“What else are most movies about, these days, than boyhood?” asks Alan Scherstuhl, presenting the results of the Village Voice‘s poll of 85 critics who’ve voted in thirteen categories. “And isn’t it grand that most of the top films toasted by our critics are actually about something else?”
- Boyhood, 376 points and 37 mentions.
- Under the Skin, 225 points and 37 mentions.
- The Grand Budapest Hotel, 211 points and 31 mentions.
- Only Lovers Left Alive, 163 points and 28 mentions.
- Goodbye to Language, 143 points and 18 mentions.
- Two Days, One Night, 134 points and 22 mentions.
- The Immigrant, 124 points and 24 mentions.
- Inherent Vice, 115 points and 18 mentions.
- Whiplash, 113 points and 22 mentions.
- Gone Girl, 103 points and 17 mentions.
The (mild) surprises are in the acting categories. Jake Gyllenhaal squeaks past Ralph Fiennes and both are comfortably ahead of Michael Keaton. And the top two actresses have racked up points for two performances each: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night and The Immigrant) and Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin and Lucy).
As with Indiewire‘s poll, clicking on a film’s title will take you to a list of critics who’ve voted for it (and their ranking of that film), and then, if you click on, say, Eric Hynes, from his ballot, you can head off again in umpteen different directions. Choose your own adventure.
The Voice‘s critics write up each of their top tens and Stephanie Zacharek‘s #1 is Under the Skin: “Jonathan Glazer’s woozy hallucination of a movie—and Scarlett Johansson’s performance, as an alien who learns the hard way just what it takes to be human—confounded and challenged me, and moved me in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible. Why else go to the movies?”
For Amy Nicholson, the best film of 2014 is The Grand Budapest Hotel: “Wes Anderson shifts his attention from modern, manicured ennui to pre-World War II Europe, and his frivolity finally finds a purpose.”
As Casey Cipriani reports for Indiewire, Richard Linklater’s received another weighty endorsement. Says President Obama: “Boyhood was a great movie. That, I think, was my favorite movie this year.”
Ok, a quick break from this year’s movies for news with a bit of a longer tail: “Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced today the annual selection of 25 motion pictures to be named to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Selection to the registry will help ensure that these films will be preserved for all time.”
- James Benning‘s 13 Lakes (2004).
- Bert Williams Lime Kiln Club Field Day (1913).
- Joel and Ethan Coen’s The Big Lebowski (1998).
- Irving Cummings‘s Down Argentine Way (1940).
- William Worthington’s The Dragon Painter (1919).
- Trevor Greenwood, Robert Dickson and Alan Gorg’s Felicia (1965).
- John Hughes’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986).
- Busby Berkeley’s The Gang’s All Here (1943).
- André de Toth’s House of Wax (1953).
- Mark Jonathan Harris‘s Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport (2000).
- Arthur Penn’s Little Big Man (1970).
- John Lasseter’s Luxo Jr. (1986).
- Lisze Bechtold’s Moon Breath Beat (1980).
- Efraín Gutiérrez’s Please Don’t Bury Me Alive! (1976).
- Preston Sturges and William K. Howard’s The Power and the Glory (1933).
- Howard Hawks’s Rio Bravo (1959).
- Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968).
- Leo McCarey‘s Ruggles of Red Gap (1935).
- Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998).
- Lois Weber‘s Shoes (1916).
- Henry King‘s State Fair (1933).
- Grace Cunard and Francis Ford‘s Unmasked (1917).
- Samuel Fuller‘s V-E + 1 (1945).
- Frank Tashlin’s The Way of Peace (1947).
- Mel Stuart’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971).
Click here for more on each of the selections.
Back to 2014. Alison Willmore‘s list at Buzzfeed runs from #1, Under the Skin (“it’s fantastically other, like its heroine”) to #14, The Babadook (“an utterly convincing portrait of maternal depression”).
“Undistributed films like The Mend and official 2015 releases like Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden and Xavier Dolan’s Mommy were among some of the best and most powerful films I’ve seen this year, but sadly aren’t applicable to this kind of year end reflection,” writes BlackBook‘s Hillary Weston. “However, there were a handful of wonders, such as James Gray’s The Immigrant and Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love or Gina Prince-Bythewood’s Beyond the Lights and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood that really hit that cinematic sweet spot in my chest.” She looks back “on the 20 films of year that I enjoyed the most, in no particular order.”
The writers at the Dissolve consider the year’s best performances by men, while the staff at the Film Stage celebrate the “Best Breakthrough Performances” and the Playlisters pick their “12 Best Shots of 2014.”
“This year has been a spectacular one for movies with behavioral economics themes,” argues Cass R. Sunstein, presenting the 2014 Becons at Bloomberg View.
Taking the firestorm over Seth Rogen’s The Interview as his cue, Time‘s Daniel D’Addario lists the “Most Controversial Films of All Time.”
“Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, fresh from its big success at Saturday’s European Film Awards, where it won no fewer than five of the most important awards, now has another statuette to add to its trophy case,” reports David González for Cineuropa. “The Polish film has been awarded the European Parliament’s LUX Prize 2014, thus beating the other two finalists, Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood and Rok Biček’s Class Enemy.”
The Austin Film Critics Association has announced its awards:
- Best Film: Boyhood.
- Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood.
- Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler.
- Best Actress: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl.
- Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash.
- Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood.
- Best Original Screenplay: Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler.
- Best Adapted Screenplay: Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl.
- Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman.
- Best Score: Antonio Sanchez, Birdman.
- Best Foreign-Language Film: Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund).
- Best Documentary: Citizenfour (Laura Poitras).
- Best Animated Film: The Lego Movie (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller).
- Best First Film: Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy).
- Breakthrough Artist: Jennifer Kent, The Babadook.
- Best Austin Film: Boyhood (Richard Linklater).
- Special Honorary Award: Gary Poulter, for his outstanding performance in Joe.
- Best Film: Boyhood.
- Best Director: Richard Linklater.
- Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night.
- Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler.
- Best Irish Film: Frank.
- Best Documentary: Finding Vivian Maier.
- Best Breakthrough: Jack O’Connell, Starred Up, Unbroken and ‘71.
“The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking has selected Jennie Livingston’s documentary Paris Is Burning for its 2015 Legacy Award,” reports Variety‘s Dave McNary. A new restoration will be touring the circuit throughout 2015, with screenings at Sundance, Hot Docs and Toronto.