The 9th Annual Davies Awards in Film

 

A Look Back at 2014:

Cinematically 2014 was a long, bizarre year that seemed like it would never end, much like many of the runtime-be-damned films we watched.  It’s hard to pinpoint a defining theme as filmmakers were all over the map and seemed to be throwing everything and the kitchen sink at viewers, though time travel (in fantastic terms in Interstellar and The Edge of Tomorrow while in more realistic terms in Boyhood) and biopics (especially at the end of the year) seemed to make the most compelling cases.

Strangely I found myself disconnected from many of the overly praised but still very high quality “independent” films (Boyhood, Birdman and Selma) while I found enormous entertainment value in the smartly crafted mainstream masterpieces (Interstellar and Gone Girl).

Early in the year we were treated to some of the strangest and most unnerving independent fare with the cold Canadian entry Enemy and the ever-odd Under the Skin, both slow-burn psychological thrillers that could make David Lynch squirm and swoon.  At the end of the year, when it came to the biopics, The Imitation Game showed us how it should be done even when going by-the-numbers, while The Theory of Everything showed us how wrong by-the-numbers can go.

When it came to up-and-coming directors, Jeremy Saulnier (with Blue Ruin) and Jennifer Kent (with The Babadook) left us on the edge of our seats begging for more, while Ava DuVernay basked in the glory of being the first to attempt a MLK biopic with the noble Selma.

On the veteran auteur front, David Fincher delivered a dark comedy for the ages with Gone Girl while Christopher Nolan aimed for the stars with the year’s most ambitious and memorable effort, Interstellar.  Meanwhile in a tale of two Andersons, Wes Anderson delivered his best yet with The Grand Budapest Hotel while Paul Thomas Anderson delivered his least yet with Inherent Vice…which was still a pleasing effort and a notch about Wes’ best.

When it came to performances, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Roger Ebert did unforgettable posthumous work as a spy in A Most Wanted Man and as himself in Life Itself, but it was Benedict Cumberbatch and David Oyelowo who ruled the biopic roost in The Imitation Game and Selma.

Women had their fair share of the limelight as well with Rosamund Pike giving a performance to die for in Gone Girl and Emma Stone lovely and luminous in Magic in the Moonlight while being lovely and troubled in Birdman.  Patricia Arquette railed against the superficial Hollywood machine and showed the beauty of naturally aging, complete with emotional and physical ups and downs, in Boyhood.  Meanwhile, it’s impossible to forget Julianne Moore’s master class in the act of forgetting in Still Alice.

Meanwhile, the worst film of the year…by 300 cubits…was the abominably terrible on every conceivable level, vile shit-filled and brain-dead Biblical disaster, Noah.  There aren’t enough blogs on earth to allow me enough room to say how much I hate this film (and the year’s worst trend…pandering to fundamental Christians for money without any thought towards quality of product)…but Aronofsky essentially ruined his own legacy, as I’ll never be able to watch his masterful Black Swan again without thinking, “this is from the guy who directed Noah!”

The Schleicher Spin proudly presents:

The 9th Annual Davies:

Awarding Excellence and Idiocy in Film for the Year 2014

The Top Ten Films of 2014:

  1. InterstellarChristopher Nolan
  2. Blue RuinJeremy Saulnier
  3. Gone GirlDavid Fincher
  4. EnemyDenis Villeneuve
  5. The Imitation GameMorten Tyldum
  6. A Most Wanted ManAnton Corbijn
  7. Chef – Jon Favreau
  8. Life ItselfSteve James
  9. BoyhoodRichard Linklater
  10. Inherent VicePaul Thomas Anderson

Honorable Mentions:

Best Picture:  Interstellar

Best Director:  Christopher Nolan for Interstellar

Best Actor:  Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game

Best Actress:  Julianne Moore for Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor:  Ethan Hawke for Boyhood

Best Supporting Actress:  Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Best Original Screenplay:  Jeremy Saulnier for Blue Ruin

Best Adapted Screenplay:  Graham Moore for The Imitation Game

Worst Screenplay:  Darren Aronofsky for Noah

Best Editing:  Interstellar

Worst Editing:  Noah

Best Original Music Score:  Hans Zimmer for Interstellar

Best Soundtrack (Music Previously Recorded Combined with Original Score):  Inherent Vice

Best Use of an Old Song:  Little Willie John’s “No Regrets” in Blue Ruin

Best Cinematography:  Birdman

Best Special Effects:  Interstellar

Most Underrated (0r Overlooked) Film:  The Two Faces of January

Most Overrated Film:  The Theory of Everything

Best Feel Good Film:  Chef

Best Guilty Pleasure:  300: Rise of an Empire

Best Sci-Fi Film:  Interstellar

Best Horror Film:  The Babadook

Best Franchise Film:  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Movie Trend I Thoroughly Enjoyed:  Time travel both fantastic and literal (Interstellar, Edge of Tomorrow, Boyhood)

Movie Trend I Completely Ignored:  Christian pandering (God is Not Dead, Heaven is for Real, Saving Christmas, etc…)

Biggest Disappointment:  Nightcrawler

Worst Picture:  Noah

______________________________________________________

Results from past Davies Awards can be found by clicking below:

The 8th Annual Davies Awards in Film

The 7th Annual Davies Awards in Film

The 6th Annual Davies Awards in Film

The 5th Annual Davies Awards in Film

The 4th Annual Davies Awards in Film

The 3rd Annual Davies Awards in Film

The 2nd Annual Davies Awards in Film

The 1st Annual Davies Awards in Film

We encourage feedback and suggestions for categories next year.

Reviews for many of the films mentioned here can be found under the “Movie Reviews” category.

**********

Tell us what your pick was for Best Film of 2014.

What movies would make your Top Ten List?

Speak your mind and join the discussion by leaving a comment!

If you’re a fellow film blogger with your own awards, top ten list or 2014 wrap-up, share your links in the comment form.

Written by David H. Schleicher

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6 comments on “The 9th Annual Davies Awards in Film

  1. Thanks for the post David. Interestingly, my top 20 shares 9 films with yours … although the order is considerably different. 🙂

  2. Sam Juliano says:

    Fabulous Number 1 choice David!! It is also my own Number 1.

    Overall you offer up a terrific list. My own as you request:

    . Interstellar (USA; Christopher Nolan)
    2. Leviathan (Russia; Andrey Zvyagintsev)
    3. Selma (USA; Ava DuVernay)
    4. Force Majeure (Sweden; Ruben Ostlund)
    5. Ida (Poland; Pawel Pawlikowski)
    6. Boyhood (USA; Richard Linklater)
    7. Winter Sleep (Turkey; Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
    8. Pride (UK; Stephen Breresford)
    9. The Grand Budapest Hotel (USA; Wes Anderson)
    10. The Imitation Game (UK; Morten Tyldum)
    Keep on Keepin On (USA; Alan Hicks) -tie-

    Honorable Mention (in no particular order)

    Stranger by the Lake (Canada/French)
    Bad Hair (Venuzuela)
    Whiplash (USA)
    Mr. Turner (UK)
    Calvary (Ireland)
    Under The Skin (UK)
    Belle (USA)
    The Immigrant (USA)
    Two Days One Night (France)
    Stand Clear of Closing Doors (USA)

    Into the Woods (USA) this was added to make the honorable mention list 11 choices as well.

    • Awesome list as always, Sam! For whatever reason (with the exception of Ida) I was negligent with my foreign movie viewing this past year. Two Days One Night, Leviathan and Force Majeure are all at the top of my “must see” list currently and could very well be candidates for an amended list.

  3. […] Check out the winners in my annual alternatives to the Oscars, The Davies. […]

  4. As always – there’s a chance of amendments as I catch up with films I missed. This year is no different.

    The Swedish film Force Majeure should be at #6, thus pushing Inherent Vice into the Honorable Mentions. The film The Better Angels also deserves a Honorable Mention.

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