by ,

It’s that time of year again: awards season. The Miami Film Awards are back again this year with all of last year’s participants and more! As with 2015, which gave the big prize to Carol, the whole point of this poll is to find out what films individuals I know who are film critics or run a cinema in the city thought were the best of the year. So here are the opinions of seventeen people on what the best films of 2016 were.

A special thanks to Andres Castillo, Javier Alejandro Chavez (Coral Gables Art Cinema), Lauren Cohen (SocialMiami), Trae DeLellis (Cosford Cinema), Ben Delgado (Coral Gables Art Cinema), Salim Garami (Movie Motorbreath), Dana Keith (Miami Beach Cinematheque), Steve Mesa (The Cinematic), Hans Morgenstern (Indie Ethos), Reuben Pereira (Film Frontier), Rene Rodriguez (Miami Herald), Ruben Rosario (MiamiArtZine), Kai Sacco, Igor Shteyrenberg (Miami Jewish Film Festival/Popcorn Frights), Alfred Soto (Humanizing the Vacuum), and Daniel Vasquez (Miami Beach Cinematheque), for participating this year.

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

  • Moonlight (with 13 votes)
  • Manchester by the Sea (with 10 votes)
  • The Lobster (with 9 votes)
  • Elle (tied with 8 votes)
  • La La Land (tied with 8 votes)
  • Toni Erdmann (with 7 votes)
  • Certain Women (with 5 votes)
  • The Handmaiden (with 4 votes)

These nine films reign above the rest, but a number of features were nominated. With 3 votes each were A Bigger Splash, American Honey, Cameraperson, Ixcanul, Love & Friendship, Moana, Mountains May Depart, No Home Movie, Nocturnal Animals, OJ: Made in America, Paterson, Hell or High Water, and Silence. 

With two votes: 20th Century Women, Cemetery of Splendour, Chevalier, Christine, Cosmos, Embrace of the Serpent, Green Room, I Am Not Your Negro, Kubo and the Two Strings, Lemonade, Lion, Sunset Song, The Neon Demon, and The Red Turtle. And with one vote each: Aferim, Arrival, Being 17, Deepwater Horizon, Everybody Wants Some!!, Evolution, From Afar, Gods of Egypt, High Rise, I, Daniel Blake, Jackie, Kaili Blues, Little Men, Louder than Bombs, Loving, Midnight Special, Neruda, Sing Street, Sully, The Dressmaker, The Edge of Seventeen, The Eyes of My Mother, The Invitation, The Wailing, The Witch, Under the Shadow, and Zootopia. 

Best Director

  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight (with 10 votes)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster (tied with 7 votes)
  • Paul Verhoeven, Elle (tied with 7 votes)
  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land (tied with 7 votes)
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (with 6 votes)
  • Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden (with 5 votes)
  • Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women (tied with 4 votes)
  • Andrea Arnold, American Honey (tied with 4 votes)

Another strong lead from Moonlight with director Barry Jenkins taking the prize, though the line-up above three votes was just as strong. A second three-way tie was featured with the three vote pile: Luca Guadagnino for A Bigger Splash, Whit Stillman for Love & Friendship, and Maren Ade for Toni Erdmann.

Two vote filmmakers included David Mackenzie, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese, Terence Davies, and Tom Ford. The one vote directors bunch was Alex Proyas, Ben Wheatley, Chantal Akerman, Ciro Guerra, Garth Davis, Jeremy Saulnier, Nicolas Winding Refn, Peter Berg, Andrej Zulawski, André Téchiné, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and Athina Rachel Tsangari.

Best Lead Performance, Female

  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle (with 14 votes)
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie (with 7 votes)
  • Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship (tied with 6 votes)
  • Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann (tied with 6 votes)
  • Emma Stone, La La Land (tied with 5 votes)
  • Sonia Braga, Aquarius (tied with 5 votes)
  • Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (tied with 5 votes)

Isabelle Huppert stole the show and there was absolutely no competition for her, with Portman only scoring half her votes. With four votes, there was another tie: Rebecca Hall in Christine and Zhao Tao in Mountains May Depart. With three votes, there was one: Tilda Swinton in A Bigger Splash.

Five women scored two votes: Rachel Weisz, Agyness Deyn, Ruth Negga, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Mackenzie Davis. With one vote, there were many more: Sasha Lane, Michelle Williams, Hailee Steinfeld, Auli’i Cravalho, Sarah Paulson, Lucy Boynton, Nicole Kidman, Narges Rashidi, Marion Cotillard, Kate Lyn Sheil, and Amy Adams.

Best Lead Performance, Male

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea (with 16 votes)
  • Colin Farrell, The Lobster (with 9 votes)
  • Adam Driver, Paterson (with 7 votes)
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land (with 5 votes)
  • Denzel Washington, Fences (tied with 4 votes)
  • Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann (tied with 4 votes)
  • Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight (tied with 4 votes)

Casey Affleck won near-unanimously, with only one of the seventeen voters not including him in their ballot. With three votes: Chris Pine in Hell or High Water, Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, and Joel Edgerton in Loving. With two votes: Ralph Fiennes in A Bigger Splash and Vincent Lindon in The Measure of a Man.

The rest received one vote: Mahershala Ali, Jesuthasan Antonythasan, Andrew Garfield, Ralph Ineson, Alfredo Castro, Joe Alwyn, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Radcliffe, Ashton Sanders, David Johns, Matthias Schoenarts, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Genet, Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro, and Michael Shannon.

Best Supporting Performance, Female

  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea (with 13 votes)
  • Lily Gladstone, Certain Women (tied with 9 votes)
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight (tied with 9 votes)
  • Janelle Monáe, Moonlight (tied with 5 votes)
  • Elle Fanning, 20th Century Women (tied with 5 votes)
  • Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women (tied with 4 votes)
  • Viola Davis, Fences (tied with 4 votes)

Lots of multiple nominees per film here, and plenty more in the lower tiers. With three votes: Kristen Stewart for Certain Women, Isabelle Huppert for Louder Than Bombs, and Dakota Johnson for A Bigger Splash.

Helen Mirren, Nicole Kidman, Rachel Weisz, and Jena Malone all scored two votes. The one vote pile featured Tilda Swinton for two different roles (A Bigger Splash and Hail, Caesar!), Janelle Monáe for Hidden Figures in addition to her Moonlight votes, and the following actress: Riley Keough, Min-hee Kim, Kate Dickie, Rachel House, Laura Dern, Olivia Colman, Ruth Negga, Kirsten Dunst, Chloë Sevigny, and Angeliki Papoulia.

Best Supporting Performance, Male

  • Mahershala Ali, Moonlight (with 9 votes)
  • Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash (tied with 6 votes)
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (tied with 6 votes)
  • André Holland, Moonlight (tied with 6 votes)
  • Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight (with 4 votes)

Rhodes made it into the top of two categories and three Moonlight actors made it into the top tiers. They weren’t the only nominees from the film though. With three votes: Tom Bennett, Shia LaBeouf, John Goodman, and Ashton Sanders.

With two votes: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Alden Ehrenreich, Alex Hibbert, Ben Foster, Ben Whishaw, Issei Ogata, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Guthrie, Patrick Stewart, and Peter Sarsgaard. With one vote: Adam Driver, Chadwick Boseman, Christopher Lloyd, Dev Patel, Gabriel Byrne, Gerard Butler, Harvey Scrimshaw, Jared Harris, John C. Reilly, Sunny Pawar, Woody Harrelson, Johan Libereau, Peter Simonischek, Kyle Chandler, Ralph Inerson, Corrado Guzzanti, and Michael Shannon.

Best Screenplay

  • Barry Jenkins & Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight (with 11 votes)
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (tied with 10 votes)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos & Efthymis Filippou, The Lobster (tied with 10 votes)
  • David Birke, Elle (tied with 7 votes)
  • Whit Stillman, Love & Friendship (tied with 7 votes)
  • Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann (tied with 7 votes)

Moonlight scores again. With three votes each: The Handmaiden, Paterson, and Hell or High Water. With two votes: Sunset Song, Nocturnal Animals, La La Land, A Bigger Splash, and Chevalier.

With one vote: American Honey, 20th Century Women, Silence, Jackie, Gods of Egypt, Swiss Army Man, Aferim, The Edge of Seventeen, Fences, and Being 17.

Best Cinematic Moment

  • The diner scene in Moonlight (tied with 7 votes)
  • The finale montage in La La Land (tied with 7 votes)
  • The nude party in Toni Erdmann (with 6 votes)
  • The “We Found Love” store dance in American Honey (tied with 3 votes)
  • Chiron learning to swim in Moonlight (tied with 3 votes)

Moonlight and La La Land tie here, but these were the four films that scored more than one or two votes. All four of the top nominees also had other scenes nominated, but here are the rest of the films that were voted for: A Bigger Splash, Age of Shadows, Arrival, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Cameraperson, Cemetery of Splendour, Certain Women, Chevalier, Deepwater Horizon, Elle, Embrace of the Serpent, Francofonia, Hail Caesar!, High Rise, Jackie, Kaili Blues, Lemonade, Manchester by the Sea, Moana, Mountains May Depart, Nocturnal Animals, Silence, Swiss Army Man, The Fits, The Handmaiden, The Lobster, The Neon Demon, The Wailing, and The Witch.

Best Ensemble

  • Moonlight (with 13 votes)
  • Certain Women (tied with 6 votes)
  • American Honey (tied with 6 votes)
  • Manchester by the Sea (with 4 votes)

These were the only four folks who scored in the top tier, with Moonlight far ahead of the rest. Four films tied with three votes a pop: Chevalier, A Bigger Splash, The Lobster and 20th Century Women. With two votes alone was Fences. And with one vote: Little Men, Silence, The Handmaiden, Nocturnal Animals, The Witch, Captain Fantastic, Everybody Wants Some!!, and Love & Friendship.

Best Breakthrough Performance

  • Royalty Hightower, The Fits (with 7 votes)
  • Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (with 6 votes)
  • Sasha Lane, American Honey (with 5 votes)
  • Ruth Negga, Loving (with 3 votes)

Three women of color (and Hedges too) reigned above the rest in breakthrough performance. With two votes: Alex Hibbert, Alden Ehrenreich, Julian Dennison, Anya Taylor-Joy, Hayden Szeto, and Lily Gladstone. With one vote: Peter Simonischek, Kika Magalhaes, Agyness Deyn, Auli’i Chavalho, Joe Alwyn, Lucy Boynton, Issei Ogata, Janelle Monáe, Hailee Steinfeld, Mackenzie Davis, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Krisha Fairchild, and André Holland.

Best First Feature

  • Anna Rose Holmer, The Fits (with 9 votes)
  • Kelly Fremon Craig, The Edge of Seventeen (with 7 votes)
  • Babak Anvari, Under the Shadow (with 5 votes)
  • Robert Eggers, The Witch (tied with 4 votes)
  • Brady Corbet, The Childhood of a Leader (tied with 4 votes)
  • Nicolas Pesce, The Eyes of My Mother (with 3 votes)

With two votes: Ixcanul, The Red Turtle, Krisha, and Swiss Army Man. With one vote: White Girl, From Afar, Lion, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Kaili Blues, L’attesa, and Spa Night.

Best Cinematography

  • James Laxton, Moonlight (with 8 votes)
  • Linus Sandgren, La La Land (with 5 votes)
  • Robbie Ryan, American Honey (tied with 3 votes)
  • Thimios Bakatakis, The Lobster (tied with 3 votes)

With two votes: Cameraperson, Jackie, Silence, Nocturnal Animals, The Eyes of My Mother, Knight of Cups, The Neon Demon, The Handmaiden, and A Bigger Splash. With one vote: High Rise, Certain Women, The Witch, Sunset Song, The Childhood of a Leader, Voyage of Time, Aferim, Cafe Society, The Shallows, Ixcanul, Elle, and Cemetery of Splendour.

Best Soundtrack/Score

  • Moonlight (with 9 votes)
  • Jackie (with 8 votes)
  • La La Land (with 7 votes)
  • The Neon Demon (with 4 votes)

Not a single tie in these top four. The Handmaiden The Childhood of a Leader tied with three votes and Nocturnal Animals and American Honey tied with two votes. With one vote: Kubo and the Two Strings, 20th Century Women, High Rise, Moana, The Lobster, Knight of Cups, Lemonade, A Bigger Splash, and Green Room.

That’s all folks! See you next year.