There was some muttering when Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake took the Palme d’Or at Cannes last May, but, over the intervening months, the film has engaged with audiences and set in as a critical favourite. Few films in the director’s 50-year career have had such an impact. Now, the Dublin Film Critics Circle has named I, Daniel Blake as the best film of 2016. It is the first British film to triumph since the DFCC began awarding prizes in 2006 (unless you stretch the definition to include Gravity). It was a tight competition. Only a few votes separated the Loach film from Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. The positions were reversed in the best director race where Villeneuve beat Loach by just one point. Those two films were all over the DFCC’s selections. Amy Adams easily won best actress for Arrival. Dave Johns took best actor for I, Daniel Blake. Villeneuve’s film also triumphed in the best screenplay race.

There were fears that, after the nation’s extraordinary Oscar run at the start of the year, Irish film would falter in 2016. These concerns proved unfounded. Indeed, a small domestic release, Darren Thornton’s A Date For Mad Mary, managed to beat John Carney’s Sing Street (nominated for a Golden Globe earlier this month) and Lenny Abrahamson’s Room (a multiple Oscar nominee) to the DFCC prize for best Irish film. We hold our breath in anticipation of Mad Mary’s international unveiling in 2017. Séana Kerslake, who plays the titular tearaway in Thornton’s film, blew away the competition in the best breakthrough category. Nobody came anywhere close. There was further domestic success. Seamus McGarvey, an Armagh man, took best cinematography for Nocturnal Animals. Colm Quinn’s Mattress Men, the story of a Dublin divan flogger, tied with the much celebrated Weiner for best documentary. In no previous DFCC list has there been quite so much Irish interest among the international categories. At least one corner of the future looks bright.


 Best Film

1.       I, Daniel Blake

2.       Arrival

3.       Hell of High Water

4.       Spotlight

5.       Anomalisa

6.       Son of Saul/Paterson/Captain Fantastic/Train to Busan/Room/The Witch/The Revenant

Best Director

1.       Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

2.       Alejandro Inarritu, The Revenant

3.       Ken Loach, I, Daniel Blake

4.       Lenny Abrahamson, Room

5.       Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals/ Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Evolution

Best Irish Film

1.       A Date for Mad Mary

2.       Sing Street

3.       Room

4.       Viva/The Young Offenders

5.       The Survivalist/Mammal

Best Documentary

1.       Weiner/ Mattress Men

2.       66 Days: Bobby Sands

3.       Life, Animated

4.       Magnus/Beatles Eight Days a Week/ Atlantic

5.       Crash and Burn

Best Actor

1.       Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake

2.       Leonardo di Caprio, The Revenant

3.       Adam Driver, Paterson/ Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

4.       Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight/ Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul

5.       Vincent Lindon, The Measure of a Man/Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic

Best Actress

1.       Amy Adams, Arrival

2.       Hayley Squires, I, Daniel Blake

3.       Brie Larson, Room

4.       Seana Kerslake, A Date for Mad Mary/ Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship

5.       Isabelle Huppert, Things to Come

Best Screenplay

1.       Eric Heisserer, Arrival

2.       Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

3.       Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water

4.       Whit Stillman, Love & Friendship

5.       S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk/ Emma Donoghue, Room/ Matt Ross, Captain Fantastic

Best Cinematography

1.       Seamus McGarvey, Nocturnal Animals

2.       Emmanuel Lubeszki, The Revenant

3.       Bradford Young, Arrival

4.       Jarin Blaschke, The Witch

5.       Natasha Brier, The Neon Demon/ Mátyás Erdély, Son of Saul


Irish – Seana Kerslake

International – Hayley Squires

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