By Mark Saldana

While 2021 was not the dumpster fire 2020 was, COVID-19 in its variant forms has still remained with us and is on the rise once again. Thankfully, things did improve with multiple vaccines available. As more people got immunized for the virus, the numbers of COVID-19 cases reduced. This allowed for people to gather again socially (as long as responsibly), and for movie theaters to reopen and begin showcasing new movies once again.

I have to say, that, after a year of being away from the cinema, it was an absolute joy to return to screening films in person, as well as attend a couple of film festivals (also in person). And even though 2021 started off slowly and blandly (as most year’s often do), it was great to see the big summer blockbusters return to theaters, along with the awards darlings toward the end. I don’t know exactly what 2022 and COVID-19 Omicron has in store for us, but I feel grateful and blessed that at least 2021 offered us some hope and joy in all kinds of ways.

So, as the year comes to an end, I am here once again with my selections for the top ten films of the year, along with my choices for more specific film award categories. I am always grateful for my readers, supporters, colleagues, friends and family members who follow me on my yearly journeys through cinema and either applaud, or merely put up with my opinions and takes on the movies. To all of you, I say cheers, and I wish you a very happy, safe and prosperous new year. Here’s to hoping 2022 is not a step backward and that things improve further.

Mark’s Top Ten Films of 2021

  1. Drive My Car
  2. The Power of the Dog
  3. The Green Knight
  4. In the Heights
  5. The Tragedy of Macbeth
  6. Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  7. Language Lessons
  8. The Fallout
  9. West Side Story
  10. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Honorable Mentions: Belle, Mass, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, A Hero, Pig, Licorice Pizza, Dune

Best Director: Jane Campion/The Power of the Dog

Best Actor: Denzel Washington/The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress: Kristen Stewart/Spencer

Best Supporting Actor: Vincent Lindon/Titane

Best Supporting Actress: Ann Dowd/Mass

Best Orignal Screenplay: Mass

Best Adapted Screenplay: Drive My Car

Best Cinematography: Ari Wegner/The Power of the Dog

Best Score: Jonny Greenwood/The Power of the Dog

Best International Film: Drive My Car

Best Documentary: Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Best Animated Film: Belle

Best Editing: Nellie Quettier/Annette

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