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...
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)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
TIE: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) and Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
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
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
12 Years a Slave
Runner-up: The Great Gatsby
BEST COSTUME DESIGN
The Great Gatsby
Runners-up (tied): 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING
12 Years a Slave
Runner-up: American Hustle
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Runner-up: Pacific Rim
12 Years a Slave
BEST SOUND DESIGN
Runner-up: Upstream Colour
Inside Llewyn Davis
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer)
Runners-up (tied): At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman) and Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley)
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Runner-up: Ernest and Celestine
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
No (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.
• Note: As with last year, Nathaniel opted out of voting for these awards, but you can already check his ongoing personal awards here.)