BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE: BARKHAD ABDI - CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
Tom Hanks doesn’t give the only great performance in Captain Phillips. Barkhad Abdi is also exceptional as Somali pirate captain Muse.
Abdi’s scenes with Hanks are outstanding as Phillips tries to outwit Muse. Although we never sympathize with his character, we understand
his motivations and Abdi is able to portray what could have been a faceless villain role as something more.
BEST SOUND MIXING: OBLIVION
BEST SOUND EDITING: OBLIVION
Oblivion takes home both sound awards thanks to great effects work and a perfectly balanced, immersive mix. Effects are deep and
powerful without ever overwhelming dialog and score.
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: GRAVITY
There were bigger, more obvious visual effects powerhouses this year such as The Hobbit and Pacific Rim, but Gravity wins thanks to its
realism. The use of effects is completely seamless; so much so that many probably don’t realize just how much of the film is computer
generated. The effects themselves are outstanding and the compositing is good that it’s almost impossible to tell what is real and what is
BEST MAKEUP: THE LONE RANGER
Despite being a critical whipping boy and commercial flop, The Lone Ranger certainly wasn’t lacking in production design or value. The
makeup was particularly impressive, whether it was Tonto’s scaly face paint or Butch Cavendish’s mangled mug.
BEST SCORE: THE BOOK THIEF - JOHN WILLIAMS
Legendary composer John Williams’ score for The Book Thief is a wonderful work of classical scoring. What else is new? This is a beautiful
and haunting score with an emotional presence that elevates the rest of the film around it. It’s a somewhat restrained score, but one that is
absolutely stunning in its dramatic power and class. There are many effective scores, but The Book Thief is a work of art in itself.
BEST FILM EDITING: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS - CHRISTOPHER ROUSE
Director Paul Greengrass’ documentary-style guerilla filmmaking is in full effect in the excellent Captain Phillips. His manic camerawork is
brilliantly cut by editor Christopher Rouse, giving it just the right balance of chaos and coherence. As is essential in a great thriller, the
pacing is brilliant and the energy of the film’s climactic confrontation in particular is exceptionally realized.
BEST COSTUME DESIGN: AMERICAN HUSTLE - MICHAEL WILKINSON
American Hustle embraces its 1970s era with a parade of ridiculously horrible costumes. I mean that in a good way. The cheesy,
embarrassing styles are a constant source of fun in the movie, and Amy Adams’ wardrobe sets a new record for cleavagey dresses.
(Confirmation from Guinness still pending)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: GRAVITY - EMMANUEL LUBEZKI
I’m aware of the controversy surrounding whether films like Gravity, which rely so heavily on visual effects, should be eligible for
cinematography awards. Obviously, I think so. Without getting into a philosophical debate, I believe the creative decisions that go into
cinematography are present, even in a digital environment. The truth is that Gravity was the most visually stunning film of the year, and its
seamless, long form 3D camerawork was the reason why. It is both technically impressive and artistically stunning. We were floating in
space along with the films’ characters, and it was a truly incredible ride.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: OBLIVION - DARREN GILFORD
Looking back on 2013, there were a lot of great looking films. Oblivion stands above a crowded field with its stunning vision of a deserted,
dying, war-ravaged Earth. There is a great juxtaposition of almost primordial landscapes and slick, futuristic technology. Oblivion is a
constant visual feast.
BEST SCREENPLAY: THE WORLD'S END - SIMON PEGG & EDGAR WRIGHT
The third entry in the barely connected Cornetto trilogy was the funniest film of the year for a lot of reasons. Chief among them is a
masterful screenplay. The World’s End is a stunning achievement in comedic writing that provides outrageously funny dialog, genuinely
thrilling action sequences, a surprising plot, and even some unexpected character drama. It somehow meshes perfectly for what was easily
the most fun I had at the movies in 2013.
BEST PERFORMANCE: SANDRA BULLOCK - GRAVITY
Call it Cast Away in space if you must. Sandra Bullock bears the full weight of Gravity as our only true human connection among the
lifelessness of space. She turns in the best performance of her career. Her detached Dr. Ryan Stone is fantastically portrayed and
developed. As she struggles to find the will to survive, we learn more and more about Stone, and she learns about herself while suffering
from the psychological terror of being left for dead. Bullock’s raw performance is almost frightening; with startling panic attacks, tragic
memories, and her struggle to find the will to just hold on.
BEST DIRECTOR: ALFONSO CUARÓN - GRAVITY
Alfonso Cuarón’s direction of Gravity is perhaps the greatest achievement in film of 2013. Cuarón has previously showcased his incredible
visual style in films such as Harry potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Children of Men. With Gravity, he creates a visual masterpiece for
the ages. His long, unbroken shots (One lasting as long as 13 minutes) draw us into the film completely and have a visceral effect. We can't
look away. There are also incredible moments of compositional beauty, such as a shot where Bullock’s character recreates a fetus upon
entering the temporary safety of a space station’s womb. In another stunning moment, the camera seamlessly shifts in and out of point of
view shots on the fly. Even among the visual mastery, Cuarón’s cast is extraordinary as well, with Bullock’s intense, emotional performance
giving the film humanity and heart.
BEST PICTURE: GRAVITY
An intense, awe-inspiring, and emotional thrill ride, Gravity was the most memorable and masterful film of 2013. Its breathless direction and
relentless suspense gave me neck pains from tension each time I saw it. The raw, vulnerable performance from Bullock is spectacular, and
George Clooney’s charming supporting role gives the film some welcome levity. This is a daring, monumental achievement in filmmaking by
Cuarón, who immerses us in the sheer terror and awesome beauty of outer space.
For my final thoughts and discussion: click here...
Greg's cameo appearance in Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity was largely ignored this award season despite an exhaustive 'For Your Consideration'
campaign and the attempted bribing of several influential Hollywood figures.