Friday, February 13, 2015

End-Of-Year: 2014 Film Nominees

My rough deadline for year-end posts is usually the Oscars which is just nine days away. Technically that's plenty of time for me to get it all written and blogged, but knowing me that's not going to happen. But there's no time like the present to start talking about my favorite films and performances. I saw 111 films from 2014 which is a personal best. That said, I didn't get to see every film I wanted to see. A few of those include Lucy, Blue Ruin, Starred Up, The Drop, The Boxtrolls, St. Vincent, Fury, Listen Up Philip, Citizenfour, The Babadook, Force Majeure, A Most Violent Year, and Two Days, One Night.

Moving on to my personal nominees...

Best Film
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Guest
How to Train Your Dragon 2

I actually found it pretty easy creating my Top 10 list this year, which includes 3 Oscar Best Picture nominees, 3 films grossing more than $160 mil, 2 gay films, and 2 films that could conceivably be called a one-man show. Granted there were a handful of films that could've made it in depending on the day, but I'll talk about them when I post my ranked top 35 films overall.

Best Actor
Tom Hardy, Locke
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Dan Stevens, The Guest
Ben Whishaw, Lilting

Amongst the six men, only Fiennes and Redmayne have been Oscar nominated though Stevens won a SAG Ensemble Award a couple years ago for Downton Abbey. Oyelowo made my list last year and in fact was my Supporting Actor champ. And yes, ALL of them are British. American Chris Pratt was a close 7th place.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant
Agata Kulesza, Ida
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle/Beyond the Lights
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Jenny Slate, Obvious Child

My list include two Americans, two Brits, one Frenchwoman, and one Polish. Cotillard is the only Oscar winner and only Pike/Moore have been Oscar nominated. All three are nominated this year of course though Cotillard for another film which I haven't seen.

Best Supporting Actor
James Corden, Begin Again
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Toby Kebbell, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edward Norton, Birdman/The Grand Budapest Hotel
Andrew Scott, Pride
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Hawke, Norton, and Simmons are all Oscar nominated this year with the first two making return trips while the other three (coincidentally all British) are relative newcomers to Hollywood though Corden will be known to American audiences soon via his late night TV show while Scott is better known for his Moriarty to Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emily Blunt, Edge of Tomorrow/Into the Woods
Carrie Coon, Gone Girl
Imelda Staunton, Pride
Emma Stone, Birdman
Tilda Swinton, Only Lovers Left Alive/Snowpiercer

Swinton is the only Oscar winner while Staunton a former Oscar nominee. Stone and Arquette are first-time Oscar nominees this year. Coon and Arquette have regular jobs in the small screens. And yes, half are British making 14 of my 24 nominees English. Damn foreigners!

Best Young Actress/Actor
Ellar Coltrane, Boyhood
Mackenzie Foy, Interstellar
Alex Lawther, The Imitation Game
Maika Monroe, The Guest
Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Tyler James Williams, Dear White People

These were my picks of actors who are 25 and under who impressed me this year. Shailene Woodley was a close 7th place, but I also picked her last year so I don't feel too bad about not including her this year. Honorable mention to Jude Swanberg, the super adorable baby in Happy Christmas.

Best Ensemble
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Sure they all have big casts, but it's all about the interplay among the ensemble and if you've seen all of these films you know that's true.

Most Disappointing Film
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Jersey Boys
Labor Day
Magic in the Moonlight
Men, Women, & Children

As I explain every year, the difference between this and Worst Film is that I had some kind of expectations for these films that just weren't met for one reason or another.

Worst Film
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Let's Be Cops
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
Winter's Tale

My life literally would probably have been better if I just didn't see any of these films. Period.

In any case, I'll hopefully pick my winners in the next few days (by Monday?). For some categories, I already know but there's still a few I'm still undecided on.

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