The end of the 2016 doesn’t just mean putting out your best/favorite movies of year. It can be a time to reflect the individuals like directors, actors, actress, supporting roles, villains and everything in between. So, that said, I’m here to do just that. We all have our favorites, and these are mine. This is of course my opinion. I tried to shorten the list as much as I could, but like every year, it was a bit too hard so I left the lists as such.
Also, villains are considering Supporting Actors in other lists, but again, to not only make the lists shorter, I want the villains to have their own category, because everyone loves a good villain right?
Finally, everything and everyone will be in alphabetical order. This is also part one of two different lists. Enjoy.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu – The Revenant
Alejandro G. Inarritu has become one of the big name directors in Hollywood, especially around Oscar season, and The Revenant is one of those films. Of course, that doesn’t mean the film is just marketed and targeted toward Oscar viewers, the film is a beautifully shot and put together. What Inarritu was able to bring out of his cast – and put them through – just proves that he’s here to stay and a director everyone should get use to seeing.
Anthony and Joe Russo – Captain America: Civil War
The Russo Brothers have now directed, yet again, another great addition to the Captain America series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The two were able to bring one of the most iconic storylines in the comics to the big screen, and not only create a great film, but one that was personal and emotional at the same time.
Billy O’Brien – I Am Not a Serial Killer
Billy O’Brien arguably made a film adaptation that was better than the novel. I Am Not a Serial Killer was a film adaptation I didn’t even know was getting made – having read the book a few years ago – and I’m glad I got to see this on the big screen, because it is so well done and perfectly executed. Highly recommend you watch this.
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Damien Chazelle made waves with Whiplash, and while the two films are vastly different, I think La La Land was his better film. Dripping with homage to old Hollywood, even down to some of the style, the film surpassed any expectations I had. Chazelle is definitely a name you should look out for in the future.
Dan Trachtenberg – 10 Cloverfield Lane
Another not yet household name, Dan Trachtenberg really broke out in with his short film Portal: No Escape – based on the video games – but Trachtenberg held his own in his first feature film, and one that had a lot of attention toward it. What he was able to pull off was a great thriller that caught everyone off guard. Even the having to bring in the Cloverfield twist was handled okay, a bit jumbled, but still good.
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival
Denis Villeneuve has quickly become one of my favorite directors in the short time he’s been in the limelight, which is why I was looking forward to Arrival. What Villeneuve was able to do by balancing the drama in the story of Amy Adams’ character and the sci-fi element of the aliens – without turning it into a typical aliens coming to Earth film – was great to watch.
Fede Alvarez – Don’t Breathe
Fede Alvarez was under a microscope after he made his Evil Dead film, and he didn’t disappointment with his follow-up film Don’t Breathe. While this film doesn’t have as much gore as Evil Dead had, Don’t Breathe made up for it with the production and sound design.
Gareth Edwards – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
In a lot of regard, Gareth Edwards finally gave us a good Star Wars prequel. Even with all the criticism and worry that Rogue One was “suffering” because of the reshoots, Edwards proved all the doubters wrong by giving us a great fun-filled ride with a great cast with an amazing third act.
Jon Favreau – The Jungle Book
Jon Favreau was able to create, somehow, a vivid world that seemed real from the moment we saw it on screen for the first time. Not only that, he was able to create a great adaptation of The Jungle Book that we’ve never seen before, and arguably, probably never see again. Well, until the sequel anyway.
Justin Lin – Star Trek Beyond
At this point, we know that Justin Lin can come in to an already established franchise and bring something new to the table. However, what he was able to do with Star Trek Beyond was highly impressive. Especially after Into Darkness made some fans weary of the future films, but Lin made an awesome addition of the series, and what better way to do it than in the series 50th anniversary.
Robert Eggers – The Witch
Eggers isn’t a household name – yet – but the way he handled The Witch is a great start. He, along with his great cast and cinematographer, were able to pull off a creepy, unnerving and sometimes hard to watch horror film.
Scott Derrickson – Doctor Strange
Scott Derrickson, mostly known at this point as a horror film director, took the reins of Marvel’s most out there and magical character Doctor Strange, and absolutely nailed it. Doctor Strange was filled with special effects that have never been seen in a Marvel film, and some really trippy ones at that. However, what Derrickson was able in bringing this new side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a huge feat on itself.
Tim Miller – Deadpool
Tim Miller is one lucky man. He brought to life the film that many fans have been clamoring for: a true adaptation of the Merc with the Mouth: Deadpool. Miller, who directed the “leaked” proof of concept video managed to create a feature-length version that worked, and was an overall enjoyable film that made many fans, including me obviously, very, very happy.
Travis Knight – Kubo and the Two Strings
It’s quite surprising that this is only the fourth Laika Entertainment film, and it’s also the first film directed by CEO Travis Knight, who has also worked in the art department of all their films. I personally loved pretty much everything about Kubo and the Two Strings, and knowing how passionate Knight is with all their films, you can see that once again with this beautiful film.
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Chan-wook Park – The Handmaiden
James Wan – The Conjuring 2
Jeff Nichols – Midnight Special
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
Peter Berg – Deepwater Horizon
Ron Clements/John Musker – Moana
Richard Linklater – Everybody Wants Some!!
Taika Waititi – Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Todd Haynes – Carol
Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss – Hacksaw Ridge
This year was definitely the year of Andrew Garfield, and while Silence wasn’t released in my area I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. However, his performance in Hacksaw Ridge can’t be forgotten. His portrayal of unknown real-life hero Desmond T. Doss was amazing to watch on screen. Garfield conveyed every emotion in his powerful performance that I couldn’t imagine not putting on my list.
Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler – Manchester by the Sea
I sometimes feel that Casey Affleck doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, but that will definitely change after people watch Manchester by the Sea. Affleck’s performance in this was nothing short of magnificent as a man dealing with grief and finding out he has to take care of his nephew. The performance is very layered and becomes more enthralling as the film goes forward.
Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America & Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man – Captain America: Civil War
We’ve seen Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. plays their respective Marvel characters multiple times now. However, there was something different in their performances in Civil War. We finally had to choose, who’s better and who’s right? The great thing they did was giving us reasons to choose them, but also giving us reasons to see how wrong they are. Evans and Downey already have these characters locked down, but seeing them reach a new peak in their characters was a grand experience to watch.
Chris Pine as Toby Howard & Ben Foster as Tanner Howard – Hell or High Water
Chris Pine is always reliable when given great material, but it was also Ben Foster who made Hell or High Water a fantastic film to watch. Ben Foster is also one of those actors you tend to forget – only because he’s not in a lot of stuff – and then he does a film and role like this and you realize how great of an actor he is. Have these two play bank-robbing brothers and you have yourself two great leads.
Jack O’Connell as Kyle Budwell – Money Monster
Jack O’Connell has made a nice name for himself here in the States with his indie performance in ’71 and the Angelina Jolie-directed Unbroken (even a small role in 300: Rise of an Empire), but it was his performance in Money Monster that really got me to notice him. O’Connell was able to make his character feel real, and you almost want to root for him, even though he’s supposed to be the “bad guy,” at least at the start of the film. Although, George Clooney is technically the lead, O’Connell shares the same amount of screen time with Clooney.
Julian Dennison as Ricky – Hunt for the Wilderpeople
It’s a little hard to believe that Julian Dennison only has four credits to his name, and while watching him in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, it was hard to believe that. Dennison’s Ricky is the biggest highlight of the film, and I can’t wait to see what else Dennison does in the future.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass – The Revenant
I mean seriously. Look at what Leonardo DiCaprio put himself through in this film. Not only that, for the lack of dialogue his character has, DiCaprio was able to get us invested in the hell he went through just by using body movement and facial expressions. If that’s not the sign of a true actor, I don’t know what it is.
Max Records as John Wayne Cleaver – I Am Not a Serial Killer
Max Records was apparently the kid from Where the Wild Things Are, well, he’s little anymore! Records played John Wayne Cleaver so well you believed him as this conflicted character, and one that kept driving the film forward.
Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy & Ryan Gosling as Holland March – The Nice Guys
It’s a shame not many people saw The Nice Guys because it was really good, and what made it work was the chemistry between Crowe and Gosling. It sounds like a miss-matched pairing, but believe me it really worked. The two off-set each other in the perfect way and work together so well, that I can’t wait to see if they do anything together again in the future.
Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool – Deadpool
If anyone could have bought Deadpool to life, Ryan Reynolds is the man to do it. A fan of the character himself, you know he wasn’t going to mess it up, nor mess it up for the fans who have been waiting for a Deadpool movie for a long time.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange – Doctor Strange
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Chris Pratt as Jim Preston – Passengers
Dwayne Johnson as Maui – Moana
Jake Gyllenhaal as Davis – Demolition
Jake Gyllenhaal as Tony Hastings/Edward Sheffield – Nocturnal Animals
Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde – Zootopia
Mark Rylance as BFG – The BFG
Taron Egerton as Eddie Edwards – Eddie the Eagle
Will Smith as Deadshot – Suicide Squad
Amy Adams as Dr. Louise Banks – Arrival
Amy Adams has had quite a year, but it was Arrival that sticks out the most. Adams perfectly embodied the drama and multiple conflicts the character faces throughout the film. All of it comes together in those last ten minutes of the film that is an emotional-filled rollercoaster.
Angourie Rice as Holly March – The Nice Guys
It’s quite a feat when you can stand toe-to-toe or even steal a scene from Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, but Angourie Rice did just that in The Nice Guys. Playing Gosling’s daughter in the film, she was able to carry herself so well and really drive home the fact that even though she’s younger than the people around, she’s ten times smarter.
Cate Blanchett as Carol Aird & Rooney Mara as Therese Belivet – Carol
After watching Carol, I don’t think it would have worked without the great performances by both these women. They felt like real people and watching those two in a real just talking was enough to keep me attached to them from beginning to end.
Emma Stone as Mia – La La Land
There’s always something about Emma Stone when he does a big role like this, where it feels like you can’t tell where Stone comes in as an actress and when she’s doing the actual character. La La Land is no different, but it makes the most sense. Let’s also take a minute to appreciate her singing voice, and the song “Audition.”
Madison Wolfe as Janet Hodgson – The Conjuring 2
If Madison Wolfe chooses her projects carefully in the future, she will be an actress to be reckoning with, because her performance in The Conjuring 2 was fantastic. She played the horror of being stuck in a haunted house and possessed greatly, and being able to hang with Vera Farmiga is so easy feat either.
Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn – Suicide Squad
Margot Robbie almost seemed like perfect casting for the first big screen appearance of Harley Quinn, and when the film came out, we were all right. Robbie was able to tap into what made all of us fall in love with the quirky character and even bring her own little things to the role. Robbie seems down to keep playing Quinn, and I think all of us are okay with that.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Michelle – 10 Cloverfield Lane
Mary Elizabeth Winstead is always reliable in the small roles or supporting roles she pops in on, 10 Cloverfield Lane was no expectation. Here she was able to stretch her legs a bit more and really show us what she was capable of when given the chance to play the lead.
Min-hee Kim as Lady Hideko & Kim Tae-ri as Sook-Hee – The Handmaiden
The Handmaiden is one of those films that that hits you out of nowhere. The erotic drama thriller is held together by the compelling leads in Min-hee Kim and Kim Tae-ri, who bring their characters to life in a way I don’t think anyone could have ever imagined.
Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy – Jackie
Natalie Portman’s portrayal as former First Lady Jackie Kennedy was by far one of the best performances of the year. Playing Jackie as a flawed, but grief-driven woman was amazing to watch and seeing what Jackie went through, not just as the First Lady, but as a wife was something worth of praise.
Rebecca Hall as Christine – Christine
Rebecca Hall has been a name that’s always been out there, but she’s struggled to find her place amongst the busy actress crowd. It was finally Christine that made her standout among them. Hall’s performance as real-life Christine Chubbuck in this powerful film about her last days is truly something that Hall carries.
Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson – Hidden Figures
Taraji P. Henson maybe be making a name for herself on the FOX show Empire, but Henson has been around for a while and has always been a constant surprise in everything she in. Hidden Figures however was something she was able to break loose a bit. She has one particular scene that stands out around the midway point of the film that was worthy of getting her on my list.
Auli’I Cravalho as Moana – Moana
Charlize Theron as Monkey (Voice) – Kubo and the Two Strings
Eva Green as Miss Peregrine – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Gillian Jacobs as Samantha – Don’t Think Twice
Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps – Zootopia
Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine – The Edge of Seveteen
Jane Levy as Rocky – Don’t Breathe
Kika Magalhaes as Francisca – The Eyes of My Mother
Lucy Walters as Ann – Here Alone
Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan & Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson – Hidden Figures
Teresa Palmer as Rebecca – Lights Out
Alan Tudyk as K-2SO & Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Alan Tudyk is always great to see, or hear, on screen. That was no different with his new character in K-2SO aka everyone’s new favorite Star Wars droid. When it comes to Donnie Yen, it was just awesome to see him on the big screen in a big role like this in a big franchise.
Alden Ehrenreich as Hobie Doyle – Hail, Caesar!
What a better way to have a breakout role then in a Cohen Brothers movie, with a damn great and funny character. I hadn’t really seen Ehrenreich in anything before, but what he was able to do with his makes me believe that we’ll be seeing him a lot more soon – he is playing young Han Solo. He’s got charm, charisma, likability and knack to tackle anything that comes his way. Don’t believe me, just watch that scene with Ralph Fiennes again.
Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa/Black Panther & Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
– Captain America: Civil War
Chadwick Boseman had the distinct pleasure of bringing a fan-favorite character in Black Panther to the big screen, and did a great job doing so. Boseman was able to tap into what people loved about the character, but bring his own flavor to it that made the character even better.
When it comes to Tom Holland, he stole the show. His Peter Parker and Spider-Man were what fans have been waiting for and even made sense. Holland played the goofy, awkward and brave Parker/Spider-Man that we all know so well. Although we should wait to see what he does in his own film, but so far so good.
Chris Hemsworth as Kevin – Ghostbusters
I don’t think anyone could have imagined Hemsworth playing a dim-wit, but Paul Feig was able to do just that in Ghostbusters. Hemsworth’s Kevin was definitely one of the biggest highlights of the film and surprise performances of the year – at least for me.
Christopher Lloyd as Crowley – I Am Not a Serial Killer
Lloyd’s Crowley in I Am Not a Serial Killer is one of those roles that leave a massive impact on the film when you step back and think it over. Lloyd has one particular scene that involves him reading out a poem that is so powerful, moving, and harrowing all at the same time.
Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver – X-Men: Apocalypse
A lot of people judged Evan Peter’s look in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and then people actually watched the movie (what?) and loved him. So when it was announced that Peters would return in Apocalypse many waited to see what kind of big scene they had in store. Turns out, it was bigger than the last film in every way possible.
Jay Hernandez as Diablo – Suicide Squad
Jay Hernandez’s Diablo was one of the biggest question marks in Suicide Squad since he wasn’t in the promotion material too much. However, Diablo turned out to be one of the best and most well-rounded characters in the whole film. His arch is much more tragic than any of the other characters in the film, and makes Hernandez as bigger name in some people’s eyes. Although the scene comes out of nowhere, and felt a bit forced, it still was a great standout scene.
John Gallagher Jr. as Emmett – 10 Cloverfield Lane
John Gallagher Jr. made a name for himself this year with the Netflix home-invasion horror film Hush, and his great supporting role in this as Emmett. Gallagher Jr. didn’t get to do too much in 10 Cloverfield Lane due to Mary Elizabeth Winstead getting the bulk of the work, but Gallagher Jr. took the screen time he had and made it impactful.
Karl Urban as Doctor ‘Bones’ McCoy – Star Trek Beyond
Urban has already played Bones twice before, but there was something about his chemistry and performances with Zachary Quinto in Star Trek Beyond that made me love him even more as the character.
Lucas Hedges as Patrick Chandler – Manchester by the Sea
If Lucas Hedges plays his cards right, we could be hearing his name more often soon. His Patrick takes some time to really buy into, but his highlight scene involves him finally breaking down and it felt so raw that made me finally buy into Hedges in the film.
Sharlto Copley as Jimmy – Hardcore Henry
Sharlto Copley really had some fun filming Hardcore Henry. Jimmy is a kind of out there character and honestly couldn’t see Copley playing him at all, but low and behold he did and it was one of the best parts of this experimental film.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ray Marcus & Michael Shannon as Bobby Andes – Nocturnal Animals
Bill Murray as Baloo – The Jungle Book
Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Glen Powell as Finnegan – Everybody Wants Some!!
Joel Edgerton as Lucas & Adam Driver as Sevier – Midnight Special
Jonah Hill as Efraim Diveroli – War Dogs
Mahershala Ali as Juan – Moonlight
Matthew McConaughey as Beetle – Kubo and the Two Strings
Michael Sheen as Arthur – Passengers
Ralph Fiennes as Laurence Laurentz – Hail, Caesar!
Sam Neill as Hec – Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Ty Burrell as Bailey – Finding Dory
Woody Harrleson as Mr. Bruner & Hayden Szeto as Erwin – The Edge of Seventeen
Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman – Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Doubters, SHUT IT! Gal Gadot is our Wonder Woman. Arguably the best part of Dawn of Justice, Gadot was able to show she will be a kickass Wonder Woman in the very limited screen time she had in the much anticipated film.
Lulu Wilson as Doris Zander – Ouija: Origin of Evil
Lulu Wilson is the definition of “creepy little girl” in horror films with her role as the youngest daughter in the sequel/prequel for Ouija. Her “description” scene was probably the most stomaching turning and nerve-racking scene I’ve seen all year.
Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann – Ghostbusters
Everyone fell in love with Kate McKinnon as the witty and completely out there Jillian Holtzmann, and I can see why. McKinnon did bring a different kind of `humor to the film, and was one of the highlights of the film for sure, even having a cool action moment in the finale.
Naomie Harris as Paula – Moonlight
Naomie Harris as the mother to the lead character in Moonlight was equal parts tragic, heartbreaking and emotional to watch. Harris is a damn good actress when given the right material, and Moonlight was just that. Seeing her transform through the life of the character was easily the other best part of the film.
Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One – Doctor Strange
A lot of controversy went into the casting of Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, which sure is reasonable, but if you’re going to cast anyone other than someone who isn’t Asian – to play what everyone agrees was a stereotypical character to begin with – than you cast someone who is damn good like Tilda Swinton. Swinton played the character so well that you always felt the weight of her lines.
Viola Davis as Amanda Waller – Suicide Squad
While Margot Robbie seemed like perfect casting for Harley Quinn, Viola Davis screams out Amanda Waller. She had the no nonsense, cut throat and mission first ideal to her and Davis delivered on all accountants.
Abbey Lee as Sarah – The Neon Demon
Ariane Labed as Maria – Assassin’s Creed
Brianna Hildebrand as Negasonic Teenage Warhead – Deadpool
Emily Blunt as Queen Freya – The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Greta Gerwig as Nancy Tuckerman – Jackie
Kathryn Hahn as Carla – Bad Moms
Sarah Paulson as Abby Gerhard – Carol
Bonnie Aarons as Demon Nun & Javier Botet as The Crooked Man – The Conjuring 2
Damn you, James Wan! His demonic creations in The Conjuring 2 were definitely some of the creepiest he’s created, especially the Demon Nun, which was created during reshoots for the film, I am seriously getting freaked out just writing about it. As for The Crooked Man (played by Javier Boet), I haven’t looked at shadows the same way since.
Idris Elba as Shere Khan – The Jungle Book
There is just something about Idris Elba’s voice that makes you frighten, but also makes you respect him. Add all that to a tiger, and you have a formidable and scary villain.
John Goodman as Howard – 10 Cloverfield Lane
I was hesitant to put John Goodman’s Howard here, but for all intent and purposes, he is pretty much the villain in 10 Cloverfield Lane. He doesn’t let Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) leave the bunker and the way he acts toward her and Emmet (John Gallagher Jr.) throughout the movie essentially makes him the villain. There’s especially one moment that makes him very villainous. On top of that, Goodman is phenomenal in this.
Stephen Lang as The Blind Man – Don’t Breathe
Stephen Lang has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until Avatar that people started to actually remember his name. Something tells me that his character of The Blind Man in this will definitely make people never forget about Stephen Lang.
Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald – The Revenant
Tom Hardy is well known for playing complex characters and while John Fitzgerald isn’t overly complex, it doesn’t mean his character isn’t damn good. Hardy always brings his A-game and there is something about him playing a villain that always sticks out. His character is driven by greed and simply not seeing the reason for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character to live anymore. It’s the little things he does in between that makes his character work so well.
Alicia Vela-Bailey as Diana – Lights Out
Charlize Theron as Ravenna – The Huntsman: Winter’s War
Daniel Bruhl as Zemo – Captain America: Civil War
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Sam – Desierto
Patrick Stewart as Darcy – Green Room
Rooney Mara as The Sisters – Kubo and the Two Strings
So, who were some of your favorites this year?
Be on the lookout for Part 2 of the list where we look at the other sections in Hollywood.