Of the hundreds of films we saw in 2015, those that hit wide (or their widest) release between January 1st and December 31st, 2015 were eligible for one of our yearly awards. We nominated those we thought were particularly worthy (including many wholly ignored by the big awards shows) and now it’s time to announce the winners.
The full list of 2015 MyCinema Award nominees can be found HERE.
Don’t miss our 2015 Nominee Interview Series, featuring more than 75 exclusive interviews with our nominees and be sure to check out Awards Headquarters for the full list of this year’s winners, including the MyTV Awards and MyTheatre Awards in Toronto, London, New York and Boston.
And here are your winners…
Outstanding Costumes & Art Direction
Sandy Powell’s costumes for the live action version of Cinderella were outrageous, especially those worn by Cate Blanchett as the wicked stepmother. The opulence, creativity and sheer beauty of the costumes is matched by the incredible work by the art direction team to create one of most visually interesting films Disney’s ever made, especially without handing annoying amounts of power to the CGI department.
Outstanding Visual Effects
No contest. Are you kidding me with this movie? The perfect mix of practical and computer effects make this visual masterpiece the memorable phenomenon that it is. The scope is incomparable, the pace incredible, and the ambition second to nothing. It’s simultaneously a visual feast and a thrill ride, hitting you harder than the feeling of feasting before a thrill ride.
Outstanding Hair & Makeup
What makes the accomplishments of the hair and makeup team on the last Hunger Games instalment so impressive is the text they were working with. Combining the outlandish futuristic “high fashion” of the Capitol with the style and scars of the rebellion, Mockingjay Part II was that key department’s biggest challenge and triumph of the series.
The competition in this category was incredible, including The Stanford Prison Experiment‘s mix of big talent and promising youngsters, Cymbeline‘s diverse and sprawling ensemble, and The Big Short‘s all-star cast, but no one could beat out the Hateful… um… we counted at least ten major players and are somewhat unclear on who’s in the official Eight. They’re all great, though, from scene-stealing Samuel L. Jackson to MVP Jennifer Jason Leigh right down to that perfect Channing Tatum cameo.
Outstanding Supporting Actor
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
We have to admit something here- Paul Dano is winning this award for three reasons: 1) our first choice is a Performer of the Year and we don’t like to give them too many other awards; 2) most of the nominees in this category gave amazing performances in not-so-great movies (Match, Miss You Already, Danny Collins), which worked against them; 3) this was really a leading role, if we’re being completely honest, so he simply had a major advantage over awesome but less meaty performances like Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max or even Colin Firth in Kingsman. That said, Paul Dano’s work in Love & Mercy is incredible and shouldn’t be missed for any reason whatsoever.
Outstanding Supporting Actress
Phyllis Smith (Inside Out)
We don’t often give awards to voice actors but we just couldn’t get over the incredibly affecting work of Phyllis Smith in one of our favourite films of the year. As the animated embodiment of “Sadness”, the erstwhile Office star tugged at our heartstrings, taught us the power of empathy and reminded us that our feelings are worthy, no matter what they are.
Jesse Eisenberg (The End of the Tour)
Our winners are definitely not the common picks but this might be the furthest limb we ventured out on this year. There was only one Oscar nominee in this category and, unlike at the Oscars, it was one of our most competitive groups of the year. We were caught in a 5-way tie that seemed like a deadlock. We whittled down our choices by focusing on a) someone whose film wasn’t winning anything else, and b) someone whose role couldn’t conceivably be called “supporting”. That left us with Eisenberg and Ethan Hawke (both incredible; definitely see both The End of the Tour and Good Kill). We went with Eisenberg because David Lipsky was a less flashy role in a much stronger film.
Taissa Farmiga (6 Years)
You haven’t seen Hannah Fidell’s intimate masterpiece 6 Years. We know you haven’t because we’ve never met anyone who has. Please please please go fix that (it’s on Netflix; no excuses). In a year when the Oscar winner was actually incredible and some of our all-time favourite actresses did career-best work, 21-year-old Taissa Farmiga won our award for Outstanding Actress no-contest. You can’t understand why until you watch the film. You have to watch the film.
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
There are a million things that are incredible about Alex Garland’s ambitious, philosophical sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, the cast (see Performer of the Year) and the Oscar-winning effects included, but nothing impressed and amazed us quite like the script, a feat of human insight and full-tilt wild imagination unlike anything else we’ve seen.
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road)
If you argue with this one, you’re just crazy. Everything we mentioned in the visual effects category plus fantastic character work and across-the-board excellence from all departments under Miller’s purview (so, all of them). We didn’t love everything about this script but we loved literally everything Miller did with it.
Okay, hear us out. Outstanding Picture, to us, doesn’t necessarily mean the most impactful or artistic film of the year. Nor does it necessarily mean our favourite (it was #4 in the My Cinematic 2015 rankings). Incredible cinematography (Mad Max), killer performances (Sicario), a brilliant script (Inside Out) or a just plain incredible story (Spotlight) alone can make a movie the most impactful, artistic or popular film of any given year. What we’re looking for with Outstanding Picture is the film we think best marries achievement in all the aforementioned categories. The Martian is the standout in that way this year. The script, the direction, the design, the acting, the effects, the score, the editing, the everything- it’s all there in The Martian and it all works together perfectly.
Eugene Gearty (Love & Mercy)
We loved a lot of things about Love & Mercy, the beautiful true story about the struggles of genius Beach Boy Brian Wilson. What we loved most was Eugene Gearty’s beautiful, evocative, insightful sound design. This was not just a well-mixed music and background effects sound job; it was music-as-the-language-of-everything/overwhelmed-by-his-environment/pull-us-in-through-the-ear exploration of a man’s mental state through how he hears the world. An incredible achievement in a category we otherwise don’t feature.
Performer of the Year
The Cast of Ex Machina (Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson & Oscar Isaac)
When we realized that our entire short-list for MyCinema’s 2015 Performer of the Year all started their 2015 in the same place (as the leading trio in one of our favourite films in quite some time), we decided the only thing to do would be to have them split the prize three ways. It’s actually fairly ridiculous how much incredible work these three performers did in 2015, even if you take Ex Machina out of the equation (which you shouldn’t, because it’s nearly perfect and all three are extraordinary in it). Star Wars (Gleeson & Isaac), The Danish Girl (Vikander), Brooklyn (Gleeson), The Revenant (Gleeson), even The Man from UNCLE (Vikander)… the only true weak spot on this entire three-person filmography is Burnt (a useless film in which Vikander has a tiny role) but it’s easily replaced when you play by our wide-release rules and consider A Most Violent Year part of 2015 (a brilliant film in which Isaac has the lead role; seriously, go watch him in that movie, he’s a marvel). Oh, and Isaac won a Golden Globe for his superb performance in HBO’s Show Me a Hero, which we didn’t take into consideration because it was technically TV but doesn’t exactly refute our point. If these three were the only survivors of a Hollywood-specific nuclear apocalypse, we’d honestly be kind of okay with it.