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Last updated: February 19, 2011
Copyright 2006 Michael R. Colford.
All rights reserved

current nominations ceremonyarchives
special awardsballot

21st Annual Awards, March 22, 2014

Best Movie

BirdmanBirdman - BIRDMAN takes the audience inside the frenetic and neurotic world of Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton), an actor desperately trying to make a comeback and forge a new reputation on the Broadway stage after being identified by his fans as the former comic superhero, Birdman. He immerses himself in directing a play version of an old Raymond Carver story while trying to reconcile past losses of affection with his ex-wife and daughter or dealing with cast members who have neuroses of their own. Trying to combat self doubts and a nagging self confidence, Riggan can’t escape his alter ego, Birdman, who forces him not to forget who he once was. Back stage tensions and drama take their toll on his psychological and physical endurance with consequent outbursts of temper, metaphysical detachments from reality, and exhaustion. There are many scenes when the camera follows Riggan’s back in fluid single takes that capture a sense of pre-performance jitters through the off-stage sets and dressing rooms as he hectically paces his way from one dilemma to the next. Sanchez’s ongoing background jazz score enhances a Broadway theatrical ambience. This well crafted film is one the viewer should not take too literally but sit back and let it unfold with all its eccentricity and ambiguity.--ph

BoyhoodBoyhood - On one hand, BOYHOOD is simply a coming of age tale notable for its gimmick of allowing us to watch its characters gradually age a dozen years in less than three hours. What renders it so much more than just a successful experiment is how the film’s manipulation of time (which always moves forward, never looking back) alters our perception of the story. Following a trajectory fully recognizable to any adult, details and experiences accumulate until they achieve an unprecedented collective effect—by the time its protagonist, Mason, turns eighteen, you sense the film has transcended its original premise of documenting one boy becoming a man. While BOYHOOD isn’t meant to be a stand-in for every life that’s lived, it effectively, emphatically begs us to examine and compare our own childhoods with Mason’s, considering who we ourselves are and how we came of age. --ck

A Coffee in BerlinA Coffee in Berlin -

IdaIda -

Like Father, Like SonLike Father, Like Son -

MommyMommy - Quebecois wunderkind Xavier Dolan’s fifth feature bespeaks a life experience that’s unexpected coming from a 25-year-old, but it’s the very thing providing a solid foundation for all the messy catharsis and outsized stylistic tropes on top. It explores the tumultuous relationship between a self-absorbed, generally inappropriate-but-still-loving mother, (Anne Dorval), her precocious but imbalanced and violent teenaged son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) and a shy, secretive neighbor (Suzanne Clement). Mostly shot in a distinctive 1:1 aspect ratio (rendering the canvas an intentionally claustrophobic square box), MOMMY is deliberately both physically and emotionally difficult to watch. However, Dolan’s seemingly limitless artistic vision is present in every frame, from how he makes a dull Montreal suburb seem otherworldly and approachable to the soundtrack, where he pieces together artists as disparate as Vivaldi and Lana Del Rey into a whole that’s passionate, uncompromising and often sublime. --ck

Buried Treasure

BorgmanBorgman -

Ilo IloIlo Ilo - A middle class family, vulnerable to life’s uncertainties, strapped by obligation, and saddled with an unruly and difficult child takes a maid, a foreigner, to help with the chores. The arrangement is strained and troubled. Slowly, awkwardly, these people settle into a routine, which is the movie’s small, ordinary story told with grace and good humor. Each character is uniquely drawn with its own strengths and frailties. Though it is set in a specific place, the movie’s sentiments are universal. It is full of small, intimate moments which cement the details of these peoples’ lives, that make us feel we truly know them, and remind us that we aren’t much different from them. We, none of us, ever know what curveball life might throw us, but we soldier on in the face of that unknown. This movie, with kindness and respect towards its people, makes that literal. --jp

Rocks in My PocketsRocks in My Pockets - Signe Baumane's highly personal "docu-fantasia" (to borrow a term from Canadian director Guy Maddin) is not always a pleasant trip, but it is a necessary one. Baumane's history of the women in her extended family and their battles against mental illness is vividly told through her watching eyes, and her choice to use animation to depict this life story is a brave one, and proves that not all animation is for kids. Some parts of the film are difficult to comprehend, but in the end, it left me with a moment that was filled with tears of hope for the future, and the knowledge one can gain about oneself from taking a chance on it. --tck

The Strange Little CatThe Strange Little Cat - First time writer/director Ramon Zürcher has taken the mundane activities involved in preparation for a family dinner to a marvelous surreal plateau. In the director’s words, “A STRANGE LITTLE CAT is a ballet of movement and stillness.” Zürcher is definitely a cerebral writer, not a visceral one. As we follow the social interactions of people and animals during the course of the day, we get insight into the psychological mechanisms at play through the layers of conversation, soliloquies and facial expressions that reveal emotions far below the surface. When seven year old Clara announces that she is going down to the street to “clean up the vomit and feed the rat,” we delight in knowing the cat is not the only strange one on the premises. --bk

The Way He LooksThe Way He Looks -

Best Director

Joanna HoggJoanna Hogg for Archipelago - Joanna Hogg has created a film that is, in itself, a glorious abstraction. It is amazing how efficiently Hogg goes about her storytelling. We get snippets of conversation; the essential facts are meted out sparingly. Similarly, she masters the art of distilling and simplifying important information about the physical environment. Hogg moves the camera only when truly necessary, which adds to the effect of the characters and landscape as subjects on a large canvas. --bk

Alejandro González IñárrituAlejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman -

Richard Linklater Richard Linklater for Boyhood -

Jan Ole GersterJan Ole Gerster for A Coffee in Berlin - All the components of great filmmaking are here: a magnetic performance from the lead; great character acting; fabulous black and white cinematography; superbly mixing original music with pre-recorded songs; great editing and a well-executed script. Whom can we hold responsible for pulling it all together? Jan Ole Gerster. --bk

Pawel PawilkowskiPawel Pawilkowski for Ida -

Hirokazu KoreedaHirokazu Koreeda for Like Father, Like Son - With LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON, director Hirokazu Kore-eda has created one of the great films on the idea of family, as two sets of parents in contemporary Japan discover that a negligent nurse switched their sons at birth six years ago. The delicacy with which director Kore-eda guides his exquisite ensemble cast, from the opening few minutes in which the differences between father Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama) and son Keita (Keita Ninomiya) are subtly suggested, to the climax of Keita angrily fleeing in inchoate betrayal his father, who must give up his aloof rigidity and apologize to the son he has nurtured, is something very rare in films -- a sublime sense of humanity earned through triumph over difficult circumstances. Director Kore-eda gently contrasts the Ryota and Midori Ninomiya family's financial advantages but emotional troubles, with the Yudai and Yukari Saiki family's financial limitations but emotional openness, without ever appearing judgmental about parent-child dynamics. Particularly moving is Kore-eda's direction of the children, seemingly always caught on camera unaware. The different ways in which the two sets of parents cope with the complexities of their dilemma illuminate anew the continuing debate over "Nature vs. Nurture" -- always under the generously watchful eye of Hirokazu Kore-eda. --kr

Best Actress

Patricia ArquettePatricia Arquette for the role of Mom in Boyhood -

Robin WrightRobin Wright for the role of Robin Wright in The Congress - Surely it must be challenging to play a fictional version of yourself, especially when the plot in which your fictional self is involved with details the reduction of the human element in film to an artificial intelligence that can play anything the filmmaker wants, but isn't human. Wright, never one to shy away from provocative and unusual roles (see her Chlotrudis Award-winning turn in SORRY, HATERS) Wright embodies herself beautifully, before spinning off into an animated, dystopian fantasia where Wright morphs into a revolutionary in search of her son, and she never misses a beat. --mrc

Paulina GarciaPaulina Garcia for the role of Gloria in Gloria -

Agata TrzebuchowskaAgata Trzebuchowska for the role of Anna in Ida -

Anne DorvalAnne Dorval for the role of Diane 'Die' Després in Mommy - Whatever else one can say about boy wonder/enfant terrible/child prodigy/wunderkind writer/director Xavier Dolan, his work with actors is astonishing. He has acted with, written for, and directed the volcanic Anne Dorval in numerous titles, most memorably MOMMY. Considering Dolan's statements in a January podcast for the Film Society of Lincoln Center, one can even regard Anne Dorval as his muse. Dorval plays Diane Després, or Die for short, a single parent attempting to have a life for herself, at the same time taking back into her home teenage son Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), who is unable to avoid institutionalization due to ADHD and frequent violent rages. The notion that "all you need is love" is examined, dismantled, patched together temporarily, and finally proved to be an excruciating failure. Dorval is the soul of this unforgettable film, playing a woman attempting everything possible with her limited resources, financial, emotional, even sexual, to create normalcy. Her playfulness, maternal concern, barely controlled anger, joy in her son's company, and final heartbreaking decision about his future, are all exquisitely modulated by a great actress at the height of her artistic powers. Her final scene offers simultaneously Die's rage, remorse, helplessness, desperation, and disappointment -- every note of pity and terror for which great tragic performances are remembered. --kr

Tilda SwintonTilda Swinton for the role of Eve in Only Lovers Left Alive -

Best Actor

Michael KeatonMichael Keaton for the role of Riggan in Birdman -

Jesse EisenbergJesse Eisenberg for the roles of Simon/James in The Double - Jesse Eisenberg delivered three outstanding performances in 2014, one in NIGHT MOVES, and two in THE DOUBLE, the former as slow-speaking, mousy, melancholic, virtually anonymous corporate cog Simon James, and the latter as his corporate opposite James Simon, who is social, sexual, successful, witty, and conniving. Simon is ignored by boss Wallace Shawn, especially his brilliant idea to increase company efficiency through "regression analysis", and rejected even by his workplace, which growls menacingly when he walks through the halls and refuses to operate elevators and copy machines for him. The poise and dignity demonstrated by Eisenberg as Simon is all the more alarming because of his acceptance, standing in outrageous but unrecognized contrast with his James, who has all the success with women that eludes Simon, and foists off every idiotic idea that occurs to him upon the company, whose motto is "People: The Ultimate Resource." Eisenberg invests with fearful pathos the line "It's terrible to be alone too much" in conversation with the girl he cannot have (Mia Wasikowska), who falls easily for the other Eisenberg. Eisenberg brilliantly catches every nuance of both characters in this blistering cry against anonymity by writer Avi Korine and writer/director Richard Ayoade. --kr

Masaharu FukuyamaMasaharu Fukuyama for the role of Ryota Nonomiya in Like Father, Like Son -

Tom HardyTom Hardy for the role of Ivan Locke in Locke -

Adam BakriAdam Bakri for the role of Omar in Omar - In OMAR, a political/romantic thriller set in Palestine, Adam Bakri delivers a strong performance as the title character. Bakri handles Omar’s twofold passion masterfully. Bakri displays the fiery zeal as a Freedom fighter and the tender passion as the boyfriend of Nadja, the sister of his friend, Tarik.  It is for Nadja that Omar scales the walls to return to his childhood home.  Omar’s two worlds collide when an Israeli soldier is killed; Omar is arrested and coerced by the Israelis to become a double agent.  From the moment that Omar is released, his life changes.  His friends no longer rust him.  Only Nadja stays true, leaving Omar in a no-win situation for which he struggles to find a solution. --vo

Miles TellerMiles Teller for the role of Andrew in Whiplash -

Best Supporting Actress

Lydia LeonardLydia Leonard for the role of Cynthia in Archipelago - I can't think of another film character that is brought to life in such an unplesant way and still come across as believable as Lydia Leonard's Cynthia in Joanna Hogg's ARCHIPELAGO. A famly gathers for a family vacation on an isolated island off the coast of England... one last gathering before the youngest son goes off to do AIDS relief work in Africa. But the patriarch doesn't show up, the matriarch is a bit fragile, and older sister Cynthia is passive-aggressive, narcissistic, classist, and just plan obnoxious. Her rants are spectacular, her pouting is epic, and her self-absorption so complete that as a viewer, my jaw would just drop after each of her scenes. Lydia Leonard clearly pulled out all the stops to breathe life both familial and horrific in this family drama. --mrc

Agata KuleszaAgata Kulesza for the role of Wanda in Ida - Wanda’s been beaten down by life and left with an intense cynicism and internal anger she’s avoided resolving until her niece Anna ( Agata Trzebuchowska ), a novitiate nun, arrives at her door.  Wanda resents her appearance because it stirs painful and raw memories from family losses. However, her sense of guilt causes her to relent, and she divulges to her niece whose real name is Ida about her family roots as a Jew and the disappearance of their relatives.  Kulesza’s performance as an impenetrable and distant Aunt Wanda, dispirited and getting by as best she can is haunting.  Both women set out to discover what really happened and vindicate family tragedy so the past can rest at some level of peace for both of them.  Once Wanda has resolved matters in her own mind and way, she makes the decision to balance her own sense of karma.  Kulesza absorbs the character’s pain and determination to finally deal with loss, leaving us with a poignancy of performance that lingers long after viewing this film. --PH

Suzanne Clément Suzanne Clément for the role of Kyla in Mommy - Suzanne Clément, a veteran of earlier Dolan films (J’AI TUÉ MA MÈRE and LAURENCE ANYWAYS), brings exuberance and pathos to her role of Kyla, the mysterious neighbor-across-the-street. The role requires multiple shifts in her character’s emotional state, which Clément handles with perfection. --bk

Imelda StauntonImelda Staunton for the role of Hefina in Pride -

Tilda SwintonTilda Swinton for the role of Mason in Snowpiercer - Director Joon-ho Bong attempts to translate a specific film-making style to an English-speaking audience with SNOWPIERCER and actress Tilda Swinton's supporting role stands out as one of the most fluid conduits of this challenging endeavor. Swinton's role as the volatile elitist Mason leaps off the pages of the script and transforms on screen into a dab of anime, cartoon, and grindhouse combinations. Swinton's performance is equal parts subtle and overt in her displays of faux strength, vulnerability, outspokenness, and weakness. Swinton's portrayal stands out in that it is the rare creation of a character before our eyes and not merely a role accentuated by a talented performer. --br

Eva GreenEva Green for the role of Eve Connors in White Bird in a Blizzard - “Why won’t anybody listen to me!!” Had this film been made in the 40’s, Bette Davis would have chewed through this role, but Eva Green as Eve Collins comes close. Playing the suburban housewife for an adolescently obnoxious daughter named Kat and a milquetoast husband named Brock, she verges on a breakdown from marriage entrapment and boredom. Eve becomes jealous of her daughter’s sex life and starts wearing slinky nightgowns and overdoing the make-up for Kat’s teenaged boyfriend, and, of course, the alcoholic histrionics soon follow. Eva Green helps make this film an enjoyable fest to watch. Why has Eve disappeared? Did she run away from it all? Eva’s performance could have devolved into camp but instead maintains a sense of delicious desperation. A particularly nuanced performance? No. One that deserves a midnight showing? Definitely! --ph

Best Supporting Actor

Ed NortonEdward Norton for the role of Mike in Birdman - Edward Norton attacks the role of Mike Shiner in the film BIRDMAN with the same ferocity of a National Spelling Bee finalist at the top of his game. No matter the line or full-page-length rant, Norton devours every moment of wordsmith Alejandro G. Iñárritu's screenplay leaving viewers to marvel at the flood of talent emanating from every scene. The mark of the great performance resides in the fact that all of Norton's moments offer the audience the opportunity to get lost in the distinguished portrayal of the actions and words flying from the mouth, limbs, and other sources of body language the same way that every character Mike Shiner comes in contact with gets lost in his charisma, misguided philosophies, and self-designed (and sometimes contradictory) complexities. --br

Ethan HawkeEthan Hawke for the role of Dad in Boyhood - Hawke is no novice to performing a character who matures and evolves over time in separate films of time sequels.  His experience from Linklater’s “Before” trilogy attests to his ability to portray progressive maturity and changes with age.  He portrays Mason’s dad early on in BOYHOOD with a “fly by the seat of his pants” kind of unconventional lifestyle that his ex-wife considers irresponsible. Yet, he’s a loving dad to Mason and his sister, Samantha.  More than Mom( Patricia Arquette) realizes, Dad provides that important male bonding with his son on their camping trips and  father-son talks despite his own lack of stability and structure.  However, in the later years Dad marries into a Texan conservative family that does stabilize him as much as the maturity he gains over a dozen years. Hawke has control of the character and wonderfully conveys how time clarifies priorities and purpose. Each stage of a life provides its own level of readiness for lasting relationships, and Hawke’s character learns this and we understand along with him.--ph

Michael FassbenderMichael Fassbender for the role of Frank in Frank -

Tom HiddlestonTom Hiddleston for the role of Oakley in Unrelated -

J, K. SimmonsJ. K. Simmons for the role of Fletcher in Whiplash -

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando BoBirdman, screenplay by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo -

Justin SimienDear White People, screenplay by Justin Simien -

Wes Anderson & Hugo GuinnessThe Grand Budapest Hotel, screenplay by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness - I have never been sucked into the somewhat bizarro world of writer/director Wes Anderson; I've never found the charm in his past works that others have. That changed with THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, which is easily his best and most accessible work to date. Filled with vibrant characters, colorful and often hilarious dialogue, fun (if a bit incredible) situations, and almost a sense of the feeling one gets when playing a rousing game of Clue. A movie is only as good as its screenplay, and this is a screenwriters' masterpiece, proving that with the right comic twist here and there, you can get lost in Zubrowka and never mind one bit. -- tck

Pawel Pawilkowski; Rebecca LenkiewiczIda, screenplay by Pawel Pawilkowski & Rebecca Lenkiewicz - Set in the early 1960‘s, the story of a novitiate nun whose unsettling discovery that she’s not who she thought she was begins an engrossing nightmarish journey. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) learns from her Aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza) that she’s actually a Jew named Ida whose family died under strange circumstances during WWII. Both women pursue the disturbing answers to restore integrity and honor to their dead relatives. Hidden secrets, self doubts, and a horrific family past need to be confronted so both women can accept themselves and move on with their lives, whatever the future holds for each of them. Along the way, Ida’s path to becoming a nun is tested when she meets a handsome saxaphonist, Lis (Dawid Ogrodnik). She explores the secular possibilities, forcing her to make the decision that will forever determine the rest of her life. Pawilkowski and Lenkiewicz have written a screenplay of two women who persevere with both courage and vulnerability, intimate and memorable. --ph

Steven KnightLocke, screenplay by Steven Knight -

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jim Mickle and Nick DamiciCold in July, screenplay by Jim Mickle and Nick DaMici, based on the novel by Joe R. Lansdale -

Ari FolmanThe Congress, screenplay by Ari Folman, based on the novel by Stanislaw Lem - This is one of those projects that can be said to be loosely adapted. In this case, VERY loosely adapted, from the book The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem. Writer/Director Ari Folman delivers an abstract allegory on today's digital world that is his own creation, with elements borrowed from the classic text. What emerges is an interesting blend of science fiction and inevitable fact, and a look at a dark, self-obsessed world of tomorrow which steals the very soul, and sucks you into its not-so-pleasant pseudo-realities. -- tck

Paul Thomas AndersonInherent Vice, screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the book by Thomas Pynchon -

Gary HawkinsJoe, screenplay by Gary Hawkins based on the movie by Larry Brown -

Andrew BovellA Most Wanted Man, screenplay by Andrew Bovell with additional writing by Stephen Cornwell, based on the novel by John le Carré -

Lukas & Coco MoodyssonWe Are the Best!, screenplay by Lukas Moodysson, based on the comic book by Coco Moodysson -

Best Use of Music in a Film

Cherilyn MacNeil and The Major MinorsA Coffee in Berlin, Cherilyn MacNeil and the Major Minors, composers - Jazz infused contemporary music sets the tone for many of the vignettes that comprise Niko’s day long odyssey to find a cup of coffee, a not so subtle metaphor for finding himself. Composer/performers the Major Minors and Cherilyn MacNeil provide original music interspersed with songs performed by Nad Surf, Get Well Soon, Renate Strogaly and Robert Mitchum. Yes, a calypso number by Robert Mitchum. --bk

Stephen RennicksFrank, Stephen Rennicks, composer -

Stuart MurdochGod Help the Girl, Stuart Murdoch, composer - Stuart Murdoch, leader of the venerable Scottish indie pop band Belle and Sebastian, once released a side project meant to be a soundtrack for an imaginary film in his head; five years later, GOD HELP THE GIRL is an actual feature-length film Murdoch has written and directed, following three young misfits whom form a band. Less a vanity project than outsider art filtered through an uncommon (but welcome) sensibility, the film naturally excels in its soundtrack. Like a younger, Glaswegian ONCE but with peppier, more ornately orchestrated songs, the narrative is primarily driven by Murdoch’s lyrics, which in turn are enhanced by his masterfully winsome melodies. Highlights like “I’ll Have To Dance With Cassie”, “A Down And Dusky Blonde” and “Come Monday Night” may feel a little ramshackle when compared to more polished movie musicals, but they’re always sincere, energetic and effusively charming. --ck

Alexandre DesplatThe Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexandre Desplat, composer - Prodigiously talented and able to compose, orchestrate, and record with great speed and efficiency, composer Alexandre Desplat has become the musician of choice for numerous directors, among them Wes Anderson, currently enjoying his greatest success with THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. Desplat also composed the colorful scores for Anderson's MOONRISE KINGDOM and FANTASTIC MR. FOX. Their collaboration is one of the joys of contemporary cinema. The brief choral lament, which introduces an Eastern European intimation to the score, gives way to a decidedly exotic musical flavor based in a variety of plucked instruments, including zither (popularized by Anton Karas in THE THIRD MAN), cimbalom (frequently used by John Barry in James Bond movies), and balalaika (made famous by Maurice Jarre in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO), plus harp, celeste, organ, percussion, various woodwinds, and voices. When F. Murray Abraham as elderly Zero and narrator says, "And so my life began", a Vivaldi mandolin concerto connects the plucked instruments with a long vanished past. The end titles are a deliciously witty cacophony of two balalaika ensembles, and not to be missed. Despite the vast array of musical instruments and styles, Alexandre Desplat's score is a model of appropriate and tasteful simplicity, indispensable to the considerable comic achievement of THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. --kr

SQÜRLOnly Lovers Left Alive, Jozef van Wissem, composer, with SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch, Carter Logan, Shane Stoneback, and Jozef van Wissem) - Jim Jarmusch's ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is more a witty genre deconstruction than another entry into the popular vampire movie chronology. Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) live in Detroit and Tangiers respectively, occasionally flying first-class at night to get together, imbibing only special-order blood procured from handsomely paid medical professionals, since human blood is much too polluted for modern vampires. Music figures prominently in the film, Adam having known many composers and musicians since the 17th century (He claims to have given a string quartet movement to Franz Schubert, who passed it off as his own.), and having collected many musical instruments, such as lute, violin, and numerous vintage guitars. Adam is both musician and composer, writing and mixing his own works that will never be shared with others. Dutch composer and lutenist Jozef van Wissem is a musical collaborator with Jarmusch both on and off stage and screen, as a member of the group SQÜRL. Van Wissem's goal was not to recreate the past, but to emulate it, by composing idiomatically for the lute. He says his music is not atonal, but he makes sure we cannot tell if something is an existing classical piece or a new lute piece. His emphasis is on the experience of listening, particularly on what repetition of a few chords over an extended period of time does to the listener. He regards both the lute and the film as rather political, and definitely anti-contemporary society. Van Wissem's score, and his work with SQÜRL, consists of a dazzling mixture of sound and technique, details of which reflect the passage of vast periods of time, and create the perfect counterpoint for the world of 21st century vampires. --kr

Mica LeviUnder the Skin, Mica Levi, composer -

Rasmus ThordWe Are the Best!, Rasmus Thord, music supervisor - Sometimes billed as the Swedish LINDA LINDA LINDA (itself nominated for four Chlotrudis awards), this coming-of-age tale also involving punk music features three tweenish girls who sort of randomly form a rock band, which is the way you form a punk rock band. The punk DIY ethos informs the movie’s spirit and so does its music. It’s played, it’s discussed, it frames a conduct of life, it leads to new opportunities. The climactic performance is apotheothetic punk and shows how liberating standing up for your principles, in the spirit of punk, can be. Fun, too. --jp

Justin HurwitzWhiplash, Justin Hurwitz, composer -

Best Editing

Douglas Crise and Stephen MirrioneDouglas Crise and Stephen Mirrione for Birdman -

Sandra AdairSandra Adair for Boyhood - How much footage was actually shot for BOYHOOD would make a good guessing game. Long time collaborators Sandra Adair and director Linklater shared in designing the editing concept of making the transitions over a 12 year span “seamless and washed away like a memory would.” Adair then had to meticulously pare down every scene to capture its essence. The result is an achievement of epic proportion. --bk

Anja SiemensAnja Siemens for A Coffee in Berlin -

Bill WeberBill Weber for The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden - To edit a film can be difficult enough – to edit one based on letters left behind by people from a past event can be even harder. If you’re editing a documentary you have to balance all sides to give an even-handed piece. Bill Weber handles this difficult task with aplomb in THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN. His work shows a great depth and sensitivity to all persons involved, painting an amazing picture of events that lead to mystery and tragedy in a setting that seemed too beautiful to be touched by evil – until it was. --kb

Justine WrightJustine Wright for Locke -

Steve M. Choe and Changju KimSteve M. Choe and Changju Kim for Snowpiercer -

Best Cinematography

Emmanuel LubezkiEmmanuel Lubezki for Birdman - A film that sometimes seems as if the shots and angles were meticulously planned and rigs built before dialogue was ever set to a page, what BIRDMAN displays with the camera is enough to engage an audience without so much as a script. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki goes for the trifecta of having three of the most spectacular showcases of camerawork in the motion picture industry over the last ten years along with the tour de forces that were CHILDREN OF MEN and GRAVITY, as well has this, his fourth Chlotrudis nomination for Cinematography following SLEEPY HOLLOW, Y TU MAMÁ TAMBIÉN, and THE TREE OF LIFE. Lubezki runs the gamut of intricate sweeping crane shots, maze-riddled tracking shots, engaging close-ups, artistic framing, and metaphorical establishing shots in a film that leaves even the most casual movie-goer questioning, "How did they get the camera to do that?" --br

Philipp KirsamerPhilipp Kirsamer for A Coffee in Berlin - A young man wanders at loose ends through a day in his life. Confused and noncommittal, he makes a mess of every situation in which he finds himself. His world is drained of color, consumed by pettiness and minutiae. Even as we accompany his convoluted wanderings, though, we see he faces a stark choice: commit or be consumed by his own anomie. The choice to film the movie in black and white, then, is inevitable. The absence of color both defines and frames the young man’s existence. Particular shots mark the contrast between his life and those around him. He crosses a vast field alone, while the streets bustle with crowds and traffic. The movie opens with a shot of his neighborhood. An airliner flies glinting through the sky. The movie closes with the same shot. The airliner has moved on a bit, but little else has changed. --jp

Lyle VincentLyle Vincent for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night -

Robert D. YeomanRobert D. Yeoman for The Grand Budapest Hotel - A high and steep cliffed hotel stares down from white peaked mountains. Its elevators defy their elevation in the Alpines of this surreal and zany film. Whites and reds burst out between hotel scenes with opulent rooms of decor to the snow covered countrysides, horizontally sliced by the black smoked snake of a locomotive. Sledding slopes of cold blowing white fill the screen and encase the viewer in the chase and escape of the protagonists tracking down stolen art and a possible killer. Yeoman uses a variety of screen aspect ratios to represent the look of the times, whether the 1930’s or the 1960’s. This all manifests in a rich and interconnected album of color, memory, and decades past that takes these eccentric characters through the prism of a Grimm’s fairy tale. --ph

Ryszard Lenczewski | Lukasz ZalRyszard Lenczewski & Lukasz Zal for Ida - The exquisite black-and-white cinematography for Pawel Pawlikowski's IDA by Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski suggests labels like "luscious" and "creamy." But this is not haute cuisine; it is a bleak if luminous miniature on the shared devastation of Communism and Catholicism in post-World War II Poland, as mysteries of the greatest crime in recorded history, the Holocaust, continue to disrupt and devastate. In early 1960s Poland, a teenage novice is ordered by Mother Superior to visit her only living relative, an aunt named Wanda, who reveals not only that Anna is a Jewish orphan named Ida, but also that Wanda is a bitter alcoholic judge known as "Red Wanda" for sending people to their deaths. The hauntingly crystalline cinematography, framed at 1.37:1, emphasizes horizontal and vertical lines inside and outside rooms and buildings, in towns and on roads, but also exhibits astonishing depth of field, wherein snowflakes can be clearly perceived both near and far, as novices install a newly refurbished statue of Jesus, and forests are as clear in closeup as they are at distance. Textures of cobblestone streets, of plaster walls, of pavement, stairwells, wood, metal, glass and wallpaper are all available for amazement, and repeated setups, such as sunlight streaming into a barn through door and window lighting Wanda, Ida and a cow differently, are almost literally breath-taking. This great cinematography is placed at the service of a sad and moving story without a happy ending or even a clear sense of resolution. --kr

Daniel LandinDaniel Landin for Under the Skin - An alien creature, nominally, and given its mission, necessarily a woman, wanders the streets of Glasgow luring men into her van and then into an all-consuming strange and viscid fluid where they hang suspended until suddenly and brutally voided of their life force. The movie traverses a number of environments from seamy city street to shopping mall to primordial forest to the otherworldly setting of the creature’s victims’ undoing, and each is photographed according to its attributes. We feel the city’s grit and despair, the mall’s superficial but alluring glamor, nature’s awesome and brutal strength, and we are disturbed by the alien landscape in which the victims find themselves submerged. Ghosts of Kubrick haunt each scene. The film’s opening shot echoes that of 2001. Later on, we are reminded of HAL’s lurid red eyeball. UNDER THE SKIN is a strange, unsettling movie, its strangeness heightened at every point by its cinematography. --jp

Best Production Design

The DoubleDavid Crank for The Double - Right from the start, you sense THE DOUBLE is set in a world slightly familiar to but generally not like our own. The distinct, heightened visual palette blatantly recalls the past (specifically Mid-20th Century lighting and contours) but also seems perpetually, slightly off, as if we’re at some undisclosed future dystopia where technology no longer advances, relying entirely on any available antique remnants. Although adapted from a Dostoevsky novella, it often feels and appears Kafka-esque, especially in all of its cubicles and dimly lit corridors. Such a setting richly complements a story that’s also always slightly askew, playing with themes of assumed identities in an Orwellian society distorted by rules and regulations meant to serve the greater good but often carrying grave consequences for the individual. --ck

The Grand Budapest HotelAdam Stockhausen for The Grand Budapest Hotel - The nation of Zubrowka in THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL may have only been a riddle from the mind of Wes Anderson had it not been for the artistic direction of Adam Stockhausen. Combined with the excellent framing shots from Cinematographer Robert Yeoman, the intricacies of props, eye-popping color combinations, and oddly appropriate sets all invent a dimension of storytelling that simply could not have been contained within the words of a script. Not only is the display of design talent involved in the set of each scene, the mark of Stockhausen's excellence here is how the fictional world is translated seamlessly from the portrayals and characters that Anderson seems to be seeking all along with his own abstract concoctions via dialogue and mere words. --br

Mr. TurnerSuzie Davies for Mr. Turner - Two grubbily garbed peasant women sit on their stoop and chat while holding a pet chicken as the artist trods past them on pedestrian worn cobblestones in a scene of the the early to mid 18th century. The untidy artist spits on his canvas and smudges the paint to desired effect in a workshop with the myriad items of his craft behind him, messily laid out for the viewer’s visual curiosity in minute and nuanced detail. The markets of Margate selling their varieties of fish and the seamen who caught them puffing on their pipes with their vessels moored and barnacled at the wharf engage us in a holistic setting that only a production designer after intense research could have incorporated with such a rich array. The period dress and properties are as much a deserved focus of this historical film as the main character himself. --ph

Only Lovers Left AliveMarco Bittner Rosser for Only Lovers Left Alive - The main characters in ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE are vampires who have been alive for millennia. They have lived well, and over the course of their lives, they have collected furnishings, clothing, musical instruments, and other creature comforts that are beautifully represented by the production crew led by Marco Bittner Rosser. The set pieces look effortless and natural - homes well-lived in and lived-in. And the nighttime streets of Detroit, where much of the film is set, are beautifully captured through an eerie, romantic lens perfect for the story of these two longtime lovers dripping with cool. --mrc

SnowpiercerOndrej Nekvasil for Snowpiercer -

The Strange Color of Your Body's TearsJohanna Bourson for The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears - Calling for a building that exists within a building, reflecting the mental state of its main character, this contemporary homage to the giallo genre necessarily depends upon the evocation of those films' aspect for its effect upon the viewer. The saturated colors, the erotically-charged violence, the chiaro-obscured, lush and baroque Art Nouveau setting, the leather, the retro-archaic machinery, the elaborate maze that is the building-within-a-building, the psychedelic interludes, and the ice cubes rattling endlessly in a restless glass of scotch, make this movie (ignoring for a moment its mindbending plot) a trip that will wander along with you long after its final credits roll. --jp

Best Performance by an Ensemble Cast

ArchipelagoArchipelago - Joanna Hogg’s second feature centers on a reunited family, but it emphasizes that old adage about how you can’t chose your relatives. The impetus for the trip is son Edward (Tom Hiddleston), about to depart for a year-long sojourn to Africa to work with AIDS patients. His sister, Cynthia (Lydia Leonard) is as self-centered and angry as her brother is altruistic and deceptively tranquil; both of them are miserable, as is their mother, Patricia (Kate Fahy), whose bitterness emerges as she waits and waits for the family patriarch to join them. Two outliers also figure in: Rose (Amy Lloyd), whom they’ve hired to cook and clean for them, and Christopher (Christopher Baker), a local painter. Their interactions (and mere presence) reveal multitudes about Edward, Cynthia and Patricia’s behavior and general outlook on life. Together, the five-member cast is as solid as any of Mike Leigh’s famed ensembles.

The Grand Budapest HotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel - When you have a large cast in a film, it can be both a joy and a problem. A joy since there’s a multitude to talent to watch; a problem because sometimes it can make the film feel bloated, with actors almost shoving each other out of the way for their brief moment of screen time. That, thankfully, is not the case with the wonderful ensemble cast in Wes Anderson’s glittering opus THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. From the alternately charming/foul-mouthed Ralph Fiennes to the sometime clueless but never lost Tony Revolori, from the ethereal Saoirse Ronan to the ghastly Willem Dafoe, every character is a thread in a tapestry that envelopes the viewer in its world. --kb

Like Father Like SonLike Father, Like Son - In LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON, two Japanese families, one upper class and one blue collar, learn that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth in the hospital and must now be “exchanged.” A familiar story line like this could easily become a soap opera, but instead the film is a masterful and moving portrait of the meaning of family and fatherhood.  This achievement is due to the powerful ensemble cast performance.  Take for example the two fathers:  Masahara Fukuyama’s brilliant and nuanced portrayal of the upper class father, Rioka, a hard-nosed, rigid architect, whose initial toughness melts to a much more empathetic character as the film progresses; Riri Furanki who shines as the blue collar father, Yudai whose approach to the uncomfortable situation is softer and more mellow, The rest of the cast deliver equally notable performances.--vo

We Are the Best!We Are the Best! -

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? -

Best Documentary

Finding Vivian MaierFinding Vivian Maier -

Jodorowsky's DuneJodorowsky's Dune - Frank Pavich's mesmerizing documentary about Alejandro Jodorowsky's passionate but doomed effort to film Frank Herbert's 1965 novel DUNE is labeled by one interviewee "the greatest movie never made." In delightfully fractured and heavily accented English, fortunately subtitled, Jodorowsky tells us how he embarked on a quest for "spiritual warriors" who would work with him to make his vision reality. The documentary traces key encounters, as Jodorowsky goes "searching for the light of genius in every person", starting with science fiction/fantasy artist and writer Jean Giraud, a/k/a Moebius, and sci-fi/horror film writer Dan O'Bannon, continuing on with H.R. Giger and Mick Jagger. Jaws will drop at the thrilling implausibility of stories about attempts to cast an intellectually unavailable Salvador Dali as Emperor of the Known Universe, and a morbidly obese Orson Welles as Baron Harkonnen. The documentary is far more potent for its cuckoo ideas processed through our imagination than for any cinematic actuality. But the influence of Jodorowsky's unmade movie can clearly be seen -- and felt -- in STAR WARS, ALIEN and ALIENS, BLADE RUNNER, THE MATRIX, PROMETHEUS and many others. --kr

Life ItselfLife Itself - Total disclosure: I became the film critic I now am because of Roger Ebert. He was a part of my life from my high school days onward, and even though I rarely agreed with his opinions, I always found them entertaining, often hilarious, and highly knowledgeable. And I found the man fascinating. This journey through his life, his triumphs, his low points, and his long and ultimately terminal illness is amazing for many reasons, but in the end, it proves one thing over all others - Love triumphs over all. And for Roger and his loving devoted wife Chaz, they knew they were each other's high point in life. Go into this film looking for more about Ebert the film critic, you'll still come out a fan of Ebert the man. He deserves to be that legend that he became even in life, and even more so since his passing. He knew that it was a combination of everything he did that truly gave him Life, Itself. --tck

Particle FeverParticle Fever -

Tim's VermeerTim's Vermeer - Tim Jenison made millions in the computer graphics industry and now spends his time pursuing his own quirky agenda. He is fascinated by the Dutch master, Johannes Vermeer, whose paintings are suffused with light unlike that of any of his contemporaries. Indeed, to Jenison, Vermeer’s paintings anticipate the development of electronic visual arts. The movie documents Jenison’s development and exploration of a hypothesis which could explain Vermeer’s forward looking techniques. Jenison is a fascinating subject, an expansive personality fiercely nerdy and consumed by his quest, who, by never taking himself too seriously, is also laugh-out-loud hilarious to watch. The camera loves him. And film, one of those electronic visual arts, proves to be the ideal medium to explore the origins of another. This documentary is technological, obsessive, funny, and may be the truest movie about geeks ever made. --JP

To Be TakeiTo Be Takei - It would be really simple to say TO BE TAKEI is the logical choice to win Best Documentary, or say that this film has all its phasers set to “Stunning”, but that’s going for the obvious lines, and I’m better than that. (Which is a total lie). What this movie is at its heart is a wonderful look at the life of George Takei – actor and inspiration. George’s story as both a Japanese American and a gay man is touching, funny, moving and triumphant. His life and works are shown in this film with warmth and honesty; his relationship with spouse Brad is a true joy to see. As George often says, "Oh, My!" --kb