The Atlanta Film Critics Circle, of which I am a member, announced the winners of its second annual awards Dec. 3. Last year, six of the films on my ballot made the final list; this year, only five of my picks wound up in the official 10, though the other films that made it would probably be in my top 20.
The AFCC went big for The Favourite, which I highly recommend seeing when it gets to Athens. The latest film from Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster, The Killing of a Sacred Deer) topped the list and picked up awards for Best Lead Actress (Olivia Colman, whom I placed third), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Ensemble Cast and Best Screenplay (again, my third pick). Best Director winner Alfonso Cuaron’s Netflix pet project, Roma, was my pick for best film; look for it on Netflix starting Dec. 14, or catch it in a theater if you are lucky. Cuaron also deservedly won Best Cinematography.
The other films that made both my and the AFCC’s top ten were A Quiet Place (my sixth), Eighth Grade (my fifth), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (a stealthy contender for my top film that wound up third) and Black Panther (my eighth). My surprise was Mandy, which wound up No. 2 on my list. I also picked Nicolas Cage as my top actor (AFCC winner and Oscar frontrunner Ethan Hawke finished behind Cage and Vice’s Christian Bale), and the late Jóhann Jóhannsson’s innovative soundtrack for Mandy just barely beat John Carpenter and company’s refreshed Halloween for my Best Original Score. (AFCC winner Justin Hurwitz for First Man was my third pick.)
I preferred Toni Collette’s horror mom in Hereditary for Best Lead Actress, Can You Ever Forgive Me?’s Richard E. Grant for Best Supporting Actor (my second pick, A Star Is Born’s Sam Elliott, was the AFCC winner), Blake Lively (A Simple Favor) for Best Supporting Actress and Crazy Rich Asians for Best Ensemble Cast. Boots Riley’s inventive script for Sorry to Bother You bested Can You Ever Forgive Me? and AFCC winner The Favourite for my Best Screenplay honors.
My choices for Best Documentary (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) and Best Foreign Language Film (Roma; be sure to check out my second and third picks, The Guilty and Shoplifters, when you get the chance) matched up with the AFCC winners. My Best Animated Feature proved tough, but Teen Titans Go! To the Movies defeated Incredibles 2 and AFCC winner Isle of Dogs. Eighth Grade and its star, Elsie Fisher, swept the two special categories, Best First Film and Breakthrough Performer, on my ballot. 2018 has already been a great year at the movies, and happily, it is not over yet.
AFCC’s Top 10 Films 2018
1. The Favourite
2. A Star Is Born
4. A Quiet Place
5. First Reformed
6. Eighth Grade
8. (Tie) First Man/Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
9. Black Panther