I lucked out with this year's Long Form noms, as I had already watched all of them, and most of them were on my own ballot. I think this is only going to get more difficult in the coming years, with the ever-increasing numbers of SFF movies and (especially) television and streaming adaptations. (Which is why I maintain that the rules for BDP-Short Form should be changed to say that only one episode per series is allowed.)
By the way, if you haven't seen any of these films, there will be spoilers in this post. Just sayin'.
6) Avengers: Infinity War
This was the Big Superhero Showdown Marvel's been aiming towards for ten years, but when I saw it, it felt a bit....underwhelming. With so many characters tossed into the mix and so much to do, there wasn't time for any of them to make much of an impression, with the possible exception of Thor and Rocket. Also, if I'd been Chris Pratt, I would have been ticked off by the way my character was forced to wield the Starlord Stupid Stick, not once but twice. If Peter Quill had only killed Gamora in the beginning, like she asked him to do and he agreed, Thanos would never have found the Soul Stone. Of course, then we wouldn't have had a $2 billion-plus grossing movie.....
5) A Quiet Place
I liked this better, but it still had plot holes. It was better in the sense that I didn't start thinking about said plot holes while I was still watching it, so in that way it was a success. John Krasinski spins a credible, creepily atmospheric tale of a family living in silence, trying to survive an onslaught of alien invaders that hunt by sound. I enjoyed the performances of Emily Blunt and Millicent Simmonds, a Deaf actress cast in the role of Regan, whose cochlear implant proves crucial in figuring out a way to take the aliens down. Left as an exercise for the viewer is why a teenage girl could come up with this solution and not the world's militaries and think tanks (especially after seeing the huge ears on the aliens).
4) Sorry To Bother You
This trailer doesn't reveal the third-act twist, but let me say that the film takes a seriously surreal SF turn. It's also a biting satire of capitalism and corporate rapacity, with the protagonist Cassius Green using his "white voice" to succeed as a telemarketer. I'm happy that a weird little movie like this was able to make the Hugo ballot, even if I ended up liking others better.
3) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
This just took the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation at the Nebulas (and the Oscar for Best Animated Feature), so I think its chances are pretty good here. I liked it well enough, but I wasn't gosh-wow over it.
2) Black Panther
I was gosh-wow over this, however. This juggernaut rolled into the Academy Awards and came away with three, Marvel's first. Eric Killmonger is (so far) Marvel's best villain, because he was very much the hero of his own story; even though I didn't like what he was doing, I could see that he had a point. And Shuri and the Dora Milaje are just...everything.
I know this probably won't win, but I loved this movie. (Disclaimer: I haven't read the book.) This slowly unfolding, steadily escalating terror ride was beautiful and creepy and unsettling, and the ending reportedly gave the studio fits. Kudos to Alex Garland for keeping it, even though his film ended up under-promoted as a result. PZ Myers, an actual evolutionary biologist, also liked it, so it's not as wrong-headed in its science as some of the reviews on IMDB are claiming. Finally, there's a podcast discussing the film--Part 1 here.
Next up: Best Semiprozine