A look back on the year in film from award season and film festivals through to highest paid actors and biggest box office films.
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (AMPAS POOL) – 2016 kicked off with diversity front and center in awards season.
As soon as the nominees were announced for Best Actor and other categories, the outrage began and the hash tag OscarsSoWhite was born.
There were demonstrations and a number of leading names in the entertainment, including Jada-Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, announced that they’d be boycotting the key events including the Academy Awards themselves.
Despite the controversy, the awards went ahead and saw the often-Oscar-nominated-but-never-triumphant Leonardo DiCaprio secured his first gold statuette for Best Actor thanks to his performance in “The Revenant.”
The Best Actress award went to Brie Larson for her performance in “Room.” Other winners in the major categories included Alicia Vikander for Best Supporting Actress in “The Danish Girl,” a Best Supporting Actor win for Mark Rylance in “Bridge of Spies” and Best Picture went to the Tom McCarthy directed “Spotlight.”
With Ricky Gervais hosting The Golden Globes, controversy was assured. Matt Damon walked away with the award for Best Actor In A Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for his performance in “The Martian” and the film also won Best Picture – Musical or Comedy – a decision that left many baffled as the film is neither a comedy nor a musical.
Other winners at the Golden Globes included Sylvester Stallone who took Best Supporting Actor for “Creed,” a decision that courted further diversity controversy as the film’s main star and the film’s director were both African-American. Meanwhile, Kate Winslet secured a Best Actress win for “Steve Jobs.”
This year’s film festivals were also full of surprises and courted controversy.
In Cannes, British director Ken Loach won his second Palme D’or for his film, “I, Daniel Blake.” The film shows how Britain’s social security system conspires to drive a downtrodden carpenter and a single mother of two into poverty in the northeastern city of Newcastle.
Meanwhile, “Birth Of A Nation,” directed by Nate Parker, won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance film festival. Prior the screening, the film had been sold to Fox at Sundance Film Festival for a deal of around $17.5 million. Later in the year the film’s director Nate Parker became embroiled in a scandal about a previous court case involving allegations of sexual assault and the film struggled in theaters.
At the Berlin Film Festival, Gianfranco Rosi received the Golden Bear for “Fire At Sea” about the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean off the Italian island of Lampedusa while at the Venice Film Festival in September, the coveted Golden Lion went to director Lav Diaz for “The Woman Who Left,” a 226-minute Philippine drama about revenge and forgiveness.
However, it was director Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,” which reunites Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, that generated the most buzz at Venice and even opened the festival. It is hotly-tipped for a swath of nominations in 2017’s upcoming awards season.
In August, Forbes magazine revealed Hollywood’s highest-earning actor and actress. For the women, Jennifer Lawrence came out on top for the second consecutive year, having made $46 million over the previous 12 months which was due in part to the high success of “The Hunger Games” franchise as well as a hefty upfront fee for the upcoming movie “Passengers.”
The honor of highest-earning male in Hollywood went to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson whom made $64.5 million over the previous 12 months. The rise of the actor, whose Disney animated movie “Moana” alone was one of the year’s biggest box office successes, knocked Robert Downey Jr. out of the top spot for the first time in three years.
Although the Hollywood box office year was littered with flops, misfires and critical-maulings, 2016 is set to finish ahead of 2015 in terms of tickets sales. While Harry-Potter prequel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Doctor Strange,” “Moana” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” could cause an upset late come the end of the year, as of the end of November, the Top 10 of the highest-grossing films of the year worldwide looks like this.
Top spot goes to “Captain America: Civil War,” the Disney/Marvel movie that plays like an Avengers film but has Captain America at its heart, which took $1.1 billion globally. Aside from being hugely popular, the film was also notable for featuring the first appearance of the latest Spider-man, Tom Holland.
Second, third and fourth place also belong to Disney movies, animated movies “Finding Dory” – the sequel to “Finding Nemo” which saw Elle DeGeneres reprise her role as Dory, “Zootopia” and live-action reboot, “The Jungle Book” – they took $1.03 billion, $1.023 billion and $966 million respectively.
In fifth place is Warner Bros’ DC Universe movie, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” which sold $873 million worth of tickets worldwide despite receiving poor reviews. “The Secret Life of Pets” took sixth place with $872 million, followed by 20th Century Fox’s “Deadpool” which featured Ryan Reynolds in the lead role, which, with a take of $782 million, surpassed expectations.
Another maligned Warner Bros DC Universe movie, “Suicide Squad,” takes eighth place in the top ten with $745.6 million which, while impressive, was less than the studio had hoped for. The film received extremely scathing reviews from critics but fans were split.
The final two spots in the top ten are likely to be taken by one of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” – which has passed $500 million in just two weeks of release or Disney’s “Doctor Strange” – which has secured almost $600 million in tickets sales. Coming in the final weeks of December is the eagerly anticipated “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” – a prequel that has had the second best tickets films for a film and is expected to have an opening weekend in the region of $130 million.