Best Movies of 2016: The 3rd Annual Groucho Awards


Welcome to the Third Annual Groucho Awards! This is my own platform to nominate and award the movies of my choosing, because it seems that far too often, the movies with the biggest campaigns get Oscar nominations and the little guys are left out in the cold. This year I really didn’t take issue with hardly any of the Oscar nominations, but still have to do my own thing. Overall, 2016 was a great and underrated year for movies. It was a very disappointing year for blockbusters, so there might be a perception out there that it was a bad year for movies, but for those willing to dig a little deeper, I found it to be a very solid year.

We’ll start things off as usual with a list of all the movies I saw in 2016…

10 Cloverfield Lane, 13th, 20th Century Women, A Bigger Splash, Allied, Arrival, Barbershop: The Next Cut, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, The BFG, The Boss, Cafe Society, Captain America: Civil War, Captain Fantastic, De Palma, Deadpool, Demolition, Doctor Strange, Don’t Breathe, Don’t Think Twice, The Edge of Seventeen, Everybody Wants Some!!, Eye in the Sky, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Fences, Finding Dory, Fire at Sea, Florence Foster Jenkins, The Founder, Ghostbusters, Green Room, Hacksaw Ridge, Hail, Caesar!, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Jackie, Keanu, Kevin Hart: What Now, The Jungle Book, Knight of Cups, Krisha, Kubo and the Two Strings, La La Land, Life, Animated, Lion, Lo and Behold, The Lobster, Love and Friendship, Maggie’s Plan, Manchester by the Sea, Midnight Special, Moana, Moonlight, The Neon Demon, The Nice Guys, Nocturnal Animals, OJ: Made in America, Other People, Paterson, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, The Red Turtle, Rogue One, Sausage Party, The Secret Life of Pets, The Shallows, Sing Street, Star Trek Beyond, Sully, Swiss Army Man, Train to Busan, Triple Nine, Under the Shadows, The Wailing, Weiner, Wiener-Dog, The Witch, Zoolander 2, and Zootopia.


Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)

Favorite Actor

1. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
2. Denzel Washington (Fences)
3. Dev Patel (Lion)
4. Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
5. Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)

Winner: Dev Patel (Lion)

Notes: So this is Mahershala Ali’s award, but he’s only in a third of his movie, so it’s hard to pick him. But then I couldn’t pick really between the Oscars front-runners (Casey Affleck and Denzel Washington) so I’ll just go with Dev Patel, because I really like Dev Patel and I really liked Lion. He’s not getting enough love for a film and a performance that I think is superior to Slumdog Millionaire, the movie that launched him to stardom.

Favorite Actress

1. Isabelle Huppert (Elle)
2. Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
3. Naomi Harris (Moonlight)
4. Natalie Portman (Jackie)
5. Viola Davis (Fences)

Winner: Viola Davis (Fences)

Notes: I had a tough time narrowing this down to 5 nominees. This one kind of came down to Viola and Natalie Portman for me. Viola had the most powerful performance, but Portman had the most haunting performance. I elected to go with power here, but there were many great options.


La La Land

Favorite Director

1. Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
2. David Mackenzie (Hell or High Water)
3. Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
4. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
5. Hong-jin Na (The Wailing)

Winner: Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)

Notes: This category made me consider replacing my award (the Oscars with masks I give out to winners) with pies so I can be lazy and split them up among nominees. Ultimately I went with Barry Jenkins because I have no idea how he got his film made.

Favorite Screenplay

1. 20th Century Women
2. Captain Fantastic
3. The Edge of Seventeen
4. Krisha
5. La La Land
6. The Lobster
7. Manchester by the Sea
8. Moonlight
9. Other People
10. The Wailing

Winner: Moonlight

Notes: Part of it is still the fact that this movie got made in today’s Hollywood economy, but a bigger part of it is that it’s such a powerful and personal story about one specific person’s experience that I can’t really relate to on hardly any surface level. Yet, I kinda feel like I can relate to it on many levels. That’s powerful and really damn impressive.

Favorite Visuals

1. Arrival
2. Jackie
3. The Jungle Book
4. Knight of Cups
5. La La Land
6. Lion
7. Moonlight
8. The Neon Demon
9. Silence
10. The Wailing

Winner: Arrival

Notes: I think I could’ve given this to any of the 10 movies nominated and slept like a baby. I think visually there are scenes from La La Land that will stick in my memory the longest, but total package, I think Arrival was the most impressive.



Favorite Action/Sci-fi Movie

1. Arrival
2. Eye in the Sky
3. Hacksaw Ridge
4. Hell or High Water
5. Nocturnal Animals

Winner: Arrival

Notes: I’ve been referring to Hell or High Water as “non-pretentious No Country for Old Men” and that made me want to give it the nod here, but Arrival is the most deserving so we’ll go that route.

Favorite Comedy

1. Don’t Think Twice
2. The Edge of Seventeen
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
4. Other People
5. Sing Street

Winner: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Notes: Alright, here’s a great case for 2016 movies that flew clean under the radar. I’d be very confident that if you polled 100 random people, 80 of them couldn’t tell you a thing about any of these movies. Yet, they’re all fantastic.


Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Favorite Documentary

1. 13th
2. Life, Animated
3. Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
4. OJ: Made in America
5. Weiner

Winner: OJ: Made in America

Notes: I don’t know how OJ: Made in America is counting as a single documentary movie, but if that’s a real thing that’s happening, this is no contest.

Favorite Foreign Language

1. Elle
2. Train to Busan
3. Under the Shadows
4. The Wailing

Winner: The Wailing

Notes: I didn’t do a great job of watching foreign movies this year. However, the ones I did watch were fantastic. Seriously though people, if you watch one foreign movie this year, make it The Wailing.


The Wailing

Favorite Kids Movie

1. The Jungle Book
2. Kubo and the Two Strings
3. Moana
4. The Red Turtle
5. Zootopia

Winner: The Jungle Book

Notes: I loved The Jungle Book and am really looking forward to Jon Favreau’s upcoming Lion King if his work here is any indication of what’s to come. I think if I had to pick a runner-up, it’d be Kubo and the Two Strings.

Favorite Suspense/Horror

1. 10 Cloverfield Lane
2. Green Room
3. Train to Busan
4. The Wailing
5. The Witch

Winner: The Wailing

Notes: OK, so back to The Wailing… It’s like Se7en meets The Exorcist. I don’t really feel like I should have to say much else. Watch the trailer.

Top 25 Finalists (Listed Alphabetically) for Best Picture

1. 20th Century Women
2. Arrival
3. Captain Fantastic
4. Don’t Think Twice
5. The Edge of Seventeen
6. Everybody Wants Some!!
7. Fences
8. Hell or High Water
9. Hidden Figures
10. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
11. Jackie
12. The Jungle Book
13. Krisha
14. La La Land
15. Lion
16. The Lobster
17. Manchester by the Sea
18. Moonlight
19. OJ: Made in America
20. Other People
21. Nocturnal Animals
22. Paterson
23. Sing Street
24. The Wailing
25. The Witch

Winner: La La Land
Runner Up: Moonlight
Third Place: Arrival

Notes: I know, I know it’s soooooo fun to hate on La La Land these days. It’s overrated. It’s racist. It’s this. It’s that. Joseph Williams and I have argued ourselves silly over this. I don’t think La La Land is the greatest movie of all-time. I think it’s very easily the best movie of 2016 though. I also get it that many of you weren’t exposed to it much until it won all the Golden Globes and now a record number of Oscars and on and on and on. It’s easy to be so much more critical after all that. And I think if a movie is going to be considered the best of the year it should be able to be viewed after the fact and stand up to the test. I think La La Land does.

I’ll go back to my argument I throw at Joseph constantly, and that’s the longevity argument. Years from now, La La Land will still be relevant and memorable. I think there are many images from the film that stand the test of time and I can’t confidently say the same for the next couple I’d put right behind it (except Moonlight, I think Moonlight passes the longevity test easily). It seems like some people hear me put La La Land first and so I must hate everything else. I really really loved so many movies this year and had a hard time even narrowing down a top 25 nominees list. I’ve been fighting for Arrival and Hell or High Water and a lot of these nominees for a long time. I just think if I’m picking a movie to look back on 10-20 years from now to represent the class of 2016, I want it to be and think it will be La La Land despite its flaws.

Please vote in the all-important poll below for your favorite movie of 2016…

What was your favorite movie from 2016?

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Posted on by Clayton Martin in Entertainment, Featured, Movies

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