It’s Oscars Eve here in the UK, and that means it must be time for the Annual Craggus Movie Awards. For this, the awards’ 3rd year, I’ve changed the rules a bit. Instead of being linked to the Oscar nominations with some additions like in previous years, all the nominees and winners are now chosen from films which had their UK theatrical release in the relevant year and Mertmas and I have seen. So, this year’s awards will include some films honoured in last year’s Oscars, such as “Whiplash” while other standouts like “Room”, “The Big Short” and “Zoolander 2” will have to wait until next year’s awards to see how they fare. It also means there’s a one-off overlap with last year’s Craggus Awards which is good news for J K Simmons if nothing else. I’ve trimmed down the categories this year instead of just aping the Academy’s ones and as time goes on I may add in new categories and awards. However, exactly like the Oscars, winners are chosen on the basis of personal preference and may bear no similarity to technical or artistic achievement, real or imagined.
So, without further ado…on with the show!
Best Supporting Actress
- Rebecca Ferguson, “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”
- Meryl Streep, “Into The Woods”
- Olivia Cooke, “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl”
- Raffey Cassidy, “Tomorrowland: A World Beyond”
- Laurence Leboeuf, “Turbo Kid”
Cassidy and Leboeuf deserve recognition for bringing quirky and convincing performances as synthetic beings, especially Cassidy whose performance as Athena is enhanced by some tremendously subtle physicality. Streep’s turn in “Into The Woods” was good enough to snag an Oscar nom so it needs little explanation for its presence here and while Olivia Cooke provided the tender emotional core for “Me And Earl And The Dying Girl”, the award goes to Rebecca Ferguson for her ass-kicking role in “Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”, managing to steal the limelight from noted egotist and hogger of the action, star Tom Cruise.
Winner: Rebecca Ferguson
Best Supporting Actor
- Colin Firth, “Kingsman: The Secret Service”
- LeBron James, “Trainwreck”
- Mark Rylance, “Bridge Of Spies”
- J K Simmons, “Whiplash”
- Milo Parker, “Mr. Holmes”
Colin Firth amuses and impresses in equal measure as super suave gentleman spy in “Kingsman” while both Rylance and Parker provide important support and chemistry for their respective leading men. And while I wish I could give this award to LeBron James for his sensationally self-deprecating turn in “Trainwreck”, the truth is J K Simmons won this last year under the old system and his performance is so good that he can’t help but win it again under the new rules. That’s your lot though, J K. If you want another award, you’ll need to make another film.
Winner: J K Simmons
- Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
- Carey Mulligan, “Suffragette”
- Maggie Smith, “The Lady In The Van”
- Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”
- Daisy Ridley, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Theron was the undoubted star of “Fury Road”, all but eclipsing its eponymous hero while Carey Mulligan and Maggie Smith both dominated and elevated in their nominated roles. Daisy Ridley exploded on to the screen a fully-fledged movie star in 2015’s triumphant return to a galaxy far, far away but its Vikander’s incredible performance in “Ex Machina” which takes the prize this year.
Winner: Alicia Vikander
- Matt Damon, “The Martian”
- Ian McKellen, “Mr. Holmes”
- O’Shea Jackson Jr, “Straight Outta Compton”
- David Oyelowo, “Selma”
- Tom Hardy, “Legend”
I like Leonardo DiCaprio as an actor very much but thanks to my change in rules, I don’t have to deal with not caring for “The Revenant” until next year’s awards. Turning back to 2015, while he had genetics on his side, O’Shea Jackson Jr’s performance as his real life father is still a remarkable achievement, as is David Oyelowo’s recreation of the legendary Dr Martin Luther King, Jr in “Selma”. Sticking with the true life theme, Tom Hardy’s double performance as Reggie and Ronnie Kray is worthy of recognition, much better than the film built around it and Ian McKellen breathed new life and insight into a quasi-historical figure who feels like he was real in “Mr Holmes” but it’s Matt Damon’s enormously likeable performance in “The Martian” which takes the prize. Damon near carries the entire film with wit, charm and charisma.
Winner: Matt Damon
Best Animated Movie
Once again, Pixar walk away with this and while “The Good Dinosaur” may have been a high quality misfire, there’s no doubting “Inside Out” deserves the prize, despite tough competition from Baymax and Snoopy.
Winner: “Inside Out”
- George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”
- Steven Spielberg, “Bridge Of Spies”
- Ridley Scott, “The Martian”
- J J Abrams, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
- Colin Trevorrow, “Jurassic World”
Now at least two of the names on this list are bound to raise a few eyebrows but I’m including Trevorrow and Abrams on the basis that they so successfully recaptured the essence of the respective franchises they resurrected that they deserve acclaim for the skill and energy they deployed. Both Spielberg and Scott showed yet again their mastery of the craft but it’s to George Miller the Best Director Craggus Award must go for his blisteringly kinetic action movie, the culmination of his personal passion and determination to bring the project to fruition.
Winner: George Miller
- “Mad Max: Fury Road”
- “The Martian”
- “The Lady In The Van”
- “Bridge Of Spies”
- “Inside Out“
Looking at the list, they’re all great films but it’s a two horse race between “Mad Max” and “The Martian” and in a photo finish for the dusty red desert sweepstakes, “The Martian” takes the Best Film prize for 2015.
Winner: “The Martian”
The final movie award of the night – as far as The Craggus is concerned, I believe the Academy have a few tokens to hand out later – is The Mertie Award for Best Film of 2015. I asked Mertmas to provide his five favourite movies of the year and his nominations were:
While Pitch Perfect 2 would easily win a Best Soundtrack award, the runaway best movie of 2015 in this nine year old’s view, eclipsing “Star Wars”, “The Avengers” and “Jurassic World” was “Tomorrowland: A World Beyond”. Congratulations, Brad Bird! Someone embraced your uncynical, hopeful vision of the future!
Winner: “Tomorrowland: A World Beyond”