Seattle Cinema Survey: Movies to Watch Over 4th of July

Movies to Watch Over 4th of July

With the 4th of July arriving this week, Seattle Film Critics recommend some of the movies they think are best viewed over his patriotic American holiday.

Erik Samdahl – FilmJabber / @filmjabber

Sure, it’s a little long and some of the characters are a bit cheesy, but wow, I remember how mind-blowing the initial destruction sequence was on the big screen. Independence Day is still a blast to watch to this day and delivers some of the best destruction and alien invasion sequences put to film. Endless amounts of CGI and improved visual effects over the years haven’t changed Independence Day’s standing, which is pretty impressive given that the movie’s best known for explosions.

Independence Day also makes me long for the days when Will Smith was at the top of his game and churning out reliably entertaining action films. Oh well.

Aaron White – Feelin’ Film / @feelinfilmaaron

This is why I love movies. They can transport me to a place where I’m smiling, laughing, and crying all over the span of a couple of hours. Every time that I watch this film I am pulled into the story. I’m invested. I care. It’s a memorable experience. That is why Independence Day is an all-time great for me. Not because the acting is perfect or the plot is riveting and complex. But because I care when a child suffers a loss. I care when a couple, or father and son, struggle with relationship history and are reconciled. I care when I see a President lead by example and make the most inspiring patriotic speech in cinematic history, which brings me to tears every… single… time. It may not be an Oscar-worthy masterpiece, but Independence Day is a defining part of my personal history with film that reminds me of nights spent watching it on repeat with my Dad over the 4th of July holiday.

Ryan Swen – Seattle Screen Scene @swen_ryan

The Other Side. Given the present state of the nation, it would be entirely understandable if any person felt less than patriotic on this year’s Independence Day. With that in mind, my recommendation is Roberto Minervini’s The Other Side (2015), a slippery mix of narrative and documentary that gazes unflinchingly upon the day-to-day lives of Louisianan meth addicts. Rather than an exploitation of a certain environment, the film registers strongly as a deeply empathetic experience, one that refuses to pass easy judgments as it chronicles a multifaceted, often contradictory community. And in many, many moments, The Other Side captures all of America’s worst, most disquieting tendencies; to say that it explains how the United States got to where it is today would be too much, but it comes close.

Sean Gilman – Seattle Screen Scene@TheEndofCinema

Ruggles of Red Gap. I can’t think of a better 4th of July movie than Leo McCarey’s 1935 Ruggles of Red Gap, starring Charles Laughton as a very proper English butler who is won in a poker game by a cantankerous zillionaire and shipped off with him to the wilds of the state of Washington. Laughton eventually succumbs to America’s charms, its basic realness and small town virtues and all the ideals we like tell ourselves we stand for, right up to the point that, after no one else in the local tavern can recall what Lincoln said at Gettysburg (a battle fought from July 1-3), recites the full Address in a scene stirring enough to sway even the most self-critical American.

Sara Michelle Fetters –

Miss Firecracker. It’s hard not to go with the most obvious choice here, 1943’s classic biography of musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer and singer George M. Cohan Yankee Doodle Dandee. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring James Cagney in the role that won him an Academy Award, the movie is a justifiably celebrated energetic joy overflowing in exuberantly exhilarating charm. It lives up to its status as a classic, and without question is one of my all-time favorite musicals.

It’s equally difficult not to go in an entirely difficult direction and go with Steven Spielberg’s landmark 1975 classic Jaws. This movie has been making people afraid to dip their toe in the bathtub let alone think about swimming in the ocean for over four decades now, this monumentally influential Great White Shark of a thriller in no need of a bigger boat as far as 4th of July entertainment value is concerned.

But I’m going to go with 1989’s absolutely phenomenal Holly Hunter comedy Miss Firecracker as my film of choice for this particular holiday. Adapted from her own award-winning play by Beth Henley and directed by Thomas Schlamme, this wonderful, slightly forgotten gem is certifiably terrific. Hunter reprises the role she originated on the stage portraying a small town “hot tamale” Mississippi nobody who enters the annual Miss Firecracker Pageant convinced that, if she wins, her life will change forever. Also in the cast are Mary Steenburgen, Scott Glenn, Alfre Woodard and Tim Robbins, the Southern Gothic charms of this satirically observant comedy bringing out the best in all of them.

Henley’s script is marvelous, unafraid to go for the emotional jugular but does so with a playful gracefulness that treats all of her eccentric characters with a level of tenderness and respect that’s wonderful. It’s rare Glenn gets the opportunity to be this relaxed on-screen, let alone is cast as the laidback romantic lead, and he more than rises to the occasion. Steenburgen is also sensational, her crack comedic timing on full display throughout the story. Woodward and Robbins are also outstanding, the former bringing a particular unhurried warmth to the proceedings that’s divine.

But this is Hunter’s show, and she’s incredible. This performance, coming fast on the heels of her spellbinding turns in Raising Arizona andBroadcast News, is whirligig of emotional authenticity that’s startling in its magnitude and intensity. In a comedy that works overtime to poke and jab at the obvious supercilious excesses beauty pageants are built upon, not once does Hunter present her character as anything less than genuine. She is not an object of ridicule or pity, her search for acceptance and love against all odds one that’s impossible not to relate to. Miss Firecracker is a late ‘80s favorite deserving of being rediscovered by today’s audiences, the 4th of July holiday as good a time as any to light the fireworks in order for this to happen.

Matt Oakes – Silver Screen Riot@SSRdotcom / SSR on Facebook

Jurassic Park. Ironic that as Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom (which I fully believe to be the worst movie I’ve seen in 2018) dominates the box office, I still look back in grand admiration at what Spielberg managed with his OG dino outing with 1993’s Jurassic Park. And what better way to celebrate the birthday of a crumbling empire than with a T-Rex tearing a shitting lawyer to pieces? Jurassic Park, like Jaws before it, is a movie made for watching under the stars, munching popcorn and slugging crisp summer ale, ogling an oversized outdoor screen (or an old fashion drive-in, were you to be extremely lucky); it’s the cinematic equivalent of fireworks and, despite its wretched sequels, remains one of the greatest summer blockbusters ever made.

Seattle Cinema Survey: Film Festival Memories

Film Festival Memories

Welcome to a new series where we resurrect an idea from a few years ago in which your Seattle Film Critics answer questions and provide insight into their personal taste and history with the world of film. Each edition of Seattle Cinema Survey will feature responses from several of the critics in the SFCS and provide information for how you can follow more of their work. We hope that this series will at times be educational, at times entertaining, and always interesting. Thanks for reading!

To kick-off this revival we are focusing on the very thing taking up most of our time over the next month, the 44th Annual Seattle International Film Festival. So in honor of SIFF (May 17 – June 10), we asked our critics to share some of their favorite and most memorable film festival experiences. Enjoy.

Kathy Fennessy – The Stranger / SIFF Blog@kcfennessy

Through SIFF, I’ve seen some of my favorite films, like Kinji Fukasaku’s thrilling Battle Royale, which I saw at the Cinerama (Quentin Tarantino was in the audience), and Federico Fellini’s heartbreaking Nights of Cabiria, which screened at the Egyptian in a newly-restored print. I ran into a coworker and his wife at the latter, and we had a brief chat beforehand. Afterward, I was so choked up, I left without saying goodbye. I needed to spend some time with myself and my thoughts. I wouldn’t say that that was my best SIFF memory—there have been so many—but it was the film that made the biggest impact. In it, Fellini’s wife, Giulietta Masina, plays a prostitute looking for love. She finds herself instead. 

J.R. Kinnard – Website @jrkinnard

While I’ve been fortunate enough to cover many film festivals over the years, including Sundance, SIFF, and Fantasia, my most memorable experience traces back to 2014’s Port Townsend Film Festival. Perhaps not coincidentally, it was my first film festival. I fell in love with the collegial atmosphere; an opportunity to escape adulthood in a chaotic blur of excessive eating, drinking, and movie watching. What could be better, right? The first night of PTFF found me in the Starlight Room screening an adorable indie called “Life Inside Out.” If you’ve never been to the Starlight, I highly recommend it. Funky chairs of all denominations, snuggly blankets, and a fine assortment of liquors from which to choose. As for the film, it’s a modest little charmer about a middle-aged housewife re-connecting with her brooding teenage son through their shared love of music. It stars the real-life mother/son acting team of Maggie Baird and Finneas O’Connell. The film features several songs performed by the duo, both of whom are delightful. Finneas, in particular, is a talented musician and vocalist. After the screening, Maggie and Finneas stopped by the Starlight, eager to perform songs from the film for the enthusiastic (and slightly tipsy) audience. There was only one problem: Finneas wasn’t old enough to legally step foot inside of a drinking establishment! Undeterred, the entire audience filed outside the theater into the cramped three-story stairwell for an impromptu performance by Maggie and the under-aged Finneas. I’m sure a fire marshal would have put a quick end to the festivities, but luckily, there were none to be found this early Saturday morning (just past midnight). It was a quintessential ‘festival moment’ when a group of complete strangers are inextricably tied together by their shared love for cinema. Sadly, I was unable to record any footage of this event, but it’s a memory I will always cherish. Not only is it the moment when I fell in love with film festivals, but also the moment I committed myself to following this ‘film critic thing’ wherever it might lead. I guess that’s a good thing. 😉

Sean Gilman – Seattle Screen Scene@TheEndofCinema

I can’t narrow it down to just one, so here’s a brief list:

Some filmmakers I’ve not talked to but have smiled and nodded at: Jia Zhangke, Liu Jiayin, Heiward Mak, Ying Liang, Bi Gan, Chapman To, Aubrey Plaza, Wang Bing.
Some great archival films: Chimes at Midnight, The Apu trilogy (a marathon at the Pacific Place), The Big Road and Love and Duty, Rebel Without a Cause, The Color of Pomegranates (in a sold out Harvard Exit).
Great audience experiences: Olivier Assayas’s six hour Carlos in an absolutely packed, massive theatre in Vancouver; watching Fruit Chan’s The Midnight After with a sold-out crowd of mostly Chinese and Chinese-Canadians while the Umbrella protests were on-going in Hong Kong; seeing women applaud the mere appearance of Isabelle Huppert’s name not once but twice at VIFF in 2012 (for In Another Country and Amour); pretty much anytime watching a Hong Sangsoo movie with a crowd is amazing, but the Hill of Freedom screening in 2014 was exceptional, the crowd totally in tune and abuzz with its sense of humor.
First experiences: Some of my favorite filmmakers I discovered at festivals, the most obvious being Johnnie To, who I’d only vaguely heard of before wandering into an early morning show of Sparrow in 2008, and Hong Sangsoo, who’s Like You Know it All in 2009 is maybe the best film there’s ever been about being at a film festival.

Brent McKnight – The Last Thing I See@BrentMMcKnight

The first memory that springs to mind was a midnight SIFF screening of the Japanese rock and roll zombie movie “Wild Zero” in 2000. It was packed house at the Egyptian on a Friday or Saturday night. They delayed the screening because the lines for the bathroom were so long. The energy was off the charts, people bounced off the walls, and the whole place erupted when Guitar Wolf tells Ace, “Love has no borders, nationalities, or genders! Do it!” It still stands as one of my favorite movies of all time. (I tracked down a janky bootleg VHS copy, and when it finally hit DVD in 2003, along with a built-in drinking game, I walked to Scarecrow, rented a copy, watched it four times with various friends, and bought my own copy when I returned the rental.) It was raucous and fun and no one had cell phones—everything a midnight movie should be. It also introduced me to a movie I now love and that I wouldn’t have seen anywhere else, at least not for years, which is everything a film festival should be.

Matt Oakes – Silver Screen Riot@SSRdotcom

Throughout my years covering Sundance and SXSW, I’ve experienced no shortage of memorable movie premieres, parties and interviews; endless days of up to 6 film screenings and severely limited sleep (my favorite lineup of all time probably being my day at Sundance ’14 that started at 8 AM with the world premiere of ‘Boyhood’ and ended with a midnight screening of the world premiere of ‘The Guest’). In terms of memorably moments, sneaking into the premiere of ‘Furious 7’ by hiding out in the bathroom after ‘Spy’ is definitely top of mind but in terms of pulling back the curtain and seeing how the sausage is made, nothing can top my experience at the premiere of Seth Rogen’s ‘Sausage Party’. A lot of movies come into festivals with “work in progress” versions of their films but that usually means they’ll edit out a few jokes here or there from the final product. This creation was in a league of its own. There were entire sequences that had not yet been drawn, colorized, or rendered; with storyboard outlines playing on the screen to accompany the voice actors for minutes at a time; there was no score; the whole thing was about as far from a finished product as you could imagine and yet the whole audience was still in stitches. It was like being invited over to a filmmakers house to privately screen a legitimate work in progress. That night will go down as one of those experiences you can only have at a proper film festival.

Paul Carlson – Escape Into Film @EscapeIntoFilm

Watching ‘La La Land’ in Los Angeles at the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in IMAX is about as perfect of an experience as possible for such an incredible film. The theater itself is an iconic Hollywood landmark – and the fact that it was a centerpiece feature of AFI FEST meant this wasn’t just another festival screening – this was an event. The second I walked out into the cool LA, autumn air, I knew with absolute certitude that I had not just experienced the best film of the year – I had just seen one of my favorite films of all time. The film consumed my every thought and filled me with every emotion, to the point where I really had to compose myself for the next movie screening that night. That was the first of 8 times I saw ‘La La Land’ in theaters. It still resonates with me to this day – but that first screening, at such a special theater, in such a special city, is my most memorable film festival experience.

“Get Out” Named Best Picture of 2017 By Seattle Film Critics Society

Seattle, WA – The Seattle Film Critics Society (“SFCS”) announced the winners in 19 categories for the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards on Monday, December 18, 2017.

Winning the top prize of Best Picture of the Year was Jordan Peele’s Get Out, a satirical horror film looking at race relations in America. The film, which earned six nominations in the SFCS awards, also won Best Ensemble Cast.

“2017 has been a great year for movies, and our awards this year reflect that,” said Seattle Film Critics Society President Mike Ward. “The spreading of the wealth is indicative of the large number of films that have passionate support among our membership. Our recipients this year reflect a diverse sampling of stories and characters, which define why critics and audiences equally love the movies. Recognizing ‘Get Out’, which opened in February, is a testament to that film’s staying power, message, and success.”

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s highly acclaimed comedic drama, won three awards, including Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress, Laurie Metcalf as Best Supporting Actress, and Gerwig’s script winning Best Screenplay.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s period drama Phantom Thread, reportedly the final film for actor Daniel Day-Lewis, also won three prizes. The film earned Day-Lewis the award for Best Actor, as well as wins for Best Costume Design and Best Original Score.

Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan’s epic summer blockbuster won two awards; including Nolan named Best Director and the film winning for Best Film Editing.

Sean Baker’s The Florida Project earned two acting prizes: Willem Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor and 7-year-old newcomer Brooklynn Prince, who won this year’s Best Youth Performance award.

The year’s most nominated film, Blade Runner 2049, turned eight nominations into two wins: Best Production Design and Best Cinematography, rewarding the work of legendary cinematographer Roger A. Deakins.

Other winners include: Coco, which won Best Animated Feature, Faces Places, which picked up the prize for Best Documentary Feature, and Raw, a French horror film about a teenage vegetarian who realizes she is a cannibal, was named Best Foreign Language Film.

After formation in the fall of 2016, The Seattle Film Critics Society officially became a non-profit organization in 2017, with a membership consisting of 25 film critics, representing print, broadcast, podcasting, and online film criticism. This year’s awards are the second held under the banner of the SFCS, honoring the best films and performances of the year.

The full list of recipients of the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards are as follows:



BEST DIRECTOR: Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

BEST ACTRESS: Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird


BEST SCREENPLAY: Lady Bird Greta Gerwig

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Coco – Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich, directors

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Raw – Julia Ducournau, director

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Faces, Places – JR, Agnès Varda, directors

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Blade Runner 2049 Roger A. Deakins

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: Phantom Thread Mark Bridges

BEST FILM EDITING: Dunkirk – Lee Smith

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Phantom Thread Jonny Greenwood

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: Blade Runner 2049 Dennis Gassner (Production Designer), Alessandra Querzola (Set Decorator)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: War for the Planet of the Apes Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE: Brooklynn Prince, The Florida Project

VILLAIN OF THE YEAR: Dennis & The Horde – Split – (portrayed by James McAvoy)

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Leads the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Nominations

Dunkirk, Lady Bird, and The Shape of Water follow with 7 nominations each.

Seattle, WA. – The Seattle Film Critics Society has announced nominations for the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards, honoring the best in film for 2017. Leading the field with 8 nominations is Denis Villeneuve’s epic, expansive, reimagining of a cult classic, Blade Runner 2049, earning a Best Picture nomination and a Best Director nomination for Villenueve.

Christopher Nolan’s epic World War II blockbuster Dunkirk received 7 nominations, including Best Picture and Nolan as Best Director. Greta Gerwig’s widely praised and acclaimed teen coming-of-age drama Lady Bird, also landed 7 nods, including Best Picture, Gerwig for Best Director, Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress, Laurie Metcalf for Best Supporting Actress, and Gerwig’s screenplay earning a nomination.

Writer/director Jordan Peele’s satirical horror film, Get Out, scored 6 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. Lead actor Daniel Kaluuya also scored a Best Actor nod, while the film’s cast earned a nomination in the Best Ensemble Cast category.

Joining Gerwig, Nolan, Peele, and Villeneuve in the Best Director category is Sean Baker, whose The Florida Project competes in 5 categories, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Willem Dafoe’s acclaimed performance, and a nomination for Best Youth Performance for the film’s star, 7-year-old Brooklynn Prince. The film also received a nomination for Best Cinematography.

Completing the lineup for Best Picture: James Franco’s The Disaster Artist, James Mangold’s Logan, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread, Steven Spielberg’s The Post, and Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Landing an impressive 7 nominations is Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. The film’s star, Sally Hawkins, competes in the Best Actress race joining Ronan (Lady Bird), Meryl Streep (The Post), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards…) and Margot Robbie (I, Tonya).

In a film rumored to be his final performance, Daniel Day-Lewis earned a Best Actor nomination for Phantom Thread. He will compete against Kaluuya, James Franco, as well as Gary Oldman, who portrays Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, and Robert Pattinson, as a criminal on the run in Good Time.

Willem Dafoe’s kind-hearted performance in The Florida Project joins more menacing turns from Barry Keoghan (The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards…), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), and an emotional turn from Patrick Stewart (Logan) in the Best Supporting Actor category.

In the Best Supporting Actress race, Laurie Metcalf competes against Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Holly Hunter (The Big Sick), Allison Janney (I, Tonya), and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread).

Other films earning multiple nominations include The Big Sick, Darkest Hour, I, Tonya, It, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, War for the Planet of the Apes, and Wonderstruck.

With nominations set, voting for this year’s winners will conclude on December 15, 2017. Winners of the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards will be announced on Monday, December 18, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. PST via the Seattle Film Critics Society’s Twitter handle – @seattlecritics.

The complete list of nominations for the 2017 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards is below:



Blade Runner 2049 (Warner Bros.)
The Disaster Artist (A24)
Dunkirk (Warner Bros.)
The Florida Project (A24)
Get Out (Universal)
Lady Bird (A24)
Logan (20th Century Fox)
Phantom Thread (Focus Features)
The Post (20th Century Fox)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Fox Searchlight)


Sean Baker – The Florida Project
Greta Gerwig – Lady Bird
Christopher Nolan – Dunkirk
Jordan Peele – Get Out
Denis Villeneuve – Blade Runner 2049


Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
Robert Pattinson – Good Time


Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
Meryl Streep – The Post


Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project
Barry Keoghan – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michael Shannon – The Shape of Water
Patrick Stewart – Logan


Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Holly Hunter – The Big Sick
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird


Call Me by Your Name
Get Out
Lady Bird
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri


The Big Sick – Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
The Disaster Artist – Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Get Out Jordan Peele
Lady Bird – Greta Gerwig
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh


The Breadwinner – Nora Twomey, director
Coco – Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich, directors
The LEGO Batman Movie – Chris McKay, director
Loving Vincent Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, directors
Your Name. – Makoto Shinkai, director


Blade of the Immortal – Takashi Miike, director
BPM (Beats Per Minute) – Robin Campillo, director
Frantz – François Ozon, director
Raw – Julia Ducournau, director
Thelma Joachim Trier, director


City of GhostsMatthew Heineman, director
Ex Libris: The New York Public Library – Frederick Wiseman, director
Faces Places JR, Agnès Varda, co-directors
LA 92 – Daniel Lindsay, T.J. Martin, directors
Step Amanda Lipitz, director


Blade Runner 2049 – Roger A. Deakins
ColumbusElisha Christian
Dunkirk Hoyte von Hoytema
The Florida Project Alexis Zabé
The Shape of Water Dan Laustsen


Beauty and the Beast Jacqueline Durran
Blade Runner 2049 Rénee April
Darkest Hour Jacqueline Durran
Phantom Thread Mark Bridges
The Shape of Water Luis Sequeira


Baby Driver Paul Machliss, Jonathan Amos
Blade Runner 2049 – Joe Walker
Dunkirk Lee Smith
Get Out Gregory Plotkin
Lady Bird Nick Houy


Blade Runner 2049 Benjamin Wallfisch, Hans Zimmer
Dunkirk Hans Zimmer
Phantom Thread Jonny Greenwood
War for the Planet of the Apes Michael Giacchino
Wonderstruck Carter Burwell


Blade Runner 2049 Dennis Gassner (Production Designer); Alessandra Querzola (Set Decorator)
Dunkirk Nathan Crowley (Production Designer); Gary Fettis (Supervising Set Decorator)
Murder on the Orient Express Jim Clay (Production Designer); Rebecca Alleway (Set Decorator)
Phantom Thread Mark Tildesley (Production Designer); Véronique Melery (Set Decorator)
The Shape of Water Paul Denham Austerberry (Production Designer); Shane Vieau, Jeff Melvin (Set Decorators)


Blade Runner 2049 – John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
Dunkirk – Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley, Scott Fisher, Paul Corbould
The Shape of Water – Dennis Berardi, Luke Groves, Trey Harrell, Kevin Scott
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Scott Stokdyk, Jérome Lionard
War for the Planet of the Apes – Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE (18 years of age or younger upon start of filming):

Dafne Keen – Logan
Sophia Lillis – It
Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project
Millicent Simmonds – Wonderstruck
Jacob Tremblay – Wonder


Dennis and various multiple personalities – Split – portrayed by James McAvoy
Martin – The Killing of a Sacred Deer – portrayed by Barry Keoghan
Pennywise – It – portrayed by Bill Skarsgård
Philip Krauss – Detroit – portrayed by Will Poulter
Richard Strickland – The Shape of Water – portrayed by Michael Shannon

“Moonlight” Awarded Best Picture by Seattle Film Critics Society

Barry Jenkins’ film takes home 6 Seattle Film Critics Awards!

Seattle, Wa. – Barry Jenkins’ groundbreaking drama Moonlight was the big winner with Seattle’s film critics community, winning 6 Seattle Film Awards including Best Picture. 

In addition to winning the biggest prize as selected by the Seattle Film Critics Society, Jenkins was named Best Director and his screenplay, co-written with Tarell Alvin McCraney, earned Best Screenplay honors. The film’s cast took home the Best Ensemble Cast prize, with Mahershala Ali winning Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Juan, a father-figure of sorts to the film’s lead character Chiron, a young African-American male coming to terms with his sexual orientation. Elsewhere, the film nabbed a prize for Best Editing, turning 10 nominations into 6 wins.

French film Elle and South Korean import The Handmaiden took home two awards each. For her performance as a woman attempting to find out who brutally attacked her in Elle, veteran actress Isabelle Huppert was named Best Actress. Elle also was named Best Foreign Language Film. 

Though The Handmaiden did not win the Foreign Language award, Park Chan-wook’s critically acclaimed colonial Korean drama won prizes for Costume Design and Production Design.

Joining Huppert and Ali in the actor’s winning circle was Casey Affleck, who added Seattle to his vast array of wins this awards season as Best Actor for Manchester By The Sea. Viola Davis took home the Best Supporting Actress prize for her work in Denzel Washington’s Fences.

Science-fiction hit Arrival, which earned 9 nominations, scored three wins, including Best Original Score for composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s powerful work – deemed ineligible by the Academy – Best Cinematography and shared a win for Best Visual Effects with Disney/Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

Entering with a co-leading 10 nominations, Oscar hopeful La La Land was surprisingly shut out in all categories, going home empty-handed.

In one of the Society’s newest awards, Best Youth Performance, Anya Taylor-Joy won for horror film The Witchplaying a daughter making sense of strange, unexplainable events enveloping her family in 17th century New England.

The other new award introduced this year, Best Villain, was awarded to John Goodman for his portrayal as bunker-dwelling Howard Stambler in last spring’s 10 Cloverfield Lane. Goodman edged out a real-life goat, The Witch’s “Black Phillip” to win the villainous accolades.

Walt Disney’s Zootopia was named Best Animated Feature, while Ezra Edelman’s incredible seven-and-a-half hour look at one of the highest profile murder cases in recent history, and the racial unrest surrounding it, O.J.: Made In America, was named the year’s Best Documentary.

The official list of winners of the 2016 Seattle Film Awards are listed below:



BEST DIRECTOR: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

BEST ACTOR: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea

BEST ACTRESS: Isabelle Huppert, Elle

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight



BEST SCREENPLAY: Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Zootopia – Byron Howard and Rich Moore, directors; Jared Bush, co-director.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Elle – Paul Verhoeven, director

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: O.J.: Made In America – Ezra Edelman, director

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Arrival ­– Bradford Young

BEST COSTUME DESIGN: The Handmaiden – Cho Sang-kyung

BEST FILM EDITING: Moonlight – Nat Sanders, Joi McMillon

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: Arrival  Jóhann Jóhannsson

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: The Handmaiden – Ryu Seong-hee

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS (TIE): Arrival – Louis Morin

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS (TIE): Doctor Strange  Stephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Richard Bluff, Vince Cerelli

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE: Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch

BEST VILLAIN: Howard Stambler (portrayed by John Goodman) – 10 Cloverfield Lane

The 2016 Seattle Film Award Nominees


Seattle, Wa. – Members of Seattle’s film and critical community have voted and nominations for the 2016 Seattle Film Awards, honoring the best in film for 2016, have been announced. Leading the field with 10 nominations each are Damien Chazelle’s musical romance La La Land and Barry Jenkins’ dramatic, emotional coming-of-age story Moonlight. Both films are nominated for Best Picture and Best Director for Chazelle and Jenkins, respectively.

Denis Villeneuve’s thought-provoking science-fiction epic Arrival landed 9 nominations, including Best Picture, and a second consecutive Seattle Film Awards Best Director nomination, recognized in 2015 for Sicario.

Joining those films across multiple categories is Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea and Robert Eggers’ The Witch, earning 7 nominations each, including Best Picture of the Year and a nod for Eggers in Best Director.

Lonergan missed a mention in the Best Director category, as Paul Verhoeven was nominated for his controversial French import Elle. In addition to earning a Best Picture nomination, lead actress Isabelle Huppert earned a spot in the Best Actress race. The film also received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

Rounding out the Best Picture lineup for 2016 is Pablo Larraín’s Jackie, David Mackenzie’s Hell Or High Water, South Korea’s The Handmaiden, and documentary13th, Ava DuVernay’s look at the history of African-American racism in the United States.

Manchester By The Sea placed four of its actors in the nomination pool – Casey Affleck (Lead Actor), Michelle Williams (Supporting Actress), and dual nominees Lucas Hedges and Kyle Chandler in Supporting Actor. The film also earned a nod for Best Ensemble.

Affleck competes against fellow nominees Ryan Gosling in La La Land, Viggo Mortensen in Captain Fantastic, Denzel Washington in Fences, and Logan Lerman, cited for his work in Indignation.

Williams earns her nomination alongside Viola Davis in Fences and Naomie Harris inMoonlight. Two distinctive breakout performances also caught Seattle’s eye as Kate McKinnon’s comedic turn in summer blockbuster Ghostbusters joins newcomer Lily Gladstone in the quiet, contemplative Certain Women, a film which Michelle Williams also co-stars in.

Hedges and Chandler join Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) and Jeff Bridges in the Best Supporting Actor lineup. Rounding out the slate is John Goodman, cited for his bunker dwelling turn in science-fiction thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane.

DuVernay’s 13th also earned a Best Documentary Feature nomination, along with the widely praised seven-plus hour O.J.: Made In America, film festival favorite Tickled,the uncomfortable look at disgraced politician Anthony Weiner in Weiner, andCameraperson, a compendium of the film projects of cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Cameraperson also earned a nod for Film Editing. Tower, an animated documentary recounting the 50th anniversary of a campus shooting in Texas, missed in the Documentary Feature category but scored an Animated Feature nomination, competing with Disney and Pixar favorites Finding Dory, Moana, Zootopia, and stop-motion film Kubo and the Two Strings.

Two new categories were added for voter consideration in 2016. For the inaugural Best Youth Performance, recognizing performances by actors who were 18 years of age or younger at the time filming began, The Witch sees lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy and co-star Harvey Scrimshaw competing with Royalty Hightower from The Fits,Sunny Pawar in Lion, and Alex Hibbert from Moonlight.

In the Best Villain category, Goodman appears for a second time, alongside menacing goat Black Phillip from The Witch, Ben Mendelsohn’s Imperial henchman Orson Krennic from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and two harrowing horror movie performances from Stephen Lang (Don’t Breathe) and Patrick Stewart in Green Room.

With nominations in place, voting for the winners will take place beginning December 21, 2016. Voting for this year’s recipients concludes January 4, 2017, with the winners announced on January 5, 2017.

The complete list of nominations for the 2016 Seattle Film Awards are listed below:



13th (Netflix)
ARRIVAL (Paramount)
ELLE (Sony Pictures Classics)
THE HANDMAIDEN (Amazon Studios/Magnolia Pictures)
JACKIE (Fox Searchlight)
LA LA LAND (Lionsgate)
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Amazon Studios/Roadside Attractions)


Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Robert Eggers – The Witch
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Paul Verhoeven – Elle
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival


Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Logan Lerman – Indignation
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences


Amy Adams – Arrival
Kate Beckinsale – Love & Friendship
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land


Mahershala Ali– Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell Or High Water
Kyle Chandler – Manchester By The Sea
John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By The Sea


Viola Davis – Fences
Lily Gladstone – Certain Women
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters
Michelle Williams – Manchester By The Sea


Captain Fantastic
Hell Or High Water
Manchester By The Sea


ArrivalEric Heisserer
Hell Or High WaterTaylor Sheridan
La La LandDamien Chazelle
Manchester By The SeaKenneth Lonergan
MoonlightBarry Jenkins and Tarell McCraney


Finding DoryAndrew Stanton, director; Angus MacLane, co-director
Kubo And The Two StringsTravis Knight, director
MoanaRon Clements and John Musker, directors
TowerKeith Maitland, director
ZootopiaByron Howard and Rich Moore, directors; Jared Bush, co-director.


EllePaul Verhoeven, director
The HandmaidenPark Chan-wook, director
The InnocentsAnne Fontaine, director
Under The ShadowBabak Anvari, director
The WailingNa Hong-jin, director


13thAva DuVernay, director
CamerapersonKirsten Johnson, director
O.J.: Made In AmericaEzra Edelman, director
TickledDavid Farrier, Dylan Reeve, directors
Weiner Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg, directors


ArrivalBradford Young
JackieStéphane Fontaine
La La LandLinus Sandgren
MoonlightJames Laxton
The WitchJarin Blaschke


The HandmaidenCho Sang-kyung
JackieMadeline Fontaine
La La LandMary Zophres
Love & FriendshipEimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh
The WitchLinda Muir


ArrivalJoe Walker
CamerapersonNels Bangerter
Hell Or High WaterJake Roberts
La La LandTom Cross
MoonlightNat Sanders, Joi McMillon


ArrivalJóhann Jóhannsson
JackieMica Levi
La La Land Justin Hurwitz
MoonlightNicholas Britell
Swiss Army ManAndy Hull, Robert McDowell


ArrivalPatrice Vermette (production designer); Paul Hotte (key decorator)
The HandmaidenRyu Seong-hee
JackieJean Rabasse (production designer); Véronique Melery (set decorator)
La La LandDavid Wasco (production designer); Sandy Reynolds-Wasco (set decorator)
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryDoug Chiang, Neil Lamont (production designers); Lee Sandales (set decorator)


ArrivalLouis Morin
Captain America: Civil WarDan DeLeeuw, Dan Sudick, Russell Earl, Greg Steele
Doctor StrangeStephane Ceretti, Paul Corbould, Richard Bluff, Vince Cerelli
The Jungle BookRobert Legato, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez, Dan Lemmon
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryJohn Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel, Neil Corbould

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE (18 years of age or younger upon start of filming):

Alex Hibbert – Moonlight
Royalty Hightower – The Fits
Sunny Pawar – Lion
Harvey Scrimshaw – The Witch
Anya Taylor-Joy – The Witch


Darcy Banker – Green Room – portrayed by Patrick Stewart
Black Phillip – The Witch – portrayed by Charlie and voiced by Wahab Chaudary
Orson Krennic – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – portrayed by Ben Mendelsohn
Norman Nordstrom (a/k/a ‘The Blind Man’) – Don’t Breathe – portrayed by Stephen Lang
Howard Stambler – 10 Cloverfield Lane – portrayed by John Goodman

Seattle Film Critics Society Launches

To celebrate local, national and international film, members of Seattle’s film and critical community have officially formed the Seattle Film Critics Society (SFCS). The society’s mission is to highlight the best and most interesting movies that should be seen each year, and to enhance public education, awareness and appreciation of cinema in the greater Seattle area.

Members of the Seattle Film Critics Society include the region’s top print, online and broadcast movie critics.

For several years, an informal group has voted on the year’s best movies and performances, culminating in the Seattle Film Critics Awards. The Society will formalize this process to further highlight the year’s most prominent and deserving films, actors and filmmakers. For 2016 releases, nominations will be announced on Dec. 21, 2016 and winners on Jan. 5, 2017.

“We’ve had a thriving film community here for as long as I can remember, but it hasn’t always had a voice,” said Michael Ward, interim chairman and editor of the website Should I See It. “I’m thrilled that Seattle’s film critics have come together to share their love and knowledge of film with local moviegoers.”

The Society will operate with an interim steering committee during its launch phase. A full Board of Directors will be selected by Society members in February 2017.

About the Seattle Film Critics Society (SFCS)

The Seattle Film Critics Society (SFCS) seeks to highlight the best and most interesting movies that should be seen each year, and to enhance public education, awareness and appreciation of cinema in the greater Seattle area. For more information, visit

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