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Best of 2018

Favorite Films of 2018 2018 was a defining year for film in so many ways. In the U.S., I cannot recall any year where there were so many films from African-American directors and involving African-American actors. The stories were diverse – from Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, based on an unbelievably true story, to Sorry to Bother You, one of the most original films in many years that reminded me of Charlie Kaufmann movies. Then there were all of the others – Black Panther, the largest grossing Marvel Comics film of all time and a breakthrough in its central story from a …

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The Year for African American Directors and Actors!

This looks like the breakout year for film for Black and African American themed films, actors, and directors. Early in 2018, “Black Panther”, broke so much new ground with its almost total Black casting and its strong African influences. It is the first comics film to be grounded in African and African-American culture and experience. Its director, Ryan Cooglier, also directed the great Fruitvale Station several years back. Next to arrive was “Sorry to Bother You”, a debut by Boots Riley that is great social satire on race and race relations. Where it is its most hilarious and inspirational is …

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2018 Best Actors, Actresses, Director, and Ensemble

I never try to predict who will win, but here are my favorites for 2017. I also include a section at the end for ensembles, because this year, more than others I recall, films were great because of the combination of superb acting and directing. Best Actor: I loved Timothee Chalamet’s performance (Call Me by Your Name), but his best (and IMHO most stunning) scenes came at the end. Gary Oldman’s performance was solid (Darkest Hour), but the movie felt scattered and left me mostly uninterested. I felt similarly about Denzel Washington’s performance (Roman J Israel, ESQ) as a lawyer …

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My Favorite Films of 2017

Several films clustered right at the top for me, making it challenging to pick what I thought was the best. I rated the best as 4.5 or 5 Stars, and my final decision on the top 15 rests on how much of an impact the film made on me. Exemplary acting, music, screenplay, cinematography, are essential and taken for granted in these selections; however, movies I thought about days, weeks, and even months afterward are what topped my list. So, here are my favorites: Phantom Thread: Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis again team up to create a surprising, weird, …

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Moonlight is the Oscar 2017 Best Picture Winner!

This was an exciting year for film in terms of diversity AND Moonlight absolutely deserved Best Picture (as well as Best Supporting Actor and Adapted Screenplay) honors. It is a beautiful story focusing on three periods in a young gay Black man’s life. The film is so personal in its approach that it transcends its own story about Black and gay and becomes something bigger about being different and how we experience the world as “other”. There were some great films this year, but this one stands out for me as one that I continue to think about. I will …

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Oscar 2017 Winners

Best picture: Moonlight Lead actor: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” Lead actress: Emma Stone, “La La Land” Supporting actor: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” Supporting actress: Viola Davis, “Fences” Best director: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land Animated feature: “Zootopia” Animated short: “Piper” Adapted screenplay: “Moonlight” Original screenplay: “La La Land” Cinematography: “La La Land” Best documentary feature:  “O.J.: Made in America” Best documentary short subject: “The White Helmets” Best live-action short film: “Sing” Best foreign language film: “The Salesman” Film editing: “Hacksaw Ridge” Sound editing: “Arrival” Sound mixing:  “Hacksaw Ridge” Production design: “La La Land” Original score: “La La Land” Original …

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Gary’s 2017 Oscar Picks!

2016 Favorite Movies 2016  There were so many wonderful movies across categories this year. In thinking of my favorites, I tried to think about which movies moved me and caused me to think about them long after the film was over. There were some films that had great performances but didn’t necessarily hit my top movies (I gave my appreciation to those performances in a previous post). So, my top 15: “Moonlight”. The story of a gay black man, told at 3 periods in his life, was powerful in its truly personal approach to the film. The acting across the …

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Diversity in the Movies in 2016

Diversity in the Oscar race: Last year, I remember that there were many issues raised about the lack of diversity in the Oscar’s. I agreed with this (although last year, in my opinion, there were not a lot of really strong, award-worthy performances by African-American actors. The root of the problem, I feel, is that there are not enough roles for black directors and black actors to really shine. This year is very different. I wrote to someone that if African-American actors and directors swept Picture, Director, Actor/Actress, Supporting Actor/Actress, and Documentary, I would not be disappointed. Has it happened …

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2016 Best Actor/Actress & Supporting Actor/Actress – Reflections

With the Oscars coming in soon, I thought I would weigh in on the nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. The movie choices and performances this year seemed stellar compared to last year, making for exciting competition. In case you are not interested in the reading: My favorites are Casey Affleck, Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali, and Naomi Harris. Best Actor: All of the performances were wonderful, although I have my clear favorite. Andrew Garfield was excellently cast in “Hacksaw Ridge”; Ryan Gosling was very good as a struggling jazz musician in LA in …

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