Weird Cinema 2016 Awards (Retrospective)

The 2016 retrospective is here. A look back at a more simple period of film history and a year dominated by two films: La La Land and Moonlight. At least in the American cultural consciousness, the memorable sticking point will be the infamous Oscar blunder where Warren Beatty was handed the wrong envelope and chaos ensued. The one way the Oscars hold any cultural currency anymore? Scandal and incompetence. Only the Will Smith slap takes precedent over this wild night at the Oscar.

But, for those of us who don’t assign too much importance into the Academy’s taste, it was a varied and exciting year of cinema. Outside the confines of Hollywood, international cinema thrived. Asia produced many of the years best and continued a developing trend of the industries in those countries submitting idiosyncratic, quality work consistently. The type of filmmaking that couldn’t and wouldn’t be made in America and that’s why it’s essential to seek out films from different cultures.

As for specific genres, horror had a major resurgence in 2016. Dark, twisted worlds that don’t necessarily go by convention. The adult specialty drama was in its heyday at the tail end of 2016 and unfortunately, this increasingly niche genre of films made for adults is becoming more-and-more an afterthought. However, this year provided plenty of great examples of why these films are crucial. Animation was also phenomenal in 2016 and not only because Disney released some interesting films. It was a year of great international animated films that surpass the monopolistic American approach to cinema.

As for qualifiers, some of these films were released in US theaters in 2015, but were only made available to me in 2016. The Lobster, for example, had a 2015 release but I saw it in May of 2016, so it counts (and its Oscar campaign was for 2017). The Witch applies to this as well. Every film was checked for either Oscar eligibility in 2017 or an American release date in 2016 regardless of when it premiered.

To close out and get to the awards, we got two career defining films from American wunderkinds: Damien Chazelle and Barry Jenkins. Park Chan-wook, a legendary Korean director, gives us his magnum opus and a new career watermark. 49 years after Martin Scorsese’s first film was released, he gives us a masterpiece in Silence. Hirokazu Koreeda continually dropping quality films centered around the family. We even got a Godzilla film, done in homage to the classic creature films, directed by Hideki Anno. Comparing 2016 to most years, it’s much deeper year with some of the decades best films at the top. It’s arguably the best single year of the century.

Previous Winners:

2017: Call Me By Your Name

2018: Shoplifters

2019: Parasite

2020: Babyteeth

2021: Memoria

2022: The Banshees of Inisherin

So, without further ado…

Worst Film

Honorable Mention: War Dogs

5. X-Men Apocalypse

4. Gods of Egypt

3. The Darkness

2. Elvis & Nixon

1. Dog Eat Dog

Best Visual Effects (VFX)

Honorable Mention: Train to Busan

5. Swiss Army Men

4. Land of Mine

3. Doctor Strange

2. Arrival

1. Shin Godzilla

Best Production Design

Honorable Mention: Arrival

5. Cemetery of Splendour

4. Antiporno

3. The Salesman

2. La La Land

1. The Handmaiden

Best Ending

Honorable Mention: Silence

5. Hell or High Water

4. The Witch

3. I, Olga Hepnarova

2. Train to Busan

1. The Wailing

Best Scene

Honorable Mention: Soldier saves girls and then commits suicide, Land of Mine

5. The spirit (Moo-myeong) warns Jong-goo about the Tengu, The Wailing

4. The lingering open door shower assault, The Salesman

3.  Drowning the books (My Tamako, My Sookee), The Handmaiden

2. Father Garupe refuses to apostatize on the Japanese beach, Silence

1. Lady Hideko’s reading, The Handmaiden

Best Horror Film

Honorable Mention: Seoul Station

5. Shin Godzilla

4. The Witch

3. Train to Busan

2. Creepy

1. The Wailing

Best Comedy Film

Honorable Mention: La La Land

5. My Life as a Zucchini

4. Hail, Cesar!

3. A Bigger Splash

2. The Nice Guys

1. The Lobster

Weirdest Film

Honorable Mention: Weiner-Dog

5. Kaili Blues

4. Cemetery of Splendour 

3. Creepy

2. The Lobster

1. Antiporno

Most Original Film

Honorable Mention: Your Name.

5. The Handmaiden

4. Antiporno

3. Kaili Blues

2. Cemetery of Splendour

1. The Lobster

Best Score or Soundtrack

Honorable Mention: Scott Walker, The Childhood of a Leader

5. Roger Neill, 20th Century Women

4. Akira Ifukube and Shirō Sagisu, Shin Godzilla

3. Nicholas Britell, Moonlight

2. Mica Levi, Jackie

1. Jo Yeong-wook, The Handmaiden

Best Animated Feature

Honorable Mention: In This Corner of the World

5. The Red Turtle

4. Your Name.

3. A Silent Voice

2. Tower

1. The Girl without Hands

Best Makeup & Hairstyling

Honorable Mention: Train to Busan

5. Silence

4. La La Land

3. Jackie

2. The Wailing

1. The Handmaiden

Best Costuming

Honorable Mention: American Honey

5. Hail, Cesar!

4. Silence

3. La La Land

2. The Handmaiden

1. Jackie

Best Sound Mixing

Honorable Mention: Moonlight

5. La La Land

4. The Handmaiden

3. Arrival

2. Shin Godzilla

1. Silence

Best Sound Editing

Honorable Mention: Kill Zone 2 (SPL II)

5. Swiss Army Man

4. The Wailing

3. Train to Busan

2. Shin Godzilla

1. Arrival

Best Editing

Honorable Mention: Creepy, Koichi Takahashi

5. Land of Mine, Molly Malene Stensgaard, Per Sandholt

4. After the Storm, Hirokazu Koreeda

3. The Salesman, Hayedeh Safiyari

2. Silence, Thelma Schoonmaker

1. The Handmaiden, Kim Sang-bum, Kim Jae-beom

Best Cinematography

Honorable Mention: Moonlight, James Laxton

5. After the Storm, Yutaka Yamazaki

4. Land of Mine, Camilla Hjelm

3. Kaili Blues, Tianxing Wang

2. Silence, Rodrigo Prieto

1. The Handmaiden, Chung-hoon Chung

Best Adapted Screenplay

Honorable Mention: The Girl Without Hands, Sébastien Laudenbach

5. Jackie, Noah Oppenheim

4. A Bigger Splash, David Kajganich

3. Moonlight, Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney

2. The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo-kyung

1. Silence, Martin Scorsese, Jay Cocks

Best Original Screenplay

Honorable Mention: The Wailing, Na Hong-jin

5. Mountains May Depart, Jia Zhangke

4. Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan

3. Little Men, Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias

2. After the Storm, Hirokazu Koreeda

1. The Salesman, Asghar Farhadi

Best Ensemble

Honorable Mention: Creepy

5. The Lobster

4. Moonlight

3. After the Storm

2. The Handmaiden

1. Silence

Best Supporting Actress

Honorable Mention: Janelle Monaé, Moonlight

5. Annette Benning, 20th Century Women

4. Molly Shannon, Other People

3. Kirin Kiki, After the Storm

2. Taraneh Alidoosti, The Salesman

1. Kim Min-hee, The Handmaiden

Best Supporting Actor

Honorable Mention: Greg Kinnear, Little Men

5. Ma Dong-seok, Train to Busan

4. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

3. Jun Kunimura, The Wailing

2. Liam Neeson, Silence

1. Teruyuki Kagawa, Creepy

Best Actress

Honorable Mention: Sasha Lane, American Honey

5. Jenjira Pongpas, Cemetery of Splendour

4. Rebecca Hall, Christine

3. Michilina Olszánska, I, Olga Hepnarova

2. Sonia Braga, Aquarius

1. Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Actor

Honorable Mention: Ralph Fiennes, A Bigger Splash

5. Denzel Washington, Fences

4. Kwak Do-won, The Wailing

3. Andrew Garfield, Silence

2. Hirosbi Abe, After the Storm

1. Shahab Hosseini, The Salesman

Best Overall Performance

Honorable Mention: Teruyuki Kagawa, Creepy 

5. Andrew Garfield, Silence

4. Hiroshi Abe, After the Storm

3. Taraneh Alidoosti, The Salesman

2. Shahab Hosseini, The Salesman

1. Kim Min-hee, The Handmaiden

Best International Film

Honorable Mention: Land of Mine (Denmark)

5. Creepy (Japan)

4. After the Storm (Japan)

3. The Salesman (Iran)

2. The Wailing (South Korea)

1. The Handmaiden (South Korea)

Best Director

Honorable Mention: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Creepy

5. Hirokazu Koreeda, After the Storm

4. Asghar Farhadi, The Salesman

3. Na Hong-jin, The Wailing

2. Martin Scorsese, Silence

1. Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden

Best Picture

15. Shin Godzilla

14. I, Olga Hepnarova

13. Antiporno

12. Cemetery of Splendor

11. Train to Busan

10. Kaili Blues

9. Land of Mine

8. The Girl without Hands

7. Creepy

6. Moonlight

5. After the Storm

4. The Salesman

3. The Wailing

2. Silence

1. The Handmaiden

Full Top 30 List:


In closing, it was a great year. The Handmaiden walks away as the most awarded film in Weird Cinema’s brief history. Truly an all-time classic. As for the next retrospective, I’ll be going back to 1951 rather than a modern year. Excited to check out all the films from that year, find all the hidden gems, and come back for another Weird Cinema retrospective.

Thanks to all that read this piece and follow me on twitter:


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