Best Of 2016: Best Screenplay, Costume and Makeup Design

Here’s my third posting for Best Of 2016. Today I’m tackling both Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted) and Costume and Makeup Design. The top five in each category.

5) Hell or High Water- Taylor Sheridan
After writing Sicario, Sheridan is clearly on a roll. I actually loved Hell Or High Water even more. I loved how it doesn’t have a typical ending, because that matches how atypical a story it really is. It’s a modern western, and we don’t see a lot of those. It’s also a love letter to brothers everywhere, like what would you do for your brother?

4) Captain Fantastic- Matt Ross
Another original concept, really well crafted and written. The kids actually sound like kids, the adults like adults. It’s a quirky drama, written by a character actor, who then directed it. He directed the shit out of it, which means he had the vision from the very beginning, of what kind of story he wanted to tell when he set out to write the screenplay.

3) The Accountant- Bill Dubuque
It’s the screenplay that dared. It dared to ask its audience to pay attention, as it formed itself like a puzzle, gradually putting together the pieces. Sure, Gavin O’Connor did a great job directing, but he wouldn’t have been able to without a great screenplay.

2) Manchester By The Sea- Kenneth Lonergan
Probably the strongest “slice of life” film of the year. It doesn’t feel like a film, it feels like real people going through real experiences. Lonegran proved his writing ability with You Can Count On me, and he solidifies himself here. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take him so long to make his next film.

1) Arrival- Eric Heisserer
The screenplay that took the most amount of work. Not only did he have to craft a smart sci-fi story, but he also had to understand linguistics enough to really understand its impact. This is like The Martian, in that it expects its audience to be intelligent enough to follow it. I love smart screenplays that challenge the viewer, and Arrival did just that, which is why it is my favorite screenplay of the year.

5) The Nice Guys
This made the list because I felt it really did a great job capturing a feel of the 70’s, and kinda created what could have been iconic looks for Crowe and Gosling, had the film been more successful.

4) Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Really a combination of great makeup and costuming. It’s period, it’s also fantasy, and there are non-human character involved. All three things put together, and I thought this film did a good job trying to find its own mark in the world. it looks like Fantastic Beasts, just with some slight homage to the Harry Potter verse. It stands on its own, visually.

3) La La Land
I loved the costumes in this film. Sure, they’re modern, and maybe that’s easier? But both Gosling and Stone looked fantastic in every scene. i was even impressed by the dresses chosen for Stone’s roommates. I think it’s underrated in this area for sure, but it is possible to have really great modern costume design.

2) Florence Foster Jenkins
A bit of a combo of costumes and makeup again here What they did with Streep, makeup wise, will probably win them the Oscar in a fairly weak makeup year. However, the glorious period costumes really were a highlight of the movie. Florence was known for wearing these garish costumes, and the design team had to figure out how to put that on screen. I think they did a great job.

1) Captain Fantastic
But my favorite of the year, is a modern costuming. What they did with the kids, and the “handmade” clothing really was terrific. It helped highlight the visual look of the film that director Matt Ross was already working on. It’s the perfect combination of costumer and director, just like how Tim Burton works with the same costumer who understands his vision. This costumer really got what Matt Ross was trying to do, and helped him get there. It’s my favorite costume design of the year, and sadly it probably won’t even get an Oscar nomination.

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