2014: The Year in Superlatives

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No year-in-review of mine would be complete without a list of superlatives. I’ve been putting up a list like this since 2009 when I borrowed the idea from my friends Rene Rodriguez and Connie Ogle at the Miami Herald. Before moving forward, here are my previous 2014 Year in Review articles, in case you haven’t read them. It’ll help as a primer for some of my picks below.

In Retrospect: The Best of 2014

If I Had an Oscar Ballot

25 Movies I’m Excited for in 2015

What Films Did South Florida Critics Love Most in 2014?

Without further ado, here’s one final look back into the last 12 months.

2014: THE YEAR IN SUPERLATIVES

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Best Film of the Year: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Best Foreign-language Film: The Lunchbox

Best Documentary: Life Itself

Best Blockbuster: Interstellar

Best Mind-Fuck: Under the Skin

Best Sequel: The Raid 2

Worst Sequel: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Best Remake: Godzilla

Worst Remake: The Gambler

Biggest Surprise: Love is Strange

Biggest Disappointment: The Monuments Men

Most Ambitious Movie: Interstellar

Biggest Guilty Pleasure:  John Wick

Worst Movie: Need for Speed

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Best Movie that Nobody Saw: Beyond the Lights

Worst Movie that Everybody Saw: The Fault in Our Stars

Best Older Film that I Watched for the First Time in 2014: Dog Day Afternoon

2014 Film I Regret Not Watching: Top Five

Most Overrated Movie: The Theory of Everything

Most Underrated Movie: The Immigrant

Best Comedy: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Science Fiction: Interstellar

Best Science Fiction, Art House Edition: Under the Skin

Best Superhero Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Action Movie: The Raid 2

Best Biopic: Selma

Best Romance: Love is Strange

Best Thriller: Gone Girl

Most Shameless Oscar-bait: The Theory of Everything

Dumbest Movie: Lucy

Best TV Show: The Americans (season 2)

2015 movie I’m most excited for: Silence (25 Movies I’m Most Excited for in 2015)

BEHIND THE SCENES

Wes-Anderson-grand-budapest-hotel

Best Director: Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Breakthrough Filmmaker: Damien Chazelle – Whiplash

Best Adapted Screenplay: Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

Best Original Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness)

Best Cinematography: A Most Violent Year (Bradford Young)

Best Costume Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Film Editing: Whiplash

guardians-of-the-galaxy-makeup

Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score: Gone Girl (Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross)

Best Soundtrack: Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Sound Mixing: Interstellar

Best Sound Editing: Interstellar

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar

PERFORMANCE CAPTURE

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Best Actor in a Leading Role: Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Alfred Molina – Love is Strange

Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Best Ensemble: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Breakthrough Performance (Male): Jack O’Connell – Starred Up

Best Breakthrough Performance (Female): Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Beyond the Lights

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Best Comedic performance: Rose Byrne – Neighbors

Wackiest performance: Jude Law (Dom Hemingway)

Best Performance in a Bad Movie: Eva Green (300: Rise of an Empire)

Worst Performance in a Good Movie: Gary Oldman (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

Biggest Scene-Stealer: Rocket Racoon (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Best On-Screen Chemistry: Alfred Molina and John Lithgow (Love is Strange)

Best On-and-Off Screen Chemistry: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)

Best On-Screen Chemistry, Dead and Loving It Edition: Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston (Only Lovers Left Alive)

Worst On-Screen chemistry: Seth McFarlane and Charlize Theron (A Million Ways to Die in the West)

ODDS AND ENDS

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Character of the Year: Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) in Gone Girl

Best Hero: Gustav H. (Ralph Fiennes) in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Villain: Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Nightcrawler

Best On-Screen team: Guardians of the Galaxy

Most Adorable Character: Baymax in Big Hero 6

Most Clueless Character: Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) in Inherent Vice

Saddest Animal Death: John Wick

Funniest Animal Death: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Most memorable character intro: Dom Hemingway (Jude Law) in Dom Hemingway

Best Quote: “If you want to win the lottery, you have to make the money to buy a ticket.” – Nightcrawler

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Gutsiest Conceit: Boyhood (12 years, same cast, same crew, same story)

Smartest Conceit: Edge of Tomorrow (Groundhog Day as an action movie)

Dumbest Conceit: Lucy (humans use only 10% of their brain capacity)

Gimmickiest Conceit: Birdman (look ma, one shot! Aren’t we visionaries?)

Best Food: Chef (drool!)

Worst Food: Snowpiercer (gross!!)

Most likely to start a franchise: Guardians of the Galaxy

Most likely to end a franchise: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Most likely to rejuvenate a franchise: Godzilla

Most deserving of a franchise: John Wick

Most likely to kill plans for a franchise: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Most Breathtaking Set-Piece: The HALO Jump in Godzilla

Most Unnecessary yet Endearing Remake of When Harry Met Sally…: What If…

Worst Casting: Essentially everyone with a speaking part in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Best Song: “Lost Stars” from Begin Again

Instant GIF moment of the year: Dancing Groot, naturally!

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Most Annoyingly Catchy Song: “Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie

Best musical moment in a musical: Instruments come to life in Begin Again

Best musical moment in a non-musical: Time in a Bottle” in X-Men: Days of Future Past 

Best Lip Syncing: Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig lip sync ‘Nothing Can Stop Us Now” in The Skeleton Twins. The movie was forgettable but this scene, man.

Most Disturbing Musical Moment: The use of “Atlantis” in A Walk Among the Tombstones

Best Sex Scene: 300: Rise of an Empire

Best & Worst Sex Scene: Gone Girl

Most Unexpected… um, Cum Shot: Stranger by the Lake

Best Use of Miniatures: The ski chase in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Use of Slow-motion: The outrageous car crash scene in Dom Hemingway

Best Use of Time-lapse photography: The time-lapse “Creation” sequence in Noah

Best Opening: American Sniper

Best Ending: Whiplash

Lamest Ending: Transcendence

Bleakest Ending: A Most Wanted Man

Most Perplexing Ending: (tie) Enemy & Birdman (in both cases, WTF?)

Best Opening Credits: Godzilla. Redacted messages

Best End Credits: 22 Jump Street. Countless sequels.

Most Suspenseful Scene: The Docking sequence in Interstellar

Best Chase Scene: The highway car chase in The Raid 2

Best Action Sequence: Breaking into the club in John Wick

Best Fight Scene: The Kitchen fight in The Raid 2 

Funniest Scene: Ice Cube finds out who his daughter is sleeping with in 22 Jump Street

Saddest Scene: Matthew McConaughey receives two decades worth of messages in Interstellar

Ickiest Scene: Neil Patrick Harris really has to go in A Million Ways to Die in the West

Best accent: Tom Hardy in Locke

Worst accent: Robert Pattinson in The Rover

Best Opening Shot: Gone Girl. 

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Most Pivotal Shot: Force Majeure. The entire premise of the movie, summed up in one shot.

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Best Final Shot: The Immigrant

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Best Example that a Franchise has finally worn out its welcome: The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Actor/filmmaker whose name I had the most trouble spelling this year:

Class of 2014: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Class of 2013: Adèle Exarchopoulos

Class of 2012: Quvenzhané Wallis

Class of 2011: Michel Hazanavicius

Best Shot of the Year. Interstellar. The sounds of crickets and the rain on the soundtrack. The visual of a solitary spacecraft travelling on a mission as Saturn looms large. A marriage of sight and sound.

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Best Scene of the Year: The ending of Whiplash. Exhilarating.

The Scott Rudin Producer of the Year: Bradley Cooper (For sticking with American Sniper and getting it made)

The Nicolas Cage Prostitute of the Year: Who else… Johnny Depp

The Samuel L. Jackson Hardest Worker: Willem Dafoe (Nyphomaniac, The Grand Budapest Hotel, A Most Wanted Man, The Fault in our Stars, Bad Country, Passolini, and John Wick)

The Matthew McConaughey Career Turnaround Award: Michael Keaton (Birdman)

The Gary Oldman Versatility Award: Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him & Her, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Miss Julie)

Most Effective Marketing Campaign: American Sniper. 15 days. $200 million and counting…

Best trailer: Interstellar Teaser Trailer. Remember when we all lost our collective shit for this trailer?

Best poster: Birdman

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3 responses to “2014: The Year in Superlatives

    • Gustav WAS the Best Hero of the year! And yea, Begin Again is so undervalued. I’m a bit sad that LOST STARS won’t be winning at the Oscars this year for Best Song, even though it’s the most deserving of the bunch.

      • Indeed he was, and it’s nice to see him recognized as such. More songs used in narrative should be considered for Oscar, be they characters singing or montage accompaniment.

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