by ,

Hi everybody! It’s your friendly neighborhood critic Juan here with an exciting annual series I’d like to simply call the Miami Film Awards. The whole point of this is to poll some of my pals in the film biz — be it criticism or running a cinema — and finding out what films of the year they thought were the best of the best. Obviously, some folks bowed out and others weren’t asked so this isn’t a massive poll or what everyone in Miami thinks, but it’s just nine cool people who placed their bets alongside me.

A special thanks to Lauren Cohen (SocialMiami), Trae DeLellis (Cosford Cinema), Salim Garami (Movie Motorbreath), Dana Keith (Miami Beach Cinematheque), Hans Morgenstern (Indie Ethos), Reuben Pereira (Film Frontier), Ruben Rosario (MiamiArtZine), Kai Sacco (Film With Kai Sacco), and Daniel Vasquez (Miami Beach Cinematheque), for voting in this crazy series.

Each voter was asked to provide the following nominations and categories: 10 nominations for Best Feature Film; 5 nominations apiece for Best Lead Performance (Male/Female), Best Supporting Performance (Male/Female), Best Direction, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematic Moment; and 3 nominations apiece for Best Ensemble, Best Breakthrough Performance, Best First Feature as Director, Best Cinematography. There was no ranking system, resulting in equal votes for all nominees, and no discussion of what categories to place individual actors in (for the sake of seeing where people would stick certain performances that teetered between Lead and Supporting).

Best Picture

  • Carol (with 8 votes)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (with 6 votes)
  • Mommy (tied with 5 votes)
  • Phoenix (tied with 5 votes)
  • The Assassin (tied with 5 votes)
  • Spotlight (with 4 votes)

While these six films reigned above all else in the competition, there was a massive variety of films suggested. With 3 votes each were 45 Years, Amy, Brooklyn, Creed, Mistress America, and Room. With 2 votes each were Arabian Nights, Breathe, Clouds of Sils Maria, Ex Machina, Girlhood, Jauja, Magic Mike XXL, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and The Revenant.

A whopping thirty films were only one-vote nominees, a perfect reminder of how often great, small movies get lost in the voting game: A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence, Anomalisa, Appropriate Behavior, Beloved Sisters, Black Coal Thin Ice, Blackhat, Boy and the World, By the Sea, Cinderella, Coming Home, Crimson Peak, The Duke of Burgundy, Eden, Heart of a Dog, Inside Out, Lil Quinquin, Love & Mercy, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Mustang, Nasty Baby, Sicario, Son of Saul, Tangerine, Taxi, The End of the Tour, The Last Five Years, The New Girlfriend, The Visit, Theeb, and Timbuktu.

Best Director

  • Todd Haynes, Carol (with 8 votes)
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road (with 6 votes)
  • Hou Hsiao-Hsien, The Assassin (with 5 votes)
  • Ryan Coogler, Creed (with 3 votes)
  • Miguel Gomes, Arabian Nights (tied with 2 votes)
  • Christian Petzold, Phoenix (tied with 2 votes)

Not five, not ten, but twenty-four filmmakers only received one vote: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Aleksei German, Andrew Haigh, Bill Pohlad, Bruno Dumont, Céline Sciamma, Christopher McGuarrie, Denis Villeneuve, François Ozon, Guillermo del Toro, Jafar Panahi, John Crowley, Joshua Oppenheimer, Kenneth Branagh, Laurie Anderson, Lenny Abrahamson, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Mann, Naji Abu Nowar, Olivier Assayas, Peter Strickland, Sean Baker, Tom McCarthy, and Xavier Dolan.

Best Actor

  • Michael B. Jordan, Creed (with 7 votes)
  • Tom Courtenay, 45 Years (tied with 4 votes) 
  • Paul Dano, Love & Mercy (tied with 4 votes)
  • Peter Sarsgaard, Experimenter (tied with 4 votes)
  • Jacob Tremblay, Room (tied with 3 votes)
  • Gaspard Ulliel, Saint Laurent (tied with 3 votes)

As you can see, no one came close to Michael B. Jordan’s lead performance in Creed this year, an actor who was painfully ignored by the Academy in their category. In fact, this entire category features actors that were ignored this year. The two-vote and single-vote collection, however, include three out of the five nominees.

With two votes: Geza Rohrig (Son of Saul), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies), Matt Damon (The Martian), and Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant).

With one vote: Bernard Pruvost (Lil Quinquin), Vira Sathidar (Court), Viggo Mortensen (Jauja), Andrew Garfield (99 Homes), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation), Christopher Abbott (James White), Michael Caine (Youth), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Walk), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Ryan Reynolds (The Voices), Romain Duris (The New Girlfriend), Ronald Zehrfeld (Phoenix), and Jesse Eisenberg (American Ultra). 

Best Actress

  • Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years (with 8 votes)
  • Cate Blanchett, Carol (tied with 7 votes)
  • Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn (tied with 7 votes)
  • Rooney Mara, Carol (with 6 votes)
  • Nina Hoss, Phoenix (with 4 votes)
  • Greta Gerwig, Mistress America (tied with 3 votes)
  • Brie Larson, Room (tied with 3 votes)

Hooray for no category fraud when it comes to Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett both being top contenders in the same category! Interestingly enough, there’s more consensus with female performances than male, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of one-vote nominees: Anne Dorval (Mommy), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road), Charlotte Gainsbourg (3 Hearts), Cobie Smulders (Results), Elisabeth Moss (Queen of Earth), Juliette Binoche (Clouds of Sils Maria), Maika Monroe (It Follows), Regina Casé (The Second Mother), Shu Qi (The Assassin), and Teyonah Parris (Chi-Raq). 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina (with 8 votes)
  • Michael Shannon, 99 Homes (with 4 votes)
  • Ronald Zehrfeld, Phoenix (with 3 votes)

That’s it. That’s this category. Everyone else fell into the pool of folks with a single vote or two votes, and the two vote pile is so massive that making a tie would be impossible. Two-vote nominees: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Emory Cohen (Brooklyn), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Pierre Yves Cardinal (Tom at the Farm), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), Tom Noonan (Anomalisa), Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight), and William H Macy (Room).

The one-vote mix comes from every which corner, including four picks from Spotlight: Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, Michael Cyril Creighton, and Mark Ruffalo. Two, surprisingly enough, were from Bruno Dumont’s Li’l QuinquinPhilippe Jore & Bernard Pruvost. 

The rest were all from different films: Ben Mendelsohn (Lost River), Richard Jenkins (Bone Tomahawk), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), James Marsden (The D Train), Jason Segel (The End of the Tour), Jemaine Clement (What We Do In the Shadows), Jason Bateman (The Gift), Louis Garrel (Saint Laurent), Tom Courtenay (45 Years), and Kyle Chandler (Carol).

Best Supporting Actress

  • Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria (with 6 votes)
  • Mya Taylor, Tangerine (tied with 5 votes)
  • Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina (tied with 5 votes) 
  • Jada Pinkett Smith, Magic Mike XXL (tied with 3 votes)
  • Rose Byrne, Spy (tied with 3 votes)

This is easily one of the most interesting categories in the bunch, with the nominees mostly coming from the kind of films you wouldn’t necessarily see get awarded in end-of-year ballots. Alicia Vikander was the sole individual nominated for a second film, The Danish Girl (which received one-vote).

Six actresses received two votes: Jane Fonda (Youth), Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy), Cynthia Nixon (James White), Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak), Joan Allen (Room), and Sarah Paulson (Carol).

The one-vote nominees are as follows: Lou de Laâge (Breathe), Tessa Thompson (Creed), Tilda Swinton (Trainwreck), Deanna Dunagan (The Visit), Rachel Weisz (Youth), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), Marion Cotillard (Macbeth), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Anomalisa), Rooney Mara (Carol), Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Nina Kunzendorf (Phoenix), Aymeline Valade (Saint Laurent), and Suzanne Clement (Mommy).

Best Ensemble

  • Girlhood (with 5 votes)
  • Spotlight (with 4 votes)
  • Tangerine (tied with 3 votes) 
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (tied with 3 votes)
  • Brooklyn (tied with 3 votes)

Here’s one of the smaller categories, with a three-way tie taking up three of the top spots and with two films – Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Magic Mike XXL – coming close with two votes each, and the rest being one-vote flicks. Single vote nominees were: The Assassin, Crimson Peak, Carol, Inside Out, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Mommy, Ricki and the Flash, and Room. 

Best Screenplay

  • Phyllis Nagy, Carol (with 8 votes)
  • Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight (with 5 votes)
  • Nick Hornby, Brooklyn (tied with 4 votes)
  • Olivier Assayas, Clouds of Sils Maria (tied with 4 votes)
  • Christian Petzold & Harun Farocki, Phoenix (tied with 3 votes)
  • Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig, Mistress America (tied with 3 votes)
  • Ryan Coogler & Aaron Covington, Creed (tied with 3 votes)

It’s an interesting mix of films you get when you blend the original and adapted screenplay categories together. Four options ended up with two votes: The Assassin, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Ex Machina and Breathe.

The rest were one-vote picks: Li’l Quinquin, Tangerine, Results, Mommy, Mad Max: Fury Road, Hateful Eight, Bridge of Spies, Inside Out, Anomalisa, Love & Mercy, The End of the Tour and Room.

Best Cinematography

  • Edward Lachman, Carol (with 6 votes)
  • Mark Lee Ping Bin, The Assassin (with 5 votes)
  • Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant (with 3 votes)
  • Roger Deakins, Sicario (tied with 2 votes)
  • Hans Fromm, Phoenix (tied with 2 votes)

As with many of the three vote categories, Cinematography has straight-forward results, with every other film in the bunch only being given one vote: Tangerine, Jauja, Blackhat, Timbuktu, Black Coal Thin Ice, Mad Max, Creed, Clouds of Sils Maria, Theeb, The Hateful Eight, and Saint Laurent. 

Best First Feature

  • Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl (with 7 votes)
  • Alex Garland, Ex Machina (with 6 votes)
  • Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Mustang (with 4 votes)
  • László Nemes, Son of Saul (tied with 2 votes)
  • John Maclean, Slow West (tied with 2 votes)

A simple enough category, with all of the votes going toward these five films and the rest being single votes: The Tribe, The Mend, Christmas Again, Lost River, James White, Love & Mercy, Bone Tomahawk, Theeb, and The Gift.

Best Breakthrough Performance

  • Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl (with 7 votes)
  • Daisy Ridley, Star Wars (with 5 votes)
  • Karidja Touré, Girlhood (tied with 3 votes)
  • Rebecca Ferguson, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (tied with 3 votes)
  • Jacob Tremblay, Room (with 2 votes)

Breakthrough is a category populated with mostly women in the top slots, two of which were from films directed by women as well, which is exciting enough, especially with Powley topping the chart along for the film that won First Feature. The rest of the nominees were one-votes: Arielle Holmes (Heaven Knows What), Josh Lucas (The Mend), Mya Taylor (Tangerine), Olivia DeJonge (The Visit), Christopher Abbott (James White), Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation), Emory Cohen (Brooklyn), Naji Abu Nowar (Theeb), Gunes Sensoy (Mustang), and Lou de Laâge (Breathe).

Best Cinematic Moment

  • The last scene in Phoenix (with 5 votes)
  • The “Diamonds” scene in Girlhood (tied with 4 votes)
  • The last scene in Carol (tied with 4 votes)
  • The single-take fight scene in Creed (tied with 4 votes)
  • The last scene in 45 Years (with 3 votes)

Out of all the films brought up for Best Cinematic Moment, only five of them had scenes that multiple people mentioned. It’s one of the toughest categories to put together, but we ended up with some memorable moments, all of which are pretty goddamn well-deserving.

Listing all of the specific scenes would be impossible without a lack of detailed descriptions, so instead I’ll just list the other films nominated (some of which were mentioned more than once for different sequences): The Assassin, Arabian Nights, Ex Machina, Lost River, Mad Mad: Fury Road, Magic Mike XXL, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Youth, What We Do In the Shadows, The Look of Silence, Inside Out, The Revenant, Anomalisa, The Walk, Clouds of Sils Maria, Room, Mistress America, Cinderella, Breathe, The Visit, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Mommy.

That’s all folks. Stay tuned for next year.