The Ford On Film Awards 2016: Best Scene
After handing out the award for Best Director to Nicolas Winding Refn yesterday for his insane work on The Neon Demon, it’s time to hand the last official award in the Ford On Film Awards 2016 (tomorrow will be my odds and ends, including TV awards). The Best Scene award is perhaps the toughest to decide this year, as there have been some tremendous scenes. From powerful drama to awe-inspiring spectacle and comedy that made me cry laughing, it’s been stunning, and many great scenes had to be left out. Here are my choices for Best Scene of 2016:
Sloths – Zootopia
Driving the Mercedes – Divines
The runway – The Neon Demon
Pool Party – American Honey
Fond of going off on wild tangents and incidental anecdotes, American Honey’s most memorable scene involved magazine saleswoman Star (Sasha Lane) taking up three random strangers’ offer to join them at a barbecue. Featuring tequila, worms, and eventually a loaded pistol, the scene started bright and breezy before slowly descending into all-out madness.
Kubo tells his story – Kubo and the Two Strings
The year’s best animated film? Quite possibly. Filmed in gorgeous stop motion, Kubo and the Two Strings provided tons of thrilling set pieces and jaw-dropping technicality; no scene better demonstrated this than the first time we see the power of Kubo’s two strings.
Ran off the road – Nocturnal Animals
Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals was a bit of a wasted opportunity for me, except for one scene. Set in the novel-within-the-film, Jake Gyllenhaal and his family set off driving down a long stretch of highway at night, only to run into a gang of hillbillies. Slow-burning and drawn out to an unbearable level of intensity, the scene is so good it makes the rest of the film look even more disappointing.
Opening the door – Green Room
The cinematic equivalent of a panic attack, Green Room took its time building up to this moment in the film, in which a punk band must decide whether to open the door to a group of (possibly murderous) neo-Nazis, but once it happens, all hell breaks loose. WARNING: The scene features two moment of absolutely stomach churning violence so gross, even the video thumbnail was too much to post. If you dare watch it, you can find it here.
Food Bank – I, Daniel Blake
If I, Daniel Blake was intended as a protest against government, this scene, in which a desperate single Mother breaks down at a food bank, is the most damning scene of all. It’s almost too sad to watch.
‘Ricky Baker Birthday Song’ – Hunt for the Wilderpeople
The funniest scene of the year. No words can do justice to this minute-long slice of genius.
Emotional Rescue – A Bigger Splash
Ralph Fiennes has had something of a renaissance as a comedic actor, starting as a cockney gangster in In Bruges and peaking in 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. While his performances in those films were hilarious, he didn’t flail his limbs and sing falsetto the Rolling Stones like he did in A Bigger Splash. The best on-screen dance since Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina.
‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ – Sing Street
John Carney understands the power of music in film, and while the attempted music video for ‘The Riddle of the Model’ was hilarious, it was the more poignant ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’, during which singer Connor imagines a fantasy prom music video in which his family reunite, that really stood in Sing Street.
‘…so we ran to the sea!” – Fire At Sea
Fire At Sea was easily the most powerful documentary I saw all year. Focusing on migrants trying to make it out of Africa into Europe, the film was summed up by this heartbreaking scene in which a young man tells the story of he and his fellow migrants’ lives in the form of a prayer. The plight these people have gone through is unbearable to think about.
First Encounter – Arrival
Genuine spectacle is hard to come by these days, but Denis Villeneuve created an awe-inspiring set piece in his spectacular sci-fi Arrival. The first meeting between linguist Amy Adams and the extra-terrestrial visitors, the scene starts on an exciting note as the research team enters an otherworldly tunnel and discovers there’s no gravity, before revealing the incredible, unique aliens at the centre of the film. It’s absolutely jaw-dropping, and just one of the reasons Arrival was the best blockbuster of the year.
And with that, the main bulk of the Ford On Film Awards 2016 is over, and tomorrow I’m wrapping up with TV awards and other odds and ends I haven’t already covered.
By Harry J. Ford
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