3rd Annual REELmoviesmatter.com Achievement in Film Awards

The movie season for 2018 has come to an end and now it’s time for those who’ve made great films to enjoy the fruits of their labor.  This past year brought us some memorable performances on the big screen.  Some filmmakers used it as a chance to express their opinions on controversial topics like racism and politics, while others used the brightness of humor to light up our dark world.  Some succeeded, while others failed.  Some films made us confused, and others gave us clarity.  On this site, we love to both reward and ridicule those deserving of each.  So without further ado, here are the 3rd Annual REELmoviesmatter.com Achievements in Film Awards.


  1. Widows
  2. Eighth Grade
  3. Green Book
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk
  5. Cold War

Cold War has picked up steam over the past month or so, but still is underrated due to the fact that it is a foreign film with subtitles and most of us in America for whatever reason are turned off by embracing foreign culture.  This movie may have been the best picture globally that most of America didn’t see and probably never will.

Eighth Grade is a film that was pitched to the masses as the next great coming of age teen film.  Word of mouth is slowly but surely spreading the word about this movie, and although it may be too late to gain acclamation from the Academy, it may wind up being one of those movies that years from now is a cult classic.

Green Book is a big contender for the Best Picture Oscar, and has already claimed some other esteemed awards this season.  With that said, I’m amazed at how many people still have not seen it.  I’m absolutely floored by those who still don’t even know what it is!  The film has grossed a little over $67 million, which is good but not great.  Most of that $67 million comes from the Oscar buzz crowd after the calendar turned and the film had already received several nominations.

Over the past few years, we have seen an upward trend in the quality of films from the action genre.  This year, Widows took the baton from the critically acclaimed success of action films from recent past like The Town and has carried it well.

But this award this year goes to If Beale Street Could Talk.  Barry Jenkins made yet another articulate story giving us another lens into a societal issue – this one being the overpopulation of black males in prisons for petty crimes or crimes they didn’t even commit.  This was such a well-done film, yet failed to gain the recognition it truly deserved.


  1. First Man
  2. Roma
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody
  4. Crazy Rich Asians
  5. Annihilation 

The success of Crazy Rich Asians took on a life of its own, despite being nothing more than an average “rom-com.”  Everything in that movie was already done by one of its predecessors, and nothing was done extraordinarily well enough to warrant its success.  It was cute, but that’s about it.

The only thing that was more confusing to me about Annihilation other than the movie itself, was the support it gained from several critics.  In fact, three of these movies in this category were guilty of being Oscar bait by their respective distribution companies.  First Man, Roma and Bohemian Rhapsody were all sold to us as films we NEED to like because it’s what we are SUPPOSED to like, instead of letting us judge for ourselves.

That mindset is still helping to push Roma to the front of the line for Best Picture.  Not only is this movie the most overrated movie of the year, but if it wins the Oscar, may become the most overrated movie of all-time.  This is a movie that if you ask most moviegoers, they would agree that Roma is not a strong film, but because it is visually intriguing and was made by such a respected director in Alfonso Cuaron, it’s been forcefully shoved down our throats.  However, Hollywood adores it, so here it is, leading the pack with 10 Oscar nominations.  I really appreciate Cuaron and his vision, but Roma is a runaway winner here for most overrated film of the year.

Likewise, Bohemian Rhapsody is one of the worst films ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, according to Metacritic ratings (It has a Metacritic rating of 49, which is probably lower than some porn flicks out there).

First Man was a movie that, ironically enough, never really made it off the ground.  It had all the ingredients that the Academy loves – a historical biopic (the story of Neil Armstrong), a big-time director (Damien Chazelle, coming off the success of La La Land), an A-list star (Ryan Gosling), a strong musical score (Justin Hurwitz), etc.  For whatever reason, the public didn’t buy in and it didn’t even make its budget money back.  As a result, most award circuits had no choice but to leave it empty-handed.


  1. Green Book
  2. A Star is Born
  3. Vice
  4. Black Panther
  5. BlacKkKlansman

This was a tough one for me.  I think Vice wins if you’re simply going by the most A-list actors in the ensemble, but this award is about more than just that.  While the acting itself was great in all of these films, I was torn between giving this award to either Black Panther or A Star is Born.  As amazing as the cast for Black Panther was, I give the edge to A Star is Born here in a slight upset.  Everyone in the film was so influential to both the story and to drawing parallels from the characters to the audience’s real lives.  Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga both gave the best performances of their careers so far, and I can’t ignore that.


  1. If Beale Street Could Talk
  2. Green Book
  3. A Star is Born

All of these films deal with serious issues that we as a society need to continue doing a better job of eliminating from our world for good.  Beale Street, dealing with the aforementioned problems within our court system, Green Book taking on racism and pushing for racial equality, and A Star is Born telling a story that ultimately is about the effects of drug and alcohol abuse more so than music and a love story.

In the end, I am going with Green Book.  The amazing true story of Dr. Shirley and Tony Lip proves that if we put aside our differences on the outside, we often find that we are very much alike on the inside.  More people in the world need to understand that.


A Quiet Place

This was a runaway win in this category for A Quiet Place.  This movie has you at the edge of your seat from start to finish.  It’s basically the lovechild of Signs and It Comes at Night, but may actually be better than both (which I guess is ideal for parents to produce children and raise them to be even better than themselves, right?).


  1. Mission Impossible: Fallout
  2. Deadpool 2
  3. Black Panther

While Mission Impossible: Fallout was surprisingly good and may have even been the best of the Mission series, and Deadpool 2 being a strong sequel that arguably was better than the original, Blank Panther wins this category pretty easily.  I would argue it is the best movie from  the Marvel brand and possibly the best “superhero” movie of all-time.  For the record, I’d still take The Dark Knight as the best, but the gap is not wide between the two.


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I was very surprised at the quality and success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.  It received an Oscar nomination for this same category and is a public favorite to take home the prize.


  1. The Cloverfield Paradox
  2. Fifty Shades Freed
  3. The Happytime Murders

The Cloverfield Paradox is one of the most disappointing movies ever.  The Cloverfield title carries weight to me, being a big fan of the original Cloverfield movie.  Unfortunately, 10 Cloverfield Lane didn’t reach its potential, and The Cloverfield Paradox was just awful.  Most people would probably go with Fifty Shades Freed here I think, but I’m going to grant the ugliest pig in the room award to The Cloverfield Paradox.  As for The Happytime Murders, I’m not even sure why or how that was even given a green light to begin with.


  1. “Shallow” – A Star is Born
  2. All the Stars” – Black Panther
  3. “The Big Unknown” – Widows

I have been in love with all three of these songs ever since I first heard them. With that said, “Shallow” will forever go hand-in-hand with the movie – which is exactly what a winner from this category should always do.  “Shallow” is the winner here by a substantial margin, and I’d be floored if it doesn’t take home the Oscar for this category, as well.


  1. If Beale Street Could Talk
  2. Black Panther
  3. A Star is Born

As awesome as the song catalog is from A Star is Born, Ludwig Goransson’s score for Black Panther was by far the best of the year.  Nicholas Britell’s score for Beale Street was a perfect complement to the film, just as was his score for Moonlight.  His dramatic, cinematic strings seem to pluck the right chords in Barry Jenkins’ films.  But Goransson’s Black Panther score was as cinematic as it gets.  The wide arrangement of African infused drums, chants and hard brass winds your heart right along with the movie itself.


  1. Black Panther
  2. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  3. Ready Player One

The visual effects of the weaponry, action sequences, and Wakondan technologies create the perfect visual package in Black Panther.  This also is an easy one for me.


  1. Black Panther
  2. Bohemian Rhapsody
  3. A Star is Born

Another victory here for Black Panther.  This is the type of movie you must watch loud and absorb yourself in the scenes.  The sharp sound of every weapon drawn and waterfall splash engross you into Wakanda’s world.


  1. A Star is Born
  2. Cold War
  3. Black Panther

I am not sure how or why Black Panther didn’t get an Oscar nomination in this category, but nonetheless, it earns a nomination here from me.  Cold War’s cinematography is both sexy and effective at captivating the viewer into the love story.  Although A Star is Born does this as well, Cold War’s cinematography itself is truly the star of the film.


  1. A Star is Born
  2. If Beale Street Could Talk
  3. Black Panther
  4. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  5. BlacKkKlansman

If Beale Street Could Talk runs away with this one.  The love story in the screenplay Barry Jenkins wrote created such a perfect micro plot to the macro message of social and racial injustice.


  1. Green Book
  2. Eighth Grade
  3. A Quiet Place
  4. Vice
  5. Cold War

During the scene when Dr. Shirley pours his heart out in an angry rant to Tony Lip asking him what his true identity should be in the rain on a dark street in the heart of the South, I remember thinking to myself “this scene itself is going to win this movie a lot of awards.”


  1. Amy Adams – Vice
  2. Marina de Tavira – Roma
  3. Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
  4. Rachel Weisz – The Favourite
  5. Emma Stone – The Favourite

I think Regina King is one of the most underrated actresses in the business.  She always finds a way to steal the scene.  I wish she was in Beale Street even more that she actually was, but because she was great in every second she did have on screen, she still earns this award.


  1. Mahershala Ali – Green Book
  2. Sam Eliott – A Star is Born
  3. Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  4. Adam Driver – BlacKkKlansman
  5. Timothe Chalamet – Beautiful Boy

A lot of the movie-going public was upset that Chalamet was shut out of this category for the Oscars.  After all, he has been consistently great in his portrayals and he did have an impactful role in an important film.  Other than putting him in and taking Sam Rockwell out for his role in Vice, I am basically in agreement with the Academy in this extremely tough category.  I say tough because all the actors here did a great job in their respective roles and it’s a shame that four of them have to lose.  However, it’s not tough to judge the winner itself, which is Mahershala Ali.  This guy has emerged to become an elite actor, and rightfully is the favorite to win his second Oscar in the last three years.


  1. Glenn Close – The Wife
  2. Olivia Colman – The Favourite
  3. Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
  4. Lady Gaga – A Star is Born
  5. Felicity Jones – On the Basis Of Sex

Do I think Glenn Close will ultimately win the Oscar? Yes.  Do I think she should?  Probably.  Despite all that, I am giving the award to Lady Gaga.  My logic is due to the fact that for someone who is technically not an actress by trade, Lady Gaga was one of the main reasons A Star is Born was so successful and so appealing.  Although a nomination for her is a win in itself at this stage in her acting career, I think her performance deserves more than a moral victory.


  1. Rami Malek – Bohemian Rhapsody
  2. Christian Bale – Vice
  3. Viggo Mortensen – Green Book
  4. Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
  5. Stephan James – If Beale Street Could Talk

This category is “murderer’s row.” All of these nominees did extraordinary work in their respective roles, making this the hardest category this year to judge.  Christian Bale and Rami Malek were successfully morphed into their historic figures they portrayed, Bradley Cooper’s job both behind and in front of the camera for A Star is Born were equally career-defining, and Stephan James may have had the most underrated performance of the year in Beale Street.

I thought Mortensen should have been put in the supporting actor category and Ali been placed here, but for whatever reason every award circuit has it the way it currently is, so I will be a good soldier and keep it the same here as well.

The winner is Rami Malek.  I have been a fan of his since his days on the series The Pacific, and I’m happy to see him achieve his much deserved success.  Playing such an iconic pop figure like Freddie Mercury is incredibly tough, but Rami nailed it.


  1. Peter Farrelly – Green Book
  2. Spike Lee – BlacKkKlansman
  3. Bradley Cooper – A Star is Born
  4. Barry Jenkins – If Beale Street Could Talk
  5. Pawel Pawlikowski – Cold War

I really enjoyed all of these movies, but I am going to give the edge to Bradley Cooper over Pawel Pawlikowski.  I’ve made my opinion known about my feelings towards Roma earlier in this article, as well as in my Roma review, which is why you will not find Alfonso Cuaron on my list.  Pawlikowski is no joke, though, and neither is Cold War.  This movie is absolutely good enough to pull off a huge upset at the Oscars and put the gold in Pawlikowski’s hands.  He almost pulled out the win here from me, but Cooper’s direction and vision for A Star is Born was spellbinding.

On top of that, it’s not easy to take on a classic film that’s been remade three times prior to your version and still make it so good and so original to the point where it may stand even taller than its predecessors.  I still don’t honestly think he has received the credit he rightfully deserves for the job he did.



  1. Green Book
  2. A Star is Born
  3. Cold War
  4. If Beale Street Could Talk
  5. Black Panther
  6. BlacKkKlansman

Well, here is my list of the best movies of the year in order from top to bottom.  Spike Lee is an awesome director and storyteller with a unique style, which was reflected in BlacKkKlansman.  Although an Oscar has still eluded him, I truly believe he eventually will get over the hump.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe it will be, or should be, this year.

Black Panther was the best experience at the movies this past year, by far.  It gave you as a moviegoer basically everything you would want in a movie experience – action, drama, amazing special effects, strong acting, character and plot development, etc.  It even found a way to turn a Marvel comic superhero movie into an instrumental film for social change both on and off-screen.  The heights this movie has leaped to have been astronomical.  A nomination here is a win, so bravo to director Ryan Coogler and the rest of Black Panther’s cast and crew.

Barry Jenkins has become one of my favorite directors in Hollywood.  When it comes to any projects he works on in the future – I’m in.  With that said, I am giving him the credit he deserves by nominating him for Best Picture and acknowledging that Beale Street was one of my favorite films of 2018.  It wasn’t quite “Moonlight-level,” but still a really, really good movie.

There is nothing cold about Cold War.  The love story is seductive, and the on-screen chemistry of Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot is spicy to say the least.  To continue with the metaphor, it has lit a new flame in me to watch more foreign films.  If you have not yet seen this movie, and I bet most of you haven’t and that’s okay, please check it out.

For me, it came down to Green Book and A Star is Born.  I feel like any other year, A Star is Born may have cleaned up the entire awards season.  However, 2018 was a top-heavy year in cinema, which prevented any one movie from truly being the best of the best.  Some people loved Roma, others hated it.  Some are routing for Green Book, while others feel it was good but didn’t feel like a true “best picture.”  Some adored A Star is Born, while others just liked the soundtrack.  Some enjoyed The Favourite, while others considered it a little too weird and/or proper.

If this were a horse race, no one film is the Secretariat of the awards season running away from the pack to a clear-cut victory.  This race is coming down to the home stretch, and Green Book wins by a nose.