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January 7, 2015

For Your Consideration: 2014’s Overlooked Awards Contenders To Remember

— Posted by Kenny Miles


As the flood gates of hype unleash awards buzz at the end of the year, sometimes we can forget about the great movies released during the rest of the year and not just the last few weeks. With 2014 coming to an end and this noise at a fever pitch, it is important for movie fans, film bloggers, and awards voters to keep in mind that other performances and filmmaking techniques are Oscar worthy as well. With some awards pundits admitting it can cost a studio up to $20 million for a robust campaign, the big players at the end of the year clearly dominate the conversation. This is mostly the large studios as well as The Weinstein Company, Sony Pictures Classics, and Fox Searchlight. Likewise, smaller movies are neglected especially if a smaller studio doesn’t have the budget to justify pushing for awards consideration. Here are some award worthy movies in selected categories that are truly For Your Consideration…


Brendan Gleeson as Father James was a revelation.

Best Picture: Calvary

In a year where Hollywood re-discovered the Bible with countless faith-based/themed films, Calvary was the vastly superior movie encompassing the darkly virtuous complexity of the text; depravity, grace, and, ultimately, forgiveness. Filmmakers rarely explore this side with sacred reverence among jaded realism. Rather they seek to appease the superficial, mega-church crowd with Sunday school comfort food serving neo-conservative victimization as empowerment to the faithful (Gods Not Dead, Persecuted, and Kirk Cameron’s self righteous promotion all come to mind). From confronting the Catholic sex abuse scandal to the reconciliation of relational wounds, Calvary‘s soulful, thought provoking reflection was told in a delicate demeanor. This raw, well-written, dark comedy with an outstanding ensemble was dominated by a fiercely humble Brendan Gleeson in his best performance to date.


The Grand Budapest Hotel


Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel will likely receive nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Art Direction/Production Design. However, the strongest element of the movie could be ignored. What seemed like a shoo-in Oscar nomination for Ralph Fiennes even late this summer now seems like a distant memory at the end of the year! With leading male performances wowing everything everything from the festival circuit to mainstream releases, this seems like an improbable nomination. Too bad. Ralph Fiennes is a live wire showcasing an auteur comedic one man show we truly never see in cinema. He deserves a nomination.




Best Actress: Jennifer Aniston for Cake

Jennifer Aniston has never received the respect in the industry that she deserves yet directors rarely give her a chance to showcase her talent. That’s why Cake is such a game changer for her career. Not since The Good Girl has Jennifer Aniston been so vulnerable and terrific in a leading performance. Her character becomes obsessed by the suicide of a woman in her chronic pain support group. It is a reserved and low-key that contrasts with her bombastic persona. Miss Aniston has range. With a SAG and Golden Globe nomination, Jennifer Aniston has a legitimate chance to earn her first Oscar nomination. Don’t neglect this opportunity, Academy.




Best Supporting Actress: Carrie Coon for Gone Girl

I was worried that Patricia Arquette’s grounded work in Boyhood wold be forgotten, but she is the front-runner even though the movie could be called Motherhood because of her dedication, discipline, and demeanor during the role. One person to remember for the best supporting actress category is Carrie Coon who commands all of her scenes in Gone Girl. She was so vital in an understated way. I couldn’t imagine Gone Girl without her character nor performance. In a movie filled with many outstanding female performances, I hope she wont be overlooked due to a crowded field. Gone Girl’s biggest victim would be neglecting Carrie Coon’s strong female performance during awards season.




Best Supporting Actor: Andy Serkis for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

I wanted to salute Robert Pattenson in The Rover, with his combination of rustic grit and method acting (Director David Michod who got an Oscar nomination out of Jackie Weaver for Animal Kingdom is a filmmaker to keep an eye on.) To say that actor Andy Serkis is overdue for recognition from the Academy is an understatement. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Mr. Serkis transforms into Ceaser in an emotionally engaging, technically impressive performance. It amazes me how Andy Serkis keeps getting better on screen digitally maturing through out his body of work. I’m looking forward to his hard earned Oscar he will receive. Whether that statue will be a Lifetime Achievement Award or for an individual performance remains to be seen.


Obvious Child


Best Screenplay: Gillian Robespierre, Elisabeth Holm, and Karen Maine for Obvious Child

A24’s Obvious Child took big risks marketing “the abortion comedy” to audiences during a conservative wave election year. The screenwriters brass honesty complimented Jenny Slate who is becoming the voice of the next generation of female comedians. Obvious Child is a prime example to why I describe the edginess of A24 as “Millennial Miramax” setting a new bar in a rather tame industry. With biting one-liners and realistic situations, the screen writers portrays the hopes and struggles of Millennials. As a man, Obvious Child was one of the most eye opening movies of the year. Obvious Child provides much needed confidence for young American women in the age of burdensome Tinder insecurities.




Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique for Noah

Noah upset reactionary Christians and close-minded non-believers when it played earlier this year. Others connected with this bizarre and beautiful movie. Many of the technical aspects of Noah were impressive from the visual effects, sound effects, editing, etc. However, the cinematography remains to be one of the best I’ve seen in any movie all year. Working alongside Darren Aronofsky, Matthew Libatique brought his biblical re-telling (and re-interpretation) to the big screen. Noah shifts in tone and style is reflected in the cinematography from the calming shadowy silhouettes with the sunset backdrop to the kinetic glory of the creation story to the chaos of the bleak drenching flooding. There wasn’t anything more versatile on screen all year.




Best Editing: Julia Bloch for Blue Ruin

One of 2014’s overlooked, yet best films is Blue Ruin. It quietly opened in May and I know it will have a cinematic legacy well beyond 2014. The Oscars may not treat Blue Ruin well, but time will. The jarring suspense builds because of the carefully crafted editing from Julia Bloch. A lot of people praise the direction, acting, or screenplay in this revenge thriller. However, the strength of Blue Ruin is the tight and concise editing.




Best Sound Effects: Johnnie Burn for Under The Skin

One element that made the great science fiction movie Under the Skin so effective was the sound effects. The sound enhanced the moody and creepy atmosphere. It is the most important yet potentially overlooked thing in Under the Skin. The background noises fills the ears of the audiences with the sense of unsettling anxiety of impending doom for the men Scarlet Johansson lures away. I’m not familiar with the intricate details nor difference between sound editing or mixing. Johnnie Burn deserve recognition for collaborating on this visionary, abstract masterpiece.




Best Original Song: Nico & Vinz’s feat Emmanuel Jal “Find A Way” for The Good Lie

After the “Alone Not Yet Alone” shock nomination and the strange nod for Chasing Ice, a song or two can randomly sneak in to this category. Why not allow the light hearted and rambunctious Nico & Vinz song from the very under-appreciated and overlooked drama The Good Lie earn a nomination? The song “Find A Way” embodies the breezy optimism and inspiring determination found in The Good Lie. Besides, I liked this song a lot better than Lana Del Rey singing “Blue Eyes.”



Best Documentary: The Overnighters

Every year, documentaries get screwed in their feature length category. It is bound to happen with some beloved ones. I’d like to highlight the best documentary of 2014 The Overnighters which has a strong chance to get nominated, but an even larger hurdle to overcome by not making the final cut in field from higher profile documentaries about Edward Snowden, Roger Ebert and the Vietnam War. Jesse Moss’ raw, gritty expose on the decline of small town economic life and brave indictment on hypocritical Christians is the year’s most important documentary on the state of this country’s inequality. It is a rare snapshot of unfiltered non-fiction American storytelling of hardship that comes around every five years on par with Restrepo or Murderball. A doc that showcases intimate moments of a pervasive attitude that define an era must be recognized by the Academy doc branch.


This post was written by :

who has written 297 posts on The Movie Blog

Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.

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