Best Movies of 2018
It's not as if original ideas aren't out there. There are fewer, but what few there are, they got trampled by what's now the Disney machine. Disney owns the Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars brands, and those brands have consumed the movie-going audience so completely, mainly because they take up so much space in the multiplexes, practically crowding out the competition, especially any original competition. Therefore, any original ideas that manage to breakthrough should be celebrated. Of the handful that broke through, two have gotten love from a couple of award shows. The first is John Krasinski's A Quiet Place, a successful and somewhat clever horror film. The second is Jon M. Chu's Crazy Rich Asians.
Krasinski has probably had the best year of his life. Not only did his film A Quiet Place make over $188 million in the domestic box office, making it one of the highest-grossing horror films in history, just behind The Exorcist (1977), but he also was cast as Jack Ryan in the Amazon Prime series Jack Ryan. Krasinski's banner year didn't stop there because he cast his wife, Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place, and she's also having one of her best years as she was cast in Mary Poppins Returns, which is doing really well in the box office. It surpassed the aforementioned Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which made $120 million domestically. With $158 million, as of January 20, 2019, Blunt's film also entered the top ten of all-time musicals, according to Box Office Mojo.
Asian representation has been supremely lacking in major Hollywood productions, especially this kind of representation. There really haven't been predominantly Asian casts or Asian actors in leading roles that aren't vehicles for guys like Jackie Chan. What exacerbated the problem were the numerous examples of whitewashing or what some call yellow-face. Yellow-face is when a role in a film that's meant to be an Asian person is portrayed by a white person or a person of European descent. It's actually a tradition that goes back decades, but the Asian community has been more vocal in its protests against it over the past five years or so.
Crazy Rich Asians was released on August 15. That same month, three other films with Asians in the lead were released. They include The Meg, Mile 22 and Searching. That same month, Netflix also added two Asian-led productions to its service. One was To All the Boys I've Loved Before. The other was Kim's Convenience. With the success of Crazy Rich Asians, combined with all these other things created the hashtag, #AsianAugust. Two of the most critically acclaimed films this year were also predominantly Asian films, South Korea's Burning and Japan's Shoplifters. Hopefully, this will turn the tide in Asian representation in Hollywood.
Wilson Morales of the African American Film Critics Association pointed out on December 30 that Black Panther was one of five films this year to make more than $100 million in the domestic box office that was directed by an African-American. Ryan Coogler directed Black Panther, an effort that made him the runner-up for Time magazine's Person of the Year. Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time was the second. DuVernay also became the first black woman to direct a film that grossed $100 million or more. Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer 2 was the third. Steven Caple Jr's Creed II was fourth and Peter Ramsey's Spider Man: Into the Spider-Verse was the fifth.
It wasn't all about box office though when it came to movies about African-Americans or made by African-Americans. Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman won the Grand Prix at the 71st Cannes Film Festival where it premiered. The American Film Institute named it one of the best of 2018. Based on some other indicators, it's possible that this film could be the first film by Spike Lee to be nominated for Best Picture. Lee himself was first nominated nearly 30 years ago for Do the Right Thing (1989) in the category of writing but never for directing and never for Best Picture.
There is a question of whether or not Regina King, the Emmy-winning actress in If Beale Street Could Talk will get nominated. If she doesn't, then the only other actor of color who could get an Oscar nomination this year is Rami Malek who played Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Malek is Egyptian. Egypt is considered a Middle Eastern or Arabic country. The Middle East is part of Asia, so Malek could be the sole Asian representation this year among the acting nominees.
When it comes to the acting nominees, the front runners are Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, as well as all three women from The Favourite. Olivia Colman who plays Queen Anne is in contention for Best Actress. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz who are both previous Oscar winners are in contention for Best Supporting Actress. The front-runner for Best Supporting Actress is a bit up in the air, but other than Colman and Gaga, Glenn Close in The Wife could be the potential upset in the Best Actress category.
Best Movies of 2018
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK by Barry Jenkins
BLINDSPOTTING by Carlos López Estrada
BEING BLACK ENOUGH by Devin Rice
ANNIHILATION by Alex Garland
PRIVATE LIFE by Tamara Jenkins
HEREDITARY by Ari Aster
THE RIDER by Chloé Zhao
CHAPPAQUIDDICK by John Curran
BEN IS BACK by Peter Hedges
ON THE BASIS OF SEX by Mimi Leder
OH LUCY! by Atsuko Hirayanagi
GAME NIGHT by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
NIGHT COMES ON by Jordana Spiro
MONSTERS AND MEN by Reinaldo Marcus Green
SMALLFOOT by Karey Kirkpatrick
SATURDAY CHURCH by Damon Cardasis
BOY ERASED by Joel Edgerton
1985 by Yen Tan
THE STRANGE ONES by Christopher Radcliff & Lauren Wolkstein
THE SEAGULL by Michael Mayer
Best Overlooked DVD / VOD
QUEST by Jonathan Olshefski
DAYVEON by Amman Abbasi
ICARUS by Bryan Fogel
THE PASS by Ben A. Williams
PRINCESS CYD by Stephen Cone
PLAY THE DEVIL by Maria Govan
A FANTASTIC WOMAN by Sebastián Lelio
MARY AND THE WITCH'S FLOWER by Hiromasa Yonebayashi & Giles New
MI MEJOR AMIGO by Martín Deus
MARIO by Marcel Gisler
A MOMENT IN THE REEDS by Mikko Makela
VOYAGE / ADONIS by Scud