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The Films of 2017

The Oscars are one week away, so what better time for the 21st annual Matt Awards?

I've always loved movies, and have always disagreed -- to a greater or lesser extent -- with the choices of the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. Therefore, The Matt Awards are here to showcase what I consider to be the best in cinema every year.

2017 was perhaps one of the best years for movies in quite some time. With so many solid films to choose from, we were really spoilt for choice. I highly recommend the following selections, everything on the Top 10 list (though, admittedly, they may not be everyone's cup of tea), and especially the Best Picture winner.

So, without further adieu....

Best Horror Film: Happy Death Day

If 2017 has an achilles heel, it's with the horror genre. There were, of course, a fair amount of horror movies released last year, but many of them just felt kind of meh. Not so with Happy Death Day. Think Groundhog Day meets a slasher flick. Done really well.

Best Visual Effects: Wonder Woman

This could go to any number of blockbuster films, but I wanted to give a shout out to Wonder Woman because many of its effects were so well-integrated with the live action aspects that, for a lot of scenes, it looked seamless. Kudos.

Best Score: Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer, for Blade Runner 2049

This movie deserves a better reception, in my humble opinion, especially when it comes to the score. A vibrant set of music, at times subtle and clanging, soft and loud. I loved it.

Best Song: Mystery of Love, from Call Me By Your Name

If you haven't yet listened to the soundtrack for Call Me By Your Name, then please do so at your earliest convenience. Along with several tracks from the early eighties, Sufjan Stevens contributes a few songs, some old and some new. Mystery of Love -- nominated for an Academy Award -- is one of the new cuts that is so very beautiful and lush, sad and loving. Not to be missed.

Best Original Screenplay: Jordan Peele, for Get Out

Peele has not only crafted a solid thriller that deftly incorporates the subtle racism and prejudice that often simmers in our society, he has -- perhaps most importantly -- written a screenplay that is airtight. Everything makes sense. There are no loose ends. It all comes together. That is very often not the case in cinema, so hats off to him!

Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory, for Call Me By Your Name

I can't help but be moved by 89-year-old James Ivory adapting Andre Aciman's novel about young love blossoming in Italy during the 1980s. Ivory, known for the Merchant/Ivory productions of the 1980s and '90s with his romantic partner Ismail Merchant, has penned a poignant screenplay here.

Best Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, for Call Me By Your Name

While Luca Guadagnino's direction certainly merits a mention, the look and feel of this movie -- sensual, tactile, lush -- owes so much to the work of its cinematographer.

Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, for Lady Bird

So much of what makes this coming-of-age movie great is down to the excellent performance of  Laurie Metcalf. She takes the role penned by Greta Gerwig and makes it her own. So many layers, so realistic. I really enjoyed her performance.

Best Supporting Actor: Keith Carradine, for A Quiet Passion

As "Father" to Cynthia Nixon's Emily Dickinson, Carradine imbues the role with a reserved dignity, portraying a character both open-minded and frustratingly intolerant. 

Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, for Maudie

While Sally Hawkins is garnering attention with her turn in Shape of Water, Maudie is where she really shines. Playing real-life painter Maud Lewis, Hawkins puts in a tour de force performance. Pretty standard for any role that she does.

Best Actor: Timothee Chalamet, for Call Me By Your Name

This young (22-year-old) actor gives us the best performance in cinema of 2017, hands down. For all that he had to learn before the cameras rolled, for the acting he gave on screen, to the talent and believability so evident whenever he's in a scene (which is pretty much the entire movie), Chalamet earns respect and admiration. I hope he wins an Oscar next week, but it's likely not yet his time.

Best Director: Luca Guadagnino, for Call Me By Your Name

I find it kind of odd to be so in love with one of Guadagnino's films, since I walked out of the screening of his movie I Am Love at Eberfest. Regardless, he's done an awesome job directing Call Me By Your Name, and deserves the award.

Best Picture: Call Me By Your Name

This movie still haunts me. So lovely, so moving.

Following are my Top 10 favorite films of 2017:

1. Call Me By Your Name
2. A Quiet Passion
3. Get Out
4. Dunkirk
5. Kedi
6. Columbus
7. Wonder Woman
8. Baby Driver
9. Lady Bird
10. A Ghost Story

And a quick recap of The Matt Awards:

Best Picture: Call Me By Your Name
Best Director: Luca Guadagnino, for Call Me By Your Name
Best Actor: Timothee Chalamet, for Call Me By Your Name
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, for Maudie
Best Supporting Actor: Keith Carradine, for A Quiet Passion
Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, for Lady Bird
Best Cinematography: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, for Call Me By Your Name
Best Screenplay: Jordan Peele, for Get Out
Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory, for Call Me By Your Name
Best Song: Mystery of Love, from Call Me By Your Name
Best Score: Benjamin Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer, for Blade Runner 2049
Best Visual Effects: Wonder Woman
Best Horror Film: Happy Death Day

Because 2017 was so good for movies, I had a really tough time deciding these awards. There were so many that I wanted to honor, including Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Rooney Mara (A Ghost Story), Cynthia Nixon (A Quiet Passion), John Cho (Columbus), and Tyler Perry (Boo 2! A Madea Halloween).

Just kidding about Tyler Perry.

But yeah, 2017 was a great year for movies. If you haven't yet seen the ones mentioned here, then be sure to check them out when you can.


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