We’ve seen the results of Film Comment‘s poll of critics, though the “Best Films of 2014” now runs to 50 and the “Best Unreleased Films of 2014” list goes to 20. With its new issue out, the magazine’s also posted “State of the Art,” a collection of notes on the evolution of cinema over the past year. Scott Foundas grants that “home viewers represent a sizable chunk of the potential audience for indie, foreign, and documentary films” but “VOD numbers remain so elusive as to beg the question: where’s the beef?” Also, a list of words that no longer mean what they used to: “Film,” “indie,” “studio,” “movie stars,” “television,” “theatrical release,” “festivals” and “Hollywood.”
“The problem is no longer being able to make a movie,” writes Amy Taubin, “but getting it noticed.” Is that why, she wonders, there are so few debut features on her best-of-2014 list? Also, a few words on Benedict Cumberbatch, “matter-of-factly male without the need to either assert or defend his masculinity or the privilege it bestows.” And Nicolas Rapold looks back on “experiments in which the passage of time itself plays a role in newfound ways.”
With “Terra Incognita,” Tony Rayns presents “an annotated Asian cinema hot list.”
“Video on Demand may be finally taking off for mainstream home viewing, but in the specialist sector independent publishers are producing ever more pristine, beautiful and elaborately annotated discs of that nurture and extend our access to and understanding of the riches of cinema.” Sight & Sound has asked 34 international critics to nominate their five best releases of the year. And nearly all those lists come with commentary.
Inspired by the poll Kevin B. Lee conducted over the holidays when he asked, via Twitter and Facebook, “now that we are midway through the 2010s, what are the best films of the decade so far?”—and nearly 300 people responded to make a list that runs to nearly 500 films—Movie Mezzanine‘s Jake Pitre and Kyle Turner look back on the past five years and write up 20 films “you shouldn’t forget about when making your best of the half-decade list.”
Certainly one of the prettiest overviews of 2014 comes from Letterboxd. Crunching data from their users, they present a long series of lists such as “Highest Rated Film” (#1: Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood), “Most Popular Film” (#1: Wes Anderson‘s The Grand Budapest Hotel), “Highest Rated Foreign Language (#1: Xavier Dolan‘s Mommy) and so on.
Karina Longworth‘s posted a list of her 16 favorite films on Twitter, so Year-End Lists has gathered the titles on one clean page. Matt Fagerholm‘s #1: Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida. And for Jordan M. Smith at Ioncinema, it’s Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s Birdman.
Hammer to Nail has announced the winners of the awards it’s presenting this year to American narrative features produced for one million dollars or less—and two special honors. “For his risk taking, for his unique energy and spirit, for his unwavering commitment to whatever line he was about to deliver, we are proud to present this year’s Golden Hammer to Eddie Rouse,” writes Michael Tully following a personal remembrance of the late actor.
Alex Ross Perry writes about the winner of the Silver Nail, Sean Price Williams: “No cinematographer in the independent world (or the ‘professional’ world either, no doubt) captures images and moves with the flow of human energy and emotion with half the poetic verve as Sean.”
And then there’s the annotated list of the top 17 films of 2014. The top five:
- Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip.
- Eliza Hittman‘s It Felt Like Love.
- Drew Tobia’s See You Next Tuesday.
- Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin.
- Ana Lily Amirpour‘s A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night.
“The Iowa Film Critics Association announced Tuesday that Boyhood was the organization’s Best Picture of 2014,” reports Matt Patches at HitFix. “The film took three awards, including nods to director Richard Linklater and Patricia Arquette’s supporting actress performance.”
The past few days have seen a slew of nominations for awards presented by various guilds: The Writers Guild, the American Society of Cinematographers, the Costume Designers Guild and the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild.
“Alberto Rodriguez’s Marshland, Daniel Monzon’s El Niño, Carlos Vermut’s Magical Girl and Argentine Damian Szifron’s Wild Tales look set to face off for major honors at the Spanish Academy’s 29th Goya Awards,” reports Variety‘s John Hopewell.
From Movie On: “Today the Swedish Film Institute announced the nominations for the 51st Annual Guldbagge Awards and to the surprise of many, [Mikael Marcimain’s] Gentlemen leads the pack with 13 nominations to become the most nominated film in the history of this award.”
For Cineuropa, Aurore Engelen reports from Belgium: “Two Days, One Night by the Dardenne brothers has garnered a total of nine nominations for the fifth Magritte Awards, i.e., in almost all of the categories it was eligible for.”
And from the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts: “Birdman leads the nominations tally with a total of seven nominations, followed by Boyhood and The Imitation Game which received five nominations each.”