2014 BAM Award Honorees

Here in a live blog format you will see this year’s honorees in the BAM Awards (Bernardo Villela’s personal selections) be posted.

When the list is complete it will be indicated. It will work its way up from the bottom of the nominations list to the top.

-Post Complete-

Best Picture

A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Calvary
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Finn
Into the Woods
The Judge
St. Vincent
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

And the award goes to…

The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks (2014, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

Picking up where I left off in the Best Foreign Film discussion significance and greatness are not always things that go hand in hand. There are films that are narrative or technological leaps forward that just do not connect with me. What The Way He Looks has in its favor is that it boasts all these qualities that make it an important work but is also warm, sensitive, human, impeccably acted and expertly directed such that it connects without trying to hard such that it almost seems as if it’s not trying at all. There’s a deft slight-of-hand at play that’s enviable indeed.

The way he looks takes characters and situations that are by no means simple but renders them simply, visually in a heartfelt way that can surely endear itself to almost anyone.

The other Best Picture candidates will be discussed on the site in the Best Films of the Year: 10-1 post which is forthcoming.

Best Director

Richard Linklater Boyhood
John Michael McDonagh Calvary
Rob Meyer A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Daniel Ribeiro The Way He Looks
Frans Weisz Finn

And the award goes to…

Daniel Ribeiro The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks (2014, Strand Releasing)

I rarely feel compelled anymore to split between Best Picture and Best Director in nominations anymore. The only instance of it happening this year was Richard Linklater making the cut whereas Boyhood did not. In that case I did feel the achievements in directing there outweighed those of the film itself. However, in terms of picking a Best Director that is different than the Best Picture winner that happens far more rarely and I cannot justify it here. Daniel Ribeiro wrote and directed this movie based on a short film he himself created and there is no doubt that it is his confident and unseen hand that is the author of this film’s triumph.

Best Foreign Film

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Custody
Finn
Ilo Ilo
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Misunderstood
The Mystery of Happiness
Stations of the Cross
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
The Way He Looks

And the award goes to…

The Way He Looks

The Way He Looks (2014, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

The good thing about having multiple foreign films in your top ten is that it’s not a dead giveaway as to which film will be named the Best that just happens to be foreign. Clearly, all the films nominated are highly recommended. I highly hope Stations of the Cross finds someone who will be willing to bring it to the US. Finn, has North American distribution but just needs more eyes that will be able to find it. All of the above are worth looking into.

What is it that makes The Way He Looks walk away with the prize is a few factors. The largest one that cannot be ignored is that by having Leonardo be blind it instantly without having to soapbox does away with a lot of the encumbrances of gay coming-of-age stories. The fact that he is blind and wants his parents to give him a little room to breathe instantly puts elements into play that are bigger than his sexual orientation which is not something there’s ever been evidence he struggled with. Also, by having Leo be blind it becomes clear it’s the person and the way they make him feel that attracts Leo at first. In downplaying the physical element in this way it is a further humanizing step. A while back I discussed how positive stories needed to exist in the world of gay cinema. Ultimately though I think it’s of even greater importance that truthful and universal films that connect with people that are not necessarily the intended audience matter quite a bit as well. That’s just a little of the significance of the film on and off-screen.

Most Overlooked Picture

20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
The Boxtrolls
The Famous Five 3
Finn
It’s Not Me, I Swear
Labyrinthus
Mission: Sputnik
Misunderstood
Stations of the Cross
The Way He Looks

And the award goes to…

Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross (2014, Beta Cinema)

Explanation

Earlier this year I wrote a post where I chronicled how in one way or another Hollywood was fighting a losing battle in its attempt to provide faith-based entertainment. Whether it be the fault of the film, or the faithful there has usually been a disconnect. While on the indie circuit films like Calvary have proven that just because a film deals ostensibly with ecclesiastical concerns doesn’t mean it needs to pander or be bereft of intelligence as far too many faith-based films feel they need to be. In following a pattern where I have factored in the US distribution status of a film into choosing the recipient of this prize Stations of the Cross takes the cake here. The transparency with which this film transcribes the fourteen stations of the cross make it accessible and the debate or interpretation and non-judgmental character study make it a film that can be relatable to an audience whether they agree with the application of Catholicism practiced in this film or not. It bears noting that Misunderstood, 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg and The Famous Five 3 all need and deserve North American distribution as well.

Other films in this and further categories can be found in my year-end posts.

Best Actress

Amrita Acharia I Am Yours
Juliette Binoche 1,000 Times Good Night
Essie Davis The Babadook
Charlotte Gainsbourg Nymphomaniac: Volume II
Shailene Woodley The Fault in Our Stars

And the award goes to…

Charlotte Gainsbourg Nymphomaniac: Volume II

Nymphomaniac: Volume II (2014, IFC Films)

Explanation

The genre where a performance finds itself should not be held against an actress as the inclusion of Essie Davis and last year’s win for Imelda Staunton can testify to. Age should not be an encumbrance as the inclusion of Shailene Woodley is a testament to. Nor should performing in a language that is not your birth tongue shouldn’t be an encumbrance as is exemplified by Amrita Acharia and Juliette Binoche, who also have the distinction of bilingual turns. Acharia, Binoche and Gainsbourg all turn in superlative performances due in large part to cinematic nature of their performances, meaning it’s not just about their dialogue scenes. What takes Gainsbourg over the top is not just that fact, but the fact there is an exploratory nature and a nearly incomparable lever of bravura in her interpretation of a character who is less-than desirable.

Best Actor

Nicolas Cage Joe
Brendan Gleeson Calvary
Tom Hardy The Drop
Tom Hardy Locke
Robert Downey, Jr. The Judge

And the award goes to…

Brendan Gleeson Calvary

Calvary (2014, Fox Searchlight)

Explanation

I do not believe in either combining performances by the same actor, which accounts for Tom Hardy being nominated twice. Nor do I really believe in performances by the same actor canceling each other out which explains how Hardy ends up 3rd and 4th on the list this year were I to rank the acting performances individually. A locked-in, good Nicolas Cage is always a great thing and too rare a sight, which is part of why his turn in Joe is up here. Robert Downey, Jr. is probably equally as capable as a serious and comedic actor. His sensitive portrayal of an estranged, jaded lawyer earns him a nomination anew. However, the seriocomic balance being a factor as well as how much of a load a lead had to factor is ultimately what leads to Brendan Gleeson to the top of the heap. In a tale of a good priest in a world that openly questions the role of religion in the secular lives of parishioners the easy temptation is to write and portray that character simplistically; this priest is anything but the same goes for Gleeson’s nuanced detailed performance.

Best Supporting Actress

Ximena Ayala The Amazing Catfish
Ellen Burstyn Flowers in the Attic
Jessica Lange In Secret
Melissa McCarthy St. Vincent
Meryl Streep Into the Woods

And the award goes to…

Jessica Lange In Secret

In Secret (2014, Roadside Attractions)

Explanation

As one can expect there was no easy answer to be found here. Melissa McCarthy in  St. Vincent has more of a layered character to play than in any of her films that were strictly comedies. Having better material makes her an easy selection. Ximena Ayala has a complicated task of a woman with a past she seeks to distance herself from but it not 100% forthcoming in  addressing. Then there’s Ellen Burstyn who dominates this film and leaves you scratching your head as to why you don’t see nearly enough of her. Yes, Flowers in the Attic is a made-for-TV film but I’ve never discriminated against them and the line between the two blurs on an yearly basis. As delicious as that role was there was not as much variation between that role and the others, which leaves two legendary figures to choose from Jessica Lange and Meryl Streep.

Streep provides comedy, her usual dramatic flair and sings her character’s big song wonderfully. I was very tempted again to select a devious character, Lange’s interpretation contains her usual sensitivity, litheness and intensity. It’s not a wholly black character which makes it a bit more harrowing to watch, and is ultimately what pulls her through. In creating sympathy for the devil an old-hat melodramatic Gallic tale has new life thanks to Miss Lange.

Best Supporting Actor

Jan Decleir Finn
Robert Duvall The Judge
Gabriel Garko Misunderstood
Logan Lerman Fury
Brendan Meyer The Guest
Mark Ram 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

And the award goes to…

Robert Duvall The Judge

The Judge (2014, Warner Bros.)

Explanation

With the young actor categories there was parity not only in the categories but I did not single out any fields for the six-nominee maximum. With the open categories I only went with one. In terms of the nominations threshold there was an unbreakable flatfooted tie. Ultimately, I couldn’t penalize any actor for the size of their supporting turn. Similarly, Brendan Meyer who was playing quite a few years younger than his actual age is so spot-on in The Guest that that fact could not be used against him. Gabriel Garko plays a character so absurdly broad that his more serious, human moments should but it is his talents and openness as an actor that allows those to translate as the flipside of his overly-emotional and superstitious self. Logan Lerman plays the conscience of his narrative which can be a thankless task, but his expressiveness and readable doubts and fear allow us to take the journey with him. The cast of 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg is strong all around such that the players were in the running throughout all the categories. With Ram it was his dealing with newly-resurfacing secrets and the contradictory traits of human nature that propel him. Jan Decleir in Finn has to be a presence even bigger than his screentime, he needs to be an ideal and a wish-fulfillment of a young child and he accomplishes that in spades. What takes Robert Duvall over the top is not just the exacting version of a crusty persona, not just the battle-weary fatigue of a life that’s fought back hard, but also the quiet truths that moments elicit from him. There is a universal individuality to character that he drives home, a kindness that exudes from beneath his gruffness and a sensitivity that circumstances and age bring forth from him.

Best Cast

Nils Verkooijen, Mark Ram, Marcel Musters, Anneke Blok and Marieke Heebink 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg
James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep, Mackenzie Mauzy, Chris Pine, Billy Rasmussen etc. Into the Woods
Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Aml Ameen, Ki Hong Lee, Blake Cooper, Dexter Darder, Kayla Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, etc. The Maze Runner
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gabriel Garko, Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Asia Argento, Olimpia Carlisi, Alice Pea, Carolina Poccioni, etc. Misunderstood
Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Dax Shepherd, Emma Tremblay, etc. The Judge

And the award goes to…

James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep, Mackenzie Mauzy, Chris Pine, Billy Rasmussen etc. Into the Woods

Into the Woods (2014, Disney)

Explanation

When judging the merits of a cast as a whole it can get complicated. All the consideration of course is about how the cast acquits itself within the work in question. The two biggest factors are usually the depth of the cast and how high the bar is set that the players are clearing. However, it must be acknowledged that when you think you know an actor and you see them surprise you that’s a great joy. That happens on a few occasions in this film. One of those instances is Chris Pine. Yes, having just seen Horrible Bosses 2 I knew he could be funny but his seemingly Shatner-inspired take on Prince Charming along with a good voice make his turn a joy. Meryl Streep is seemingly always in search of the next thing to show that she can also do and knocking one of the showstopping numbers out of the park is quite a boon. The portrayal of the Wolf in Into the Woods can be one of the most problematic, but Johnny Depp is in very good form here. Daniel Huttlestone follows through on one-upping his breakout in Les Mis. Tracey Ullman brings her usual persona and vocal chops the table. Christine Baranski is a very welcome addition to the cast. Lilla Crawford breaks out and is the stage-to-screen transition in this cast. James Corden may get the breakout performer from this cast showing great comic timing, and affable persona and vocals. Emily Blunt now adds leading lady in a musical to the list of things she can handle easily along with action star in the same year. All the cast get kudos for helping to make a traditionally produced (music recorded in studio and played back on set) musical watchable anew.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Annalise Basso Oculus
Lauren Canny 1,000 Times Good Night
Joey King Wish I Was Here
Giulia Salerno Misunderstood
Flora Thiemann Mission: Sputnik
Lea van Acken Stations of the Cross

And the award goes to…

Giulia Salerno Misunderstood

Misunderstood (2014, Good Films)

Explanation

This is likely the one I went back and forth on the longest. Annalise Basso is flawless in Oculus but what happens there is what happens in many films that split time. There’s less of a load to shoulder so it works against that performer some. Lauren Canny is really much of what drives 1,000 Times Good Night and holds her own against Juliette Binoche. Joey King is likely known to many now for a great performance in Wish I Was Here. Flora Thiemann is the heart and soul of Mission: Sputnik.

It was a flip-flopping tug-of-war between two performances: van Acken in Stations of the Cross and Salerno in Misunderstood. Both should be seen, both are special, but the deciding factors are that Salerno did have more notes that she needed to play in hers, and while working in single takes is difficult, it can be even more unnerving to work in close-ups and Salerno does that a lot. The world of the story is Aria’s and Aria needs to be wholly owned by the actress playing her to be driven home, and she most certainly is.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Spencer Bogaert Labyrinthus
Antoine L’Écuyer The Custody
Antoine L’Écuyer It’s Not Me, I Swear
Kodi Smit-McPhee A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Garrett Ryan Oculus
Nils Verkooijen 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg

And the award goes to…

Antoine L’Écuyer The Custody

The Custody (2014, Attraction Media)

Explanation

On the rare occasion when it’s been applicable I’ve acknowledged that some selections (like Alan Rickman’s win) were influenced by a body of work. To not mention a body of work when it comes to Antoine L’Écuyer there is a quirk of film distribution that allowed two performances by the young actor, one four-to-five years old and another two-to-three years old to debut in the same year. When viewing his first performance it was one of the most impressive first viewings of a young actor I had seen in some time. Then he came along and blew that one out of the water in The Custody.

This all is not meant to detract from another sparkling turn by Kodi Smit-McPhee that made A Birder’s Guide to Everything one of the best films of the year, or Spencer Bogaert’s wonderful debut or Garrett Ryan’s shouldering of a significant workload in a horror film after being a strong supporting cog a few times, or Nils Verkooijen’s layered contribution to 20 Lies… What happens is ultimately great timing for L’Écuyer and unfortunate timing for all others.

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Anna Lou Castoldi Misunderstood
Adrianna Cramer Curtis 1,000 Times Good Night
Lilla Crawford Into the Woods
Catherine Faucher It’s Not Me, I Swear
Lorelei Linklater Boyhood
Emma Verlinden Labyrinthus

And the award goes to…

Emma Verlinden Labyrinthus

Labyrinthus (2014, Attraction Media)

Explanation

All the young actor categories were hard to pick this year, and it seems that will remain the norm for quite some time. Here you have the loud, brash evolution of Lorelei Linklater in Boyhood; the enigmatically harsh realism of Catherine Faucher in It’s Not Me, I Swear; the sensitive bried dreamer in Adrianna Cramer Curtis in 1,000 Times Good Night; Lilla Crawford’s innocent thief-turned-tough Little Red Riding Hood and Anna Lou Costoldi’s implicative nature in Misunderstood. The only thing that can trump all of that is Emma Verlinden’s turn in Labyrinthus for she in it is not only a smart, independent thinker but she well-embodies being one a lead can enamor themselves with and can also play a hero very well.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Peter DaCunha Tormented
Reese Hartwig Earth to Echo
Daniel Huttlestone Into the Woods
Felix Maesschalck Labyrinthus
Art Parkinson Dracula Untold
Tye Sheridan Joe

And the award goes to…

Tye Sheridan Joe

Joe (2014, Roadside Attractions)

Explanation

This year this category is as strong if not stronger than the leading category: Reese Hartwig brings humor and emotion to Earth to Echo, Daniel Huttlestone solidifies his stardom in more standalone musical moments that will hopefully beget another song-and-dance turn from him, Art Parkinson on the big screen shows that House Stark on Game of Thrones may be the finest corps of young actors in the world at present with his riveting emotional turn in Dracula Untold, Peter DaCunha again helps to drives home the scares with visceral humanity in Tormented and Felix Maesschalck has a well-rounded turn as a humorous, romantically-minded best friend. Any could be a very worthy winner, but one young actor brought more out of every frame they were on screen and that was Tye Sheridan.

One way in which the Academy Awards, or any other award shows, can be knocked is that they will rarely reward someone’s out of the box breakout. I’ve not been afraid to do that in the past per se, but I also do not allow previous performances to dictate current results. I was an outlier with Tye Sheridan not winning for Mud, but what happens more and more with young actors now is that they tend to build more impressive resumes sooner. Kodi Smit-McPhee, Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz and many others have racked up many Young Actor nominations. I had a feeling Tye’s turn in this film was going to be special anew, what I didn’t know was that his character would take such a backseat to Nicolas Cage’s that I’d think he’d make more sense being in the Supporting Actor category. While his emotional scenes are great again, he also adds some humor, anger, subjugation and wide-eyed ingenue scenes to his repertoire.

Best Youth Ensemble

Kodi Smit-McPhee, Katie Chang, Alex Wolff and Michael Chen in A Birder’s Guide to Everything
Valeria Eisenbart, Quirin Oettl, Justus Schlingensliepen, Neele-Marie Nickel and Davina Weber The Famous Five 3
Spencer Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck, Emma Verlinden, Nell Cattrysse and Pommelien Tijs Labyrinthus
Flora Thiemann, Finn Fienbig, Luca Johanssen, and Emil von Schönfels Mission: Sputnik
Giulia Salerno, Anna Lou Castoldi, Carolina Poccioni, Andrea Pittorino Misunderstood
Raúl Rivas, Daniel Cerezo, Claudia Vega, Fran García, Marcos Ruiz, Christian Mulas, Aníbal Tártalo, Alberto López, Javier Cifrián and Álex Angulo Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

And the award goes to…

Spencer Bogaert, Felix Maesschalck, Emma Verlinden, Nell Cattrysse and Pommelien Tijs Labyrinthus

Labyrinthus (2014, Attraction Media)

Explanation

If this year is any indication then the Youth categories will only continue to get more intolerably difficult to decipher. This was likely the 2nd most challenging category to make a decision in and one I went back and forth on quite a bit. As I often say the nomination process is a truly hard and one I give a great deal more importance too. However, once the nominees are figured out then you have to figure out how to split hairs.

All these ensembles are, of course, fantastic and when deciding among nominees its more about who is the absolute strongest and not about “weak links.” Zip and Zap’s cast gets the humor and  conveys the adventure of the tale well, the cast of Birder’s bring a lot of honesty, humor and heartfelt emotion to their roles, The Famous Five are a great adventurous bunch, The young cast of Misunderstood had many notes to hit.

It came down to Labyrinthus and Mission: Sputnik. Both films are very highly recommended. Ultimately, the success of Labyrinthus had more to do with its cast than the former film. That one has a lot else going for it that buoys it. Here the cast, the young cast especially is what makes it work. With this being the most globalized category it was hard to remove national considerations, but it ultimately had to be about the film and the actors, which is why Labyrinthus takes home the honor.

Best Original Screenplay

Anna Brüggemann and Dietrich Brüggemann Stations of the Cross
Bruno Forzani, Hélène Cattet The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Steven Knight Locke
Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Dan Hageman, and Kevin Hageman The Lego Movie
Janneke van der Pal Finn

And the award goes to…

Stephen Knight Locke

Locke (2013, A24 Films)

Explanation

There are, as per usual, fairly disparate things happening in each of the screenplays nominated here. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears pays homage to and also updates the giallo formula, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller bring much intelligence, humor, heart and creativity to what could be too easily a solely commercial project, Stations of the Cross examines religion under a harsh light while still respecting the religious characters who are under that light, Finn tells a heartfelt holiday tale that is wonderful for the whole family to watch.

What takes Locke above and beyond is the sheer audacity of it aside from its brilliance. Its a tale that’s what I called a mobile chamber drama. Life-changing events occur for our protagonist as he drives to a hospital. He has to manage a job, bosses, his home life and the woman he’s going to see; he battles himself, ghosts and traffic. The dialogue works, is evocative and is always fitting. It takes a concept that should only work on radio really (even stage would take some doing) and makes it work not just well but brilliantly, which is what makes it so noteworthy.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn X-Men: Days of Future Past
Gary Hawkins and Larry Brown Joe
James Lapine Into the Woods
Dennis Lehane The Drop
Jordan Roberts, Daniel Gerson, Robert L. Baird, Duncan Rouleau, Steven T. Seagle and Paul Briggs and Joseph Mateo Big Hero 6

And the award goes to…

Dennis Lehane The Drop

The Drop (2014, Fox Searchlight)

Explanation

There were some very interesting balancing acts done by the screenplay adapters nominated. Two of them were transforming a story of theirs to a new medium, another had to blend superhero and Disney sensibilities, Joe had to capture a character-driven tale, externalize it and visualize it and the X-Men had to bring one of their biggest stories to the big screen in a compact form. What takes it over the top for The Drop is the tense build, the balance of character and plot intrigue and the little moments elucidated, touched upon and inferred that build to a pretty big, satisfying conclusion.

Best Cinematography

Eric Adkins and Pat Sweeney The Boxtrolls
Dion Beebe Into the Woods
Manuel Dacosse The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Florian Hoffmeister In Secret
Nicola Pecorini Misunderstood

And the award goes to…

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2014, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

The nominees in this category boast strong usage of sunlight and neutral tones in In Secret, combinations of creative lighting techniques and CG while bringing wondrous settings to life frame-by-frame in The Boxtrolls, the gorgeously expressive use of film to capture the 1980s in Rome in Misunderstood, the use of myriad storybook motifs and stage inspirations in Into the Woods and lastly the usage of movement, creative framing, harshly vibrant gelled lights; deep, penetrating backgrounds and precision movements in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears.

Quite frankly the only word to adequately describe the images carved out in this film is astonishing. There’s a lushness that far exceed the prowess of gialli that inspired it and brand themselves on the eyes and minds of those who see it. Sure, it’s excessive but it is so with definite intentions and planning and is all the more breathtaking because of it.

Best Editing

Sandra Adair Boyhood
Bernard Beets The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
James Herbert and Laura Jennings Edge of Tomorrow
Wyatt Smith Into the Woods
Marie-Hélène Dozo Stop the Pounding Heart

And the award goes to…

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

In this category you have the preeminent sculptors in time from the past year. In Stop the Pounding Heart a unique language is created, In Into the Woods dynamic cut-points match with moving shots on the the other end and bounce our attention around the interweaving narratives, Edge of Tomorrow plays perhaps more cleverly with the Groundhog Day concept than any other film and boyhood turns over a decade of a life into just under three smooth, free-flowing hours. Then there is The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, which does cut frequently but with purpose. It is almost nearly living in someone’s psyche and attempting to replicate that with it also moving through time, creating frames and meaning visually it is clearly the most outstanding work of the year.

Best Visual Effects

The Boxtrolls
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Into the Woods
Interstellar

And the award goes to…

The Boxtrolls

Boxtrolls (2014, Laika)

Explanation

Essentially the winners in this category have to be selected for those who best aided their story through the use of VFX, and cannot always be based on advancing the state of the art or the handling of a motif or technique. Therefore, even though Interstellar handles space better than Gravity in graphic terms, Captain America continues to keep the bar elevated for Marvel films and Into the Woods fairly naturally incorporates most of its magic in rendering a fantasy world they cannot come away with the prize. And while the creation of futuristic battles and lithe robotic suits is admirable there’s a combination of old and new, of computerized work and craftsmanship in The Boxtrolls that just cannot be equaled.

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Edge of Tomorrow
The Lego Movie
Locke
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

And the award goes to…

The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears (2013, Strand Releasing)

Explanation

First what must be said is that for some categories such as this one the teams are a bit larger than the key artists and engineers usually cited therefore it is why I single out the film and not key members. There were quite a few different aural tapestries created this year: Locke told most of its story through bypassing traffic, phone calls and inner-monologue, The Lego Movie needed a mix as varied and as imaginative as its land, Edge of Tomorrow and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes needed to create very different futures with different kinds of warfare. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears assaults the senses throughout its duration and the ears are not exempt. Many of the jolts, much of the impact is through the mixing of effects, dialogue and score and helps contribute to its dreamy flow greatly.

Best Makeup

Gone Girl
Into the Woods
Maleficent
The Theory of Everything
Unbroken

And the award goes to…

Unbroken

Unbroken (2014, Warner Bros.)

Explanation

The ultimate tiebreaker among even matched competition is not just the amount of work but how vital the work is to the telling of a story. Unbroken in many ways is a story told through it’s make-up effects. Louie Zamperini is a physically changed man, of course, we examine his mental state as he struggles to persevere but we also need to see it on his face and on his body throughout. It clearly the most exceptional work of the year.

Best Art Direction

Curt Enderle The Boxtrolls
Alan Spalding, Said El Kounti and Hauke Richter Son of God
Dennis Gassner, Andrew Bennett, Ben Collins, Chris Lowe, and Mary Mackenzie Into the Woods
Julia Irribarria The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
Juan Pedro De Gaspar and Géza Kerti Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang

And the award does to…

Dennis Gassner, Andrew Bennett, Ben Collins, Chris Lowe, and Mary Mackenzie Into the Woods

Explanation

There were a number of different ways I could have gone with this choice. Zip and Zap features not only Old World architecture of a sprawling school, but also hidden worlds,  The Boxtrolls creates a world entirely from scratch, Son of God recreates many Biblical lands, The Strange Colors… creates a myopic metropolis in Europe as haunting as it is dazzling. What Into the Woods does is not merely create a storybook world, but finds room for many wondrous (and some of my favorite visual motifs) it also transforms a stage play into a newly realized world, one where none of these stories feel out of place but rather feel like they always should’ve lived together.

Best Costume Design

Colleen Atwood Into the Woods
Deborah Cook The Boxtrolls
Nicoletta Ercole Misunderstood
Louise Mingenbach X-Men: Days of Future Past
Pedro Moreno Cannibal

And the award goes to…

Colleen Atwood Into the Woods

Into the Woods (2014, Disney)

Explanation

When it comes to Best Costume Design I do like to think outside the box whenever possible in terms of selecting a crop of nominees. Two of the films include period work: X-Men: Days of Future Past and Misunderstood. Both of those films have additional styles: X-Men deals in superhero attire and there are subcultural uniforms invoked. In Cannibal clothing are very much a manifestation of character as the antagonist is a tailor. Many will overlook the production aspects of The Boxtrolls and I have come close to nominating other departments on Laika films before, but this film is a new peak in their powers and I can only hope they continue to reach new heights. With something like Into the Woods there is period influence, and also a fantastical element, but it is not just craftsmanship but creativity that takes it over the top. The epitome of this in the Wolf’s Zoot Suit which is one of the wisest uses of anthropomorphic costuming I’ve yet seen.

Best Score

Ramin Djawadi Dracula Untold
Pino Donaggio Patrick
Michael Giacchino Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Fons Merkies Finn
A.R. Rahman The Hundred-Foot Journey

And the award goes to…

Finn

Finn (2013, Attraction Distribution)

Explanation

This was perhaps the most difficult category to set the nominations. I made a Spotify playlist and played a bunch of albums. Yet, even having listened to most of if not all of them I still needed quite a bit of deliberation. Alexandre Desplat Monuments Men, Christophe Beck Edge of Tomorrow, Jeff McLlwain and David Wingo Joe, Mark Mothersbaugh The Lego Movie
Henry Jackman Big Hero 6, Michael Montes Ping Pong Summer; could’ve easily been nominated as well. The nominees featured great and varied musical stylings to fit their films A.R. Rahman fused Indian and classical styles to create the score of The Hundred-Foot Journey, Michael Giacchino drove home the emotion of the Dawn of the planet of the Apes, Rahmin Djawadi added the necessary gravitas to Dracula Untold and Pino Donaggio composed a staggeringly beautiful classically-inspired horror score for Patrick.

Then there is Finn. In Finn the violin and its music are of such paramount importance it is virtually a character and the music is so soaringly beautiful it threatens to dominate the film but the symbiosis they create is what makes the film so special and the score so memorable.

Best (Original) Song

“Everything is Awesome” Jo Li The Lego Movie
“The Boxtrolls Song” Mark Orton, Loch Lomond and Sean Patrick Doyle The Boxtrolls
“Quattro Sabatino” Dario Marianello, Peter Harris, Alex Tsilogiannis, Thomas Kennedy and Edmund Saddington The Boxtrolls
“The Bald Guy” (“Skallamann”) from Baldguy Cast in Fun in Boys Shorts
“Prologue: Into the Woods” James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Daniel Huttlestone, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Joanna Riding, Meryl Streep and Stephen Sondheim Into the Woods

And the award goes to…

Into the Woods

Into the Woods (2014, Disney)

Explanation

There has been a bit of evolution for me with this category throughout the years. In essence, the function of the song within the narrative aside from how much I like the song matters. The word original appears in parenthesis because it is optional as to whether it is limited to songs that were crafted for a specific film. The relevance to the plot question is what drops “Quattro Sabbatino,” while it does humorously use solely the names of cheeses to underscore the obsession with them in The Boxtrolls, but “The Boxtrolls Song” is about the fear and motivation to capture them in the story. While “Everything is Awesome” has an anthem-like invocation and does offer commentary that “No everything is not that great,” for these figures. It is not as pivotal as the top two songs are. While one is a short and another is a feature both are musical numbers from films constructed as musicals. What takes the song from Into the Woods over-the-top is not just the virtuosity of the entire cast’s performance, but also the fact that it sets the table for all strands of narrative in the film and incorporates a a theatrically conceived company number in cinematic trappings beautifully.

Neutron Star Award

The honoree can be found here.

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

The honoree can be found here.

Robert Downey, Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year

The honoree can be found here.

Special Jury Awards

The honorees of this year’s special jury awards can be found here.

Nominations

Into the Woods – 12 (4 Wins)
Misunderstood – 9 (1 Win)
The Boxtrolls, Finn – 7 (1 Win Each)
The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears – 6 (3 Wins)
Labyrinthus (2 Wins), Stations of the Cross (1 Win); 20 Lies, 4 Parents and a Little Egg – 5
A Birder’s Guide to Everything, The Way He Looks (3 Wins) – 4
Edge of Tomorrow, The Lego Movie, Locke; 1,000 Times Good Night; It’s Not Me, I Swear; Mission: Sputnik, Joe (2 Wins) , Boyhood, Calvary (1 win), The Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Judge – 3
Zip and Zap and the Marble Gang, Dracula Untold, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Oculus, In Secret (1 Win), The Drop (1 Win), The Famous Five 3, The Custody (1 Win), Captain America: The Winter Soldier, St. Vincent -2
Fun in Boys Shorts, Dracula Untold, Patrick, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Cannibal, Son of God, Unbroken (1 win), The Theory of Everything, Maleficent, Gone Girl, Interstellar, Stop the Pounding Heart, Big Hero 6, Earth to Echo, Tormented, Wish I Was Here, The Maze Runner, The Amazing Catfish, Flowers in the Attic, I Am Yours, The Babadook, Nymphomaniac: Volume 2 (1 Win), The Fault in Our Stars, The Mystery of Happiness, Ilo Ilo, Fury, The Guest– 1

-Post Complete-

Advertisements

32 comments

  1. Pingback: Short Film Saturday: The Little Match Girl (1928) | The Movie Rat
  2. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Score | The Movie Rat
  3. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Costume Design | The Movie Rat
  4. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Art Direction | The Movie Rat
  5. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Makeup | The Movie Rat
  6. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Sound Editing/Mixing | The Movie Rat
  7. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Visual Effects | The Movie Rat
  8. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Editing | The Movie Rat
  9. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Cinematography | The Movie Rat
  10. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Adapted Screenplay | The Movie Rat
  11. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Original Screenplay | The Movie Rat
  12. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role | The Movie Rat
  13. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Youth Ensemble | The Movie Rat
  14. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role | The Movie Rat
  15. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role | The Movie Rat
  16. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role | The Movie Rat
  17. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Cast | The Movie Rat
  18. Pingback: BAM Awards: Best Supporting Actor Winners | The Movie Rat
  19. Pingback: BAM Awards: Best Supporting Actress Winners | The Movie Rat
  20. Pingback: BAM Awards: Best Actor Winners | The Movie Rat
  21. Pingback: BAM Awards: Best Actress Winners | The Movie Rat
  22. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Most Overlooked Picture | The Movie Rat
  23. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Director | The Movie Rat
  24. Pingback: BAM Awards: Best Picture Winners | The Movie Rat
  25. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Best Foreign Film | The Movie Rat
  26. Pingback: BAM Awards: Neutron Star Award Winners | The Movie Rat
  27. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: Robert Downey, Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year | The Movie Rat
  28. Pingback: BAM Award Winners: The Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award | The Movie Rat
  29. Pingback: BAM Awards: Special Jury Prizes | The Movie Rat
  30. Pingback: Best Films of 2014: 10-1 | The Movie Rat
  31. Pingback: 2015 BAM Award Considerations – January | The Movie Rat
  32. Pingback: Review: The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears | The Movie Rat

Comments are closed.