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Boyhood Trophies. Nightcrawler Sweeps. Plus: A Bunch of Oscar Chart Updates

Pro Boyhood. Meh on Gone GirlAs you have undoubtedly heard by now even President Barack Obama has boarded the Boyhood train, declaring it the best of the year... that he has seen (it might surprise you to hear that presidents don't have a lot of time for moviegoing). FLOTUS, who helped hand out the Oscar for Best Picture to Argo if you'll recall, offers up no "Best" opinion to People Magazine but randomly shares that she didn't think Gone Girl was all that and preferred the book.

Where were we? Oh yes. Regional critics groups are feeling a tiny bit friskier than usual. No, they really are. Oh sure there is a lot of hive mind action happening (Boyhood, Arquette, J.K., Citizen Four etcetera) but it's not quite as lockstep as it has been in recent years.

Since we last spoke a few more cities have weighed in and it's semi-interesting at least to see a range of Best Actress choices (Reese & Rosamund) and how about San Diego's total unblinking obsession with Nightcrawler?

Lou Bloom must have given them the hard sell. Lou Bloom got that job. [More...]

Established in 1996, slightly before the glut in critics organizations happened they've been a bit hard to pin down in terms of their taste often going for unexpected choices like Winters Bone  or Ghost World or... um... King Kong as well as the usual Best Picture frontrunners that all critics groups succumb to semi-regularly. Nightcrawler is their most-winning film of all time with 7 prizes. Can you believe it?

Film Nightcrawler
Director Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler 
Actress Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Supporting Actress Rene Russo, Nightcrawler
Supporting Actor Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Adapted Screenplay Gone Girl
Original Screenplay Nightcrawler
Animated Feature The Boxtrolls
Documentary Citizen Four
Cinematography Nightcrawler
Score Nightcrawler
Editing Edge of Tomorrow
Production Design Grand Budapest Hotel
Foreign Film Force Majeure
Body of Work Willem Dafoe for The Fault in Our Stars / The Grand Budapest Hotel / John Wick / A Most Wanted Man / Nymphomaniac Vol. II

Established in 2000 Phoenix tends to get stuck in weird ruts. They gave ALL of their best picture prizes to the Lord of the Rings trilogy in their day and for the past seven years with an Inglourious Basterds exception they've given their best picture prize to the total Oscar frontrunner. But this year Birdman, which could well win Best Picture but is no sure thing like the others. 

Picture Birdman
Director Alejandro Inarritu, Birdman
Actress Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Actor Michael Keaton, Birdman
Supporting Actress Keira Knightley, Imitation Game
Supporting Actor JK Simmons, Whiplash 
Youth Performance Male Jaden Leiberer St Vincent
Youth Performance Female Lilla Crawford, Into the Woods
Ensemble Birdman
Original Score Birdman
Cinematography Birdman
Editing Birdman
Production Design Grand Budapest HOtel
Costume Design Grand Budapest Hotel
Visual Effect Interstellar
Stunts Edge of Tomrorrow
Breakthrough Performancce On Camera Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Breakthrough Performance Behind Camera Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Original Song "Everything is Awesome," The LEGO Movie
Original Screenplay Grand Budapest Hotel
Adapted Screenplay Gone Girl
Animated Feature The LEGO Movie
Family Film Into the Woods
Foreign Film Ida 
Documentary I'll Be Me 

You know that Texas critics branch have to vote for Boyhood. It's in their bylaws. I kid I kid. I am partial to films about New York City and Detroit myself. Especially when they ring true. 

 Film Boyhood
Their top 10 went like so...

  1. Boyhood
  2. Whiplash
  3. Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Birdman
  5. Snowpiercer
  6. Nightcrawler
  7. Selma
  8. The Imitation Game
  9. [TIE] Inherent Vice & Gone Girl

Director Richard Linklater, Boyhood 
Actress Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Actor Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Supporting Actor JK Simmons, Whiplash
Adapted Screenplay Gone Girl
Original Screenplay Nightcrawler
Animated Feature The LEGO Movie
Documentary Citizen Four
Cinematography Birdman
Score Birdman
Foreign Film Force Majeure
First Film Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Breakthrough Artist Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
Best Austin Film Boyhood
Special Honorary Award Gary Poulter for his performance in Joe 


Formed in 2007. I was amused to see that one of the members of my home away from home (I grew up in Detroit) listed the best supporting actress winner as Patricia's eldest sis "Rosanna Arquette". I'm sure Rosanna wouldn't mind a similar revival and, hell, she probably deserves one. At her best she was a very memorable screen presence. There was even a top 10 pop hit about her, people

Film Boyhood
Director Richard Linklater, Boyhood 
Actress Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Actor Michael Keaton, Birdman
Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Supporting Actor JK Simmons, Whiplash
Screenplay Boyhood
Documentary Citizen Four
Breakthrough Award Damien Chazelle, Whiplash

This critical organization handed out its first Best Picture prize to Mississippi Burning for 1988. But they immediately moved to their still-in-use format of a nomination round first in which Do The Right Thing trumped and interesting array of competitors - far more interesting than the Oscar lineup sharing only one film (Born on the Fourth of July). Their nominations after that were more Oscar in synch. In fact in their past decade of awardage only 8 of their 50 Best Picture nominees, haven't been similarly honored by Oscar though that number will probably jump to 9 of 50 since Under the Skin was a top nominee for them this year. We used to love the nomination round with Chicago, which was idiosyncratic to them for a long time, but now that 60%+ of the tiny critics organizations do it it feels like overkill. Especially with so much Oscar overlap. 

It's also the land of Nick & Tim! So we love the Windy City. Though you cannot hold them responsible for these prizes. I'm just saying they live there. Miss you guys!


Film Boyhood
Director Richard Linklater, Boyhood 
Actress Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Actor Michael Keaton, Birdman
Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Supporting Actor JK Simmons, Whiplash 
Adapted Screenplay Gone Girl
Original Screenplay Grand Budapest Hotel
Animated Feature The LEGO Movie
Documentary Life Itself
Cinematography [TIE] Birdman and Grand Budapest Hotel 
Editing Whiplash
Production Design Grand Budapest Hotel
Foreign Film Force Majeure
Score Under the Skin
Most Promising Performer Jack O'Connell Starred Up / Unbroken
Most Promising Filmmaker Damien Chazelle, Whiplash


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Reader Comments (13)

Just saw Force Majeure and wow, what a wonderful, strange experience. Just when you think you know where it's going, it...keeps going. An interesting exploration of masculinity, relationship roles (seriously, why does the man always have to do the talking, like asking others to not eavesdrop or telling your guests that you should be going?), identity vs. perception, etc. in its way, it's just as tightly focused Ida, but also feels much bigger and more colorful. I'm not sure which I'd vote for for Foreign Film.

So much Nightcrawler love amongst the regional critics yet still very little for Russo. I knew Arquette would do well but she's basically as big of a lock as Blanchett in her category last year. Good for her but it makes the category pretty boring.

December 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

The huge LOVE for The Lego movie continues to mystify me. I always thought it was just good when graded on a curve (i.e. when compared to the rest of the drek released in February) but nowhere near the BEST of anything of the year. The screenplay prize from New York is especially galling.

December 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJase

Finally! Someone else who thinks the Lego movie is thoroughly overrated! It's just soulless! They took the mind-numbingly dull formula for action films and threw a Lego theme on top of it. There's no recovery from a bad screenplay, but the animation wasn't interesting either.

December 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMikey67

Agree about Force Majeure. What a great screenplay! I still have Ida and The Babadook on the to-see list, but the foreign films are really something.

December 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterzig

I think you got the wrong winners for the Phoenix Film Critics...

December 18, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

So surprised that you think Boseman and Teller have better shots at a nomination than Fiennes does.

December 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Having finally caught up with Nightcrawler I really do understand why people love it so much even if it wasn't completely my tastes. But the more awards love that accrues to feels so similar to Drive in 2011. Sleek, beautiful LA at night thriller that's cooler than you'd think but still not up the academy's alley. Would love to see Renee Russo get that seemingly open spot in supporting actress....just hopefully not at the expense of Stone or Knightley.

December 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBigTallDrew

Ryan T -- that i did. thanks for pointing it out. Fixed. Weirdlly i cannot see where I got those from now. can't find the errant critics awards that were confusing me. (mystery)

December 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I am hoping Jakey brings in The Russo on Oscar nom day.

December 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

Nathaniel and Ryan-- Apparently Phoenix has two critics groups now: Phoenix Film Critics Society, which started giving out awards in 2000, and the Phoenix Film Critics Circle, which I have never heard of until this year.

December 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdoughyjunn

Doughyjunn - UGH. gets worse and worse every year. I don't wanna be a dick. But it's really starting to look like anyone can get press coverage just by slapping "film critic society" on something. It's ridiculous. Phoenix does not need two groups. Texas does not need several. Etcetera. I fear I will have to just institute a cutoff date for my coverage to make it more manageable.

if your organization is at least 12-20 years old (like, an actual history... i'll pick a number) you will be included. Anyone else: bye-bye!

December 19, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel - I think laying down some criteria for this proliferation of critics groups would be welcome. Organizations should have a history going back 20 years at least.

Jase & Mickey - you are not the only ones who didn't enjoy "The Lego Movie" as much as everyone else, I found it way too loud, and a bit tedious. Boxtrolls was funnier.

December 19, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

Nathaniel- if you like movies set in a home town Detroit, have you still managed to resist seeing Only Lovers Left Alive, with its lyrical evocation of night time Detroit?

December 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

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