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Last updated: February 19, 2011
Copyright 2006 Michael R. Colford.
All rights reserved

current nominations ceremonyarchives
special awardsballot

23rd Annual Awards, March 19, 2016

Best Movie

The HandmaidenThe Handmaiden -

Little MenLittle Men -

Manchester By the SeaManchester By the Sea -

MoonlightMoonlight -

Mountains May DepartMountains May Depart -

Our Little SisterOur Little Sister -

Buried Treasure

The FitsThe Fits -

Free in DeedFree In Deed -

Neon BullNeon Bull -

Take Me to the RiverTake Me to the River -

Under the ShadowUnder the Shadow - The best horror films are usually allegories for circumstances based in reality, and UNDER THE SHADOW tackles several in its depiction of an apartment seemingly haunted by a spirit called a djinn. Shideh is facing a host of doubts living in war-torn, post-revolutionary Tehran. This young mother, who once dabbled briefly in youthful political rebellion, finds herself unable to return to medical school to complete her studies and become a doctor, struggles with the care of her young daughter, Dorsa, questioning her skill as a mother, and do this alone, while her city is being bombed, and her husband is sent to the front lines. These dobuts manifest in the form of a dark spirit that works its way into the minds of bother Shideh and her daughter, while trying to prevent them from leaving the apartment and traveling to safety. Writer/director Babak Anvari uses a supernatural spirit to explore the politics of 1980's Iran, and the core identity that comes with motherhood in a way that is entertaining and enlightening. -- mrc

Best Director

Barry JenkinsBarry Jenkins for Moonlight -

Hirokazu KoreedaHirokazu Koreeda for Our Little Sister -

Kelly ReichardtKelly Reichardt for Certain Women -

Apichatpong WeerasethakulApichatpong Weerasethakul for Cemetery of Splendor -

Zhangke JiaJia Zhangke for Mountains May Depart - This is only the eighth film by matchless Chinese director Jia Zhangke, and probably his best. His wry melancholic view of change in China during globalization is the heart of three stories set in 1999, 2014, and 2025. The director’s muse and wife Zhao Tao stars as a woman who yields to the easy choice of a rich industrialist she does not love over a poor coal miner she does. The film is dazzlingly bookended with a frenzy of disco joy at the turn of the millennium, the Pet Shop Boys’ cover of “Go West” blaring on the soundtrack, and her sadder but wiser walk along the beach in 2025, taking the dog for a walk and suddenly breaking out into her dance moves from 1999. This is a classic moment of sheer cinematic and musical bliss, embracing a dreamy past, as it confronts an uncertain future, emblematic of one of cinema’s greatest auteurs at the zenith of his creative powers. In a profoundly subversive scene, unique in the director’s works, the industrialist has a tantrum at a table overloaded with firearms, raging that he could not own such an arsenal in China, so he moved to Australia — where he now has no one to shoot. Asking the question “What good is freedom?”, he is impotent to provide an answer. During this time of international peril and rampant hostility to sincerity, the question has even more resonance today than when the film was first shown at the New York Film Festival in September 2015. --kr

Best Actress

Annette BeningAnnette Bening for the role of Dorothea in 20th Century Women -

Sonia BragaSonia BragaSonia Braga for the role of Clara in Aquarius -

Imajyn CardinalImajyn Cardinal for the role of Fern in The Saver -

Isabelle HuppertIsabelle Huppert for the role of Michèle Leblanc in Elle -

Ruth NeggaRuth Negga for the role of Mildred in Loving - What a delight to see Ruth Negga's gentle, yet inspiring performance as Mildred in LOVING after only knowing her as Raina, the villainous Inhuman in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. She was always a standout in that comic-based TV show, but the depths of her dramatic acting, and the nuance she brings to a role that is quietly powerful are fully on display in this bipic about an interracial marriage that challenged the law all the way to the Supreme Court. The power in Negga's performance is the way she underplays it. We're not talking Erin Brokovich her; Mildred is not some fiery crusader fighting for the rights of others. She loves her husband, and as the battle for them to be legally able to cohbitate continues, she realizes that her struggle is larger than just the two of them. It's a quiet metamorphosis that is barely noticeable at first as Negga quietly begins to infuse Mildred with the need to fight injustice and equality. When so many actors are recognized for their flashy roles, it's always nice to see fine acting wrapped with subtlety and grace. -- mrc

Tao ZhaoZhao Tao for the role of Shen Tao in Mountains May Depart -

Best Actor

Casey AffleckCasey Affleck for the role of Lee Chandler in Manchester By the Sea -

Joel EdgertonJoel Edgerton for the role of Richard in Loving -

Vincent LindonVincent Lindon for the role of Thierry Taugourdeau in The Measure of a Man - I think it's safe to say that the majority of Chlotrudis members first noticed Vincent Lindon in Claire Denis' compelling film, FRIDAY NIGHT, which picked up a Trudy for Best Cinematography. Two years later, Vincent picked up his own Trudy in the Best Actor category for his outstanding portrayal in the surreal identiry thriller, THE MOUSTACHE. In that film the dynamic actor portrays a man who is either losing his grip on reality, or being gaslit by his family and friends. What a remarkable turn in his lates film, the somber and exquisite THE MEASURE OF A MAN. Vincent plays Thierry, a good man, struggling with unemployment, and the challenge of finding a job. Employment agencies waste his time sending him to jobs he's not qualified for, banks reject him because he has no steady income, day after day he faces humiliation as he is looked at at somehow less than he is because of his lack of a job. His morals are put to the test when he finally does find work and must do things he finds distasteful. Lindon quietly shows us the pride and pain of this ordinary man, painting a portrait of a struggle faced by so many people around the world and infusing it with dignity and heartbreak. -- mrc

Viggo MortensenViggo Mortensen for the role of Ben in Captain Fantastic -

Theo TaplitzTheo Taplitz for the role of Jake Jardine in Little Men -

Best Supporting Actress

Paulina GarciaPaulina García for the role of Leonor Calvelli in Little Men -

Lily GladstoneLily Gladstone for the role of The Rancher in Certain Women -

Naomie HarrisNaomie Harris for the role of Paula in Moonlight -

Margo MartindaleMargo Martindale for the role of Sally Hollar in The Hollars - In the comedy/drama, THE HOLLARS, John Hollar (played by director, John Krasinski) returns when his mother, Sally, ends up in the hospital following a seizure and is diagnosed with a brain tumor. As Sally, Margo Martindale holds the family together while stealing every scene she is in. Martindale is hilarious. When hearing that her head will be shaved, she reacts with bravado by saying, "I'll look like Rod Steiger."  In the private moments that she shares with John, she is heartbreakingly emotional. Martindale demonstrates once again why she is considered one of film's best character actresses. -- vo

Rima Te WiataRima Te Wiata for the role of Bella in The Hunt for the Wilderpeople -

Michelle WilliamsMichelle Williams for the role of Randi Chandler in Manchester By the Sea -

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala AliMahershala Ali for the role of Juan in Moonlight -

Michael BarbieriMichael Barbieri for the role of Tony Calvelli in Little Men -

Ralph FiennesRalph Fiennes for the role of Harry Hawkes in A Bigger Splash - It's a delight to watch Ralph Fiennes cavort and romp in the remake of the French film, LA PISCINE. When Fiennes pays a visit to his old flame, rock star Marianne Lane ( played by Tilda Swinton), on vacation in Sicily resting her voice with her hunk of a boyfriend, Matthias Schoenaerts, it's clear that emotions from their affair still linger. Fiennes is determined not to let the embers die. Fiennes brings obnoxiousness to a new height while balancing the comedic with the pathetic to give us one of the best performances of his career. --vo

Lucas HedgesLucas Hedges for the role of Patrick in Manchester By the Sea -

Luis SilvaLuis Silva for the role of Elder in From Afar - Recipient of two international film festival acting prizes for his performance in FROM AFAR, Luis Silva plays an archetypal rough trade garage mechanic street hustler and gang leader, who personifies the masturbatory fantasies of an older Caracas, Venezuela dental prosthetic practitioner played movingly by Alfredo Castro as Armando. The film starts seemingly headed for a cliched story of lonely older man seeking sexual favors with disaffected younger man, but veers affectingly into a more interesting tale of two males connected by universal loneliness but separated by indelible issues of class. Silva captures perfectly the contradictions of Elder, his eyes filled with fear and loathing during his first encounter with Armando, which turns violent, developing into inchoate feelings of caring for someone other than himself, into the final tragic realization that life in modern Venezuela has few opportunities to offer a boy like Elder. --kr

Best Original Screenplay

Kleber Mendonça FilhoAquarius screenplay by Kleber Mendonça Filho -

Matt RossCaptain Fantastic, screenplay by Matt Ross -

Ira Sachs, Mauricio ZachariasLittle Men, screenplay by Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias -

Yorgos LanthimosEfthymis FilippouThe Lobster, screenplay by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou - How refreshing to see that Yorgos Lanthimos' first big budget, English-language film retained the absurdity and originality that made his earlier films, DOGTOOTH and ALPS such Chltorudis favorites. In THE LOBSTER, Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou examine human relationships from every angle and create an absurdist allegory that takes a cynical view of love to extremes. The two opposing viewpoints in THE LOBSTER are both operating on the extremes, and as is the case in anything extreme, the film tends to be fairly polarizing, with its admirers and its detractors. Even among Chlotrudis members, there is little agreement, as seen by this single nomination of a film I thought would dominate this year. At least the Chlotrudis members can recognize an amazing screenplay when they see it. And the pair create such an exquisite, open-ended finale to the film that have encouraged some of the most thrilling discussions about film that I have had in recent years. --mrc

Kenneth LonerganManchester By the Sea, screenplay by Kenneth Lonergan -

Grímur HákonarsonRams, screenplay by Grímur Hákonarson -

Best Adapted Screenplay

Kelly ReichardtMalie MeloyCertain Women, screenplay by Kelly Reichardt, based on stories by Maile Meloy -

Nikolaj ArcelJussi Adler-OlsenA Conspiracy of Faith screenplay by Nikolaj Arcel, based on the novel by Jussi Adler-Olsen - is  chronologically the third in an eerie and compelling series of popular Danish detective thrillers, all three of which were released in 2016 by Netflix. The title is ironic, as the people involved in the conspiracy are ultimately faithless, even though they are nominally Jehovah’s Witnesses. Commencing with an eight-year-old message in a bottle, one of the oldest but ever reliable narrative tropes, this unnerving chapter of seemingly burned-out detectives, consigned to working on unsolved cases in the police department basement, progresses from that message into a horrifying tale of parents strangely lacking in emotion for their missing children exploited and worse by a minister more akin to serial killer than man of the cloth. That such a horrifying story comes from Denmark, typically regarded as a model of contemporary probity, is due in part to the performance of brilliant Norwegian actor Pål Sverre Hagen as Johannes, in part to excellent direction by Hans Petter Moland, but most of all to an outstanding adaptation by Nikolaj Arcel, who also wrote the screenplay for Denmark’s THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. --kr

Whit StillmanJane AusteLove & Friendship, screenplay by Whit Stillman based on a novella by Jane Austen

Hannes HolmFredrik BackmanA Man Called Ove, screenplay by Hannes Holm, based on the novel by Fredrik Backman -

Hirokazu KoreedaAkimi YoshidaOur Little Sister, screenplay by Hirokazu Koreeda, based on the manga by Akimi Yoshida 

Wiebke von CarolsfeldEdeet RavelThe Saver, screeplay by Wiebke von Carolsfeld, based on the novel by Edeet Ravel - Identifying a source for a great movie is the first challenge for a good adaptation, and Wiebke von Carolsfeld certainly found something special in the YA novel written by Edeet Ravel. But as we've seen many time, a good novel does not always a good screenplay make, and it requires judicious reworking, cutting, and shaping to create an piece of film art that takes its cues from a previously published work, but is something entirely new in its own right. Perhaps is Wiebke's talent as an editor that allowed her to do just that with The Saver. Seeing what must have been paragraphs of text describing Fern's thoughts and emotions distilled into a single scene or a look, speak greatly to Wiebke's skill as a writer, as well as a director. It's truly a talent to be honored that can create a film that is both literary and visual, and Weibke has certainly triumphed in that regard. -- mrc

Best Use of Music in a Film

American HoneyAmerican Honey, Irma de Wind, Music Coordinator -

Eisenstein in GuanajuatoEisenstein in Guanajuato, Patrick Lemmens, Music Supervisor; Ruy García, Music Consultant -

Everybody Wants SomeEverybody Wants Some!!, Meghan Currier, Randall Poster Music Supervisors; Ian Herbert, Music Coordinator -

Green RoomGreen Room, Lauren Marie Mikus, Music Supervisor -

MoonlightMoonlight, Nicholas Britell, Composer - In a time when noise increasingly is regarded as the equivalent of emotion, and source music frequently obviates the need for creative thinking, a score such as Nicholas Britell’s MOONLIGHT is something to treasure. A musician  and producer (of the short WHIPLASH and co-producer of the feature), as well as film composer of great renown, Britell is enjoying considerable success with his superlative score for MOONLIGHT. Using a technique of Southern Hip-Hop he learned from director Barry Jenkins called “Chopped and Screwed” music (songs are slowed way down, and in doing so, the pitch goes down too, resulting in music very slow and deep), Britell applied the technique to slow things, bend music, deepen the sound of music. “First, I would write music and record it, primarily with piano and strings, in particular featuring the beautiful playing by violinist Tim Fain. After this, I would being to experiment with ‘chopping and screwing’ my own recordings. I would bend tracks, taking cellos and turning them into strange bass-like instruments, taking pianos and violins and altering them into a totally new shape. At times, this sort of alteration is quite subtle, while at other times quite extreme”. Britell’s instinct for both the classical and the unusual can be heard in the virtuoso violin playing by the afore-mentioned Tim Fain, who often sounds like he is evoking the caprices and concertos of famous 19th century virtuoso violinist and composer Niccolo Paganini, or in the sudden even shocking introduction of Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum” from a 1780 sacred work, in counterpoint to a soccer game involving various neighborhood boys: The cue works brilliantly precisely because of its intrusiveness. But ultimately it is Britell’s close collaboration with Barry Jenkins in telling a story that results in a feeling of rapture at the conclusion of MOONLIGHT. --kr

Sing StreetSing Street, Becky Bentham, Music Supervisor -

Best Editing

Lee ChatametikoolLee Chatametikool for Cemetery of Splendor -

Matthieu LaclauMatthieu Laclau for Mountains May Depart -

Elmer LeupenElmer Leupen for Eisenstein in Guanajuato -

Nat Sanders and Joi McMillonJoi McMillon and Nat Sanders for Moonlight -

José SalcedoJosé Salcedo for Julieta -

Best Cinematography

Caroline ChampetierCaroline Champetier for The Innocents -

Chung-hoon ChungChung Chung-hoon for The Handmaiden - Director Park Chan-wook’s cinematographic collaborator on OLDBOY, LADY VENGEANCE, THIRST and STOKER creates the year’s most dazzling textures and colors for this imaginative evocation of 1930s Korea’s clothes, furniture, drapes, books, and steamy lesbian sex scenes, with particular emphasis on pale pink cloth, flower petals, and skin. The exquisite secret library where spirited dramatic readings of high-toned pornography for a select group of elegant well-dressed gentlemen take place becomes an unforgettable lesson on the power of words, as well as an illustration of the Count’s mantra, “Where I come from, it’s illegal to be naïve” — something impossible to say about Sookee or Hideko by the end. Chung’s justifiably renowned work is so varied, detailed, and jaw-droppingly exquisite that the film invites repeated visits, like the secret rooms of your favorite libraries and museums. --kr

Diego GarcíaDiego García for Cemetery of Splendor -

James LaxtonJames Laxton for Moonlight -

Marius PanduruMarius Panduru for Aferim! -

Paul YeePaul Yee for The Fits -

Best Production Design

Microbe & GasolineAttila Egry for Microbe & Gasoline -

JulietaAntxón Gómez for Julieta -

Cemetery of SplendorAkekarat Homlaor for Cemetary of Splendor -

Love & FriendshipAnna Rackard for Love & Friendship - The works of Jane Austen continue to find favor with each new generation of artists and audiences. Director Whit Stillman’s most assured work to date, and very possibly the most remarkable Austen adaptation yet, is 2016’s version of LADY SUSAN entitled with a name from Austen’s juvenilia. The production design by Anna Rackard makes full use of characters’ frequent entrances into and exits from stately mansions, beautifully decorated sitting rooms and parlors, empty hallways, and sculpted formal gardens. In Rackard’s incisive work, the rooms become as much characters in Austen's story as the costumes, paintings, furniture, and music. --kr

The HandmaidenSeong-hie Ryu for The Handmaiden -

High-RiseMark Tildesley for High-Rise -

Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast

Certain WomenCertain Women - Films like Kelly Reichardt's CERTAIN WOMEN, that tell three separate stories that are only tangentially related, can be frequent fodder for great ensemble cast performances. The women assembled to tell these stories do so in very complex and varied ways. From Laura Dern's no frills, capable lawyer, who has to continuously go above and beyond precisely because of her gender, to Lily Gladstone's taciturn, solitary rancher who embodies the phrase, 'still waters run deep,' we're talking some incredible performances. Michelle Williams tackles a complex, ambitious woman who knows shat she wants and goes after it. Kristen Stewart, a young lawyer from the city traveling hours weekly to teach a class to a few teachers in the country. And let's not forget the amazing men who support these stories. James LeGros, Rene Auberjonois and especially, Jared Harris, create rich support characters that truly bring this amazing film to life. -- mrc

Don't Think TwiceDon't Think Twice -

Little MenLittle Men -

MoonlnightMoonlight -

Our Little SisterOur Little Sister -

Best Documentary

13th13th -

City of GoldCity of Gold -

Miss Sharon Jones!Miss Sharon Jones! -

Tickled!Tickled! -

WeinerWeiner -

Where to Invade NextWhere to invade Next -