IMPORTANT REMINDER: the My Cinema Awards are based on the films that hit wide (or their widest) release before December 31st. As such, you will not see any awards for Selma, American Sniper, A Most Violent Year and any other late-release films that snuck into the Oscars race on a timing technicality. They will be in consideration for our 2015 awards season.
Refresh your memory of the My Cinema Award Nominees.
Now here are the winners:
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Ty Burrell (The Skeleton Twins)
We’ve been huge Ty Burrell fans since long before Modern Family but this is the first time we’ve seen him get to stretch his dramatic muscles. A beautiful, uncomfortable, funny and tragic performance. More please!
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy
Melanie Lynskey (Happy Christmas)
One of the great naturalistic actresses of her generation, in Joe Swanberg’s mumblecore triumph Happy Christmas the amazing Melanie Lynskey may have delivered her best performance yet.
Best Supporting Actor in a Drama
JK Simmons (Whiplash)
This was probably the year’s strongest category, full of many of our favourite actors ever. But it was also the only category that was a 100% no questions asked slam dunk for our chosen winner. We didn’t even reconsider after he won the Oscar (we really don’t like giving another award to the Oscar winner, it feels redundant, but sometimes it’s the only move). This performance was a masterpiece and arguing with it is futile.
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Rene Russo (Nightcrawler)
Nightcrawler in general got short shrift during awards season this year (poor Gyllenhaal was all but completely forgotten despite delivering a career-best performance) but it was Rene Russo’s devastating turn that for us highlighted that incredible film and in particular deserved a ton more recognition. This is us recognizing her.
Best Actor in a Comedy
Ben Schnetzer (Pride)
Mark our words, Ben Schnetzer is going to be a huge star. This 25-year-old New Yorker (whom we had no idea was American after standout turns as a German in The Book Thief and a Brit in Pride) is captivating and chameleonic. His intelligent, funny and deeply moving performance in one of our favourite films of the year perfectly demonstrated his immeasurable presence.
Best Actress in a Comedy
Leslie Mann (The Other Woman)
We feel like we’ve been waiting for The Other Woman for over a decade. We suspect that maybe Leslie Mann has been as well. After years of playing second fiddle pretty girls, she finally got to really fly in this movie, mixing a few honestly heartbreaking moments in with the sort of comedic performance that makes you think of her famous husband as the plus one.
Best Actor in a Drama
Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything)
Another Oscar winner we just couldn’t argue with (there’s a third coming up; while the nominations were nonsense this year a lot of the winners were spot-on). Eddie Redmayne has been a favourite for years and we’re so thrilled to see him become one of the biggest stars in the world. Stephen Hawking may be an easy awards bait role but the execution of the role was clearly not easy at all and it was all the silent emotive moments many actors would have glossed over that made us true believers in Eddie’s genius performance (pun absolutely intended).
Best Actress in a Drama
Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
This was a great year for many of our favourite supporting actors and lesser-known celebrities really making a name for themselves on film. Another great example is Rosamund Pike who has always flourished in charming, subtle films like Barney’s Version but never quite hit mainstream fame. Then she got Gone. It was perfect casting, a character that allowed Rosamund to wield those perfect cheekbones and practiced charm as weapons, frosting over her usual kind vulnerability in the sort of ruthless performance that will never let us sleep soundly again.
Into the Woods
Considering how much stunt casting was in this group, there was shockingly no weak link. In fact, the stunt casting added to the fun (and, in Meryl’s case, the emotional gravitas, if not the vocals). Anchored by a beautifully lived-in performance from Emily Blunt as the Baker’s Wife with strong turns by Anna Kendrick, Lilla Crawford & James Corden and highlighted by epic scene thief Chris Pine, this group fired on all cylinders.
Alejandro González Iñárritu (Birdman)
I mean, honestly. Remember when people got all excited about one long continuous shot that lasted a few minutes? Iñárritu seamlessly pulled that off for his Entire Movie. But what was really special about the brazen Birdman directorial style was that it wasn’t just visual trickery for the sake of film nerd prestige- everything worked on a story level; everything fit together tonally; every single visual choice had a purpose beyond looking cool and that’s what makes a directorially bold film actually worth watching.
Best Screenplay: Comedy
Tom Gormican (That Awkward Moment)
You likely just rolled your eyes but we’re willing to bet you didn’t actually see That Awkward Moment, so you don’t know what you’re talking about. This terribly marketed rom-com sported a hilarious and charming script that refused to trade character and relationships for an easy laugh. If only the right people had seen it! Alas, the studio misread the appropriate target audience and fired all their promotional bullets in entirely the wrong direction. Give this film a shot. If you even love it half as much as we did, you’ll still really really love it.
Best Screenplay: Drama
Joon-ho Bong & Kelly Masterson (Snowpiercer)
The sheer imagination of this film was mind-boggling. Insightful, ambitious and executed with incredible precision, Snowpiercer was the sort of marriage of visual art and genre-smashing storytelling panache that reminds us why film is such a valuable medium. It must be seen to be believed.
Performer of the Year
The intensely prolific Anna Kendrick had an amazing year in 2014, starring in two musicals (the huge Into the Woods and the wonderful Last Five Years) and four indies. Of the 110 films ranked in our My Cinematic 2014 feature, three Anna Kendrick projects ranked in the top 15, two of them in the top 5! This is just one of those trains you have to be on. If you’re not on yet, there’s something wrong with you because Anna is an objective delight.
Justin Lader (The One I Love)
There is exactly one feature length credit on Justin Lader’s IMDB page. That that one credit was one of the most startlingly beautiful films of the entire year is a huge testament to his creativity and talent. Combining careful plotting with intense character development, Justin redefined the role of screenwriter for improvised filmmaking and created one of the most inventive and metaphorically rich pieces of storytelling on screen in 2014. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
The film industry lost a ton of remarkable artists in 2014 but no loss hit our culture in the heart quite like the suicide of Robin Williams. The legendary actor and comedian’s death was sudden and heart-wrenching, resulting in an immediate outpouring of grief and gratitude as well as a much-needed discussion about mental illness. This honorary award is our insufficient tribute to the man who was Mrs. Doubtfire, Patch Adams, Armand Goldman & Sean Maguire and who taught us to Seize the Day. Thank you, Robin; we ain’t never had a friend like you.