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SAG, AFI, African-American Film Critics, Online Film Critics, and D.C. Winners

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The Best Breakout Performance of the year. But also one of the best performances of the year, period. (And he’s not bad either.)

As foretold by prophecy.

First, a full listing of the Screen Actor’s Guild nominees:

Best Actor:

  • Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

So Carell is still possibly in the race. And Gyllenhaal has to be considered a major threat. The other three were pretty much locked in from the start.

Best Actress:

  • Jennifer Aniston, Cake
  • Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  • Reese Witherspoon, Wild

I’m amazed Aniston got on. Really amazed. I’m guessing she barely edged out Marion Cotillard (for The Immigrant). I can’t see her parlaying this into an Oscar nom (if they didn’t nominate her for The Good Girl, are they gonna do it here?), especially because I don’t think the film is supposed to be that good (the trailer did not impress me), but if she pops up at the Globes…

Jones is still a bit vulnerable, if only because there was apparently some confusion over what category to put her in. But Moore, Pike, and Witherspoon aren’t going anywhere.

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Robert Duvall, The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  • J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

I get that Duvall is a legend, but that movie was awful and his performance wasn’t that good. But since this race is a Simmons-Norton showdown, the other three slots can go to whoever, I guess. Ruffalo looks like a decent bet, but Hawke isn’t a sure thing, and Duvall…I really hope not. I hate to say it, but he doesn’t deserve it.

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone, Birdman
  • Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
  • Naomi Watts, St. Vincent

I’m no expert on the SAG awards, but I bet everyone shit themselves when Watts got on. Haven’t seen the film, but I remember how everyone assumed Bill Murray was going to win big for it, and instead she’s the sole mention. Very strange.

Arquette and Stone have always been the cornerstone of this category. Knightly, some category confusion aside, is very likely, and Streep will probably get on (though the semi-muted awards response to the film has me wondering). But Watts…I’d be genuinely shocked if she got any other major nominations for this.

Best Ensemble:

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

So…no individual noms for GBH, but it gets on here? That may be telling. It’s been holding its own to date, especially in the Screenplay races, so Wes Anderson just might pull off his first Best Picture nom. And no Into the Woods. That’s pretty telling as well. (Apparently Selma screeners weren’t available, which explains its absence.)

And now, for the American Film Institute’s Top “10” list:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Imitation Game
  • Interstellar
  • Into the Woods
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma
  • Unbroken
  • Whiplash

Count ’em. 11. And The Imitation Game, it was felt, would be considered ineligible, since it appears to be a British film (The King’s Speech missed out in 2010). So who knows what exactly happened there.

American Sniper continues to hold its own. I have a hard time buying it as an Oscar contender, but it really can’t be counted out at this point. Foxcatcher is holding on. Interstellar, which I continue to defend, is a welcome presence (though the Oscars will probably overlook it for Picture). Into the Woods…we’ll see.

Nightcrawler, I think, is a real threat for a Best Picture nomination. It’s been doing damn well for what it is, and I would be quite happy to see it make the final cut. Unbroken, on the other hand…I can’t overlook those reviews. I know those aren’t necessarily an impediment to Oscar contention, but if they stay where they are, it’s going to look weird if it gets on.

Moving right along…the African-American Film Critics Association announced their winners:

Best Picture: Selma

Fair. I just need to see it.

Best Director: Ava DuVernay, Selma

Good for her. I really hope she gets an Oscar nomination.

Best Actor: David Oyelowo, Selma

He was really good in The Butler, and by all accounts is an excellent MLK. So this makes sense.

Best Actress: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle

Love it. Personally my pick would be Tessa Thompson, but she had two really good lead performances this year.

Best Supporting Actor: (tie) Tyler Perry, Gone Girl/J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

People really love J.K. Simmons, don’t they? Can’t blame them. Perry was quite good–certainly the best performance I’ve ever seen from him–but Simmons was better.

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, Black or White 

Really? This film wasn’t supposed to be that good. Then again, she was in Snowpiercer (and I liked her in it), so I’ll just consider this an informal award for that film.

Best Screenplay: Beyond the Lights

I don’t see it. It was a solid script, but Dear White People was a truly brilliant piece of screenwriting. For my money, it blows Lights out of the water.

Best Breakout Performance: Tessa Thompson, Dear White People

At least she got some recognition.

Best World Cinema: Timbuktu

Really want to see this. Maybe it could be a surprise Foreign Film nominee?

Best Independent Film: Dear White People

Again, I don’t like awards like this. This was one of the best films of the year, regardless of who made it or for how much.

Best Music: “Glory”, from Selma

An original song by John Legend and Common, I’m guessing. Quite interested to hear it.

Best Ensemble: Get On Up

I guess?

Best Animation: The Boxtrolls

Maybe I should’ve seen it. I just couldn’t work up the interest.

Best Documentary: Life Itself

As soon as I can.

Top Ten Films:

  1. Selma
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. The Theory of Everything
  4. Birdman
  5. Belle
  6. Top Five
  7. Unbroken
  8. Dear White People
  9. Get On Up
  10. Black or White

Glad to see Top Five mentioned. But Unbroken better than DWP? I highly doubt it. (No Boyhood, though. I can be okay with that.)

Online Film Critics:

These guys make some out-there choices at times (like nominating Drug War for Best Picture last year or Holy Motors the year before). Let’s see what they’ve got for us this year:


  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • The Lego Movie
  • Mommy
  • Nightcrawler
  • Selma
  • Two Days, One Night
  • Under the Skin
  • Whiplash

Mommy is probably the weirdest pick. (Not even Snowpiercer? For shame.) And no Birdman or Gone Girl? Ridiculous.


  • Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne, Two Days, One Night
  • Ava DuVernay, Selma
  • Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood

The Dardennes? Glazer I get, but I feel like the Dardennes make more sense as Screenplay nominees.


  • Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Brendan Gleeson, Calvary
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner

No Cumberbatch or Redmayne, but Gleeson is great and Keaton can’t be overlooked.


  • Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
  • Essie Davis, The Babadook
  • Anne Dorval, Mommy
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Damn right they nominate Anne Dorval. And Essie Davis. (I’m seeing Babadook this weekend. Very excited.)

Supporting Actor:

  • Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  • J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Nice that they gave a nod to Brolin. Otherwise…I’m gonna get tired of typing out those other four names.

Supporting Actress:

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
  • Suzanne Clément, Mommy
  • Agata Kulesza, Ida
  • Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer


Not too happy that Emma Stone didn’t make the cut, but Kulesza is great and I’m glad Clément’s here to shake things up a little.

Original Screenplay:

  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Selma
  • Two Days, One Night
  • Whiplash

Disappointed they didn’t branch out more here. And no Nightcrawler?

Adapted Screenplay:

  • Gone Girl
  • Inherent Vice
  • Snowpiercer
  • Under the Skin
  • We Are the Best!

Here, on the other hand…

Nominating Under the Skin for its writing is ridiculous, but the Snowpiercer and We Are the Best! noms make up for it.


  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ida
  • Mr. Turner
  • Under the Skin

Cool that they noticed Ida.


  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Gone Girl
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Whiplash

Okay, nominating GBH here is a little ridiculous. But they have Gone Girl, so it evens out.

Animated Feature:

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Lego Movie
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

I guess Cheatin’ doesn’t have much traction.

Film Not in the English Language:

  • Ida
  • The Missing Picture
  • Mommy
  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
  • Two Days, One Night

What, no Leviathan? And The Missing Picture was up for an Oscar last year! What the hell?


  • Life Itself
  • The Missing Picture
  • National Gallery
  • The Overnighters

Really eager to see National Gallery. That’s all I had to add there.

N0n-US Release (non-competitive):

  • Entre Nós
  • Han Gong-ju
  • Hard to Be a God
  • The Look of Silence
  • The Salt of the Earth
  • ’71
  • 10,000 km
  • Timbuktu
  • The Tribe
  • What We Do in the Shadows

Really, really excited to see The Tribe. The Look of Silence is the follow-up to the great The Act of Killing.

And finally, after announcing their nominations, the Washington D.C. Film Critics announced their winners.

Picture: Boyhood


Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood


Actor: Michael Keaton, Birdman

Hey, I know him.

Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice

I wonder when I’ll get to see this?

Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

I’ll get the review up soon.

Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

U!S!A! U!S!A!

Acting Ensemble: Birdman

When you’ve got my #1 performances in three separate categories in one film, you kind of have to.

Youth Performance: Ellar Coltrane, Boyhood

I get it, but Mackenzie Foy was better.

Original Screenplay: Birdman

This particular race could get interesting.

Adapted Screenplay: Gone Girl

Now that’s cool. Good for you, Gillian Flynn.

Foreign Language Film: Force Majeure

Hard to argue with.

Documentary: Life Itself

I saw CITIZENFOUR today. Holy fuck, was it depressing. I mean, this is apparently tough going at times as well, but it’s presumably more…affirmative?

Animated Feature: The Lego Movie

I just bought this. I’ll give it another watch at some point before the Oscars.

Art Direction: The Grand Budapest Hotel

This is probably a locked-in Oscar winner. And it’ll be one I completely agree with (much as I love Snowpiercer).

Cinematography: Birdman

This too. Poor Roger Deakins.

Editing: Birdman

I’d rather Gone Girl win this, but I wouldn’t object to this outcome.

Original Score: Under the Skin

You fucked up, Globes. I really, really hope the Academy doesn’t fuck this up as well.

Joe Barber Award for Best Portrayal of Washington D.C.: Captain America: The Winter Soldier


They keep on comin’, folks. I’m bustin’ my tail.


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