thrillist movie awards
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

The Best, Worst, and Wildest Things We Saw at the Movies This Year

The ridiculous number of movies released in 2018 makes it hard to remember what came out a month ago, let alone in January. Looking back as the year winds down, it can even be a strain to recall things you swore you'd never forget: the energizing moment in that small indie that deserved a wider audience, the scene-stealing performance from the otherwise unremarkable action comedy, the line in that superhero movie that cracked you up but got overwritten by lesser patter from 20 other superhero movies.

Celebrating unforgettable movie moments like those so they won't be forgotten is the spirit behind the Thrillist Movie Awards. All year long, as we've watched movie after movie, we've filled countless notepads and Notes apps with our film-related scribblings, and now we've distilled them into 16 awards categories you won't see at the Oscars. [We've even designed an actual (fake) trophy named the Thrillie, a little gold statuette fashioned out of filmstrips into the letter "T" that the winners will forever cherish.] Who or what will clean up at the inaugural Thrillies? Here are the many outrageous, bizarre, inspiring, dumb, and spellbinding movies, performances, and phenomena from 2018 that we're proud to honor this year.

Editor: John Sellers
Writers: Leanne Butkovic, Dan Jackson, Anthony Schneck, Emma Stefansky, Esther Zuckerman
Editorial assistant: Sadie Bell
Illustrator: Jason Hoffman
you were never really here
Amazon Studios/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Best Best Picture: You Were Never Really Here

In a year as distinctly unhinged as 2018, it's easy to think of moviegoing as an act of retreat. Finding an escape hatch from reality is as simple as sneaking into a half-empty multiplex to catch the latest "elevated" horror film from A24, ordering a ticket for the opening night of the newest Tom Cruise stunt-based sacrificial fever dream, or loading up a streaming service on a laptop in the middle of the night to sift for gold. Still, even as audiences turn to movies for comfort and community, there's a palpable desire for stories, characters, and filmmaking styles that speak to the perceived urgency of the present. Now-ness is the ultimate currency.

Many of the best movies of the year pierced through the irritating hum of the day-to-day news cycle by sounding an alarm. We're thinking of the Snapchat-filtered digital anxieties of Eighth Grade, the doom-soaked ecological terrors of First Reformed, the horse-based dystopian visions of Sorry to Bother You, or the mud-smeared political absurdities of The Favourite. These movies took big swings and chased enormous ideas. Even a narrative that might appear simple on the surface -- like a maid caring for a family in Roma or a lumberjack seeking revenge in Mandy -- would be transformed into something grand, symphonic even, in the hands of a gifted director or on the face of a talented performer. Ambition takes many forms.

In some ways, our consensus pick for Best Best Picture is comparably uncomplicated. You Were Never Really Here, Lynn Ramsey's gnarled version of the hitman genre starring Joaquin Phoenix as a bearded ex-soldier named Joe, doesn't attempt to wrap its arms around the state of the world or offer answers to relevant questions. It's short and forceful, like the hammer Joe swings against his enemies. Through a poetic, elliptical approach, Ramsey drains nearly every action thriller cliché of showy violence and glib cynicism. All that remains is an exposed nerve of pure intensity. Honestly, what's more 2018 than that?

Runners-up:Eighth Grade, The Favourite, First Reformed, Mandy, Roma, Sorry to Bother You

gotti movie
Vertical Entertainment/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Best Worst Picture: Gotti

When you take a hit out on a movie by declaring it the "best worst picture of the year," your aim needs to be accurate. Luckily, Gotti, a stupendously awful and unapologetically Trump-ian mafia saga starring John Travolta as the titular mob boss, deserves all the critical beatdowns it received on its way to a 0% Rotten Tomatoes score. As a good bad movie, Gotti is as distinguished, controversial, and, in some corners, beloved as its subject matter. While certain critics have tried to sully Gotti's reputation by suggesting that it's just a boring bad movie and not a deliriously enjoyable viewing experience, we say only this: The fact that this was directed by "E" from Entourage isn't even one of the funnier parts about it. Just watch it, please.

Sadly, the competition for the Good Bad Movie title wasn't especially stiff this year. Yes, there was a whole movie about a hurricane heist, helpfully titled The Hurricane Heist. And, sure, Dwayne Johnson starred in Rampage, an action extravaganza based on an arcade game where The Rock befriends a giant gorilla named George. And, OK, fine, Jared Leto starred in The Outsider, that horrible Yakuza movie on Netflix that you probably fell asleep to. But these lesser bad movies are mere riff raff and they can't touch Gotti, the Teflon Don on of bad movie-dom.

Runners-up: Rampage, The Hurricane Heist, The Outsider

paddington 2
Warner Bros/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Most Intentionally Funny: Hugh Grant in Paddington 2

This is not to detract from the actual comedians out there, but some of the most inspired comedic performances of the year came from actors best known for more dramatic -- or at least more subdued -- performances. Jesse Plemons was that Nazi on Breaking Bad, but in Game Night he's a creepy cop who just desperately wants to be included in his neighbors', uh, game night. Michelle Williams is an Oscar nominee for devastating work in Manchester by the Sea and Brokeback Mountain, but in I Feel Pretty she's a chirpy cosmetics entrepreneur. Anne Hathaway sobbed her way through Les Misérables, but in Ocean's Eight she's entrancingly amusing as a vain actress who is something of a play on the idea of Anne Hathaway.

But no one could top Hugh Grant in Paddington 2. Grant has always been in comedies, but he's best known for playing the mumbly, affable romantic lead, shabbily attractive and always charming. Here, he is doing something completely different. He's Phoenix Buchanan, the enemy of our kind little bear hero, a pompous actor in search of riches to fund his one-man show. But playing Phoenix also means playing all of Phoenix's roles. As he hunts down clues contained in a pop-up book of London, he assumes various identities, including Great Expectations' Magwitch and a random nun. It's a clever parody of actorly hangups, and flat out one of the funniest turns of the year.

Runners-up: Jesse Plemons in Game Night, Michelle Williams in I Feel Pretty, Anne Hathaway as herself in Oceans 8

mile 22

Most Unintentionally Funny: Mark Wahlberg in Mile 22

Earlier this year, Mark Wahlberg published his full workout routine and daily schedule on Instagram. It included details like waking up at 2:30 AM, golfing every morning, spending time in a cryo-chamber, showering twice, and going to bed at 7:30 PM. Everything about it is hilarious and tremendous. If this snack-filled regimen contributed at all to his motor-mouthed, wild-eyed performance as nat-sec savant James Silva in Peter Berg's ridiculous espionage shoot-em-up Mile 22, then here's what we say: Keep it up, Marky Mark. Whatever you're doing, it's working.

With all apologies to Reese Witherspoon's frantic turn as a fairy godmother in A Wrinkle in Time and John Travolta's puffed-out take on mafia boss John Gotti in Gotti, Wahlberg is on another level here. It's a performance assembled from the tics and flourishes of better Wahlberg performances: You can see flashes of the macho bluster of his police sergeant in The Departed, the conspiratorial intelligence of his firefighter in I Heart Huckabees, the literary acumen of his professor in The Gambler, and the gruff heroism of his other Berg collaborations. But they're totally misapplied here, leading to the actor's funniest role since The Happening.

Runners-up: John Travolta in Gotti, Reese Witherspoon in A Wrinkle in Time

game night movie
Warner Bros./Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Most Notable Non-Human: Olivia, the dog from Game Night and Widows

The hardest working actor in showbiz is Olivia, an adorable little West Highland Terrier who is undoubtedly the most accomplished animal of the year. First Olivia was seen in the winning comedy Game Night as Bastian, the beloved pup of Jesse Plemons' cop. As Bastian, Olivia both needed to be the unnerving Plemons' constant companion, and had to be covered in what we can only assume is doggie-friendly red corn syrup when Jason Bateman accidentally coats her in the blood from his unexpected bullet wound. But she has an even bigger role in Widows, where she is the sidekick of Viola Davis' heartbroken Veronica. In that film, Olivia's intimidated by Brian Tyree Henry's menacing politician, and her little nose helps snuff out one of the biggest twists. She is a perfect girl and you can't tell me otherwise.

But she was not the only impressive canine thespian this year: There was the jumpy pup that played the Borras in Roma and Bradley Cooper's own fluffy dog Charlie cast as his fictional fluffy dog Charlie in A Star Is Born. Other notable cinematic animals included the notable kitty at Melissa McCarthy's side in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and the scene-stealing waterfowl Horatio, the Fastest Duck in the City, introduced in The Favourite. And, hell, we're talking non-humans here, so why not shout out Paddington in his little jail outfit in Paddington 2, the mac and cheese-vomiting Cheddar Goblin in Mandy and Jeremy Renner's inhuman arms in Tag. What is humanity anyway?

Runners-up: Charlie in A Star Is Born, the kitten in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Horatio in The Favourite, the Cheddar Goblin in Mandy, Paddington wearing his little jail outfit in Paddington 2, Borras in Roma, Jeremy Renner's CGI arms in Tag

Best Supporting Food: The Venom lobster

There was only ever going to be one winner for this category. Tom Hardy's performance in Venom will live on as a symbol of the deranged, confused mess of a time that 2018 has been, but no scene better embodies this deranged, confused mess -- with a heaping helping of levity -- than the restaurant scene in which Eddie Brock jumps into a lobster tank and chows down on a live crustacean. Heightening the absurdity of the scene: it wasn't in the original script; Tom Hardy simply insisted, "I'm going into the lobster tank," and when Tom Hardy says he's going in a lobster tank, he means it. With the trademark Venom voice clamoring for food in the background, a burning-hot, sweaty Eddie Brock starts ripping into diners' plates at a swanky restaurant, only to realize that all the meat is DEAD. What a disappointment for Venom. Fortunately for Eddie, he kills two birds with one stone, cooling off in the tank before ripping into a lobster, which is so obviously fake (and the tank so obviously empty of lobsters when he jumps in) that it only adds to the hilarity of the scene. Thanks to Tom Hardy's ingenuity and willingness to improvise, he's going home with one of the most important honors of awards season.

Runners-up: Tater tots in Venom, the folded pizza in Green Book, the cake in The Favourite, the chicken Tilda Swinton eats in Suspiria

widows movie
20th Century Fox

Box-Office Bomb That's Actually Great: Widows

Why did no one go see Widows? Beats us. When we saw this thriller from director Steve McQueen back at the Toronto International Film Festival in September we assumed it would be the movie everyone talked about for the rest of the year. The cast alone is ideal: Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez, Brian Tyree Henry, Colin Farrell. McQueen is the man behind films like Shame and 12 Years A Slave, and he enlisted the twisted mind of Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn to help him adapt the British TV show of the same name. It's an alchemy that works perfectly. This heist narrative, about a group of women who set out to complete a job for their dead robber husbands, becomes a layered tale about Chicago, gentrification, race, and gender, and is short on rah-rah moments but long on complicated questions. Some blamed the marketing for the lackluster ticket sales -- instead of playing up the movie's exciting twists, trailers pitched it as serious Oscar fare. But maybe it was just too dense, and was always bound for perpetual rewatchings by dedicated fans rather than by throngs of theater-goers.

That's sort of the case with all of the best underseen movies of the year, including our runners up. Take Suspiria, Luca Guadagnino's reinterpretation of the Dario Argento horror classic. Yes, it was about witches in a ballet school, but it also dug into post-WWII guilt in Germany. Meanwhile, Annihilation, which Paramount discarded on Netflix everywhere but the U.S., was an eerie sci-fi adventure that sent Natalie Portman into an unknown called the Shimmer and doubled as a meditation on emotional isolation.

Runners-up:Suspiria, Annihilation

a star is born movie
Warner Bros./Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Dankest Movie Meme: "I just wanted to take another look at you" from A Star Is Born

With information moving at a faster pace every year, it's harder than ever for a good meme to catch on, and this year saw more than its fair share of movie-inspired posts on the internet. Riffs on Avengers: Infinity War's tragic, hilarious "Mr. Stark... I don't feel so good" line abounded, and online personality Gabriel Gundacker charmed us all with his Smallfoot-related number "Zendaya Is Meechee." From Venom's uncomfortably large tongue to Black Panther's Killmonger shouting "Is this your king?" at various objects, singling out the greatest 2018 movie meme was a challenge. In the end, A Star Is Born memes stole the show, with that immortal recurring line, "I just wanted to take another look at you." The scene: Bradley Cooper's Jackson Maine leaning out of the window of his shiny SUV, giving a "hey girl" look to Lady Gaga's Ally. "Hey," he says. "What?" she asks, whipping around, her hair flipping over her shoulder. "I just wanted to take another look at you," Cooper drawls, and, like Ally, the online world was smitten.

Runners up: Venom's tongue, Black Panther's "Is this your king?" taunt, Avengers: Infinity War's disintegration effect

Warner Bros. Pictures/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Wildest Movie Marketing: Aquaman posters

There's a certain art to making the perfect movie poster, the one thing besides the trailer that'll get audiences to take a chance on your movie without revealing too much about it. The Aquaman posters, a riot of loud color and some of our most beloved actors in the weirdest costumes you've ever seen, are the best marketing scheme of the entire year. Patrick Wilson howls a war challenge wearing sparkly armor, Dolph Lundgren rides a giant sea-dragon, Nicole Kidman holds a huge trident while dressed in a silver wetsuit. The best, though, is the first: Jason Momoa's Aquaman, crouched in a fighting pose, with all the sea creatures of the world gathering around him like some dystopian Lisa Frank poster.

The mesmerizing posters stuck a huge fork in Gerard Butler's bizarre Pentagon press conference promoting Hunter Killer, during which he answered many very specific questions about the film industry, and they also vanquished Sony's Venom home video campaign, which re-framed the story as a tender romcom between a symbiote and his hapless human host. The discomfiting Sonic the Hedgehog movie posters gave Aquaman a run (sorry) for his money, but the king of the sea's ad campaign just had more depth (sorry again).

Runners-up: Hunter Killer press conference, Sonic the Hedgehog posters, Venom rom-com campaign

avengers infinity war
Walt Disney Studios/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Biggest Babies: Avengers: Infinity War whiners

In the lead-up to Avengers: Infinity War, anyone who had been paying the slightest bit of attention to the Marvel Cinematic Universe could guess two things: Thanos was probably going to find all of the Infinity Stones, and at least a few of the Avengers were going to die. That's right: die! Real stakes this time, baby! We bloodthirsty comic fans couldn't wait to watch our heroes lose for once -- because, really, their streak had lasted long enough. Since everyone who's anyone went ahead and got their tickets for opening weekend, all the folks who were unprepared for the wave of spoilers the Monday after were in for a nasty surprise. But really, guys, what did you expect?

Elsewhere in the dumb controversy category were plenty of tiffs and disputes that were almost too stupid to be believed, including all the people who were up in arms about the mixed-race family in A Wrinkle in Time, and all the A Quiet Place truthers who thought they'd go ahead and pontificate about why a couple would have a baby in the middle of an apocalypse during which the most important thing is to keep quiet. Still, nothing could ever beat what would have been last year's winner: the Last Jedi rage that still to this very day has a bunch of chuckleheads sending director Rian Johnson nasty DMs.

Runners-up: A Wrinkle in Time whiners, A Quiet Place whiners

first man movie
Universal Pictures/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Sickest Burn: "You're a bunch of boys!" in First Man

There's a very particular cadence of voice that makes some sick burns sicker than others. You want the most disdainful tone you can muster to administer the most withering insults quickly and efficiently, so that you can turn on your heel and march out of the room to make sure you get the last word. Claire Foy wields one of the best lines in First Man, playing Neil Armstrong's terrified wife Janet Armstrong with righteous fury. When a bunch of NASA suits attempt to placate her, telling her everything's fine as her husband is tumbling around in the vacuum of space, she knows exactly how to shut them up.

"All these protocols and procedures to make it seem like you have it under control," she spits in Kyle Chandler's face. "But you’re a bunch of boys making models out of balsa wood. You don’t have anything under control!"

It was another tough choice for this category, as 2018 also saw Michelle Yeoh tell Constance Wu, slowly and matter-of-factly, "You will never be enough" for her golden boy son in Crazy Rich Asians, and we also watched Venom (Tom Hardy) tell Eddie Brock (also Tom Hardy) multiple times that he's also a loser just like him. They have so much in common!

Runners-up: Crazy Rich Asians' brutal assessment, Venom's radical honesty

mamma mia 2 here we go again
Universal Pictures/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Toe-Tappingest Scene: "Super Trouper" finale in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

This year, filmmakers turned to dance to express themselves. Annihilation culminated -- spoiler alert -- in a vicious almost-ballet between Natalie Portman's Lena and her alien twin (Sonoya Mizuno) with choreography from the dancer Bobbi Jene Smith. Suspiria features many movement sequences, including a bone-breaking pas de deux and a thrashing performance of a piece called "Volk," scored by Radiohead's Thom Yorke. It's a modern dance nightmare with hints of Pina Bausch. Not all cinematic dances in 2018 were full of existential terror. In The Favourite, a court dance between Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Masham (Joe Alwyn) gets more absurd at every turn, while in Paddington 2, Hugh Grant gets his shining moment leading a bunch of prisoners in a number from Stephen Sondheim's musical Follies.

That leaves us to our winner, the "Super Trouper" finale from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. Because do any of these other movies have Cher? No, they don't. The credits sequence of the delightfully deranged sequel to Mamma Mia! brings the whole cast together to sing the ABBA classic. It's inspired lunacy. The older versions of the characters dance with their younger selves! Colin Firth is grumpy! Everyone wears spandex! In a year that could be incredibly depressing, it dared you to smile.

Runners-up: Annihilation, The Favourite, Paddington 2, Suspiria

sorry to bother you
Annapurna Pictures/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Most Bonkers Movie Drug: Equisapien fusing catalyst in Sorry to Bother You

It's been quite a year for movie drugs, none of which we'd ever like a hit of, thanks. Most memorably: There's Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy, where a cult leader sets his sights on Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) and sends out goons to kidnap and drug her, first with a droplet of a purposefully bad batch of LSD straight into her eye, and finished off with the sting of a nasty-looking tarantula wasp marinating in a gooey green jar of various toxic chemicals. Then there's Peter in Ari Aster's Hereditary, who unknowingly takes the most deadly bong rip of all time at a party before his younger sister Charlie (Milly Shapiro) goes into anaphylactic shock from accidentally eating nuts hidden in a chocolate cake. And who could forget Bradley Cooper's Jackson Maine, in the midst of his descent, smashing unidentified pills for snorting in A Star Is Born, a scene that apparently came to the first-time director in a dream? There's all of this, and plenty more, in the disturbing landscape of drug use in film during the most horrific opioid crisis the United States has experienced, on top of the endless drug war that unjustly imprisons people of color for minor criminal offenses. Not to be a bummer, since we're supposed to be having a good time here, but it's true!

Boots Riley's Sorry To Bother You, a scathing satire about the evils of capitalism, mostly, deeply understands the loaded oppositional forces at play, and jockeys (HORSE PUN ALERT) cynicism and absurdity into the perfectly horrific movie drug: an equisapien fusing catalyst masquerading as cocaine. First, at the beginning of a swank corporate party in the third act of the film, Armie Hammer's Worryfree CEO Steve Lift snorts the most comically large line of (presumably) cocaine. Later in his office, Steve offers Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield) a similar looking substance spiraling on a salad plate with the painted bust of a horse called Mr. Bobo, which Cassius snorts before watching a promotional video about Worryfree's latest innovation for making its workforce "more efficient and profitable": genetically modifying humans into horse people called equisapiens by snorting a suspicious white substance known as the fusing catalyst. Steve propositions Cassius to become one on a five-year contract to be Worryfree's inside horse-man, "the equisapien Martin Luther King," handing him a sheet of paper with "I'M OFFERING YOU $100,000,000 :)" written on it. At the end of the term, they'll administer a genetic reversal. Cassius, rightfully, freaks out and leaves. But it's already too late -- the drugs he took were, in fact, the fusing catalyst, and in the final frame, we see his early transformation into an equisapien. It's a snake move, truly evil, which contains multitudes. For Steve Lift, drugs are a funtime, no-stakes privilege; for everyone else, but mostly the poor and vulnerable, they're literally a form of slavery.

Runners-up: LSD/wasp sting combo in Mandy, the pill-crushing boot in A Star Is Born, Peter's weed in Hereditary

A24/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Decapitation Sure to Haunt Us Forever: Annie (Toni Collette) decapitating herself in Hereditary

Few things in movies can be as viscerally disturbing as a good ol' decapitation, and 2018, weirdly, delivered a multitude. In Hereditary, Charlie's head colliding with a telephone pole for a swift and clean break from the rest of her body was one of the most surprising film deaths, and also some of the juiciest spoiler fodder, of the year. (Apparently, it was a blast to shoot!) In Luca Guadagnino's remake of Suspiria, a movie full of body horror, Tilda Swinton's Madame Blanc gets decapitated at the hands of her rival, Helena Markos (also Tilda Swinton), during the height of the climactic bloodbath. Points off, though, as her head never departs the rest of her body -- it just kind of lolls forward and we get a peek at the inside of her neck. Plus, she doesn't even die -- someone puts her head back on straight. Witches, man!

The decapitation that, far and away, gave us the most amount of recurring nightmares was Toni Collette's Annie sawing her own goddamn head off with piano wire in Hereditary, a movie where heads and the headless are thematically central. Having just been officially possessed by a demon spirit, Annie chases her son Peter into the attic, where Annie's deceased, dug-up demon-worshipping mother had lain headless mere scenes earlier, who locks the door behind him. But lo! Because she is possessed, Annie finds her way in there regardless, and Peter, hearing a disturbing noise, slowly gazes upward and sees his mother levitating from the ceiling, diligently chopping her head off to begin the crowning ritual of King Paimon. Each deliberate yank of the wire and smartly placed blood spurt is vomit-inducing! This scene is now seared into our rotten brains forever!

Runners-up: Charlie (Milly Shapiro) in Hereditary, Madame Blanc (Tilda Swinton) in Suspiria

a quiet place whiteboard
Paramount Pictures/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

Galaxy Brain Award: The whiteboard in A Quiet Place

You can't help but feel a little bad for A Quiet Place. The theatrical experience renders the movie's sparse dialogue and subtle score into something legitimately oppressive and anxious. Watching at home, however... well, let's just say the experiential silence doesn't exactly hold up, nor are the siloed screencaps particularly generous out of context, or even in context, for that matter. We're speaking specifically, of course, about the galaxy-brained whiteboard that John Krasinski's Lee Abbott (side note: these people had names?) had presumably stared at for at least a year and a half to figure out how to defeat the alien monsters drawn to noise while the answer was literally surrounding him in his radio bunker mancave the entire time. Just look at it. It's so fucking stupid.

The whiteboard pops up several times throughout the movie, even evolving from something dumb into a web of dumbness as the plot progresses. (We insist you refer to both the image above and this other screenshot before reading on.) It raises so many questions, much like the many questions written on the board itself. For instance, how does one determine the creature count when they move super-fast and also look seemingly identical? Do these aliens have distinguishing marks like misshapen moles or tattoos? Relatedly, how did he only confirm two of their attributes -- the most obvious ones, "Blind" and "Attack sound" -- in a year and a half? How does one arrive at the assumption that blind aliens of death that do not communicate with a language of words are both "organized" like they're part of a goddamn labor movement and have "demands" that can be appeased? How did he figure out they don't eat their kill when, again, these very fast creatures snatch up their prey and disappear? Thanks for the reminder that you need "Medical supplies" and "Sound proofing" to SURVIVE?? What is the WEAKNESS??? It's radio feedback, you dummy. Maybe you should have thought twice before bringing another baby into this hell world.

Runners-up: None. This was 100 percent the year of the A Quiet Place whiteboard.

mandy movie
RLJE Entertainment/Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

1st Annual Nic Cage Nouveau Shamanic Acting Award: Nicolas Cage in Mandy

With apologies to Tom Hardy's bizarro gonzo performance as Eddie Brock in Venom, known madman Pilou Asbæk's Nazi zombie in Overlord, and Gerard Butler essentially playing imself in the heist thriller Den of Thieves, the first annual Nic Cage Nouveau Shamanic Acting Award must go to the award's namesake and the man who invented this singular acting style: Nic Cage, for his role in Panos Cosmatos' revenge horror Mandy. Some may simply watch a Nicolas Cage performance and determine he's crazy -- psychotic, as he puts it -- but the actor has coined his methodology "Nouveau Shamanic" because he sees a direct link between the actors of today and the shamans of non-Judeo-Christian religious traditions, those who would wear masks and divine the future. He's gone so far as to sew various rocks and totems into his costumes before walking on set and terrorizing his fellow actors, hoping this strategy will help him achieve a higher spiritual plane of acting.

So: Nic Cage wins for Mandy, an otherworldly movie that perfectly matches the tone and aesthetic of the Nouveau Shamanic tradition's preeminent (and maybe only!) shaman. Whether he's forging an absurdly large battle axe, barking out that he's hunting "crazy evil!", or chainsaw battling a member of a drugged-out cult, Cage operates at a level that might exist outside of the medium of film and the art of acting altogether. Many have called his role as Red Miller one of the best of his career, but the truth is that it's a completely stereotypical Nicolas Cage performance, which is to say: It's crazed and immensely enjoyable. Like any great artist, Cage has stuck to his guns, and the rest of the world falls in and out of love with him as tastes change and roles come along that better suit his talents, or don't. Movies must conform to Nic Cage, not the other way around. It's the Nouveau Shamanic way.

Runners-up: Tom Hardy in Venom, Pilou Asbæk in Overlord, Gerard Butler in Den of Thieves

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The Thrillist Entertainment team will watch any movie, anytime, anywhere, even if it stars Carrot Top or Pauly Shore. Follow them on Twitter @ThrillistEnt.