I love awards season. I love it so much that for the past three years I have been trying to get in on the action by giving my own awards (purely digitally) to the casts, the crews and the films who have made the last year great for cinema. With the BAFTA’s on Sunday and Oscar’s on their way it is the perfect time to select my own favourite actors and movies of 2013 and January of this year. I’m adding a few more categories this year to broaden the amount of films that can be represented and I hope you enjoy reading my Luke’s Film Blog Awards 2014:
Best Film: It has been a very tough year to decide a clear winner because of the sheer quantity of quality films in 2013. I could have picked five for the best film with Rush, Captain Phillips and The Wolf of Wall Street all viable possibilities. But, this year, for its majestic special effects that juxtapose so well with a personal and psychological story of survival, Gravity wins the Best Film award. On the surface, Gravity is a relatively straightforward story of one person facing the vast isolation of space and trying to get home against overwhelming odds but with masterful direction from Alfonso Cuaron and a thrilling script (co-written from Cuaron and son Jonas) that never lets up the tension it become groundbreaking. It is certainly one of the masterpieces of recent science-fiction and truly deserves all the accolades and plaudits is received from critics and at the box office alike.
Best Director: The master of his craft has added another classic to the canon and Martin Scorsese wins the Luke’s Film Blog best director award. The Wolf of Wall Street is kinetic, entertaining and thrilling. Not many director’s can fill three hours of cinema without wasting a frame but Scorsese succeeds and gets some great performances out of Di Caprio, Hill and McConaughey. You can’t take your eyes away from the screen and if you do you’re in danger of missing out on a beautiful looking scene. The whole film is aesthetically astonishing no matter how dark the subject matter can get and that is down to Scorsese.
Best Actor: Shunned at the Academy Awards in which he’s already won two, Tom Hanks surely deserves some credit for his outstanding and very real portrayal of Captain Richard Phillips based on the true story of a cargo ship captain who is taken captive by armed Somalian pirates. Hanks truly excels in the subtleties of his performance. One look from Hanks can tell the audience everything about his fear and isolation and the vulnerability in the final scene shows how iconic an actor he is.
Best Actress: Like the Best Actor, the Best Actress is another whose character faces obstacles of nature, isolation and psychological issues. Another one of the reasons why Gravity was such a masterpiece was its performances from the leads and Sandra Bullock carries the film. Its easy to get lost amidst huge special effects but Bullock’s vulnerably combined with the verisimilitude of her performance are the reasons she deserves to win.
Best Supporting Actor: Another, like Hanks, who was denied a nomination was another interpretation of a real person. Rush didn’t feature much at all in any of the awards but it was a terrific film and one of the reasons for this was the performance of Daniel Bruhl. Playing Niki Lauda, Bruhl was cold and calculated but still engaging. In his rivalry with fellow Formula One driver James Hunt, played by Chris Hemworth, Bruhl demonstrated a great range of acting skills from arrogance to sympathy while always keeping us interested in his character’s story.
Best Supporting Actress: David O. Russell is an actor’s director. He cares far more about the intricacy and complexity of his characters opposed to his plot and this shows in his films. Particularly in American Hustle where he assembles four actors from his past two films (The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook) that have all been Oscar Nominated. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams are all fantastic in American Hustle but the stand out is Jennifer Lawrence yet again. Winning the Best Actress Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook last year, she now returns as the trophy wife to Bale’s largely absent husband and is fantastic. Lawrence is quickly becoming the best actress of her generation and really possesses some of the great qualities of actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood. It’s getting scary how talented she is at such a young age, but what a performance yet again.
Best Ensemble: Last year’s winner of this category was the cast of Avenger’s Assemble, however the cast of This Is The End are definitely the antithesis of superheros. Playing exaggerated versions of themselves, stars like Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchul, Craig Ferguson and Danny McBride star in this wonderfully entertaining movie as they are confined to James Franco’s house while the Apocalypse is happening. They may be terrible people in some scenes but remain massively funny and likable throughout which helped This Is The End become the funniest film of the year.
Best Original Screenplay: Stoker was a fantastic psyschological thriller that really came out of the blue. It was shocking, exciting and provided some fantastic performances from Mia Wasikowska and Matthew Goode. More shocking was that it was written by none other than Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller whose chilling script is superbly written. Influenced by Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, Miller’s script mixes genres but never relents in its tension. It has a very unique style and with the directorial skills of Park Chan-Wook this became one of the best films of 2013.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Terence Winter’s script for The Wolf of Wall Street is fast, very funny and relates Jordan Belfort’s memoir perfectly to present day economical matters. All of the characters are complex and really bring their real life compatriots to life. With some of the best and most memorable dialogue committed to film in the last decade, Winter thoroughly deserves a huge amount of credit for his wonderful script.
Best Superhero Movie: The Superhero genre doesn’t look likely to go away any time soon and therefore I’ve decided to begin my first genre based category for the best superhero movie. We have been lucky this year with some interesting and exciting offerings like Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World but the Luke’s Film Blog award goes to Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Rebooting the franchise after Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns failed to impress the masses, Man of Steel was hugely entertaining, and although we can joke about the huge amount of collateral damage, a truly enjoyable blockbuster that I thought deserves a great deal of credit.
So, there are my awards for the year. I’m sure 2014 is going to be a hugely successful year for film with a combination of blockbusters and independent movies to look forward to so keep going to the cinema and watching as many of them as possible and I’ll be back with my annual awards next February. Until then, watch some actual awards being given out with the BAFTA awards on Sunday evening.
Here are the links to my previous awards blogs: