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"I'm a huge Jean Simmons fan, and I think she legitimately takes the prize here" - Matt

"Pauline Kael called Claire Trevor's a great bad performance or something in an aside for a review in the seventies, and I agree. She's auditioning for the Carol Burnett parody of herself." - Alfred

"People really should see Raw Deal because it's absolutely spectacular." - Cal


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The Films of 2014. The 15th annual FiLM BiTCH Awards

PICTURE | ACTING | VISUALS | AURALS | EXTRAS | SPECIAL | SCENES 

 

Best Opening Scene
THE BABADOOK BIG HERO 6 FORCE MAJEURE  GONE GIRL UNDER THE SKIN
Muffled sound and disorienting image kick things off with an eery out of body experience: dream and flashback. a wobbly smiling microbot, has more up its sleeve than its innocent harmless look implies (as will the film) in this  'street fight'
 Perfect family photo gets real awkward, a miniature snapshot of all the abrasive head-butting togetherness to come.
 
 
 The great unknowability of other people. Even those -- no, especially those, you're married to in this perfect hynpotic prologue
nnn nnn nnn baaa fee feel Light. Sound. Creation? What are we looking at? Increasingly familiar but always alien
Runners Up

Finalists: Birdman "how did we get here?"; Into the Woods "I wish"; The Lego Movie (Prophecy): 

Semi Finalists: Captain America: Winter Soldier "on your left"; Neighbors ('she just sees bouncing shapes!'); Enemy (mysterious club)

 

Best Credits / Title Sequence Design (Opening or Closing)
BIRDMAN BOXTROLLS CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER NEIGHBORS SELMA

 (opening)

not scrambled but out of sync typography. a flash of Icarus descending. Meaning deferred for now.

 (closing)

Greatest hits in new medium, flat traditional animation. (Big Hero 6 used a similar less animated approach)


 
  (closing)

 

black white red bold graphics, a stylized comic book (and plot in pitch form) with silhouettes

 (closing) 

 

"Stella!" the baby scene stealer plays all the parts in the cast's title cards. Totally irresistible cuteness

 (closing)

A very traditional approach but the right one. Desatured photographs, encase the movie into history as you process. "Glory" helps!

 

Finalists: Mr Turner (opening); Wild Tales (opening)

Semi Finalists: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (opening); The Lego Movie (closing); Grand Budapest Hotel (closing)

 

 

Best Musical Scene in a Non-Musical
"The Boxtrolls"
THE BOXTROLLS
"Everything is Awesome"
THE LEGO MOVIE
"Death"
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
"Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"
SKELETON TWINS
"Solo"
TEST
 This absurd performance, which doubles as the backstory of the film's false legend is a hoot and incorporates all the characters in its staging from audience participation to lustful spectating. Great vocal work by Sean Patrick Doyle "voice matching" Sir Ben Kingsley If you've ever paid too much for coffee (that's all of you, right?) this winning silly anthem has you from its first bar. Emmett's enthusiasm sure is contagious and so is the business of this comedy with so many miniature moving parts  This wordless post-costume party sequence, set to the diegetic "Death" by White Lies (The Girl has quite an LP collection) is hypnotic. Is it about to be a murderous act? a sex scene? a dance sequence? It tantalizes at each narrative edge.  
 
 Unquestionably the highlight of this dour comedy, the estranged brother finally coaxes his reticent sister into a lipsynch of their favorite adolescent hit. Wiig does deadpan comedy better than anyone. So damn funny

  Intriguingly dropped into the film's halfway point,  rather than its climax, comes this incredible dance sequence where our protagonist finally gets a chance to prove his worth to his dance company. Show stopper. 

 

Runners Up

 

Finalists: Any performance of "Hate the Sport" in We Are the Best; Impromptu dance party shocks the miners in Pride; Mary sings for a male visitor in The Homesman; "Bread and Roses" in Pride

Semi Finalists: MLK needs to hear the lord's voice from Mahalia in Selma; "Darkness" Batman in The Lego Movie; Spouses reunited in How To Train Your Dragon 2; Mr Turner's uncomfortable warbling at the piano

 

Best Musical Scene in a Musical
"Like a Fool"
Keira Knightley
BEGIN AGAIN
Split Headphones
(Various Artists) Keira Knightley & Mark Ruffalo
BEGIN AGAIN
"Agony"
Chris Pine & Billy Magnussen
INTO THE WOODS
"On the Steps of the Palace"
Anna Kendrick
INTO THE WOODS
"I'll Give You What U Want" (Cockatoo in Malibu)
MUPPETS MOST WANTED
Hasn't everyone wanted to make a call like this? Too passionate, too needy, too angry, satisfyingly 'look what you're missing'. Too bad most of us can't do it to our own compositions and in such strong voice. Keira is gold in this movie -- no, platinum!
 
  In a movie with so many wonderful song sequences, it's a miracle that the most joyous moment is just listening to headphones. This platonic walking date, in love with city streets and classic songs and shared bliss (music) is transcendent.
 Well cast and staged, this comic duet between Princes out to prove they can suffer, pine, and love harder than any each other is the movie's crowd-pleasing showstopper. It's agony that there's no reprise like there's supposed to be.
From the opening frozen tableau to the present tense lyrics, to Anna Kendrick's wonderfully modern indecisive Cinderella, it's a beauty. Into the Woods needed more inspired moments like this  Though underrated this musical comedy peaks early in this über silly love song -- that pairs its lyrics with hilarious visuals "you want a thing in a thing? I'll give it to you" and also doubles as a spoof on Miss Piggy's materialism
 

Finalists: "Lost Stars" Adam Levine / Keira Knightley - but which iteration to choose?; "Blackbird" -Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Beyond the Lights; "Stay With Me" - Meryl Streep in Into the Woods; "Moments" Emily Blunt in Into the Woods

Semi Finalists: "We're Doing a Sequel" Muppets Most Wanted; anything from Get On Up; anything else from Begin Again

 

 

Best Action Sequence
'Elevator Ambush'
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
'Freeway Showdown'
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
'Godzilla, MUTOs, Paratroopers' (climax)
GODZILLA
'Cars on the edge'
WILD TALES
'Time in a Bottle'
X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
 See Marvel? You don't have to blow up large objects in the sky for thrills. This is tight, exciting, inventive, and beautifully set up
So many movements within this battle symphony. But it's beautifully sustained, starting big and then trifurcating with the heroes The most visually beautiful third act action climax this year from the sidebar paratroopers to the behemoth battle and Godzilla's audience-pleasing final blast
 
 It's not just the terrific editing that keeps this anthology buzzing along but the variety -- this chapter has manly force, road rage, and wounded egos fueling the funny/scary choreography
 Action as casual easy listening pranksterism. This Quicksilver may be a complete abomination in terms of comic fidelity but the scene is very fun
 

Finalists: Nick Fury ambushed Captain America: Winter Soldier; Battering Ram in Snowpiercer;

Semi Finalists: Mystique on the run from her friends in X-Men Days of Future Past; Lights out massacre in Snowpiercer; The rock monsters ascend in Noah;

 

Best Kiss
Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Sam Reid
BELLE
Andrea Riseborough with Michael Keaton / Naomi Watts
BIRDMAN
Scarlett Johansson & Chris Evans
CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER
Jessica Chastain & James McAvoy
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: HIM & HER
Guilherme Lobo & Fabio Audi
THE WAY HE LOOKS
 It plays closer to fairy tale clinch than reality -- would they really embrace out in the open when the movie is about how forbidden their love is -- but Gugu may well be our best new romantic heroine?
 Riseborough is Birdman's secret sexy stealth comic weapon mysteriously appearing and vanishing from scenes after arousing Riggan. She almost feels like a projection of Riggan's romantic confusion: see also her makeout with Watts 
"Kiss me" Cleverly dropped in as both situational comedy, tension relief, and character detail.  Even better is Black Widow's flirtatious teasing that comes after. Is it the first time he's kissed since the 1940s? Chastain and McAvoy have to sell you on their head over heels love to amplify the tragedy and the early scenes are real winners: romantic sexy and joyful.

Paradise lost. 
 
 
 It's a long time in coming but this is one of the most satisfying romantic payoffs in a movie in years. What a sweet note to wrap up with. Their lives are just beginning.
Runners Up

 

Finalists: "and a prince for... whatever" Into the Woods; Love is Strange's relationship reads so enormously authentic. Kudos to Lithgow & Molina for the chemistry / commitment; Gone Girl's "sugar storm" is heightened and almost unreal... like a story that's being told rather than any kind of real memory

Semi Finalists: Beyond the Lights; Pride; A Most Violent Year; Lilting

 

 

Best Sex Scene
Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Nate Parker
BEYOND THE LIGHTS
Shailene Woodley & Angel Elsort
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Rosamund Pike & Neil Patrick Harris
GONE GIRL
Pierre Deladonchamps & Christophe Paou
STRANGER BY THE LAKE
Erica Rivas & Diego Gentile
WILD TALES
 Passionate and romantic and, importantly, for this highly sexualized pop star, far away from the cameras (within the film, obviously the actors are being filmed!), careers, and any postured "sexiness"
 An uneven film but it's not without its moments *excuse me, somethings in my eye*. Hazel and Gus's shared sorrows finding understanding and acceptance in each others arms


 
 Terrifyingly inevitable, gratitiously messy, and not remotely sexy. But boy is it memorable.

 

The whole chapter in Desi's compound, in fact, just plays superbly. Remember to breathe.

 Explicit sex isn't common in non-porn cinema but it's popping up fairly regularly since the early Aughts. Franck & Michel's  excapades (day and night and day again) are narratively crucial -- Franck sure likes to put himself at risk. In more ways than one. I'd call it "Best Ending" but since Wild Tales is basically a collection of short films in structure, let's toss it here. This movie is so enjoyably volatile and insane. (Most marriages are consummated... but not usually in front of the guests.)
Runners Up

 

Finalists: Shia Labeouf & Stacy Martin fuck-fest in Nymphomaniac Vol. I because "the secret ingredient of sex is love"; Scarlett Johansson & in Under the Skin's - human curiousity, not so human equipment; Agata Trzebuchowska & Dawid Ogrodnik in Ida that gorgeous black and white and the enigmatic closeup -- Even penetrated Anna is impenetrable... pardon the crass pun!

Semi Finalists: Skeleton Twins; Leviathan; Beloved Sisters; Wild

 

Best Ending
BOYHOOD FOXCATCHER LOVE IS STRANGE PRIDE WILD
 The boy is now man. Gazing out into his open future. Just beautiful  Those ironic tragic bloodthirsty chants of "USA". More fighting for Schultz. Less glory.
 
  A beautiful intuitive finale, like a baton pass to a young generation in the twilight hour.
 The right kind of Happy Ending: patiently earned through adversity,  ebulliently performed
 Journey's end as sublime new beginning,  an ineffable spiritual triumph on Reese's face... and Cheryl Strayed's.
Runners Up

Finalists: Still Alice "what is it about?"; Under the Skin smoky beacon

Semi Finalists: Birdman; Selma; Nightcrawler; Enemy; The Homesman; Begin Again

 

 

Dozen Best Scenes
(excluding aforementioned categories)
Tadashi's Tests
BIG HERO 6
Koba Plays Dumb
DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
The Interview
FOXCATCHER
Surveillance
GONE GIRL
Novel Brainstorming
HAPPY CHRISTMAS 
 a comforting message by way of a dream project brilliant staging. deadly rug pulling Mark Ruffalo is a brilliant actor, okay? chilling in the first degree   hilarious actressy indulgence
Wanda's Exit
IDA 
Murder House
NIGHTCRAWLER 
Home School Boss
MOMMY 
Sandwiches
PRIDE 
Bloody Sunday
SELMA 
 no spoilers but shockingly matter of fact  with each "story" Lou seems less and less human  A battle of wills and even bodies. Kyla's not to be underestimated simple, sweet, long time in coming horrific recreation of seminal event 

Finalists: Still Painting in the Gallery - MR TURNER; Times Square - BIRDMAN; Flight - BIRDMAN; Fast Food Robbery - TAMMY; Jonathan's First Visit - THEORY OF EVERYTHING; Joan Running Late - THE IMITATION GAME; Underwear Fight - BIRDMAN; Size 10 Chaos - SNOWPIERCER;  Trying to Work - LOVE IS STRANGE

Semi-Finalists: Aspect Ratio Elation - MOMMY; Mike Shiner Doesn't Need a Script - BIRDMANThe Date - NIGHTCRAWLER; The Will Reading - GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL; Lunch at the Jacksons - SELMA; First Victim - A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT

The Drowning
STRANGER BY THE LAKE
Two Victims
UNDER THE SKIN 
your eyes do not fool you
 
 a silent nightmare greeting

 

 

NOMINATION TALLIES 
ALL CATEGORIES ~  TRADITIONAL AND OTHERWISE

61 films received at least one nomination which I believe is a record - votes stretched very wide this year with few films dominating

15 nominations
Birdman

11 nominations
Under the Skin 

10 nominations
Gone Girl
Grand Budapest Hotel

8 nominations
Selma (9 nominations if you choose to count an Oscar correlative eight-wide Best Picture list)

7 nominations
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Pride 

6 nominations
The Boxtrolls
Boyhood
Ida
Snowpiercer 

5 nominations
Into the Woods
The Lego Movie
Nightcrawler
Only Lovers Left Alive

4 nominations
The Babadook
Begin Again
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Wild 

3 nominations
Force Majeure
Foxcatcher
A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Godzilla
Love is Strange (4 nominations if you count an Oscar correlative eight-wide Best Picture list)
A Most Violent Year
Mr Turner
Neighbors
Wild Tales 

2 nominations
22 Jump Street
Beyond the Lights
Big Hero 6
Get On Up
Guardians of the Galaxy
The Immigrant
Interstellar
Mommy (3 nominations if you include an Oscar correlative eight-wide Best Picture list)
Muppets
Nymphomaniac
Song of the Sea
Stranger by the Lake 
Two Days One Night
Whiplash 

1 nomination only 
American Sniper
Belle
Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Edge of Tomorrow
Elaine Stritch Shoot Me
Fault in Our Stars
Happy Christmas
The Homesman
Inherent Vice 
The Imitation Game 
The One I Love
Skeleton Twins
Still Alice
Test
Theory of Everything 
Unbroken
The Way He Looks
X-Men Days of Future Past 
Young & Beautiful 

 

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