The 2017 Jeff Malone Academy Awards

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CREDIT: Amazon Studios

If I were in charge of unilaterally selecting the Oscars, here is who would be selected. Nominees are listed alphabetically, winners in bold.

Best Picture
The Big Sick
I, Tonya
Lady Bird
Lady Macbeth
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Darren Aronofsky, mother!
Luc Besson, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
William Oldroyd, Lady Macbeth
Michael Showalter, The Big Sick

Lead Actor
Michael Fassbender, Alien: Covenant
Hugh Jackman, Logan
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
James McAvoy, Split
Algee Smith, Detroit

Lead Actress
Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman
Aubrey Plaza, Ingrid Goes West
Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Taylor Schilling, Take Me

Supporting Actor
Jake Gyllenhaal, Okja
Caleb Landry Jones, Get Out
Ray Romano, The Big Sick
Adam Sandler, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Patrick Stewart, Logan

Supporting Actress
Betty Gabriel, Get Out
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Michelle Pfeiffer, mother!
Allison Williams, Get Out

Adapted Screenplay
Dante Harper, Michael Green, John Logan, Jack Paglen, Alien: Covenant
Alice Birch, Lady Macbeth
Scott Frank, Michael Green, James Mangold, Logan
Luc Besson, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Jason Fuchs, Allan Heinberg, Zack Snyder, Wonder Woman

Original Screenplay
Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick
Kevin Costello and Kyle Mooney, Brigsby Bear
Steven Rogers, I, Tonya
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Animated Feature
The LEGO Batman Movie
The LEGO Ninjago Movie

Bojan Bazelli, A Cure for Wellness
Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
Ari Wegner, Lady Macbeth
Darius Khondji, The Lost City of Z
Steve Yedlin, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Costume Design
Natalie O’Brien, The Bad Batch
Stacey Battat, The Beguiled
Jennifer Johnson, I, Tonya
Holly Waddington, Lady Macbeth
Olivier Bériot, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Film Editing
Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver
Lee Smith, Dunkirk
Gregory Plotkin, Happy Death Day
Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya
Jennifer Lame, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Makeup and Hairstyling
Alien: Covenant
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Original Score
Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
Oneohtrix Point Never, Good Time
Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
John Williams, Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Original Song
“Cut to the Feeling,” written by Carly Rae Jepsen, Leap!
“Mystery of Love,” written by Sufjan Stevens, Call Me by Your Name
“Remember Me,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, Coco
“Tuff Love,” written by Geremy Jasper, Patti Cake$

Production Design
Alien: Covenant
Blade Runner 2049
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Sound Editing
Baby Driver
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Sound Mixing
Baby Driver
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
War for the Planet of the Apes

I didn’t watch enough documentaries this year.

Foreign Language Film
A Fantastic Woman
The Square

Animated Short
Garden Party

Live Action Short
The Eleven O’Clock

Documentary Short Subject

Best Songs of 2017

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It’s early March, so it must be time for me to post my list of the best singles of the past year!

1. Tove Lo – “Disco Tits” – A woman doesn’t have to be modest to earn respect, and don’t Tove Lo know it.
2. Kesha – “Praying” – The gospel-tinged anthem we all need right now.
3. Lorde – “Green Light” – If you’re looking for euphoria, Lorde has you covered.
4. Jain – “Makeba” – This guaranteed toe-tapper/hip-spinner was technically released in 2016, but while it may have taken off in Jain’s native France that year, it didn’t really hit in the U.S. until that Levi’s commercial debuted in late 2017.
5. Marian Hill – “Down” – A deceptively simple piano-driven trip-hop jam from this Philadelphia duo.
6. Carly Rae Jepsen – “Cut to the Feeling” – We all need to just follow the Tao of Carly.
7. St. Vincent – “Los Ageless” – St. Vincent is still the master of combining genuine chops with super scuzzy distortion.
8. Beck – “Up All Night” – Put this track on if your house party’s tunes are bringing everyone down.
9. Miley Cyrus – “Younger Now” – Is this what agelessness feels like?
10. Dua Lipa – “New Rules” – Dua Lipa’s anthem attempt = anthem success!
11. Miguel – “Told You So” – If there is one singer above all others belting out tunes right now about whom I would say, “You’ve got to listen to what they’re saying,” it’s gotta be Miguel.
12. Alice Merton – “No Roots” – There may be no roots to Alice Merton’s disposition, but there plenty of roots, powerful ones at that, to her musical influences.
13. Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug – “Havana” – This song makes me sweaty. But it’s the sweat of passion, so I don’t feel gross.
14. Zedd and Alessia Cara – “Stay” – Zedd is the kind of DJ so skilled at bottling up those moments you don’t want to let slip away.
15. Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, and Big Sean – “Feels” – Just some tropical vibes to get you by.
16. Portugal. The Man – “Feel It Still” – The sort of generational rock song with lyrics that might mean something profound or nothing at all.
17. Katy Perry ft. Ziggy Marley – “Chained to the Rhythm” – Direct, but also pointed and bopping.
18. The Killers – “The Man” – One thing we can count in this life is songs entitled “The Man” being silly but also kind of anthemic.

Best TV Episodes of 2017

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These episodes of television all originally aired in North America between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. I watched them, and I enjoyed doing so. I bet you will feel the same while watching them … if you haven’t already.

1. Twin Peaks: The Return – “Part 8”
2. Nathan for You – “The Anecdote”
3. Halt and Catch Fire – “Who Needs a Guy”
4. Nathan for You – “Finding Frances”
5. Rick and Morty – “Morty’s Mind Blowers”
6. Better Call Saul – “Chicanery”
7. Halt and Catch Fire – “Ten of Swords”
8. Black Mirror – “Hang the DJ”
9. Twin Peaks: The Return – “Part 17”
10. Halt and Catch Fire – “Goodwill”
11. Twin Peaks: The Return – “Part 18”
12. Mr. Robot – “eps3.4_runtime-error.r00”
13. Review – “Cryogenics; Lightning; Last Review”
14. The Good Place – “Dance Dance Resolution”
15. Great News – “Honeypot!”
16. Big Mouth – “Requiem for a Wet Dream”
17. Rick and Morty – “The Ricklantis Mixup”
18. Mr. Robot – “eps3.7_dont-delete-me.ko”
19. BoJack Horseman – “Time’s Arrow”
20. Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories – “Angel Man”

Best Movies of 2017

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These movies are gooood

CREDIT: YouTube Screenshots

This ranking was originally posted on News Cult in December 2017.

There are several women-centric films on my 2017 best-of list, with multiple ladies and women appearing right there in the titles. As this has been the year of #MeToo, is this female presence a trend, or just a coincidence? My gut says the latter, as any year’s cinema is deep, wide, and collaborative, and therefore resulting from a multitude of sources. But fresh storytelling resonates with me (and with most critics, I believe), so it makes sense that those who have been previously silenced are highlighted among the best when they are finally able to tell their stories.

Great movies that didn’t quite make my list include Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049, Detroit, The Florida Project, Get Out, Happy Death Day, Logan, Logan Lucky, Okja, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Victoria & Abdul, and War for the Planet of the Apes.

10. The Disaster Artist
James Franco finds his perfect passion project in revealing and gussying up the making of the best worst movie of all time. The ethos of the confused but accidentally brilliant The Room and its fandom are inherently infused in this mix of the conventional and the once-in-a-lifetime.


Best TV Shows of 2017

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CREDIT (Clockwise from Top Left): Michael Gibson/FXX; Showtime; AMC; Kelsey McNeal/ABC

This ranking was originally posted on News Cult in December 2017.

In recent past best-of-year lists, I have pointed out the impossibility of watching every single program that airs on television. The medium is now saturated to the point that not only could one average viewer be watching a completely different set of shows than another average viewer, but so could one professional critic be similarly disconnected to another critic. It naturally follows then that no best-of is any more “correct” than any other. But this has been the case all along. The value of such year-end curating is not a matter of accuracy, but of insight and personal style. Thus, I encourage readers to seek out as many best-of lists as they find edifying, from as diverse a group of critics as possible. Think of each as the best according to a particular palette. Here is my contribution to that cornucopia.

(Shows that were top 10-worthy this year that I didn’t have enough room for include Baskets, BoJack Horseman, The Carmichael Show, Legion, Rick and Morty, Riverdale, Silicon Valley, Speechless, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Young Pope, and You’re the Worst.)

10. Review (Comedy Central)
If this list were determined by density of entertainment value alone, the three-episode final season of Review would easily take the top spot. Andy Daly’s career-defining work as “life reviewer” Forrest MacNeil brought his combination of explosive hilarity and existential despair to its logical eternally continuous endpoint. Great series finales tend to be either ambiguous or definitive; Review’s is somehow both open-ended and forcefully conclusive.