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Who’s Naughty And Nice At The Movies This Year
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There aren’t a lot of movie theaters near the North Pole, so we can’t fault Santa if he didn’t see hits like Black Widow, Dune or House of Gucci this year.

But we did, so we helped him out—with a list of the nicest and naughtiest characters we saw at the movies. Since you’ve probably seen these, too, we could use your help checking it twice.


1
The Baroness, from 'Cruella'
2021
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Let's start with the naughty list:

We always thought Cruella herself belonged on the naughty list, but now that we know a bit more about her backstory, we think the Baroness (Emma Thompson) is definitely more deserving of the slot. The new Cruella uses faux Dalmatian fur, whereas the Baroness doesn’t flinch at destroying—or killing!—anyone who gets in the way of her fashion brand’s dominance.

2
The Baron, from 'Dune'
2021
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Similar name, similar game. This greedy and grisly overlord (played by Stellan Skarsgård) is a bad apple through and through. He uses unwarranted brutality to take control of the Fremen’s home planet and pompously proclaims, “My desert. My Arrakis. My dune.” We have to disagree—and we hope Paul and Chani will teach him this lesson in Dune: Part Two.

3
Henry McHenry, from 'Annette'
2021
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After the film’s spirited opening sequence, it’s all downhill for stand-up comedian Henry McHenry (Adam Driver) in Annette. In the wake of career failure and personal tragedy, he forces his daughter into the limelight and turns her unique gift into his own source of income. Not a very good dad, and also not the first time one of Driver’s characters has drifted to the dark side.

4
Patrizia Reggiani, from 'House of Gucci'
2021
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While Driver does maintain some integrity in House of Gucci as Maurizio, the same can’t be said for his wife, Patrizia (Lady Gaga). At first a charming and wholesome outsider to the world of fashion, Patrizia eventually loses it after heartbreak and crushed ambitions. She soon resorts to murderous plots and stalking, and while we feel for her, that’s where we draw the line.

5
Stefani, from 'Zola'
2020
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When Zola and Stefani start their self-proclaimed “hoe trip” to Florida, it feels like the stuff of friendly bonding and entrepreneurship. But once they arrive in Tampa, it becomes clear that Stefani (Riley Keough) has ulterior motives. Not to mention, she treats her endlessly devoted boyfriend Derrek like crap. So we have to agree with Zola’s assessment: “This is messy! You are messy! Your brain is broke!”

6
Trudy Smith, from 'The Harder They Fall'
2021
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The lead henchwoman of Rufus Buck’s cowboy gang, Trudy Smith is violent, frightening and somehow still fashionable in this action-packed Western (she’s played by Regina King, after all). Her piercing gaze and merciless fist make for some terrifying interrogation tactics (sorry, Zazie Beetz), but they don’t call her Treacherous Trudy for nothing. If the last shot of the film is any indication, we have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of her. 

7
Regan Abbott, from 'A Quiet Place Part II'
2021
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Ok, let's run down the nice list, shall we:

In the face of vicious aliens, Regan Abbott (Millicent Simmonds) shows little fear. That’s partially because, as we learned in the 2018 original, her cochlear implant hearing device is essentially the sound-sensitive aliens’ kryptonite. This sequel is her time to shine, and she continuously and courageously rises to the occasion in an effort to protect her family—and anyone else who might still be alive on planet Earth.

8
Buddy, from 'Belfast'
2021
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Sure, 9-year-old Buddy (newcomer Jude Hill) helped coordinate a chocolate bar heist at a local sweet shop in Belfast, but it was a low-stakes operation and nobody got hurt. He’s a mischievous but good-hearted kid growing up in a turbulent time (Northern Ireland in the late 1960s), and for all his shenanigans, we still feel he deserves a spot on the nice list.

9
Sisu, from 'Raya and the Last Dragon'
2021
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Sisu the dragon serves mostly as comic relief in Raya and the Last Dragon—much needed as we travel with Raya across the war-torn land of Kumandra. But amid all the dragon’s wisecracks (voiced by the always funny Awkwafina), Sisu also teaches an important lesson about forgiveness, even—and especially—toward those we call our enemies.

10
Natasha Romanoff, from 'Black Widow'
2020
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A Red Room childhood is a very rough childhood, and we wouldn’t blame Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) if she never looked back after defecting to S.H.I.E.L.D. and becoming an Avenger. But years later in Black Widow, she discovers that other young women are still being subjected to brainwashing and brutal training, and she sets her sights on an operation to free them as well.

11
Blue Shirt Guy, from 'Free Guy'
2021
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He was never meant to be the main character (in fact, he was specifically programmed to be a non-player character), but this friendly neighborhood bank teller is just so genuine that he nearly breaks the video game world in which he lives. Soon known by players everywhere as Blue Shirt Guy, Ryan Reynolds plays him with a radiant smile, a soft spot for Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy” and a heroic desire to save the world. Definitely nice guy material.

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© 2021 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences