Adam Driver: Logan Lucky, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Mr. Driver has always been a very good, very understated, quality actor. He takes his craft seriously and it shows. Pairing him with Channing Tatum sounds insane, especially as brothers, but I didn’t doubt their relationship for even a second. His work in Star Wars has been outstanding from the jump but The Last Jedi burrowed its way into Ben Solo and gave Driver some excellent scenes to explore. I can’t wait for episode nine.
Kumail Nanjiani: The Big Sick, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley
Mr. Nanjiani had a banner year both personally and professionally as he saw the true life story of how he met his wife adapted to a feature film that he wrote and starred in, and it was rightly very well received. This led to a delightful hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, all while enjoying the continued success of HBO comedy, Silicon Valley. He even found time to tweet occasionally. Nanjiani is one of my favorite comedians working right now and I am elated at his success this year. I’m glad I saw him live when I had the chance.
Taika Waititi: Thor: Ragnarok, The Thor: Ragnarok press tour.
I’ve spoken a lot about Taika Waititi and I will continue in perpetuity. He’s lovely, he’s smart and witty and cares about hiring indigenous people for his huge blockbuster. He made one of the best superhero action films of all time and did so without losing his own style. I can’t wait to see what he does next and I hope it’s another big studio picture.
Mackenzie Davis: Halt and Catch Fire, Blade Runner 2049, That Episode of Black Mirror that I finally watched.
I know she didn’t do all of this this year, but these are the things I watched and it was amazing. As Cameron Howe she’s so fierce and stubborn and in “San Junipero” so meek and quiet. Blade Runner had a lot of great women in it (Sylvia Hoeks and Ana De Armas are standouts for sure) and even though her part was small she brought a lot of personality to Mariette. She was coy and mysterious and I liked that she had empathy for Joe. I’m devastated that Halt and Catch Fire is over but if it means a promising film career for Ms. Davis, then all the better.
Idris Elba: The Mountain Between Us, Thor: Ragnarok, Molly’s Game
Thank god for Taika Waitii for finally making Idris Elba hot again. I don’t know why the previous directors in the franchise wanted to hide his face under that weird helmet but they were wrong and they should feel bad. Renegade Heimdall was one of my favorite parts of Ragnarok. Mr. Elba did some tremendous work in other films this year too but all I’ll remember when the dust settles is the dreads.