Ladies and gentlemen; boys and girls; children of all ages, welcome to my anti-Academy Awards, The Moulinie Awards. Now, first I must apologise; these awards were meant to coincide with the real deal in February, yet, due to technical issues – my laptop has been been very unwell (thoughts and prayers please) – it has been delayed until now. However, I still kept to the same window as the Academy; so, while delayed, the awards should still be hopefully relevant. Here are the rules. The film must have been released between February 1st 2017 and February 1st 2018. By release, I mean any form of release: festivals count for my awards, but re-releases do not. If a film debuted, for example, at a festival in January 2017 and yet only received a nationwide cinematic release in February 2017, that film unfortunately will not count, as the initial ‘release’ was January. I hope this has been cleared up. Now, to the elephant-in-the-awards-ceremony; I know my inclusion of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event may prove somewhat controversial as it was both released on – and marketed as – a Television event. However, upon deeper analysis, it’s clear that it doesn’t really fit into the traditional patterns of Television and is its own beast. To me – and to many critics – it appears more like an 18 hour film than it does traditional Television – other than the mercurial Part 8 – and, as a consequence, I have decided it is worthy of conclusion. I can only hope this doesn’t upset too many people. And now, without further delays, here are the winners!
- Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
- Blade Runer: 2049
- Phantom Thread
And the winner is…. Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
Without doubt, this is the most artistically ambitious project in the history of Television. So much so, in fact, that it transcends Television as a medium and becomes damn-near uncategorisable; to the point where I felt not as though I was waiting weekly for the latest episodic adventures of my favourite characters, but more annoyed that my new favourite motion picture kept taking 7 day intermissions. To return 25 years later with a follow-up to the most revolutionary show in Television history isn’t easy; to return and, to not only beat it in terms of quality, but to absolutely blow it out the water while simultaneously revolutionising the industry once again is damn near implausible. Yet, Twin Peaks: A Limited Event did it. An 18 hour master-class in both cinematic form and ambiguous storytelling; it’s a hypnotic event. At times a beautifully touching dream, at others a terrifying nightmare; Twin Peaks: A Limited Event was, without doubt, the best thing to hit any form of screen last year, and a worthy winner of this award.
Runner-Up – Phantom Thread
- Dennis Villenueve – Blade Runner:2049
- David Lynch – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
- Darren Aranfosky – Mother!
- Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
- Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
And the winner is…. David Lynch – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
To direct one two or three hour masterpiece of cinema is a difficult undertaking that only a handful of directors throughout history have managed to pull-off on a regular basis. Directing is a difficult job – despite the glamour and money that surrounds it – and 90% of film-makers go an entire career without ever making a truly fantastic film; merely hovering between awfulness and mediocrity. To return after a thirteen year hiatus and direct 18 hours of cinematic genius is a gargantuan undertaking; but Lynch managed it seemingly with a consummate ease; even managing to fit in a masterpiece within a masterpiece with Part 8. One only has to watch the behind-the-scenes of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event to see how much time, care and attention was spent on it by this 70+ year old maverick. For that, nobody else could ever hope to touch him, and 2017 was the year of David Lynch. All together now – ‘Who gives a fucking shit how long a scene is?’ This was the magnusopus of a true great, and, if it is the last major project he ever directs, it’s a perfect way for the surrealist-Americano to bow-out.
Runner-up: Dennis Villeneueve – Blade Runner:2049
- Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
- Kyle MacLachlan – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
- Harry Dean Stanton – Lucky
- Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
- Hugh Jackman – Logan
And the winner is…. Kyle Maclachlan – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
This was, without doubt, the hardest category to pick from; as both Daniel Day Lewis and MacLachlan gave incredible performances both equally worthy of recognition. However, in the end, it came down to a single factor: Daniel Day-Lewis gave one great performance, and Kyle MacLachlan gave three (if not four, depending on interpretation.). To play three characters – all distinctly different – and juggle each one’s mannerisms on-set is fucking ridiculous, to be frank, and MacLachlan manages it with a spell-binding ease. Whether it’s the minimalistic – almost silent movie style performance of Dougie Jones – or the menacing and terrifying – yet strangely charismatic – performance as Cooper’s Doppelganger or the moment where he finally slips back into the role that defined him in the early 90’s – Special Agent Dale Cooper – MacLachlan absolutely dominated the screen for every second he spent upon it. It’s a magical, transformative, once-in-a-lifetime performance that just about edges out perhaps the greatest actor of all time, Mr. Day-Lewis. Just about.
Runner- up: Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
- Laura Dern – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
- Frances McDermond – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
- Jennifer Lawrence – Mother!
- Allison Williams – Get Out
- Ahn Seo-Hyun – Okja
And the winner is….. Jennifer Lawrence – Mother!
While some have derided Mother! as a nonsensical mess, I believe most of these – at the risk of sounding elitist – simply failed to grasp or understand it, as it was a film that refused to explain the narrative or yield to conformity; instead revelling in his ambiguous and puzzling nature. It is, without doubt, the most ambitious film of Aranofsky’s career thus-far, and the best performance of Jennifer Lawrence’s. I think I awarded this mostly due to the surprise factor, as I didn’t believe, personally, that she had it in her. Yet, she proved she was definitely more than eye-candy with a very wounded and wide-eyed performance that should, once and for all, prove that she is indeed a very talented actress with the world at her feet. While most may have failed to grasp the movie’s concepts, they can’t have failed to recognise such a fantastic performance. If they did, then that’s simply ignorance.
Runner-up: Laura Dern – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
- David Lynch and Mark Frost – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
- Jordan Peele – Get Out
- Darren Aranofsky – Mother!
- Logan Sparks and Dragon Sumonja – Lucky
- Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
And the winner is…. Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
There is almost nobody, today, writing screenplays quite like PTA. Deep, complex character studies that revel in their own ambiguity whilst still commanding a very cinematic narrative, without ever falling into clichés or contrived stereotypes. Whilst Phantom Thread isn’t as cinematically commanding as There Will Be Blood, it’s the most raw and authentic love-story released last year; featuring two characters whose lives are affected by the presence of one another in a very unexpected yet believable manner. Devoid of any expositional dialogue; the exchanges feel very raw and humanistic; this feels less like two fictional characters conversing with one another, and more like two very real human beings; a throwback to the golden era of cinema that could have been ripped out of the 1950’s. Cinematic poetry. The fact that this lost to Peele’s politics-heavy – yet not particularly innovative – Get Out, at the Academy Awards is a damn travesty. A travesty that has now been rectified.
Runner-up: Logan Sparks and Dragon Sumonja – Lucky
- Peter Deming – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
- Roger Deakins – Blade Runner: 2049
- Paul Thomas Anderson – Phantom Thread
- Darius Khondji – Okja
- Dariusz Wulski – Alien: Covenant
And the winner is…. Roger Deakins – Blade Runner: 2049
Behind Best Actor, this was the most hotly-contested award of them all, and at least four of the five nominees could easily have taken it. However, after careful deliberation, it seemed almost a crime not to award it to Deakins for his phenomenal work in painstakingly recreating the magic and atmosphere of the original Blade Runner, in what must have been one of the most daunting belated sequels of all time. While the original is famous for many things – the philosophical tones, the interesting world and characters – it’s the cinematography that really makes it stand out as a timeless classic, and having to somehow match that over twenty years later was not an easy task. Not only did Deakins match it, he somehow beat it, creating potentially the most visually arresting blockbuster of all-time, and certainly the best of this decade. The beautiful neon-lighting, the incredible use of washed-out colour and the immaculate framing make this one – after a few moments of deliberation – effectively a no-brainer. Words can’t do it justice. It demands to be watched.
Runner up: Peter Deming – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
- Angelo Badalementi – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
- Hans Zimmer/Benjamin Wallfisch – Blade Runner: 2049
- Hans Zimmer – Dunkirk
- Jed Kurzel – Alien: Covenant
- Michael Abels – Get Out
And the winner is… Angelo Badalementi – Twin Peaks: A Limited Event
Again, this category wasn’t easy, as the soundtrack for Blade Runner:2049 was absolutely phenomenal; yet, again, it mostly comes down to an award of attrition. To undertake the scoring – almost solely – of 18 hours’ worth of material is an incredibly difficult task, which simply cannot be understated or overlooked. Badalementi has long been somewhat of an under-rated genius, and here he once again shows why – despite having less of a reputation – he’s every bit as good as a Hans Zimmer or a John Williams. For particular highlights, I sincerely recommend Windswept and Heartbreak; two beautiful pieces of music. It was also one of my most personally cathartic moments to hear both the iconic Twin Peaks theme again on a Television set; to this day, I still don’t think any theme in Television history is superior.
Runner-up: Hans Zimmer/Benjamin Walfisch – Blade Runner:2049
And now we’ve dealt with the positive side of the awards – my take on The Academy Awards – here’s the less positive. My take on the Razzies, if you will.
Most Overrated Film
- Black Panther
- The Disaster Artist
- Wonder Woman
And the winner (loser) is… Black Panther
Now, let me get one thing as clear as crystal before proceeding: Black Panther is not -by any stretch – a terrible film. What it is, if we’re being entirely honest, is a by-the-numbers, formulaic superhero origin story that follows the same beats and patterns as any one of a number of entries in this most tired of genres. Yet, if you listen to the political machinations around the film, one might conclude that it is the most important film ever released in the history of ever. A fictional superhero film, set in a fictional country, has somehow become the poster child for contemporary black politics, and considered by some – for whatever reason – to be an historical watershed moment in the history of black depiction in popular media. To be entirely frank, what it really is, is a film that cynically cashes in on contemporary politics, allowing itself to become somewhat critic-proof; as any critic who criticises it is accused of racism, afraid of minority members of the public getting the spotlight they’ve so long been denied. This of course ignores the popularity of such films as 12 Years A Slave, Moonlight, or even Django:Unchained – which all dealt with real topics around the black community, and were all superior films. The very fact that this was spoken about as an Academy Award worthy film – for seemingly no other reason that the political ramifications – is absolute lunacy, and makes it an easy winner of this award.
- The Dark Tower
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- Free Fire
- The Snowman
And the winner (loser) is… The Dark Tower
This category is probably the most personal category of all, as, what may be the best film of the year to one viewer could well be the biggest disappointment to another. Of all the categories – within which I’ve tried to be as objective as possible (Otherwise Twin Peaks: A Limited Event would have won every award) this is easily the most subjective. To millions of people out there, I imagine Star Wars: The Last Jedi would be the most disappointing, as it has the biggest fanbase and hype around it, and has completely split the fanbase. To some people, It was the best film of the year. To me though, personally, no film has hurt me more violently than The Dark Tower. A huge mega-fan of the novels – Roland Deschain is possibly my favourite character of all time -I was so unbelievably ecstatic to hear it was finally hitting the big-screen, and couldn’t wait to see my favourite series of novels unfold on screen. When I finally watched it my heart was torn in two. Gone was the beautiful atmosphere and rich characterisation of King’s novels; replaced by a listless, dull family-friendly outing clearly trying to capitalise on the young-adult market that seemed to completely miss the point of the novels. It was a bastardisation of the source text that seemed to rape my very soul. For that reason alone, there can be no competition; though The Last Jedi was almost as terrible.
Runner-Up: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- The Dark Tower
- The Emoji Movie
- Fifty Shades Darker
And the winner is… The Emoji Movie
It’s the fucking Emoji Movie. Does this even warrant explanation or justification? At least the other four candidates were films designed to tell a story as much as make money. This, on the other hand, was no more than a lazy, cynical attempt to brainwash children into using mobile phones, starring Patrick fucking Stewart as a piece of talking shit. I…is this even a movie? How did we let this happen? How did we, as a society, descend from Dante’s Inferno to this abomination? Shame on us. Shame on us all.
Runner-up (by some distance): Fifty Shades Darker
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen; Storgy’s first ever Moulinie Awards. Did you agree? Did you disagree? Let me know; I welcome all discussion