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KiKi Layne (right) and Stephan James play a couple facing racial injustice during the 1970s in If Beale Street Could Talk.EXPAND
KiKi Layne (right) and Stephan James play a couple facing racial injustice during the 1970s in If Beale Street Could Talk.
Courtesy of Annapurna Pictures

The Best Films of 2018, According to Miami Movie Experts

Miami's annual film review has returned. The tradition of polling a collection of local film experts, including critics and programmers who work for numerous publications, festivals, and cinemas in the city, was published on the website Dim the House Lights for 2015 and 2016, and the winners of the Miami Film Awards made their way to New Times last year. Now, they're back for another round.

The voters this year were Igor Shteyrenberg, Victor Gimenez, Lucas Leyva, Dana Keith, Jaie Laplante, Dan Hudak, Chris Molina, Hans Morgenstern, Michelle F. Solomon, Alfred Soto, Trae DeLellis, Javier Chavez, Andres Castillo, Ruben Rosario, Lauren Cohen, Salim Garami, and this writer.

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Each voter was asked to provide the following nominations and categories: 10 nominations for Best Feature Film, Best Lead Performance, and Best Supporting Performance; five nominations for Best Direction, Best Screenplay; and three nominations for Best Ensemble, Best Breakthrough Performance, Best First Feature as Director, Best Cinematography, Best Cinematic Moment, and Best Films Releasing in 2019. There was no ranking system, resulting in equal votes for all nominees, and voters could abstain from using the full amount of nominees given to them.

Over the last four years, films like Carol, Moonlight, and Get Out were at the top of the list. Now let's see what Miami thought the best films of 2018 were.

First ReformedEXPAND
First Reformed
A24

Best Picture

First Reformed (with 10 votes)
The Favourite (with 8 votes)
Shoplifters (with 7 votes)
Eighth Grade (tied with 6 votes)
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (tied with 6 votes)
You Were Never Really Here (tied with 6 votes)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (tied with 5 votes)
Roma (tied with 5 votes)
Sorry to Bother You (tied with 5 votes)

The films Assassination Nation, Burning, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mandy, and Zama scored four votes each. Six films were featured with three votes: A Star Is Born, Annihilation, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Paddington 2, and The Rider. There were over 50 additional films with one or two votes.

Lynne Ramsay on the set of You Were Never Really HereEXPAND
Lynne Ramsay on the set of You Were Never Really Here
Amazon

Best Director

Lynne Ramsay - You Were Never Really Here (with 8 votes)
Chloé Zhao - The Rider (tied with 5 votes)
Barry Jenkins - If Beale Street Could Talk (tied with 5 votes)
Yorgos Lanthimos - The Favourite (tied with 5 votes)
Alfonso Cuarón - Roma (tied with 4 votes)
Lucrecia Martel - Zama (tied with 4 votes)
Boots Riley - Sorry to Bother You (tied with 4 votes)

Tied with three votes were filmmakers Hirokazu Kore-eda, Desiree Akhavan, and Lee Chang-dong. Filmmakers with two votes were Spike Lee, Joel and Ethan Coen, Bo Burnham, Paul Schrader, Debra Granik, Panos Cosmatos, Sandi Tan, and Brady Corbet. Over 20 filmmakers received one vote.

First Reformed
First Reformed
A24

Best Lead Performance

Ethan Hawke - First Reformed (with 12 votes)
Toni Collette - Hereditary (tied with 7 votes)
Melissa McCarthy - Can You Ever Forgive Me? (tied with 7 votes)
Lakeith Stanfield - Sorry to Bother You (tied with 7 votes)
Regina Hall - Support the Girls (tied with 7 votes)
Nicolas Cage - Mandy (tied with 6 votes)
Brady Jandreau - The Rider (tied with 6 votes)
Natalie Portman - Vox Lux (tied with 6 votes)
Joanna Kulig - Cold War (tied with 5 votes)
Joaquin Phoenix - You Were Never Really Here (tied with 5 votes)
Charlize Theron - Tully (tied with 5 votes)

With four votes each were the following actors: Elsie Fisher in Eighth Grade, Julia Roberts in Ben is Back, Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, Olivia Colman in The Favourite, and Viggo Mortensen in Green Book.

And with three votes each were Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born, Carey Mulligan in Wildlife, Daniel Gimenez Cacho in Zama, Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns, Helena Howard in Madeline's Madeline, John David Washington in BlackKklansman, Juliette Binoche in Let The Sunshine In, and Rachel Weisz in The Favourite. Forty other actors received one or two votes.

If Beale Street Could TalkEXPAND
If Beale Street Could Talk
Annapurna

Best Supporting Performance

Regina King - If Beale Street Could Talk (with 9 votes)
Richard E, Grant - Can You Ever Forgive Me? (with 8 votes)
Steven Yeun - Burning (with 7 votes)
Adam Driver - BlackKklansman (tied with 6 votes)
Hugh Grant - Paddington 2 (tied with 6 votes)
Emma Stone - The Favourite (tied with 6 votes)
Sam Elliott - A Star Is Born (tied with 5 votes)
Hari Nef - Assassination Nation (tied with 5 votes)
Rachel Weisz - The Favourite (with 5 votes)
Sakura Ando - Shoplifters (tied with 4 votes)
Michael B. Jordan - Black Panther (tied with 4 votes)
Tilda Swinton - Suspiria (tied with 4 votes)

With three votes each were the following actors: Mahershala Ali in Green Book, Olivia Colman in The Favourite, Mackenzie Davis in Tully, Claire Foy in First Man, Josh Hamilton in Eighth Grade, and Daniel Kaluuya in Widows. With two votes each were Raffey Cassidy in Vox Lux, Topher Grace in BlackKklansman, Thomasin McKenzie in Leave No Trace, Amanda Seyfried in First Reformed, and Michelle Yeoh in Crazy Rich Asians. Over 60 other actors received one vote.

First Reformed
First Reformed
A24

Best Screenplay

Paul Schrader - First Reformed (with 8 votes)
Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara - The Favourite (tied with 6 votes)
Boots Riley - Sorry to Bother You (tied with 6 votes)
Bo Burnham - Eighth Grade (tied 5 votes)
Hirokazu Kore-eda - Shoplifters (tied 5 votes)

With four votes each were Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk (based on James Baldwin's novel) and Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty for Can You Ever Forgive Me? (based on Lee Israel's autobiography). With three votes each were Sam Levinson for Assassination Nation, Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here (based on Jonathan Ames' novel).

RomaEXPAND
Roma
Netflix

Best Cinematography

Alfonso Cuarón - Roma (with 9 votes)
Benjamin Loeb - Mandy (with 7 votes)
Lukasz Zal - Cold War (tied with 6 votes)
Robbie Ryan - The Favourite (tied with 6 votes)
James Laxton - If Beale Street Could Talk (tied with 6 votes)
Hong Gyeong-Pyo - Burning (with 4 votes)

With three votes each Joshua James Richards for The Rider, Diego Garcia for Wildlife, Linus Sandgren for First Man, and Matthew Libatique for A Star Is Born. Nearly 20 additional films received one or two votes.

Best Soundtrack and/or Score

If Beale Street Could Talk (tied with 7 votes)
Mandy (tied with 7 votes)

You Were Never Really Here (with 6 votes)
Vox Lux (with 5 votes)

With four votes each were Isle of Dogs, First Man, and Annihilation. With 3 votes each were A Star Is Born, The Favourite, Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc, Blackkklansman, and Mary Poppins Returns. Over 20 films received one or two votes.

The Favourite
The Favourite
Fox Searchlight

Best Ensemble

The Favourite (with 9 votes)
Crazy Rich Asians (tied with 4 votes)
If Beale Street Could Talk (tied with 4 votes)
The Miseducation of Cameron Post (tied with 3 votes)
Support the Girls (tied with 3 votes)

Twenty additional films received one or two votes.

Eighth Grade
Eighth Grade
A24

Best Breakthrough Performance

Elsie Fisher - Eighth Grade (with 9 votes)
Thomasin McKenzie - Leave No Trace (with 7 votes)
Helena Howard - Madeline's Madeline (with 6 votes)
Raffey Cassidy - Vox Lux (tied with 3 votes)
Hari Nef - Assassination Nation (tied with 3 votes)

With two votes each were Regina Hall in Support the Girls and KiKi Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk. Twenty additional performances received one vote.

Bo Burnham on the set of Eighth Grade
Bo Burnham on the set of Eighth Grade
A24

Best First Feature

Bo Burnham - Eighth Grade (with 10 votes)
Boots Riley - Sorry to Bother You (with 8 votes)
Ari Aster - Hereditary (with 6 votes)
Cory Finley - Thoroughbreds (with 4 votes)
Sandi Tan - Shirkers (with 4 votes)

With three votes each were Bing Liu for Minding the Gap, Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born, and Jim Cummings for Thunder Road. With two votes was Ofir Raul Graizer for The Cakemaker. Eight additional directors received one vote.

Best Cinematic Moment

The only film scene to receive more than two votes this year was Jeon Jong-seo's dance to Miles Davis' "Générique" as the sun sets in Lee Chang-dong's Burning.

Two votes were given to Hari Nef snapping her finger to launch a music cue in Assassination Nation, the head-involved incident in Hereditary (which we won't spoil here), the finger snap from Avengers: Infinity War that closed the film (another thing we won't spoil), and the "Shallow" performance in A Star Is Born.

Birds of Passage
Birds of Passage
The Orchard

Best Films Releasing in 2019

Birds of Passage (with 5 votes)
Transit (with 4 votes)
Her Smell (with 3 votes)
High Life (with 3 votes)

With two votes were the films Climax, Leto, Screwball, Gloria Bell, and Knife + Heart. Fifteen additional films received one vote.

Noteworthy in 2018

When asked if there was anything noteworthy this year in motion pictures that the voters would like to celebrate that didn't fit into the above categories, only one thing popped up more than once, Terence Nance's riveting HBO series Random Acts of Flyness

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