“Shark attack!! Everybody out of the water!!” a bartender bellows over the clanging of a warning bell. She rushes to the bar with a plastic shark in either hand, slamming them headfirst into two side-by-side plastic cups. A spill of red grenadine billows from each shark’s mouth into the surrounding yellowish murk of sour mix and vodka, to wild cheers and applause from the Sunday night crowd at Tropical Isle.

Two pundits stare down at their drinks, both traumatized and amused.

“Do you think this is an omen?” Pundit #1 gulps.

“For what?” slurs Pundit #2.

“For The Meg winning it all.”

“I know we’re in New Orleans, but let’s not get overly superstitious. Gotta use our heads.”

The superstitious pundit nods back in agreement, slurping his cocktail.

“Okay, so… Crazy Rich Asians leads the pack with 9 nominations. That was just enough for Lady Bird to fly off with Best Picture last year, edging out Personal Shopper.”

“And Lady Bird didn’t even have a Best Box Office nod. Crazy Rich Asians are coming onto the battle field in full armor — and with not one, but two moms nominated in Best Supporting Actress. It’s almost cruel voters have to choose just one. Kinda reminds me of that time Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz, two future moms, went head to head in 2006 for The Holiday. ”

“We ought to feel blessed they both survived Thanos. Speaking of which, do you think Infinity War has any chance of pulling a Best Picture upset?”

“If Netflix can take home Best Picture at the Oscars, maybe Marvel can do the same here. But it’s always risky to bet on something without a Best Box Office nomination. On the other hand, Infinity War’s a Disney submission, and a lot of pundits believe Film Fun unofficially disqualifies Disney releases from that category. So it’s not necessarily the movie’s fault for who distributed it.”

“Right. Even A24 movies gets nominated sometimes. Let’s circle back under The Meg for a second. Its awards hype cooled off a bit with the end of summer, but we really saw it come back in a big way, biting off a serious chunk of real estate, including a nom for director Jon Turteltaub. Some are even speculating he could take home the gold… a sort of career win. But I wouldn’t rule out Christopher McQuarrie for Mission: Impossible – Fallout, especially now that he’s got Tom Cruise alongside him on the bill.”

“There’s definitely some support there, but it sounds like they’ll have plenty of future opportunities to award them in this category. I think it’s Jon vs. Jon [M. Chu] this year, hands down.”

“Here’s a crazy Asians stat for you. It’s the first movie to score the Best Actress / Best Box Office / Best Script triple axel since Twilight in 2008, which, of course, took home Best Picture at the end of the night. But Kristen Stewart lost, notoriously now—remember Personal Shopper was her first win after 9 career nominations.”

“We’ll see if Constance Wu has to wait around that long. She sure has enough relatives-in-law.”

By this time, the two Shark Attack cocktails have been drained to the dregs, a mess of spittle and crushed ice in non-biodegradable plastic. Pundit #2 looks over at his drinking companion, who’s starting to look more like a drooling Mother Markos than a proper human being. It’s going to be a long night.

He sighs. “You know… this is the first time I’ve been worried about you.”

And the nominees are…

BEST PICTURE
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Meg”
“A Star Is Born”
“Suspiria”

BEST DIRECTOR
Jon M. Chu, “Crazy Rich Asians”
Luca Guadagnino, “Suspiria”
Christopher McQuarrie and Tom Cruise, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
Eli Roth, “Death Wish”
Jon Turteltaub, “The Meg”

SNUB: Clint Eastwood and “The Mule” / SURPRISE: Bradley Cooper for “The Mule”

Clint Eastwood’s last portrait of the everyday extraordinary, Sully, flew high with Film Fun’s academy, reaping nominations across the board and an eventual win for its star, Tom Hanks. So when WB announced The Mule as a last-minute December release, it felt inevitable that history would repeat itself. But the movie was shut out in key categories all the way from Director to Actor to Runtime (an Eastwood staple), netting a single, albeit deserving, nomination: for supporting actor Bradley Cooper, who was not nominated for a certain other performance this year.

SURPRISE: “The 15:17 to Paris” shows up twice

On the other hand, Eastwood’s largely forgotten (by some) release from earlier in 2018 showed up twice down the ballot: for its 94-minute runtime, and, interestingly, for Best Visuals. The movie’s rangy, catch-as-catch-can visual style — at times reminiscent of the style being pursued by Eastwood’s fellow elder statesman, Terrence Malick — was music to Film Fun’s eyes.

SURPRISE: Tom Cruise, director?

Mere minutes after the nominations announcement concluded, Film Fun returned to amend one category with a surprise inclusion: that Tom Cruise would join Christopher McQuarrie as a co-nominee for directing Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Though Cruise is not technically credited as a director on the production (or a member of the DGA, for that matter), he is recognized here for his invaluable (and seemingly lifelong) contribution to the Mission franchise. It’s a fitting ode to a stunning collaborative vision that, for all we know, is just getting started.

BEST ACTRESS
Amy Forsyth, “Hell Fest”
Dakota Johnson, “Suspiria”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Jennifer Lopez, “Second Act”
Constance Wu, “Crazy Rich Asians”

BEST ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Beautiful Boy”
Tom Hardy, “Venom”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”
Bruce Willis, “Death Wish”
Yoo Ah-in, “Burning”

SURPRISE: Amy Forsyth, “Hell Fest”

Who is she? And what is Hell Fest? For those of you who were part of its $11.1 million total domestic haul, you might agree with Film Fun that it was the first horror film about sex in recent memory. And maybe you, too, have never quite shaken the moment Amy turns to the killer, cocks her head, and sighs, “Just do it already.” For the rest of us, who were instead watching Venom and A Star is Born that weekend, her inclusion came as a good old-fashioned Film Fun head-scratcher.

SNUB: Yalitza Aparicio in Best Supporting Actress

Listen: one awards show can’t correct all of the Oscars’ mistakes.

SNUB: Bonnie Aarons, “The Nun”

Now here’s a name we’re all familiar with, yet it’s nowhere to be found on Film Fun’s list of nominees. Having won Best Supporting Actress in 2017 for her brief but horrifying appearance as Demon Nun in The Conjuring 2, Aarons seemed like a shoe-in this year, scaling that role from Supporting to Lead in The Nun. After making a brave and daring omission, all Mike and Keaton can do now is pray for forgiveness. If they don’t show up at their own ceremony in a few weeks’ time, we’ll know why.

SNUB: Josh Brolin as Thanos

If anything felt like a sure bet heading into this year’s ceremony, it was that Josh Brolin would be nominated (and probably win) for his barn-burning performance as Avengers: Infinity War’s archvillain Thanos. After all, he’d already turned half the competition to stardust, freeing up a spot or two. But Film Fun went in another direction, instead honoring one of Thanos’ most pathetic victims with a nomination: Twink Spider-Man, portrayed by rising actor Tom Holland. Expect Thanos to stay home at his lake house the night of the ceremony in protest.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mia Goth, “Suspiria”
Vanessa Kirby, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
Tan Kheng Hua, “Crazy Rich Asians”
Michelle Williams, “Venom”
Michelle Yeoh, “Crazy Rich Asians”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Timothee Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”
Dave Chappelle, “A Star is Born”
Bradley Cooper, “The Mule”
Tom Holland, “Avengers: Infinity War”
Steven Yeun, “Burning”

SNUB: “Creed II”

Back in 2015, the last time Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed graced the silver screen, it seemed that nothing could prevent Furious 7 from its inevitable clean sweep of the Film Fun Awards. But Creed went up against the giant and took home trophies for director Ryan Coogler and supporting actor Sylvester Stallone. Its follow-up, Creed II, however, was completely shut out. One rumor among pundits as to why? Mike and Keaton were never able to see Creed II together. Sometimes you have to cry tears together to know they’re there.

BEST SCRIPT
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“Green Book”
“Hell Fest”
“Second Act”

BEST VISUALS
“The 15:17 to Paris”
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Meg”
“Suspiria”
“Venom”

SNUB: “Book Club” in Best Visuals and Best Script

No one gets it 100% right. And every year Film Fun suffers an embarrassment or two that’s particularly hard to bear. Book Club — which might as well have been (literally) ghost-directed by Garry Marshall — starred over 50 glasses of white wine, and was somehow barred entry to the Best Visuals category, making room for wine-less action movies like The Meg and Venom. It also appears that Second Act stole the requisite “romantic comedy” slot in Best Script, leaving the four leading ladies of Book Club out in the cold. At least they’ve got some chardonnay in them to keep them warm.

BEST SOUNDS
“Beautiful Boy”
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“A Star Is Born”
“Suspiria”
“The Nun”

BEST OTHER LANGUAGE FILM
“Burning”
“The Favourite”
“The Meg”
“A Quiet Place”

SURPRISE: “Bohemian Rhapsody” over “A Star is Born” in Best Box Office

As it currently stands, A Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody are neck and neck at the box office, with $206.3 million and $205.8 million, respectively. With longer legs and a Best Picture nomination, why did Film Fun shut out A Star is Born in favor of Rhapsody? We’re guessing they’re still waiting for it to pass American Sniper’s total haul.

BEST BOX OFFICE
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“Halloween”
“The Meg”
“Venom”

BEST LEADUP TO A MOVIE
“The Meg”
“The Nun”
“Second Act”
“A Star Is Born”
“Under the Silver Lake”

SURPRISE: What is “Under the Silver Lake”?

Here’s what we know: it’s 140 minutes long. It’s directed by David Robert Mitchell, who was nominated for his last feature, It Follows. Its release has been delayed two times (and counting) by distributor A24. And it’s taking up about 5.7 GB of space on one of Film Fun’s laptops. What we don’t know is how this “movie”, technically a 2019 commercial release, was eligible for a nomination this year. Just another Hollywood mystery, say the pundits.

SNUB: “Alpha” in Best Lead-Up to a Movie

It’s been over a year since Film Fun saw the first trailer for Alpha, back when it more closely resembled The Revenant than a live-action Balto reboot. As the trailers continued to play — through winter, spring, and summer — it started to feel like an airline push notification insisting that you check in to your flight a full day early. On the one hand, there’s time to drink more white wine at the airport. On the other, there’s a higher and higher chance you’ll forget to ever board your plane.

SNUB: Damien Chazelle’s “First Man”

Around the time Damien Chazelle’s La La Land danced up a record for nominations received at the Film Fun Awards (with 16), it was inconceivable that Chazelle wouldn’t receive a nomination for his follow-up feature. But First Man faced a near-total eclipse this year, with the exception of a brand-new category that almost seems to have been invented because of it: Worst Best. Unlike the box office, directors sometimes have to get the day off.

WORST BEST
“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch”
“First Man”
“The First Purge”
“Halloween”
“The Nun”

BEST MOVIE NO ONE HAS AN OPINION ABOUT
“A.X.L.”
“Beirut”
“Bumblebee”
“Christopher Robin Returns”
“Fahrenheit 11/9”
“The Girl in the Spider’s Web”
“Pacific Rim Uprising”

SNUB: Horror franchises (“The Nun”, “Halloween”, “The First Purge”)

Film Fun loves their horror — just ask previous Best Picture nominees It, The Conjuring, Paranormal Activity, The House of the Devil, Scream, etc. In a year that continued to break ground for the genre both at the box office and with critics, pundits were certain that franchise entries The Nun, Halloween and The First Purge would all find traction above the line. But Halloween didn’t even snag a nom for the triumphant return of leading lady Jamie Lee Curtis. Probably because she felt even more supporting than Yalitza Aparicio. In the end, it was up to the underseen Hell Fest and arthouse witch epic Suspiria, both of which overperformed, to fill the spook rack.

BEST MOVIE NOT FROM 2015
“Deep Blue Sea”
“47 Meters Down”
“Jaws”
“Jaws 2”
“Jaws: The Revenge”
“The Meg”
“Open Water”
“The Shallows”
“Shark Tale”
“Titanic”

BEST OSCAR
“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“Green Book”
“Roma”
“Vice”

BEST BRILLIANCE
“Life Itself”
“Roma”
“A Simple Favor”
“Sorry to Bother You”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse”

SURPRISE: A bloodbath in Best Brilliance

According to a report by Film Fun’s accountant, PricewaterhouseFong, one category that came down to the absolute wire — culminating in a last-minute revote, wherein Mike and Keaton shuffle their allotted points — was Best Brilliance. In what might go down as the most Brilliant year in history yet, there were simply too many movies trying to outsmart each other for the fifth spot. Fallen smartypants contenders include the likes of Vox Lux, Isle of Dogs, Ready Player One and Deadpool 2, whose predecessor famously won this category in its first year on the ballot.

BEST THEATRE
Moomers (Chicago, IL)
Quad Cinema (New York, NY)
Regal Cinemas Thorton Place 14 (Seattle, WA)
The Strand of Old Forge (Old Forge, NY)
United Artists Berkeley 7 (Berkeley, CA)

BEST RUNTIME
94 Minutes of “The 15:17 to Paris”
89 Minutes of “Hell Fest”
97 Minutes of “Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”
96 Minutes of “The Nun”
152 minutes of “Suspiria”

MOST PURGE-LIKE
“Action Point”
“Burning”
“Game Night”
“Hell Fest”
“Midnight Sun”

BIRDS
The Wasp, “Ant-Man and the Wasp”
Titular metaphorical caged birds, “Bird Box”
Prize-winning duck, “The Favourite”
Unfortunate bird, “Hereditary”
Meryl Streep, “Mary Poppins Returns”
The Meg, “The Meg”
Sparrows singing ‘Steal My Sunshine’, “Peter Rabbit”
Wolf, “Rampage”
Doves, “Second Act”
Reese Witherspoon (lettuce form), “A Wrinkle in Time”

SNUB: “Roma” in Worst Talking

Every year it’s the same. On a given night over the end-of-year holiday break, Film Fun gets too wasted together and throws on a random awards contender after settling back in from the bars. What ensues is shouting, swearing and an inevitable Worst Talking nomination. In 2016, it was Fences. Then it was The Post. (Both of them went on to win the category.) This year’s invective trained on Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar darling Roma, but it narrowly escaped a nomination, settling for citations in Best Oscar and Best Brilliance. It begs the question: are foreign language films eligible for Worst Talking? Are worse films worse than talking?

WORST TALKING
“Eighth Grade”
“Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”

Film Fun’s 2019 recipient of Best Lifetime is Jennifer Lopez. Lopez has been nominated for a record 9 Film Fun Awards, for her roles in Anaconda, Out of Sight, Angel Eyes, Maid in Manhattan, Enough, Gigli, What to Expect When You’re Expecting and this year’s Second Act. She won Best Actress in 2011 for The Backup Plan.

The winners will be announced once Aquaman passes A Star is Born (1976)‘s adjusted domestic total haul. A ceremony will be televised and will include many guests and celebrities.

Voting in the nomination round is closed to Film Fun and is based on the thirty point system. Ballots were submitted on Monday, January 21, and the nominations were announced on Tuesday, January 22 by PricewaterhouseFong.

In choosing the winners, voting will be opened up to our own academy members. Members must have seen each film’s BoxOfficeMojo page to vote in any given category, with the exception of Best Other Language Film and Best Theatre.

 

  • Ankur

    Movie