Undefended: Best of 2018

With awards season upon us, FilmFisher’s writers were asked to pick the best of what cinema had to offer in 2018. Instead of simply composing lists of the top 5 films, we wrote in our favorites from the top categories, with a few bonus rounds. Share your own selections in the comment section below.

Jackson De Vight

1) Best Picture: In a year where I felt there were a number of good, but no great films, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Sorry to Bother You, Eighth Grade, and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs were each flawed but worthwhile points.

2) Best Director: The Coen Brothers, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

3) Best Actor: John Cho, Searching

4) Best Actress: Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place

5) Best Screenplay: Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You

best of 2018 - ballad of buster scruggs

Robert Brown

1) Best Picture: Mission: Impossible – Fallout

2) Best Director: Bob Persichetti Jr., Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

3) Best Actor: Josh Brolin, Avengers: Infinity War

4) Best Actress: Zoe Kazan, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

5) Best Screenplay: Ethan and Joel Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Josiah Dyches

1) Best Picture: BlacKkKlansman

2) Best Director: A toss up between Lynne Ramsey with You Were Never Really Here and Barry Jenkins with If Beale Street Could Talk, but the latter barely edges out the former

3) Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

4) Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, Wildlife

5) Best Screenplay: Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You

best of 2018 - you were never really here

Travis Kyker

1) Best Picture: Annihilation

2) Best Director: Christopher McQuarrie, Mission: Impossible – Fallout

3) Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

4) Best Actress: KiKi Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk

5) Best Screenplay: Armando Iannucci and David Schneider, The Death of Stalin

In a year full of absolutely magnificent original scores, special shout-out to The Old Man and the Gun and If Beale Street Could Talk for being the two very best.

Timothy Lawrence

1) Best Picture: The Other Side of the Wind

2) Best Director: Paweł Pawlikowski (Cold War)

3) Best Actor: Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

4) Best Actress: Olivia Colman (The Favourite)

5) Best Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)

Sorry, Travis: the best original score of the year is Justin Hurwitz’s work on First Man. And, one more bonus round:

6) Best Supporting Actor: Peter Bogdanovich (The Other Side of the Wind)

best of 2018 - other side of the wind

Joel Bourgeois

1) Best Picture: The Other Side of the Wind

2) Best Director: Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)

3) Best Actor: Ryan Gosling (First Man)

4) Best Actress: Oja Kodar (The Other Side of the Wind)

5) Best Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)

William Connor Devlin

1) Best Picture: The Favourite

2) Best Director: Panos Costamos (Mandy)

3) Best Actor: Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

4) Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Vox Lux)

5) Best Screenplay (tie): Eighth Grade by Bo Burnham and Thoroughbreds by Cory Finley

And best score absolutely goes to Justin Hurwitz for First Man (that theremin was sexy), but Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score for Mandy is way up there as well. Oh, and while we’re at it, the Academy forgot to nominate the best original song of the year, “Wrapped Up” by Sia for Vox Lux. Or maybe that one song in Thoroughbreds where it’s just like grunting and breathing.

Timothy Lawrence

A graduate of the Torrey Honors Institute at BIOLA University, Timothy Lawrence teaches great books through Torrey Academy in Southern California. He writes essays and fiction and counts the Coen Brothers and George Lucas among his personal heroes.

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