mentions: Cat’s Eyes, The Duke of Burgundy; Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight; Olga Neuwirth, Goodnight Mommy; Daniel Pemberton, Steve Jobs; Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto, The Revenant

Best Original Song

Winner: “The Final Derrière,” performed by Sparks, from The Forbidden Room

Best Use of Non-Original Music

Winner: “Waterloo,” performed by ABBA, from The Martian

Runner-up: “We Stand Tall,” performed by David Pomeranz, from Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

A scene from IT FOLLOWS.

Best Cinematography

Winner: It Follows

Runner-up: The Revenant

Honorable mentions: The Assassin; The Hateful EightMad Max: Fury Road; The MartianSicario

A scene from MAD MAX: FURY ROAD.

Best Editing

Winner: Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-up: Sicario

Honorable mentions: It Follows; Macbeth; The Martian; The NightmareStar Wars: The Force Awakens


Most Promising Potential Robotic Overlord

BB-8, Star Wars: The Force Awakens


One thought on “My Year in Film: 2015

  1. This is a great list.
    I picked the Martian as my movie of the year, over Stars Wars. Followed by Jurassic Park. Top horror was It Follows, Babadook (since it was both ’14 and 15 releases) and then honorable mention to Krampus. But reading this post made me forget just how great the Nightmare was. That may have been one of the greatest documentary/horrors I have ever seen..
    Good list.

    Liked by 1 person

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