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The 2nd Annual Team Experience Award Goes To...

Amir here, to bring you the results of the 2nd annual Team Experience Awards, a poll of the year’s best in film by the international group of writers who contribute regularly to this website. In our inaugural edition, Leos Carax’s off-kilter French fantasy, Holy Motors, won the top prize. This year, our 14 voters are more in synch with the American awards season tune. I think it’s fair to say we all like 12 Years a Slave. Like, really, really like 12 Years a Slave. If Steve McQueen’s film were Sally Field, we’d be the Academy circa 1985.

12 Years a Slave
 (Steve McQueen)
Runner-up: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach) 

Steve McQueen
 (12 Years a Slave)
Runner-up: Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) 

However, the consensus and the number of categories topped by Slave don’t quite reflect the intense competition behind the scenes. In fact, only two categories were landslides: Best Picture and Best Visual Effects. Elsewhere, the competition was intense and never really took shape until the last ballot was in. In the best supporting actress category, for example, five women were within an inch of each other, and Emma Watson (The Bling Ring) and Kristin Scott Thomas (Only God Forgives) missed out on the runner-up spot by a hair. The nitty-gritty of our votes further down but now the winners of the 2nd Team Experience Awards...

He's our captain now

Frances Ha
(Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig)
Runner-up: Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke) 

Chiwetel Ejiofor
(12 Years a Slave)
Runner-up: Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis

Cate Blanchett
(Blue Jasmine)
Runner-up: Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color

TIE: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)

Lupita Nyong’o
(12 Years a Slave)
Runners-up (tied): Lea Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color) and Scarlett Johansson (Don Jon


Runner-up: 12 Years a Slave 

12 Years a Slave

Runner-up: The Great Gatsby 

The Great Gatsby

Runners-up (tied): 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle 

12 Years a Slave

Runner-up: American Hustle


Runner-up: Pacific Rim 

12 Years a Slave

Runner-up: Gravity 


Runner-up: Upstream Colour 

Inside Llewyn Davis

Runner-up: Frozen

The Act of Killing
(Joshua Oppenheimer)
Runners-up (tied): At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman) and Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley) 


Runner-up: Ernest and Celestine 

(Pablo Larrain)
Runner-up: Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche)

A Few Notes…

• Overall, 156 different films were voted for in one category or another, ranging from awards season behemoths (Gravity, Captain Phillips) to critical darlings (Frances Ha, The Act of Killing) to foreign films (No, The Past) to studio fare of all kinds (Saving Mr. Banks, Man of Steel). There were lonely passions aplenty, with films like Museum Hours, Mother of George and Lords of Salem dominating individual ballots but left off others entirely.

• The Act of Killing didn’t just win the documentary category; it finished fourth in the overall ranking behind 12 Years a Slave, Frances Ha and Gravity. The rest of our top ten? Short Term 12, Before Midnight, Inside Llewyn Davis, American Hustle, No and a surprising tie at tenth place: Her and At Berkeley.

• Though Cate Blanchett was almost as comfortable in our company as she is with AMPAS, five other actresses had very strong support in the lead category. Their final rank, in descending order, was: Adele Exarchopoulos, Brie Larson, Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig and Amy Adams. I like this lineup a whole lot more than whatever we’ll hear out of the envelope on Thursday morning.   

• Having compiled all of our team polls here at The Film Experience for more than a year, this isn’t quite a revelation to me so much as it is an affirmation of what I already knew (and, to an extent, disliked) but it is probably time for me to give up complaining about different awards bodies all voting for the same players. It’s just the nature of the beast. Consensus choices inevitably rise to the top, which is why individual ballots are always more interesting than collective ones. This isn’t to say that what wins at the end of the day is any less worthy than what one person deems best. And, after all, I personally voted for 12 Years a Slave in all but two of the categories it won; but individual ballots, when compiled diligently, have the power to intrigue and provoke and resonate much more so than collective ones. They can make us pause and think about what we might have missed in a certain film or performance that a fellow cinephile caught on to. For instance, looking at the final result, I would have never known that my vote for Neighboring Sounds wasn’t the only staunch support for a Brazilian film, but Southwest found fervent fans as well. Sure, the winners in both the animated and documentary features are consensus favorites, but who knew that Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? had a few fans who voted for it in both categories. It’s these kinds of quirky votes that make the process so much fun. In that spirit, I asked everyone to share their ballots in their own space. Not everybody is finished with posting yet, so if you’re interested, check back periodically as we update the list.

Amir Soltani | Andrew Stewart | Michael Cusumano | Nick Davis 

• Note: As with last year, Nathaniel opted out of voting for these awards, but you can already check his ongoing personal awards here.)

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Reader Comments (37)

Nick, no Fassy love?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Clearly they all like Gravity more than me! Different strokes. I am most surprised to hear about Emma Watson and Kristin Scott Thomas doing THAT well in supporting actress.

January 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel - I was really surprised, too. Partially because the Nyong'o, Johansson, Seydoux, Watson, Thomas lineup for best supporting actress zero overlap with mine (though I expected that, and Nyong'o was my sixth pick) but mostly because it has only one overlap with the awards frontrunners as well. Too many worthy choices, I guess.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

These sorts of things are always so interesting. I started reading this site because I saw the word Actresssexual and LOVED it and felt I had found a home. Then we had the ruckus years of Meryl in JULIE & JULIA and then THE IRON LADY which I enjoyed so much but lately...and this seems further confirmed by these awards...the site is becoming another high end, la-de-da, oh so artistic and perceptive cinematic art site. Where are the people who just love them big movie stars?! Where are the people who drool and admire and insist on bigger than life actresses and actors who give bigger than life performances? (Just recently you stated clearly that you prefer low key, sustained character performances as opposed to grand standing big emotions - SO disappointing!!) I, for one, am certainly not interested in another bunch of cinematic elitists who just love their independent movies so very much! FRANCES HA - seriously? INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS - honestly? So damn artsy - both of them - to the point of being almost dull. I'm surprised NEBRASKA isn't in here too! (I know - you just roll your eyes and think I'm dull with no real taste in movies.) THANK GOD the rip roaring grand performance given by Cate this year provides a glimpse of hope (certainly you don't claim that to be a low key performance?!?!) and it is happy-making that this team seems to appreciate the grand gestures of 12 YEARS A SLAVE (not a subtle art house film either, really). But still - there was a time when I don't think I would have seen such a high-grow list as this on this blog. I certainly understand, Nathaniel, that you were probably killing yourself maintaining this site pretty much on your own for a long time but I sure wish you could have found a way to maintain what seemed to be a site that celebrated and appreciated glamour and movie stars instead of becoming more like so many other high-falutin's sites.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

For what it's worth - and this will hardly be surprising to people that know me - there was very little cross over between my ballot at the winners/runner-ups. I included both lead actresses, Johansson in supporting, the two GATSBY citations in production and costume design, AT BERKELEY in doc, GRAVITY for effects and it was no. 5 on my ballot for sound. I didn't nominate 12 YEARS A SLAVE or CAPTAIN PHILLIPS for anything, despite liking them.

Oh! And GRAVITY was no. 3 on my cinematography ballot.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Amir, could you run down the actor, supporting actor runners-up the way you did the actresses please?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

billybil -- i think you're getting worked up over nothing. there's still plenty of love for glamorous movie stars all up in this site. certainly the other sites don't apprecite the goddesses as much as this site does.

but think you misread my taste in performances. i am not against big performances. Never have been. I am just stating that when i see two actors and one is using a gimmick to win acclaim (disability, prosthetics, easy oscar bait hooks) and the other is just painting me a full portrait of someone wihtout easy hooks but that person still feels like a vivid character, i think they're doing more impressive acting. but yes Frances Ha is excellent. sorry (i'm like you, though, in that i don't get what the big deal about Inside Llewyn Davis is. I think the NYC folk music scene should have had more emotional range than just anger and depression and the color palette is too much for me.

January 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Please educate me on Frances Ha. I could not believe how boring the movie was. The whole experience is like watching paint dry. Very unpolished and amateurish like Grace Gummer's acting skills.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKevin J

@Paul: I like him in the movie but definitely don't love him; the character feels like a walking and mostly familiar thesis about the slaveowner's perversities, without the individualizing detail that other performers brought to their characters. (Among supporting actors, I liked Cumberbatch, Giamatti, and Chalk the best.

@billybil: You're obviously entitled to your opinion, but the way you put it sure sounds gratuitously negative, even deliberately hurtful. For certain, we read the site very differently. I see plenty of movie star celebration (and a whole lot else, but certainly that) every time I click over. Oh, well. To each their own.

@Glenn: Will we be seeing more of your ballot?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Haha, I would have guessed Nathaniel didn't like 'Inside Llewyn Davis' very much, as it reminded me a lot of 'A Serious Man' and he didn't like that. I tell people that 'Llewyn' is my favorite of 2013 but that it's not for everyone. :) When I was watching it it felt like it was made for me, but I can easily see why others would be indifferent or even dislike it. One woman in the theatre said "I HATED it!' to her friend as they walked out.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

@Nick: That individualizing detail you were missing was supplied by Essence of Fassy.
For that I would cast him in just about any role, including Rosalyn in American Hustle...

But seriously I found his performance sensational. Couldn't take my eyes off him during the first viewing.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I didn't like Gravity more than you, Nat, and voted for it only for f/x, IIRC.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

Love this, particularly great to see the everybody's ballots, but I'm puzzled by the choices in two of my favorite categories.

I really don't get the love for Watson. I thought Broussard and Chang gave far more lived-in performances.

Also can someone explain to me why Cate Blanchett's work in Blue Jasmine is NOT over the top or theatrical and Meryl Streep's work in A:OC is. I mean, Jasmine does not even feel like someone from this century. Maybe I'm completely missing the point of her character or performance?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteryshark

Nick- I love you dearly, and you know more about film acting than I can daydream about knowing, but if you really just said that Giamatti was better in 12YAS than Fassbender, we might have to punch it out behind the building after school.

I'm rather cool on Frances Ha myself, but outside of that, I LOVE these awards. Especially knowing that I'm merely one of many Watson-in-Bling Ring fans. Amir, you are amazing for putting all this together.

January 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterTim Brayton

Henry - Of course.

Actor: 1. Ejiofor 2. Isaac 3. DiCaprio (Wolf of Wall Street) 4. Hanks (Captain Phillips) 5. Phoenix (Her)

Supporting Actor: 1. Abdi 2. Fassbender, then by quite a distance, 3. Cooper (Hustle) 4. Franco (Spring Breakers) 5. Gandolfini (Enough Said)

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I didn't nominate 12 YEARS A SLAVE

And here I thought you cared about black cinema? Poser!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I can't fault the choices for best supporting actress but I was really hoping for Amy Adams to sneak in there for Her anyway. I loved Scarlett Johansson in that movie, don't get me wrong, but if we're going for traditional supporting actress definition, I thought Amy Adams did superb, understated and open work in that movie. I don't know how she did it, but she kept that movie grounded and honest and I would happily watch a movie about her parallel story of heartbreak and renewal. Between this and her work in American Hustle, she's my personal favorite actress of 2013.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFlickah

The end of a myth. You can also be as boring as Austin or San Diego Film Critics ;)

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Amir, Thanks. I really appreciate your choices.

yshark: Jasmine is an artifice of her own making. She is supposed to be theatrical to a point and I think Blanchett nailed it. Violet isn't. There was too much "acting the monster" and not enough "being the monster" in AOC. There wasn't a still moment in the perf and it needed it. A stronger director would have corrected that.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

@ Deborah and Nat: Same on Gravity, it topped my f/x vote but didn't pop up anywhere else for me.

The Actress category, behind Blanchett who didn't make my ballot (but is entirely deserving!), is wonderful, and pretty similar to my ballot except for my #1 Suzanne Clement, who I'd hoped might get some purchase here with Glenn voting too! Oh well. I also completely forgot Emelie Dequenne, not that I imagine she'd have got in either, but nice to see her on Nick's list.

And hurrah for No's great showing!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Henry -- I disagree. There's definitively a very still and very moving moment: the monologue about her childhood and the boots she never received.. She's just marvelous in that scene.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I've been slowly adding my ballots by category, but if anyone's curious about how my top votes went here's a rundown:

Picture: Before Midnight,
Runner Up: 12 Years

Director: Linklater
RU: McQueen

Actor: Oscar Isaac
RU: Ethan Hawke

Actress: Delpy
RU: Blanchett

Supporting Actor: McConaughey (Wolf of Wall Street)
RU: Fassbender

Supporting Actress: Lea Seydoux
RU: Nyong'o

Screenplay: Before Midnight
RU: Frances Ha

Cinematography: The Grandmaster
RU: Inside Llewyn Davis

Production Design: The Grandmaster
RU: Her

Costume: Inside Llewyn Davis
RU: The Grandmaster

Music: All is Lost
RU: Upstream Color

Editing: Upstream Color
RU: Frances Ha

Doc: 20 Feet From Stardom
RU: Act of Killing

Foreign Film: No
RU: The Past

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

@Peggy Sue:
That scene induced a mixture of laughter and sadness for me. The story made me sad, but Streep's delivery was hilarious. She looked ridicules without her drag wig. Streep is now an unintentionally funny actress when she attempts sincerity these days. Poor thing. I'd be lying if I said she wasn't my favorite female performance of the year, but I would vote for Blanchett. Like Lange before her in Blue Sky, Blanchett in Blue Jasmine deserves her turn at the podium as a Best Actress recipient.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

"No" was great suprise but I don't like mixing different years. Who won last year? Haneke? Were Gloria and La grande bellezza elegible?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue


But come on guys, Ms. Blanchett is taking everything. Have Adele vs. Brie. vs. Greta for actress!!!!!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Peggy Sue- Last year we didn't have a best foreign film category, because our best film winner was foreign (Holy Motors).
We are not really mixing years. For the foreign category, the criteria was what Nat and others have suggested as a solution to the 'one country one submission" problem that the Academy has, meaning that all films submitted for the best foreign film Oscar AND all foreign films released during the calendar year in the US were eligible. No is a 2013 release in the States.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Interesting post, billybil, and if agree to an extent. The stanning for Adele, Greta and Watson, for example, in some corner of the blog this season was pretty intense, almost contrarian. That said, I think it's a good list.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBD

It's always interesting to read what other people like, whether you agree or disagree. Even if you crown the same film, it's rarely for the same reasons. Nick, I feel like I knew you were somewhat lukewarm on Fassbender, but how do you feel about Nyong'o and Paulson in the film? I don't think I've ever heard (on the podcasts) or read your opinions about those two performance specifically.

Hate to be that guy, but was Barkhad Abdi supporting on all ballots? Just watched Captain Phillips, and while Hanks is the "star" of the film, Abdi is the co-lead. I realize that would never fly as a mainstream awards play, but here?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Can't wait to see this individual lists! All very deserving winners here, even if I am in the Barkhad Abdi is a lead team. It is interesting how such an idiosyncratic group of critics could produce such an on the nose list of winners, but that speaks to the law of averages. The greatest common factor will win out. 12 Years a Slave is one hell of a common factor.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

@Paul: I never said I could take my eyes off Fassbender...

@Paul and @TB: I know Nathaniel's been squarely on the side of classifying Abdi as a lead. You've both seen the movie more recently than I have; the reason I cleaved to the Supporting classification is because I remember Captain Phillips as isolating Abdi from the other pirates on some occasions but also folding him back into the group for other key stretches, where Hanks' foil is sort of the whole squad and not Muse alone, or even Muse principally. I might be recalling wrong. I see it as a border case, at least, but understand why others don't.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Nick, hopefully around the time of the Oscars.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Not that this has anything to do with this article but I been confused by some of the criticism of "Inside Llewyn Davis" I've heard lately. Like most Coen brothers' films I liked it quite a bit but not unreservedly, so I can see insight and understand a number of critiques of the film.
However a lot of it seems to focus on whether or not the film accurately represents how people remember or imagine the early 60's folk scene and/or Dave Van Ronk (from whom the title character is partly inspired).
I've never been a stickler for historical accuracy in film but even said sticklers should see that "Inside Llewyn Davis" a fictional story about a fictional character and never claims to be otherwise (a la "The Butler") and are therefore this grievance should not be used as a point of contention in judging the overall quality of the film. And yet I've heard this gripe repeated and I guess its lack of validity rubbed me the wrong way (and so I rant).

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJJsDiner

I was very curious to see how different this would end up from my submitted ballot, and unsurprisingly it's way different. Like Glenn 12 YEARS A SLAVE does not appear on my ballot (and like Deborah, GRAVITY only appears for visual effects) but it's so nice to be on board with an across the board winner like Cate Blanchett in BLUE JASMINE.

re Abdi in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (who was my only citation for his film) I think to some degree it does blur the lines re category placement but if James Gandolfini is handily considered as a supporting player then Abdi definitely is, similarly, supporting.

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrewK

Thanks Nathaniel. Wow - I apologize. Boy did I have a bug up my ass yesterday when I wrote that. You're right Mr. Davis - I wrote in a way that was too aggressive even though I can remember feeling very angry, very negative and obviously very self pitying in those moments. Another example of the danger of not sitting for a while before hitting send. I will admit I MISS Nathaniel whenever he isn't writing. (So I want Nathaniel 24/7 - so sue me!) Not that you other guys aren't interesting and write very well but Nathaniel is the guy who touches my heart. Anyway - thanks for clarifying about big performances. I did misinterpret. And certainly I totally agree with your statement as written above. Anyway - I'm obviously going to keep reading cause when you're do the thing I like, there's nobody better! :-)

January 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

Billybil -- thanks for that. i've had to catch mysef so many times in comments so i get it. it's easy to just vent. I will be back to writing more this year. i have been going through a long transitional phase to move the blog from difficult obsession to career and it's funny how to make something a career (necessary given the time put in) you end up having to spend less time doing it. It's like when chefs complain they don't get to cook as much once now that they're the chef.

i dunno bad analogy maybe.

January 15, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

JJS - I completely agree, this has me confused as well. And the hatred some people have for this movie is so bizarre, I can't imagine where it comes from. (Although everyone looks at me like I'm an alien when I tell them I hated "Nebraska".)

January 17, 2014 | Unregistered Commentervladdy

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