This year we have a total number of 18 categories, all with their own nominees which can be found here. These are the categories for the third annual I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards:
- Song of the Year
- Best Performance by a Voice Actor in a Gaming Experience
- Game of the Year
- Superhero of the Year
- Superheroine of the Year
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Superhero Film
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Superhero Film
- Superhero Film of the Year
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Show
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Show
- Television Episode of the Year
- Television Show of the Year
- Rising Star in Film
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Cinematic Experience
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Cinematic Experience
- Best Performance in Directing a Cinematic Experience
- Best Performance in Writing a Cinematic Experience
- Movie of the Year
Please be aware that cinematic release dates are based on the Danish theaters. Therefore, films from 2015 that premiere in 2016 in Denmark won’t be considered for the I’m Jeffrey Rex Awards, and after some reconsidering only 2015 films released in Denmark in 2015 are eligible for my top ten films of 2015.
Song of the Year
- “When I Was A Boy” by Jeff Lynne’s Electric Light Orchestra.
In this category simplicity defeated flair. “When I Was A Boy” though rather poignant, isn’t the most catchy song, but it has a lot of warmth in it. It lives and breathes passion, yet echoes nostalgia. This song signifies a strong return in the form of the first studio album since Zoom (2001), and “When I Was A Boy” is definitely the best song on this new album, Alone In The Universe.
Best Performance by a Voice Actor in a Gaming Experience
- Ashly Burch – Life Is Strange.
Life Is Strange did not turn out exactly how I wanted it to. Ultimately, the game was nowhere near as good as its concept was. The best character in Life Is Strange, however, is a thrill to watch. Chloe Price is given life by Ashly Burch, who despite of the less-than-stellar look of the game makes the character rather memorable. Burch perfectly handles multiple character-altering situations and is the best voice acting of the year based on this strong performance.
Game of the Year
- Rocket League – PsyOnix – Played on PlayStation 4.
I fully expected that Rocket League would be little more than a gaming summer fling, but I amazingly still return to the strongest soccer game I’ve played in years (Yes, that’s exactly what I meant, FIFA). Ultimately, this was the only release this year that never lost my attention or interest. I’ve somewhat fallen out of love with Fallout 4, and Bloodborne is a distant memory. Rocket League is the strongest game of the year, and you owe yourself to play it, it’s a blast!
Superhero of the Year
- Ant-Man – Marvel Comics & Marvel Studios.
This was a pretty great year for Ant-Man, not only did Paul Rudd portray Scott Lang in Marvel’s Ant-Man-film. Marvel Studios also put him in Captain America: Civil War and greenlit a sequel to his standalone film. Last, but not least, we got the best Marvel comic book trade paperback of the year in Ant-Man: Second-Chance Man by Nick Spencer & Ramon Rosanas.
Superheroine of the Year
- Jessica Jones – Marvel Comics & Marvel Television.
This was easy. Marvel’s Jessica Jones television show on Netflix is one of the best shows of the year, and is definitely the best female-led superhero television show I’ve seen yet. Jessica Jones, as a character, could be in for somewhat of a revival.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Superhero Film
- Michael Douglas – Ant-Man.
From my Ant-Man review:
“It should not surprise anyone that Michael Douglas gives a good performance in this film. Douglas is one of the best actors of his generation, and having someone like him in a ‘small’ Marvel film is astounding. Like Robert Redford in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Michael Douglas gives gravitas to this film.”
In the end, it came down to Michael Douglas and Michael Peña, and ultimately I ended up going with Douglas due to him having more of an impact in cinematic quality and strength, whereas Peña ultimately added more to the tone of the film, which wasn’t as groundbreaking as Redford and now Douglas have been.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Superhero Film
- Scarlett Johansson – Avengers: Age of Ultron.
This was a tough one as all female actresses in 2015 superhero films have been more or less supporting characters. Not even Kate Mara’s Sue Storm was that important to her film. Ultimately, I connected the most with Johansson’s performance. I didn’t see the same problems with her character, or even her relationship with Banner, as other people clearly did. Honestly, I felt her subplot in Age of Ultron was one of the most interesting parts of the film.
Superhero Film of the Year
- Avengers: Age of Ultron – Marvel Studios.
This film got a lot of criticism for simply not provoking as strong of an emotion as the original Avengers did. I am definitely in the minority when I say that I loved it. And, ultimately, this was my strongest feeling after having seen it (from my review):
“Age of Ultron provided me with the cinematic superhero event that I had always wanted.”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Show
- Mads Mikkelsen – Hannibal: Season 3.
One of the saddest television truths of 2015 is that NBC cancelled yet another critical darling – Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. I would argue that season 3 was the biggest challenge for Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter, as the Danish star had to properly convey strong emotions that had been subdued somewhat up until that point in the series. Also, as Fuller tried to adapt not just Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon but also the Hannibal-novel, Mikkelsen had to endure a whirlwind of changes at the half-way point in the season. Ultimately, Mikkelsen gave the most interesting male performance of 2015, if you are to ask me.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Show
- Krysten Ritter – Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Season 1.
For the first time since creating the IJR Awards, the title of Best Performace by an Actress in a Television Show does not go to Robin Wright for House of Cards. Some might argue that Wright had never been better on House of Cards than she was this season, and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. But here’s the thing: the actress portraying the toughest lady on television took her place this year. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a revelation. The titular character is unlike any we’ve seen on television before, and Marvel Television appointed Krysten Ritter as the face of the first female superhero show from Marvel. Ritter perfectly played this damaged but strong woman out for justice and revenge, and might be the strongest character, not named Matt Murdock, in the Marvel Television department. Sorry, Agent Carter.
Television Episode of the Year
- Five-O – Better Call Saul: Season 1.
I was blown away by this episode, that’s about as plainly I can explain its power. There can be no doubt that this episode will please Breaking Bad fans more than people that have only seen Better Call Saul, but as a standalone episode it works and is directly at the level of quality as Breaking Bad at the height of its quality. It feels like a Breaking Bad episode, but touches on the roots of Mike Ehrmantraut so much that it still feels relevant to this spin-off show.
From my episode review:
Even if Better Call Saul never fulfills its potential, then at least it gave us this masterpiece.
Television Show of the Year
- Better Call Saul: Season 1 – AMC.
I’ll be the first to admit that I feared the worst when I sat down to watch the first episode of the Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul. But episode-by-episode I kept being more amazed by how great it was. I’m not sure if I ever wrote this in my episode reviews or even my season review, but I like this debut season more than the original debut season of Breaking Bad. The show took a hold of me instantly, and I cannot stop thinking about how pleasantly surprised I was by it.
Rising Star In Film
- Daisy Ridley – Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
Daisy Ridley, where do I begin? Star Wars has been known to cast unknown actors, the prequels had Hayden Christensen who didn’t really work, and the original trilogy had Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher who became instant legends. With Daisy Ridley the sequel trilogy makes its mark.
The Force Awakens was her first big budget feature film and she starred in it – there had never been more pressure on the shoulders of who-is-essentially a completely fresh face for the movie-going public. Daisy Ridley’s Rey might be the strongest female hero character I’ve ever seen in a blockbuster film, and Ridley gives a very realistic and emotional performance. Very impressed with her, and I’m excited to see if she takes her talent to great new heights.
Best Performance by an Actor in a Cinematic Experience
- Adam Driver – Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens.
For quite a while I debated whether to give Benicio Del Toro (for Sicario) or Sylvester Stallone (for Creed) the title of ‘Best Actor’, and then came the new face of the First Order – Kylo Ren – played by Girls‘ male star Adam Driver. Villains can be tough to completely master when writing characters, and we’ve seen in a number of blockbusters that they tend to underwrite them.
Thankfully, Kylo Ren is the best Star Wars villain since Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. Is Adam Driver going to win an Academy Award for this role? No, but that’s not the point. And in no way am I trying to say something bad about the crop of male performances this year, rather I’m trying to say something about villains in blockbusters, who tend to be underdeveloped or just bad characters like Malekith in Thor: The Dark World and Vic Hoskins or Henry Wu in Jurassic World. And, honestly, this was the performance that was the most emotionally stirring for me this year. Is it pound-for-pound the most noticeable performance of the year? I wouldn’t say so. But it is a performance that stands out.
You feel his presence when he walks into a room, he emanates power but is rather unstable and emotional all the same, and Adam Driver excels when he is given an opportunity to flesh out his character with fierce as well as subtle emotions. His face behind the mask does not harmonize with his persona, and that is brilliant as it helps the audience react to what-ultimately-is a multi-layered, complex villain, someone who isn’t what he seems. Driver blew me away, and stole the show for me. There’s depth to his character, and development over the course of the film. When the film rests on his character it seamlessly has a very particular and different tone, which elevates the film due to his performance. There are some things I cannot say due to the spoiler-y nature of the film, so I’m going to leave it at that.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Cinematic Experience
- Alicia Vikander – EX_MACHINA.
2012 was a good year for Alicia Vikander. She appeared in the Academy Award-nominated Danish film En Kongelig Affære, and Joe Wright’s adaptation of Anna Karenina. No one paid particular attention to the Swedish actress as of yet. Then she appeared in the Benedict Cumberbatch-led The Fifth Estate in 2013, but that didn’t really put anyone on the map. Then she signed on to a ton of roles, including some that would absolutely put her on the map. The Danish Girl might be the biggest title on her resume, but, ultimately, EX_MACHINA put her on the map.
It is a weird little film, and it feels very intimate due to the small cast. But make no mistake there are big performances in this film. Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson both shine, but Vikander steals the film as Ava – a creation of Isaac’s character. Her performance is layered and incredibly intriguing.
Best Performance in Directing a Cinematic Experience
- Denis Villeneuve – Sicario.
For a while it looked like J. J. Abrams was going to get this one, as I felt he had recaptured the spirit of the Star Wars-universe, directed newcomers to the franchise perfectly, and made a solid film. But then I realized something, everything I wanted to say about what Abrams had done for Star Wars, Ryan Coogler had done for Creed. Therefore these two great directing performances cancelled each other out.
Who was I left with? One of my favorite directors this decade. Incendies, Enemy, Prisoners, and now Sicario – Denis Villeneuve is on a roll. He is one of the most talented directors out there, and he has proven himself time and time again by taking veteran actors to perfection, and making solid films out of them all in the process.
Best Performance in Writing a Cinematic Experience
- Alex Garland – EX_MACHINA.
EX_MACHINA is such a smart film, which respects the genre it resides in. It was one of the biggest surprises for me this year. Garland made a film that perfectly mixed humor, intelligence, intrigue, and wonder. It is not a simple film, but it feels extremely intimate. Garland has been a great writer for quite a while, with Sunshine being one of my favorites of his, but EX_MACHINA is head and shoulders above every other film he’s written.
Movie of the Year
- Inside Out – Walt Disney/Pixar.
Inside Out is a flat-out masterpiece, that’s just how I feel. It works on every level imaginable, and is a film that won’t soon be forgotten. A new Pixar-classic.
From the review:
This film does a great job of taking these simple elements, then making them work in these more complex and abstract ideas or frameworks, and the outcome is extremely unique. It is a really smart project, and I would definitely call this film not only unique, but also imaginative and absolutely brilliant.
Films or shows with multiple titles/awards:
- Avengers: Age of Ultron – 2.
- Better Call Saul – 2.
- EX_MACHINA – 2.
- Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – 2.
Do note: This year’s film nominees only feature 2015 films that have released in Denmark in 2015, and therefore films like the following 2015 films (which release in 2016 in Denmark) will not be considered eligible for these awards this year or any year:
- Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight.
- Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
- A. G. Iñarritu’s The Revenant.
- Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs.
- Todd Haynes’ Carol.
- Lenny Abrahamson’s Room.
What was your favorite, film, show or game this year? Sound off in the comments.
I’m Jeffrey Rex