Top 10 lists rank among the more unusual aspects of movie and TV criticism, and as my colleagues Ryan McGee, Matt Singer, and Mike Sampson’s own 2014 favorites will attest, the end-of-year celebration format brings with it a unique mixture of...
Best of 2014
We’re winding down Best Of 2014 Week here at ScreenCrush with today’s lists of the best TV shows and movie posters (to go along with our already completed lists of the best movies and trailers). But in this time of celebration, let’s not lose sight of what’s really important: Making jokes about terrible movies. 2014 was jammed with exceptional films, but those great movies were surrounded (and often crowded-out of multiplexes) by plenty of stinkers as well. As we bid a fond farewell to the year in movies, ScreenCrush Editor-In-Chief Mike Sampson and I decided to take one final look back at the flops that nearly destroyed us. But like that old expression says: That which does not kill us makes us write strongly-worded listicles.
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: No one likes putting together a Top 10 list. Oh, don’t get me wrong; it’s fun at a party if someone asks you, “What were your favorite movies this year?” and you can just rattle off a list of titles in no particular order, not overly concerned if you accidentally left something off. But this list is formal. Published on the Internet. This will be my legacy. And that’s not something to take lightly.
We’ve got two more big awards updates today, and they come from the Online Film Critics Society and the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the body responsible for the annual Critics’ Choice Awards. The OFCS (of which I’m a member) announced their winners, giving the Best Picture of 2014 to Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’; the film also won Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography. Meanwhile the BFCA (of which ScreenCrush editor-in-chief Mike Sampson is a member) announced their nominees for the Critics’ Choice Awards. ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’ was among the Best Picture nominees, along with Oscar contenders ‘Boyhood,’ ‘The Imitation Game,’ ‘Selma,’ and ‘Birdman,’ which led all films with 13 CCA nominations.
It wasn’t a great year for critics in movies—see ‘Birdman’ (or ‘Chef’ [or ‘Top Five’ (or ‘Big Eyes’)])—but it was a great year for critics at movies. 2014 offered an tremendous variety of fantastic films: big and small; foreign and domestic; mainstream and indie. To anyone who says the overall quality of movies has declined, I call B.S. There are more good movies now than ever before. If you can’t find one, you’re not looking very hard. Take, for instance, these ten instant classics:
If you’re going to play the Oscar prediction game, the Screen Actors Guild Awards are often one of the biggest indicators of who’s going to get nominated and who’s going to win. The actors represent the largest portion of the Academy’s voting body, so it wouldn’t be surprising if the nominations for the 21st Annual SAG Awards are hugely representative of what we will end up seeing when Oscar nominations are announced early next year. And that’s a shame: These are some of the safest and most predictable nominations in a long time.
Typically the American Film Institute honors ten American movies each year. This year they’ve made the highly unusual decision to honor eleven. I guess there were so many options this year, they couldn’t winnow it down to ten. It’s a cop-out if you ask me, but you didn’t ask me and neither did the AFI, and they picked the following ten 11 best movies of 2014:
Conventional wisdom says that award-winning movies are released after Labor Day, usually in mid-October through early December, after playing at the Telluride or Toronto film festivals. Academy voters have notoriously short memories, and films released outside of that window tend to get lost in the shuffle. But so far Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is bucking that trend in a big way, at least with critics groups. Over the weekend, Linklater’s epic coming-of-age drama swept the Best Picture prizes from critics associations in three major cities: Boston, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. That comes on the heels of the film also receiving the Best Picture award from the New York Film Critics Circle. That doesn’t necessarily mean ‘Boyhood’ is lock for an Academy Award win, or even a nomination, but at least the latter is looking more and more likely.
Trailers are a huge part of the fabric of movies. They play before every film shown in theaters, and on every movie website around the world. They’re commercials, obviously, but they’re also more than that; miniature works of art that utilize the core elements of cinema—image, sound, music, action, editing—at their most pure and refined. And today at ScreenCrush we’re celebrating movie trailers by saluting the best sneak previews of 2014.
Awards, awards, and more awards! And then, for dessert, additional awards! Yep, it’s December all right, and that means every group of movie lovers under the sun is giving out their prizes for the best films of the year. The National Board of Review, the country’s leading body dedicated to reviewing boards from our nation, just announced their favorites, including their pick for the top movie of 2014: J.C. Chandor’s ‘A Most Violent Year,’ starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.