The Best Films of the Year
- Gravity: Alfonso Cuarón’s startling vision of a very bad day in outer space knocked my socks off.
- The Past: Asghar Farhadi’s emotionally devastating look at the power of secrets and the painful struggle to overcome our own questionable decisions.
- Captain Phillips: Paul Greengrass created a thrilling and harrowing sea adventure.
- Mud: This unusually involving coming of age story features stunning writing and an tremendous supporting performance by Matthew McConaughey.
- The Way, Way Back: This oddly nostalgic story of painful youth had tons of zip and freshness, with a knockout career highlight performance by Sam Rockwell.
- Blue Jasmine: Woody Allen’s best film in years delves painfully and irresistibly into Streetcar Named Desire territory, with spectacular results.
- Her: Spike Jonze film manages to be authentically weird, accessible, and romantic.
- Stories We Tell. Not sure if this is a documentary or what, but it’s a weird and marvelous film about family secrets from the talented Sarah Polley
- Prisoners: A story that at first seems familiar but gets stranger and stranger. Plus Roger Deakins’ stunning cinematography.
- Short Term 12: Simple and sincere film about second chances.
Honorable Mention: Fruitvale Station, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street; The Reluctant Fundamentalist, 42, Blancanieves, The Company You Keep, Dallas Buyers Club, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Jeff Nichols, Mud
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Way Way Back
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
*Asghar Farhadi, The Past
Spike Jonze, Her
Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
*Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Asghar Farhadi, The Past
Spike Jonze, Her
*Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Bérénice Bejo, The Past
Judi Dench, Philomena
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
Honorable Mention: Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha, Amy Adams in American Hustle
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Robert Redford, All is Lost
*Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Honorable Mention: Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street; Hugh Jackman in Prisoners; Chadwick Boseman in 42, Alan Rickman in CBGB; Christian Bale in American Hustle
Matthew McConaughey, Mud
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
*Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Honorable Mention: Bradley Cooper in American Hustle; Alan Tudyk in 42; Bobby Cannavale in Blue Jasmine, Nathon Fillion in Much Ado About Nothing, Frank Grillo in Disconnect; Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now
Octavia Spenser, Fruitvale Station
Scarlett Johansson, Don Jon
*June Squibb, Nebraska
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Honorable Mention: Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine; Allison Janney in The Way Way Back
Mark Orton, Nebraska
*Stephen Price, Gravity
Arcade Fire, Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
*Thelma Schoonmaker, The Wolf of Wall Street
Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska
*Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Barry Ackroyd, Captain Phillips
Roger Deakins, Prisoners
Hoyte Van Hoytema, Her
Foreign Language Film
Prey (La Proie) [France]
*The Past [France]
Wadjda [Saudi Arabia]
Let’s Save Time: Every Technical Category
12 Years a Slave. There, I’ve said it. To paraphrase friends of mine who have had the courage to note the emperor’s nakedness: It’s like getting punched in the face for three hours. And just because slavery is an important and legitimate issue doesn’t mean I have to pretend this movie is important. Newsflash: I know slavery was bad. It was horrible and shameful and it’s an ugly, ugly blight on our history. But that’s a lesson I didn’t need to learn, and this movie showed me nothing else but that. Feel guilty, feel guilty, feel guilty, it’s saying. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I do not like Steve McQueen as a director. Sure, the cast was excellent, and they’ll get some nominations. But I don’t have to like the movie. And Brad Pitt’s cameo was stupid.
The Spectacular Now. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Drunks are not interesting.
The Great Beauty: Snorefest from Italy which somehow had all the critics gushing.
Side Effects – Even the presence of Catherine Zeta-Jones couldn’t ruin Steve Soderberg’s sly psychopharmaceutical thriller.
Disconnect – featuring yet another terrific performance by Most Improved Actor Frank Grillo.
Oblivion – Seriously. I liked it.
White House Down. Shut up, it was very fun.
Will Cause You No Bodily Harm to Netflix
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Sapphires, The East, Trance, This is the End, Kon-Tiki, The Heat, About Time, Kill Your Darlings
Special Musical Mention
While I had mixed about the film in general, the music in Inside Llewyn Davis was phenomenal. The fact that all of the music was recorded live makes this even more impressive.
A Good Day to Die Hard
Best Comeback From Oblivion
Andrew Dice Clay in Blue Jasmine
Best Neener Neener Movie
The Armstrong Lie. I’ve been saying that Lance Armstrong was a lying sack of excrement for a decade. It’s nice to see the world catch up.
Three Movies I Just Couldn’t Get Myself To, No Matter How Great I Heard They Were. I’m a Terrible Person.
Blue is the Warmest Color
The Invisible Woman
The Act of Killing
Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone
Jeremy Renner’s game show host ice cream sundae in American Hustle
Room 237: I loved this ridiculous movie about five movie lovers who just get a whole lot more out of Kubrick’s The Shining than I do.
*20 Feet From Stardom: Delightful film profiling the most prominent of the Motown and rock backup singers.
Inequality For All : Robert Riech tells it like it is.
The Year in Dreamboats
Jai Courtney in A Good Day to Die Hard
Riz Ahmed in The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Tahar Rahim in The Past
Max Martini in Pacific Rim and Captain Phillips
Aiden Turner (Fili) in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Funniest Movies of the Year
In a World… Big props to writer/director/star Lake Bell for this devastating take on the world of voiceover artists.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues: A love song to a shark and apologetic Canadian broadcast journalist assassins!
Person Who Needs to Get His S%&t Together So He Can Get Back to the Business of Being a Movie Star
Best Name for Movie Character
Anita Kravos plays “Talia Concept,” a performance artist who only refers to herself in the third person in the otherwise tedious The Great Beauty
Please Can We See More Of…
About Time’s Domhnall Gleeson
The Reluctant Fundamentalist’s Riz Ahmed
Nebraska’s June Squibb
In A World’s Lake Bell
Best Movie Performance in History by a Cabbie From Minneapolis
Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
José María Yazpik in I’m So Excited!
Best Film This Year About a Drug-Induced Orgy During a Commercial Flight
I’m So Excited!
Congrats to the beautiful and talented Scarlett Johansson, who has graduated from being the consistent butt of my jokes to being an actual unironic nominee this year. Well done, girlfriend.
Best Action Sequences
The Jerusalem / Airplane section of World War Z
The Amazing first 17 minutes of Gravity
Best Single Scene
The final scene of Captain Phillips
“We’ve invited ourselves along. Accept it and move on.” Allison Janney brings The Pushy in The Way Way Back.
“Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown, there’s only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming.” Really inappropriate babysitter talk from the divine Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine.
Not as Bad As Everyone Said it Was
Despicable Me 2
Movie So Unpleasant and Amateurish I’m Not Even Going to Mention It in These Awards
Escape from Tomorrow
The Jodie Foster Award for Worst Actress of the Year
Once again, the winner is the unstoppable Jodie Foster herself, for turning in yet another Seventh-Grade-Class-Play-Worthy performance in the hideous Elysium. Really, she should produce a new film version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Starring herself, Radha Mitchell, Christian Bale and John Leguizamo, and the results could actually prompt the Heat Death of the Universe.
The Very Worst Films of the Year
Stoker. No. Just no.
The Place Beyond the Pines: I also hated Blue Valentine. Let’s face it, I just don’t like the work of director Derek Cianfrance.
*TIE: Elysium and Upstream Color, two SHOCKINGLY disappointing second films from oh-so-promising directors. Elysium gets points for taking an intriguing premise and doing absolutely nothing interesting with it. Upstream Color scores big because it’s one of the most pretentiously opaque and obtuse films ever made. It made me wish I was watching Tree of Life again.
Pacific Rim: Why on earth did Guillermo del Toro feel a need to make a Transformers movie? Even Charlie Hunnam’s stunning physique, Idris Elba’s stern charisma, and Max Martini’s steamy smolder couldn’t keep me awake.
Man of Steel – What a borefest. Even Henry Cavill’s ridiculous pulchritude couldn’t save this boring, overlong piece of dreck.
Roger Ebert. I never met him, but he was my teacher and my hero. Even more than the fabled Mr. O’Toole, he’s the one I’ll miss the most.
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
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