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The Frettsies: My 2017 Movie Awards

December 29, 2017


Most people I know are ready for 2017 to be over, but to my mind, it was a particularly good year for movies, which made the selection of my quasi-annual Frettsies for the big screen’s best performances especially challenging. Maybe that’s why I have cited so many performers for more than one film. (Hey, they’re my awards, I can make my own rules.) Click on the highlighted links for fuller reviews of the films. Without further adieu, here are the nominees… and winners.

Best Supporting Female Actor

Hong Chau, Downsizing

Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Cathy Moriarty, Patti Cake$

Lois Smith, Lady Bird and Marjorie Prime

And the Frettsie goes to… Lois Smith, for her lovely turn as a sympathetic nun in Lady Bird and her shattering work as a woman losing her memory (and a reanimated version of the same character) in Marjorie Prime. At 87 — and more than 60 years after her film debut opposite James Dean in East of Eden — Ms. Smith is at the top of her game, as she proved in this SAG-AFTRA Foundation Q&A I moderated with her.

Best Supporting Male Actor

Bill Camp, Hostiles, The Killing of a Sacred Deer & Molly’s Game

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World and The Man Who Invented Christmas

Nick Searcy, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Landline  (the one I was in, not the one with Edie Falco)

And the Frettsie goes to… Christopher Plummer, for masterfully playing two variations on the same theme, miserliness, as Money‘s J. Paul Getty (replacing Kevin Spacey and no doubt giving a much less hammy and prosthetics-free performance) and Christmas‘ Ebenezer Scrooge. Oh, and he’s even older than Lois Smith, at 88.


Best Lead Female Actor

Stephanie Beatriz, Light of the Moon

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game and The Zookeeper’s Wife

Sally Hawkins, Maudie and The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

And the Frettsie goes to… Sally Hawkins, for her heartbreakingly beautiful portraits of two disabled women who communicate deep emotions, Maudie‘s arthritic artist and The Shape of Water‘s mute cleaning woman. A close second goes to Jessica Chastain, for her dazzlingly diverse roles as a poker shark in Molly’s Game and the leonine title character in the criminally underrated WWII drama The Zookeeper’s Wife.


Best Male Lead Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

Sam Elliott, The Hero

Ethan Hawke, Maudie

Harry Dean Stanton, Lucky

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

As tempted as I am to give the Frettsie posthumously to Harry Dean Stanton, who died at 91, shortly before his bittersweet swan song Lucky was released, it goes to… Sam Elliott, a relative youngster at 73. Still, he brought a lifetime of experience to his tailor-made role as a mustachioed, gravel-voiced movie cowboy facing a showdown with his own mortality.


Come back soon for my lists of the year’s 10 best and worst movies!


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