2015 Kaedrin Movie Awards

Welcome to the 10th annual Kaedrin Movie Awards. Ten years. A decade! Hard to believe we’ve been doing this for so long, but here we are. As of right now, I’ve seen 69 movies that could be considered a 2015 release. More than your typical moviegoer, less than your typical critic, but enough so that able to commence with the whole awards rigmarole. [Previous Installments here: 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014]

Standard disclaimers apply: Must be a 2015 movie (with the caveat that some 2014 movies were not accessible until 2015, an edge case that seems to be more common these days) and I obviously need to have seen the movie (and while I have seen a lot of movies, I don’t pretend to have seen a comprehensive selection). Blah blah, subjectivity, blah blah, personal preference, blah blah, the world would be incredibly boring if we all liked the same things for the same reasons. Enough preamble, let’s roll:

Best Villain/Badass

This was a moderately good year for villainy. Far from the worst year for this sort of thing, but while I didn’t have any trouble populating the list, the true standouts seemed rare.As usual, my picks in this category are limited to individuals, not groups (i.e. no vampires or zombies as a general menace, etc…) or ideas (sorry It Follows).

Best Hero/Badass

This was a stronger year for heroism though. Lots of memorable heroes to choose from, even from obscure or unlikely sources, and they tend to outweigh their villains heavily. Again limited to individuals and not groups

Best Comedic Performance

This category is often difficult to populate because comedy so often comes in the form of an ensemble, but we had a decent enough year, except that I don’t think I saw that many comedies.

Breakthrough Performance

Always an interesting category to populate. Sometimes, it’s not so much about someone’s industry breakthrough, but a more personal breakthrough. This can happen even with established actors. This year, though, it’s more about young up-and-comers, and it’s dominated by a terrifying flood of girl cooties. Or something. The main criteria for this category was if I watched a movie, then immediately looking up the actor/actress on IMDB to see what else they’ve done (or where they came from). A somewhat vague category, but that’s why these awards are fun.

Most Visually Stunning

Sometimes even bad movies can look really great… and we’ve got a pretty interesting mix of stuff this year.

Best Sci-Fi or Horror Film

I like to give a little love to my favorite genres, hence this category. When I started this category, I always had trouble finding good SF movies, so I had to pad out the category with horror. But we’ve seen an astonishing increase in good SF in recent years, mostly micro-budget independent stuff, but this year we’ve even got some big studio releases.

Best Sequel/Reboot

Usually a difficult category to populate, but Hollywood has stepped up their game in recent years, thus making this a more interesting category than ever. Very strong year for this sort of thing.

Biggest Disappointment

A category usually populated by sequels, this year offered a strong showing of original movies… that were disappointing. Naturally, the sequels came out to play as well, and I should also mention that this category is weird in that I actually enjoy some of these movies quite a bit… but my expectations were just too high when I saw them. Related reading: Joe Posnanski’s Plus-Minus Scale (these movies scored especially poor on that scale)

Best Action Sequences

This award isn’t for individual action sequences, but rather an overall estimation of each film, and this has been a very good year for action.

Best Plot Twist/Surprise

Well, I suppose even listing nominees here constitutes something of a spoiler, but it’s a risk we’ll have to take, right?

Best High Concept Film

A nebulous category, to be sure, but a fun one because these are generally interesting movies. Actually not a ton of these this year, but the ones we did have were great.

2015’s 2014 Movie of the Year

There are always movies I miss out on, whether due to availability or laziness, but when I do catch up with them, I’m often taken with them. Sometimes a very difficult category to populate, maybe because I didn’t see much, or didn’t like it, or just plain forgot that I saw it (which, to be fair, probably says something about the movie’s chances). In this case, I think it’s all of the above. I could have sworn I saw more than the below and that I was thinking it would be a good year for this category, but I’m having trouble finding options here…

So it looks like Mad Max: Fury Road is leading the way with 6 nominations, the highest since 2007 (when Grindhouse nabbed 9 nominations). I’m a little surprised to see The Revenant not far behind with 5 nominations (it’s a fine movie, but I’m not as enthusiastic about it as a lot of the other movies in this post). Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Creed, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens clock in at a respectable 4 nominations apiece, while Ant-Man, The Hateful Eight, It Follows, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and Predestination come in at a solid 3 nominations each. Many others have two or one nomination, with 36 total movies (not including the last category, which would put me at 40). Not too shabby. As usual, you’ll have to wait a week or two to see who wins, followed by the Arbitrary Awards and the traditional top 10, concluding with some Oscars prognostication and live tweeting. Stay tuned!

Update: Steven pointed out the egregious oversight of not including Daisy Ridley in the Breakthrough Performance category. We apologize for the fault in the nominations. Those responsible have been sacked. She has been added. (Steven also mentioned John Boyega, but even though I did not nominate him back in 2011 for Attack the Block, he has been on my radar ever since. So while his Star Wars role is certainly a mainstream breakthrough, he’d already wormed his way into this film nerd’s heart long ago!)

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