LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (REUTERS) –
By far the biggest movie of the year at the box office was “Black Panther”, the new black Marvel superhero movie, which also won rave reviews from critics who praised both its adventure and its portrayal of a majestic Africa.
The film tells the story of T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), the new king of the futuristic, wealth-laden African nation Wakanda, who is challenged by factions within his own country.
According to Box Office Mojo, the film has grossed 700 million dollars in the United States. Its worldwide box office takings reportedly stand at 1.1 billion US dollars.
The second best performing movie at the U.S. domestic box office was “Avengers: Infinity War”, which grossed 678 million dollars, according to Box Office Mojo.
Coming in third place was the animated film “Incredibles 2”, which has taken 608 million dollars in the U.S.
“Incredibles 2” picks up directly following the events of the original film with the Parr family members attempting to balance having a normal life with their superpowers. Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Sarah Vowell, and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their voice roles, while Bob Odenkirk, Catherine Keener, and Sophia Bush voice new characters. Brad Bird returned to write and direct the sequel.
The fourth best-performing movie at the box office was “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”, grossing 416 million dollars, followed by “Deadpool 2”, grossing 318 million dollars.
As ever the Academy Awards provided its share of memorable moments — Frances McDormand won best leading actress for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.
In her acceptance speech, she talked about her support for inclusion riders, which she later explained was an additional clause in a contract that asks for ’50 per cent diversity not only in casting but also the crew’.
McDormand’s award went missing briefly at the lavish Governors Ball party in Hollywood, where Academy Award winners have their statuettes engraved after the awards ceremony. She said at the time: “I’ve lost my Oscar!”
The Oscar was retrieved and later returned to McDormand.
The man accused of stealing her Oscar, Terry Bryant, has pleaded not guilty, but the case will reportedly go to trial.
Guillermo del Toro edged out established names and fresh talent to win his first Oscar for “The Shape of Water”. His movie also took the Best Picture award.
Gary Oldman won best actor in a leading role for his transformation into Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”.
Outside of the Oscars, Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for “Shoplifters”, a movie that wowed audiences for its delicate portrayal of family life and surprising plot twists.
The win, by a director who has won prizes at the festival in previous years, defied speculation that the Palme would go to a woman director, with three strong contenders in a year when the Hollywood sexual harassment scandal was the talk of the town.
“Touch Me Not”, a film about intimacy and sex that shocked some viewers with explicit scenes, won the Golden Bear prize for best film at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival on Saturday (February 24).
Romanian director Adina Pintilie said she had not expected to win the award for her film, which blurs reality and fiction as it follows several characters who seek intimacy yet also fear it.
Director Alfonso Cuaron picked up the coveted Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival.
Cuaron’s “Roma”, named after the neighbourhood in Mexico City where writer-director-cinematographer Cuaron grew up, is a Spanish-language drama that critics almost unanimously described as “shimmering” due to its luscious black-and-white cinematography.
At the opposite end of cinematic achievement, “The Emoji Movie” stunk up the annual Razzie awards in March, besting all contenders for worst achievements in film.
2018 was a year when music featured heavily in successful films — from “A Star is Born” with Lady Gaga, to the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and another slice of Abba in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”.
It was also a year when there was a large number of female-led Hollywood films such as “Ocean’s 8”, which stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter and Rihanna.
“Ocean’s 8” sees Bullock play Debbie Ocean, the estranged sister of Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney in the trio of Ocean’s movies.
In “Peppermint” Jennifer Garner plays a woman out for revenge against not only the gang members who murdered her husband and daughter but also those who allowed the killers to walk free.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp” was the first Marvel feature film to spotlight a female character in the title.
Another big-budget movie with female leads was “The Spy Who Dumped Me”, a comedy spy thriller about two best friends who have to stick together when they get embroiled in an international conspiracy, and starred Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon in the lead roles.
Diversity was also celebrated in “Crazy Rich Asians”, which marked the first time in 25 years that an all-Asian cast has starred in a Hollywood film. The movie, a romantic comedy about an Asian American girl who goes to Singapore to meet her boyfriend’s family for the first time, went on to become one of the highest grossing of 2018.
Elsewhere in the movie world, in August John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John reunited for a special 40th-anniversary screening of “Grease” at the Oscars headquarters.
Also, in November, Disney released the first trailer for the live-action retelling of “The Lion King”. On the first day of release, the trailer notched up a staggering 224.6 million views – a record for Disney according to Variety.
The movie, which will hit theaters next summer, boasts an ensemble voice cast that includes Beyonce, Donald Glover, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Seth Rogan. Glover plays Simba, Beyonce plays his love interest Nala and Ejiofor plays Simba’s uncle, Scar.