The Courier Film Awards

To celebrate a wonderful academic year of films, our writers contribute to our very own awards. But do you agree?

multiple writers
27th June 2022

To celebrate a wonderful year of cinema, we are hosting our very own academy awards and you are all cordially invited! Do you agree with the winners, and if not, what do you think deserved it? Just make sure not to slap anyone...

Best Picture

Credit: IMDb

Since the start of the academic year, there have been many blockbuster films hitting the big screen. But which one will win big for The Best Film of the Courier Year?

The quality of films this past year has been immense. Here are just some of the deserving ‘nominees’, if you will – the brooding and dark The Batman, the emotionally raw biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye, the nausea-inducing Fresh and not forgetting Pixar’s Turning Red. But in the interest of both the fans and critics alike, the winner is…

Spiderman: No Way Home!

So there may be a little bias on my part (almost anyone will tell you that I am huge Marvel nerd), but this film was nothing short of exciting, emotional and overall entertaining. Just the fact that this blockbuster is the accumulation of 20 years of superhero cinema is no small feat. The amazing cast from all three (almost) trilogies, pulled together to make something quite spectacular. Director Jon Watts used his usual mashup of genres, creating the perfect mix of emotion and action: the classic coming-of-age film meets the adrenaline-fuelled superhero world. So congratulations to Watts, the new spear head to Spidey himself, Tom Holland, and the rest of the team. You did the MCU fandom, and the critics, proud!

Imogen Smillie

Best Leading Performance

Credit: IMDb

To be Bruce Wayne and Batman, one must be stoic, prepared for fight scenes and clinically insane enough to want to lark about in a suit and cape. Given these requirements, it is easy to see how Robert Pattinson was suited for the role, and he certainly delivered.

Pattinson portrayed a Batman in his early vigilante days . Unlike some portrayals, Pattinson presents Batman as the inquisitive detective he is in the comics. The beauty of his performance was watching a shaken Pattinson witness how devastating the consequences of Batman can be. It was evident to any viewer this Batman cared, but wasn't perfect and was still learning

We see little of Bruce Wayne, but the snippets we do see are still refreshing. Pattinson portrays an ever-grieving Bruce Wayne coping with his legacy and his newfound mission, only appearing in public to do what Batman cannot. Such a portrayal is a marked change from Bale's playboy and Batflek's world-weary Prince of Gotham. Pattinson clearly adds a fresh dimension to the character.

I would say with certainty that Robert Pattinson understands his character in a unique way, which is the highest of compliments given the other actors to don the mask.

Emily Kelso

Best Supporting Performance

Credit: IMDb

With an career spanning over 70 years, it's no surprise Maggie Smith's performance in Downton Abbey's latest film was outstanding. Smith has taken a hardened character and added wit and kindness to the Dowager Countess that no one saw coming.

This instalment of the Downton Abbey franchise seemed packed with seemingly uninteresting plots. It was around halfway through I realised that the true plot was Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess, taking steps to see her family settled before her passing.

The character development of Violet from season one of the series, to now the second film, goes from a woman obsessed with preserving the English aristocracy to a woman who has fallen in love over and over, who became a friend and a mother and a fierce defender of those she loved.

"Stop that noise at once!" Violet yells, while her lady's maid sobs at her deathbed. "I can't hear myself die!" And though her death is imminent, she finds it in her to gush pride at her grandchildren, thank her friend and apologise to her daughter-in-law. A woman of pride and certainty, we seldom hear an apology or admission of guilt from the toughened matriarch.

And at the lack of dry eye in the cinema, I say this; it's not just good writing that brings a tear to your eye, but impeccable acting, too.

Carly Horne

Best Animated Film

Credit: IMDb

Since September 2021, there have been many, many films which I would love to credit: Hotel TransylvaniaTurning RedChip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers and Ice Age: Adventures of Buck Wild. Yet there is one film that ranks above all them of - Sing 2!

With the original cast coming back for another film: Matthew McConoughey (Buster Moon), Scarlett Johanson (Ash), Taron Egerton (Johnny) and Reese Witherspoon (Rosita), they bring with them even more famous names: Pharrell Williams (Alfonso) and, even, Bono (Clay Calloway).

These famous names represent how successful the first film was and, hopefully, the second film was just as successful to viewers worldwide because I know it was for me!

Released in January 2022 by Illumination (the studio which brought us Minions), Sing 2 raked in $409.2 million for the box office! This statistic in itself shows the success before I even tell you what I love about it!

Though I didn't know where this plot could go before the trailer was released, and I still wasn't convinced after it was released, the 110-minute film was worthwhile! The film focuses on the potential of the singers from the first film and where their careers will take them.

In Buster Moon style, Moon decides to jump into the deep end of a musical production - where he promises singer, and lion, Clay Calloway will perform. Clay Calloway is a recluse and there are many attempts by many of the characters to convince him to perform in their production.

With many twists and turns, that are wayyyy more exciting than my boring description, the songs chosen for this musical are once again phenomenal and introduce children to new songs as well as keep familiar ones.

There were many giggles from me whilst sitting in the cinema and I can't wait for its release onto other platforms.

Katie Siddal

Best Makeup/Costumes

Credit: IMDb

Not only do makeup and costume make a film aesthetically pleasing, but they also assist in the storytelling, another on-screen language that is visual rather than verbal. As you can probably tell, I am an absolute sucker for great makeup and costume in film. I love to read into the meaning of the character’s makeup and costumes, inferring what they mean about the character and whether there is a change in appearance as the storyline unfolds.

This year, the winning film has to be The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which won an Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, deservedly so. The film portrays the life of televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker and her husband Jim, chronicling their fall from grace. Jessica Chastain, who received the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal, is transformed into Tammy Faye by makeup artist Linda Dowds, special effects artist Justin Raleigh, hair stylist Stephanie Ingram and their teams. Depicting a real-life person is an incredibly tricky task, as the transformation needs to be perfect, lest the wrath of the internet and those who are familiar with them. An actor’s performance could be wasted if the makeup and costuming is not on-point. The transformation of Chastain is incredible. As the film chronicles Tammy Faye’s life from the 1960s through to the ‘90s, so do the prosthetics that Chastain wears, as well as the makeup and costumes. As Tammy Faye aged, her colour palette changed, as Dowds notes, “we went from using a lot of blues and mauves in the ‘70s to plums and burgundies in the ‘80s”. Dowds’s research also revealed that Tammy Faye would buy a lot of her makeup from drugstores, so she did too, using Revlon palettes to recreate Tammy Faye’s iconic eyeshadow looks. The attention to detail of the makeup and hair departments working on this film meant that Tammy Faye could be recreated on screen and aided Chastain’s award-winning performance.

Another standout makeup and costume moment this year in film has to be Zoe Kravitz in The Batman. I loved Selina Kyle’s Catwoman suit, but my favourite outfit in the entire film has to be her funeral look. Kravitz’s character wears a leather knee-length coat with a matching leather fascinator and knee-length stiletto boots. This leather outfit is a subtle nod to Kyle’s vigilante alter-ego, whilst the black is in keeping with funeral attire. Other than that, it is stunning. I, like the rest of the internet, am obsessed with the makeup look that Selina wears when Robert Pattinson’s Batman first sees her at The Iceberg Lounge. The look was created by makeup legend Pat McGrath, who said that she was inspired by the “spirit of Berlin club culture” in creating this smoky cat-eye which is accented with gold glitter. The look is another nod to Kyle’s alter-ego and has spawned many tutorials. Another personal favourite for me is the ‘60s fashion in Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho. I was so inspired that I trawled through eBay trying to find a white leather trench coat immediately after I came out of the cinema. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find one that was student budget-friendly.

Though it hasn’t come out yet and thus does not qualify for this award, I am really looking forward to Elvis. I’m a huge Baz Lurhmann and Catherine Martin fan, so I can’t wait to see the makeup and costumes in their latest effort.

Best Score

Credit: IMDb

The gong for best score goes to Hans Zimmer’s work on last year’s sci-fi epic Dune. The Academy gave the Oscar for Best Original Score to the acclaimed composer and who are we to disagree? 

From Tenet to Top Gun, lots of films have been proclaimed as the post-covid return of the cinematic blockbuster, but Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was the one that offered the most striking big screen (and speaker) experience, and the score was no small part in that. Tackling an infamous source text that Jodorwsky, Lynch and even Grimes have attempted, it took a trip to the Utah desert and a church full of bagpipers for Zimmers’ score to do Frank Herbert’s sci-fi book series justice.

Accompanying the vast desert landscapes of the planet Arrakis, ambient passages build a palpable atmosphere. These break into fast, frenzied percussion as Timothée Chalamet and co. flee a host of sandworms and enemies. The score is integrated into the film brilliantly. Features like the strange ‘sandwalk’ dance used to appease the sandworms and ‘The Voice’ Paul Atreides learns to use are echoed in the rhythmic and vocal motifs dispersed throughout.

With Part 2 slated for release next year, Zimmer will be Dune it all over again very soon.

Peter Bath

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