Favorite Films & Performances of 2014

* IMPORTANT: Before you read any further please remember that ALL films, directors, actors, etc. are listed ALPHABETICALLY on my LISTS and BALLOTS and not in order of favoritism/status. *

Today the Oscar nominations were announced and it seems like a good time to share my 15 Favorite Films of 2014, which I recently posted at the Movie Morlocks along with detailed notes but I thought I’d post my list here as well along with my fleshed out responses to the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) Award Ballot. As is often the case, my own selections differ from the final consensus which you can find HERE. My ballot also includes some worthwhile films and performances that didn’t make it onto my final list of 15 Favorite Films and offers a somewhat broader perspective on my viewing habits as well as my likes & dislikes in 2014.

15 Favorite Films of 2014: Listed ALPHABETICALLY!
1. THE BABADOOK (Dir. Jennifer Kent; 2014)
2. CALVARY (Dir. John Michael McDonagh; 2014)
3. CITIZENFOUR (Dir. Laura Poitras; 2014)
4. ENEMY (Dir. Denis Villeneuve; 2013 – released in the U.S. in 2014)
5. FORCE MAJEURE (Dir. Ruben Östlund; 2014)
6. THE GALAPAGOS AFFAIR: SATAN CAME TO EDEN (Dir. Daniel Geller & Dayna Goldfine; 2013 – released in the U.S. in 2014)
7. THE HOMESMAN (Dir. Tommy Lee Jones; 2014)
8. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE (Dir. Jim Jarmsuch; 2014)
9. PENNY DREADFUL (2014 – TV series created & written by John Logan)
10. THE RAID 2 (Dir. Gareth Evans; 2014)
11. STARRY EYES (Dir. Kevin Kolsch & Dennis Widmyer; 2014)
12. THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS (Dir. Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani; 2013 – released in the U.S. in 2014)
13. STRANGER BY THE LAKE (Dir. Alain Guiraudie; 2013 – released in the U.S. in 2014)
14. UNDER THE SKIN (DIR. Jonathan Glazer; 2014)
15. WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL? (Dir. Sion Sono; 2014)

* Please see my Movie Morlocks’ post for a more detailed write-up about the films on my list.

Some films I wanted to see in 2014 but didn’t get the chance to before voting: GOODNIGHT MOMMY, MAP TO THE STARS, MR. TURNER, OVER YOUR DEAD BODY, THE DUKE OF BURGANDY, NIGHTCRAWLER, SELMA, FOXCATCHER, BIG EYES, 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH, EDEN, GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE and LIFE ITSELF.

Notes: One of the most underrated/overlooked films in 2014 is ENEMY, which was not only the best new film I saw all year but also the best horror film I’ve seen since KILL LIST.  In a few years critics will be falling all over themselves to praise it even though they’ve ignored it during this lengthy season of list making & awards. Another highly underrated film is THE HOMESMAN, which is the best western I’ve seen since THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD (2007). THE HOMESMAN seems to have found a welcoming audience in parts of Europe and Asia but it’s been overlooked as critics compile their lists & hand out awards, which is a real shame since it’s one of the most beautiful films I saw last year. Both ENEMY and THE HOMESMAN are well worth your time. If there are any “future classics” on my list or films that will have people talking in years to come it’s ENEMY, THE HOMESMAN and to a lessor extent, UNDER THE SKIN.

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MY *EXTENDED* BALLOT FOR THE AWFJ EDA ‘BEST OF’ AWARDS
These awards are presented to females and/or males. Again – my picks are listed ALPHABETICALLY!

Best English Language Film
1. Calvary – Dir. John Michael McDonagh
2. Enemy – Dir. Denis Villeneuve
3. The Homesman – Dir. Tommy Lee Jones
4. Only Lovers Left Alive – Dir. Jim Jarmusch
5. Under the Skin – Dir. Jonathan Glazer

Best Director (Female or Male)
1. Enemy – Dir. Denis Villeneuve
2. The Homesman – Dir. Tommy Lee Jones
3. Only Lovers Left Alive – Dir. Jim Jarmusch
4. The Raid 2 – Dir. Garth Evens
5. Under the Skin – Dir. Jonathan Glazer

Best Screenplay, Original
1. Calvary – John Michael McDonagh
2. Force Majeure – Ruben Östlund
3. Only Lovers Left Alive – Jim Jarmusch

Best Screenplay, Adapted
1. Enemy – Javier Gullón
2. The Homesman – Tommy Lee Jones, Kieran Fitzgerald & Wesley Oliver
3. Under the Skin – Jonathan Glazer & Walter Campbellv

Best Documentary
1. CitizenFour
2. Finding Vivian Maier
3. The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
4. Jodorowsky’s Dune
5. Manakamana

Best Animated Film
1. Box Trolls
2. How to Train Your Dragon 2
3. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

Best Actress
1. Essie Davis – The Babadook
2. Alex Essoe – Starry Eyes
3. Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle
4. Hilary Swank – The Homesman
5. Tilda Swinton – Only Lovers Left Alive

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Eva Green – White Bird in a Blizzard
2. Sandrine Kiberlain – Violettee
3. Agata Kulesza – Ida
4. Kelly Reilly – Calvary
5. Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer

Best Actor
1. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
2. Brendon Gleeson – Calvary
3. Jake Gyllenhaal – Enemy
4. Tom Hardy – Locke
5. Tommy Lee Jones – The Homesman
Special Mention: Philip Seymour Hoffman – A Most Wanted Man

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice
2. Willem Defoe – A Most Wanted Man
3. Kristofer Hivju – Force Majeure
4. John Hurt – Only Lovers Left Alive
5. Shin’ichi Tsutsumi – Why Don’t you Play in Hell?

Best Ensemble Cast
1. The Homesman
2. Imitation Game
3. A Most Wanted Man
4. The Raid 2
5. Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

Best Editing
1. Enemy – Matthew Hannam
2. The Homesman – Roberto Silvi
3. The Raid 2 – Gareth Evans & Andi Novianto
4. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears – Bernard Beets
5. Under the Skin – Paul Watts

Best Cinematography
1. Calvary – Larry Smith
2. Enemy – Nicolas Bolduc
2. The Homesman – Rodrigo Prieto
3. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears – Manuel Dacosse
4. Under the Skin – Daniel Landin

Best Film Music Or Score
1. Calvary – Patrick Cassidy
2. Enemy – Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans
3. The Homesman – Marco Beltrami
4. Only Lovers Left Alive – Jozef Van Wissem & SQÜRL
5. Under the Skin – Mica Levi

Best Non-English-Language Film
1. Force Majeure
2. The Raid 2
3. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
4. Stranger by the Lake
5. Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
The following awards honor WOMEN only.

Best Woman Director
1. Hélène Cattet – The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
2. Jennifer Kent – The Babadook
3. Laura Poitras – CitizenFour

Best Woman Screenwriter
1. Hélène Cattet – The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears
2. Jennifer Kent – The Babadook
3. Misan Sagay – Belle

Best Female Action Star
1. Scarlett Johansson – Lucy/Under the Skin
2. Qi Shu – Journey to the West
3. Hilary Swank – The Homesman

Best Breakthrough Performance
1. Essie Davis – Babadook
2. Alex Essoe – Starry Eyes
3. Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle

Female Icon of the Year (a woman whose work in film and/or in life made a difference, presented only if warranted)
1. Laura Poitras
2. Laura Poitras
3. Laura Poitras

EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS
Reflecting representation of women’s images on screen.

Best Depiction Of Nudity, Sexuality, or Seduction
1. Nymphomaniac V1 & V2
2. Only Lovers Left Alive
3. Under the Skin

Actress Defying Age and Ageism
1. Isabelle Huppert
2. Meryl Streep
3. Tilda Swinton

Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Leading Man and The Love Interest Award. (Note: I loath this question)
1. N/A
2. N/A
3. N/A

Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent
1. Maria Bello
2. Melissa McCarthy
3. Cristina Ricci

Movie You Wanted to Love, But Just Couldn’t
1. Godzilla
3. Snowpiercer
3. Wild

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