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My 4th Annual Film Awards: My Winners

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Who will join their ranks?

Who will join their ranks?

Time to announce my choices.

Let’s get right down to it, gang.

The eyes of Amy are upon you. ()

Picture – Drama: Gone Girl

I debated between this and Interstellar for a while, but ultimately I think this is better as an overall film.

"I'm so sick of your 'tragic mulatto' bullshit--" "You can't say 'mulatto'--" "Oh, mulatto, mulatto, MULATTO!!!" "Did somebody say 'mulatto'?" ()

Picture – Musical/Comedy: Dear White People

It’s my #1 film of the year. Of course it takes this.

He's done some damn good work in the past. But this might be his best yet. ()

Director – Drama: Christopher Nolan, Interstellar

My issues with the film concern the writing. Nolan’s direction is impeccable, and he’d win if there was only one category (though Fincher comes very, very close).

Director – Musical/Comedy: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman

It was between him and Jodorowsky. It’s the technical brilliance of Birdman that sealed it.

Actor – Drama: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Not sure if I wouldn’t go with Brendan Gleeson at some future point, but this is a magnificently scary performance either way.

Actor – Musical/Comedy: Brontis Jodorowsky, The Dance of Reality

Likewise, I’m torn between him and Michael Keaton. But my recent rewatch of Birdman had me ever-so-slightly doubting Keaton’s primacy, and the scope of his arc–and the fact that he so perfectly grounds a frequently surreal film–makes him my winner.

Actress – Drama: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Nymphomaniac

This one was tough. Between her and Rosamund Pike, I might change my mind just depending on my mood. Gainsbourg is really fucking good, though, especially in the uncut version (which I recently saw); it’s a performance of incredible scope, not just for sheer screen-time but for emotional and physical range. And that’s even you factor in the 40% or so of the film she doesn’t actually appear in. Pike is incredible, but Gainsbourg is hard to deny.

Actress – Musical/Comedy: Tessa Thompson, Dear White People

To hell with anyone who puts her Supporting. She’s the heart of this film and you know it. Really excited to see what she does next.

(clip NSFW)

Supporting Actor – Drama: Stellan Skarsgård, Nymphomaniac

Not absolutely convinced about this choice, but it was a weak year for supporting males, and Skarsgård does a damn fine job. But so did Mark Ruffalo. Maybe I’ll revise this eventually, but for now, it works just fine.

(Not the best clip, but it’s all I could find–unless you want to go here.)

Supporting Actor – Musical/Comedy: Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice

Edward Norton was great. J.K. Simmons was great. But Brolin was sublime. It might be one of those cases where the performance doesn’t work for everyone (like the film itself), but I love him in this film so fucking much. The bit with the banana, the scene at the end, the “she’s gone” scene…everything about this performance just worked perfectly for me. It’s a fucking crime that he wasn’t up for the Oscar.

Supporting Actress – Drama: Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer

This is a major mea culpa moment. After rewatching Nymphomaniac, I realized how great Stacy Martin actually was. I fucked up majorly in taking her off the list. But it was too late to fix it. And Uma Thurman didn’t impress me as much second time around (though she is good), so I decided to go with a performance which I’ve championed for months. I’ll revise this result later on down the line, but for now…I’ll be a shoe.

Supporting Actress – Musical/Comedy: Emma Stone, Birdman

Pamela Flores was great, but Stone, like Brolin, is sublimely good. I really wish she had a better shot at winning the Oscar, because she is fucking aces in that film.

Original Screenplay – Drama: Nymphomaniac

Lars is about as good a screenwriter as ever was, and he’s in top form here. Maybe it’s not quite as perfect as Melancholia, but it’s still a wonderfully rich and provocative script.

Original Screenplay – Musical/Comedy: Dear White People

I mean…really?

Adapted Screenplay – Drama: Gone Girl

The Academy fucked up so horribly here. This script was brilliant. I’m both happy and sad that I read the book first; happy because I know how well Gillian Flynn adapted her novel, sad because I can’t experience the twists and turns of the story afresh through the film’s telling.

Adapted Screenplay – Musical/Comedy: The Dance of Reality

Here’s Jodorowsky’s reward. And well-deserved it is. Inherent Vice tempted, but the magic won out.

Cinematography: Birdman

I thought Lubezki’s work on Gravity was profoundly overrated and even I say he should win this in a landslide.

Editing: Gone Girl

At first I found the editing to be too quick–choppy, even. Now I realize that was the whole point. It turns the story into a rapid-fire nightmare, a whirlpool Nick Dunne can’t charm his way out of–and neither can we. In other words, trust Fincher.

Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Seriously, though.

Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

There was a touch more competition here, but Milena Canonero really hit it out of the park here.

Makeup: Guardians of the Galaxy

On the other hand, if GBH wins this I’ll be disappointed. How do you not vote for this? Drax, Gamora, Ronan–does fantasy makeup get better than that?

Score: Interstellar

This was a tough choice as well. For a long time I went with Under the Skin. And maybe, based solely on the use of the music in the film, I would still pick it. But on its own, it’s kind of a repetitive score, whereas Interstellar is a beautifully varied piece of work, with the organs echoing 2001 and the music heightening the drama every step of the way. Hans Zimmer really should win this Oscar, though it’ll probably go to Alexandre Desplat (who had a hell of a year, to be fair).

Song: “I Love You All”, Frank

I just love this song. “Bathroom smells, it could be cleaner/Smell of cigarettes and stale urea/I love you all”…that’s the kind of stuff I go for. And it’s a catchy tune as well, perfectly reflective of the film it hails from. Though it helps that this was a godawful year for songs.

Sound Mixing: Whiplash

This is a tough category to vote for because it’s so hard to remember the nuances of sound mixing after the fact. But I remembered how impressive the continual thunder of the drums (especially in the final scene) is, how well the volume of the music adds to the sense of tension, how overpowering the sounds are. Interstellar is no slouch here, but I figured I’d split the difference and recognize a film which relies so heavily on its sound.

Visual Effects: Interstellar

Up until the last minute, it was between this and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. But the effects here helped Kip Thorne understand black holes better. And there’s a lot of practical work mixed in with the CGI. So I give it the edge. It’s certainly deserving.

Sound Effects: Interstellar

Likewise. The storm scenes in particular are just incredible.


  • 4 awards: Interstellar
  • 3 awards: Birdman, Dear White People, Gone Girl, Nymphomaniac
  • 2 awards: The Dance of Reality, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • 1 award: Frank, Guardians of the Galaxy, Inherent Vice, Nightcrawler, Snowpiercer, Whiplash

And that about does it. Time for some Oscar predictions.


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