It’s insane to think, but 2018 is half way over. I almost can’t believe how fast six months has gone, but alas, we are here. Over the course of these six months, I saw 98 feature length films, a new personal best. This has been a strong six months of movies, not so much for Hollywood, though, but for foreign, documentary, and indie films, as they account of seven of my top ten. We also got a slew of great performances, most notably from actors who generally go under the radar and are now finally put in the spotlight. So here are my picks for the best movies and performances of 2018 so far, as well as some other categories.
For each category, I am going to pick my “winner” and then list other “nominees” for the category. For Best Picture, I am going to rank them from 10 – 1.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
WINNER: THE WOMEN OF BLACK PANTHER
(Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o, Letita Wright, Angela Bassett)
- It’s impossible to pick just one of these incredible women. How do you choose between the power of Gurira, the mastery and charm of Nyong’o, the intelligence and wit of Wright, or the sheer power of Bassett? You can’t
Runner Ups (in alphabetical order):
- Ann Dowd – Hereditary/American Animals
- Zoe Saldana – Avengers: Infinity War
- Lorraine Toussaint – Fast Color
- Michelle Williams – I Feel Pretty
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
WINNER: STEVE BUSCEMI – THE DEATH OF STALIN/LEAN ON PETE/NANCY
- Buscemi has been one of our most consistent and best actors for the last twenty years. A man of wide diversity, he can do anything from drama to comedy, from small to big, and that is exactly what he has displayed this year. He was dark and hilarious in The Death of Stalin, mean and grizzled in Lean on Pete, and reserved and tragic in Nancy. It’s been a hell of a year for Buscemi and he deserves Oscar love for all three of these performances.
- Ike Barinholtz – Blockers
- Gabriel Byrne – Hereditary
- Army Hammer – Sorry to Bother You
- Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther
WINNER: TONI COLLETTE – HEREDITARY
- Like Buscemi, Collette is an actress who can do it all and in Hereditary, she gives a towering, masterful performance. As a mother who is constantly dealing with grief and bizarre, spiritual happenings around her home, Collette gives an emotionally chilling and haunting performance. This is a performance that, in the hands of a lesser actress, would have either been too campy to too small. But Collette is a pro and knows when to explode and when to keep it quiet and keep the mystery. This is my favorite performance of 2018 and the best of Collette’s career.
- Kiersey Clemons – Hearts Beat Loud
- Elsie Fisher – Eighth Grade
- Holly Hunter – Incredibles 2
- Charlize Theron – Tully
WINNER: ETHAN HAWKE – FIRST REFORMED
- This was a tough choice, as I LOVED all the other nominees and few more that missed the cut. First Reformed is a haunting and masterful film about a priests decent in his belief in God. Hawke, who portrays the priest, gives the performance of a lifetime. Hawke uses his eyes, not his words, to portray this troubled priest, a man who’s morality and physical self are both disintegrating. The greatness of First Reformed lies within Hawke’s performance, as he is nearly in every scene of the film, and every scene Hawke shows us a new side of his troubled priest. This is as powerful as performances get.
- Jakob Cedergren – The Guilty
- Jackie Long – Bodied
- Logan Marshall – Upgrade
- Evan Peters – American Animals
WINNER: ARI ASTER – HEREDITARY
- Aster created one of the finest debut films of this decade with Hereditary. Aster made a horror masterpiece that sinks into your skin and stays with you for months after you leave the theater. He sets a mood and tone right from the opening shot and only builds on it, stretching the tension until you can’t bear it. It is surprising to see this much confidence and skill from a first-time director and only gets me excited for what Aster does in the future.
- Brad Bird – Incredibles 2
- Gustav Möller – The Guilty
- Paul Schrader – First Reformed
- Chloe Zhao – The Rider
10 – A QUIET PLACE
- John Krasinkski’s horrifying debut makes the sound of silence terrifying.
9 – THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
- The best documentary of 2018. A movie you have to see to believe.
8 – UPGRADE
- Reminiscent of an 1980’s Paul Verhoeven, Upgrade is a fun, violent, topical sci-fi gem.
7 – GAME NIGHT
- The comedy of the year that only gets better with more viewings.
6 – FIRST REFORMED
- Paul Schrader is back with a haunting portrayal of a priests moral and physical descent.
5 – THE DEATH OF STALIN
- Quirky, weird, hilarious, and captivating with one of the best ensembles of the year.
4 – THE RIDER
- An intimate portrait of one man’s struggle to find a new purpose in life when he can’t do the thing he was born to do.
3 – THE GUILTY
- A taut, suspenseful, chilling, single-room thriller with a shocking ending.
2 – INCREDIBLE 2
- Brad Bird’s superhero sequel is a rich, lively, colorful film with deep themes, exhilarating action, and stellar voice-work. This is not only one of Pixar’s best sequels, but one of the best superhero sequels ever.
1 – HEREDITARY
- A horror masterpiece that stays with you long after you’ve left the theater. Wonderfully shot, masterful performances, and some of the wildest and haunting twists and turns you’ll ever see.
BEST OF THE REST
Best Original Screenplay – Hereditary
Runner Up – First Reformed
Best Adapted Screenplay – The Death of Stalin
Runner Up – Incredibles 2
Best Editing – Avengers: Infinity War
Runner Up – Upgrade
Best Cinematography – The Rider
Runner Up – First Reformed
Best Comedy – Game Night
Runner Up – Blockers
Best Superhero Movie – Incredibles 2
Runner Up – Avengers: Infinity War
Best Action Movie – Upgrade
Runner Up – Tomb Raider
Best Documentary – Three Identical Strangers
Runner Up – Liyana
Favorite Movie Nobody Liked – Tomb Raider
Runner Up – Death Wish
Movie Everyone Liked That I Didn’t – Love, Simon
Runner Up – Annihilation
TOP 5 SCENES
1 – MEET THANOS (Avengers: Infinity War)
- The Russo Brothers establish the power of Thanos in the opening scene, as he demolishes Thor, Loki, and Hulk, setting a tone for what is to come for the rest of the film.
2 – THE FINAL BATTLE ON THE BOAT (Incredible 2)
- Highlighted by Michael Giacchino’s masterful score, this is as exciting as action sequences get.
3 – OPENING RAP BATTLE (Bodied)
- From the opening scene of Joseph Khan’s riveting black comedy, you are thrown into the world of underground freestyle hip-hop and Kahn sets the tone right away, giving us pulverizing lyrics that show these rappers are out for blood and honor.
4 – THE HEIST (American Animals)
- The climactic scene of this true crime story is a pulse-pounding heist of errors, led by the electric Evan Peters.
5 – THE FIRST FIGHT (Upgrade)
- The first fight scene after Grey’s (Logan Marshall-Green) surgery is a quick, bloody, funny, stylized sequence that takes the movie in another direction and begins it’s brilliant ride.
What are some of your favorite movies of 2018 so far? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, or on Facebook by searching Kevflix.