Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nominations crystallize the Oscar season so far

12.15.14 3 years ago 30 Comments

The Broadcast Film Critics Association's (BFCA*) annual announcement of nominees is particularly informative for one key reason: it's a broad assessment of the year from a vast voting body. The only two such events prior to the end of the year tend to be this and the Screen Actors Guild's nominations announcement, each setting the early stage in terms of what seems to be appealing across a wide spectrum. Other guilds then add to that equation in January.

So where did the BFCA's chips end up this season?

For starters, in what has become a trend for critics groups that provide a nominations stage, Alejandro González Iñárritu's “Birdman” led overall with 13 mentions. And in what has also become a trend with critical precursors, Wes Anderson's “Grand Budapest Hotel” (11) and Richard Linklater's “Boyhood” (8) were right up there, too, making starkly clear what the critical darlings are this season.

Within that, there are some interesting notes. Both the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which throws the annual Golden Globe Awards, and the BFCA, which hands out baubles at the annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards ceremony, have incredibly respectable nominee lineups this year. I'm personally starting to see that more as a reflection of quirkier-than-usual “awards movie” choices this year than anything else. Nevertheless, it almost looks…classy.

The BFCA's Best Picture list is virtually identical to the AFI's top 10 list, with “Gone Girl,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “The Theory of Everything” subbed in for “American Sniper,” Foxcatcher” and “Into the Woods.” That means, yes, “Nightcrawler” is in there, which is really interesting to me. The film also picked up a Best Original Screenplay nomination. It's a media movie, so it's not shocking that it's continued to do well with critics groups, but still, very cool.

However, the lack of “Foxcatcher” is sort of disturbing. Steve Carell didn't even crack a six-deep Best Actor lineup. Is that a sign that it's going to be tough to sell that film to a large group of people? Its only two nominations were for Best Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo) and Best Hair & Makeup.

The Best Director lineup is the HFPA's, with Angelina Jolie tacked on for six. (Is this a sign that “Unbroken” plays better wider?) Best Actress is the HFPA's drama and SAG lineups with critics' fave Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night” tacked on. (Can she break out of only critical recognition?) The Best Supporting Actor list is the SAG and HFPA grouping with Josh Brolin in “Inherent Vice” (Ditto?), while the Best Supporting Actress sextet is the HFPA list plus Tilda Swinton in “Snowpiercer.” (Ditto again?) Oh, yeah, lots of sixes again, typically the result of ties.

You're not likely to look across these nominees and find anything too surprising, though. I like seeing certain things, like Robert Yeoman's handsome photography from “The Grand Budapest Hotel” in there, or the meticulous production design of “Inherent Vice,” or the editing of “Whiplash,” or the “Birdman” score (which was deemed ineligible by the Academy's music branch, by the way). But nothing really sticks out, and honestly, it never does. That is, again, part of the informative nature of them: they start to reveal consensus.

I still hate those genre categories, though. I'm sorry. Good job squeezing Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper” is an action movie?), Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Chris Evans (Marvel!), Chris Pratt (Marvel!!), Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley, Chris Rock, Channing Tatum, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig onto your show, though. That's mission accomplished, right?

Anyway, those are my passing thoughts. You can click through to the next page and investigate the nominees for yourself and maybe you'll have other takeaways.

The 20th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards will be held on Jan. 15, 2015.

*Disclosure: I am a member of the BFCA.

Best Picture
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Nightcrawler”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

Best Director
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Angelina Jolie, “Unbroken”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Best Actress
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice”
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Tilda Swinton, “Snowpiercer”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Unbroken”
“Wild”

Best Original Screenplay
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Nightcrawler”
“Whiplash”

Best Art Direction
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Snowpiercer”

Best Cinematography
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Interstellar”
“Mr. Turner”
“Unbroken”

Best Editing
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“Interstellar”
“Whiplash”

Best Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

Best Hair & Makeup
“Foxcatcher”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”

Best Score
“Birdman”
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“The Theory of Everything”

Best Song
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
“Big Eyes” from “Big Eyes”
“Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”
“Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie”
“Glory” from “Selma”

Best Visual Effects
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Edge of Tomorrow”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”

Best Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6”
“The Book of Life”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“The LEGO Movie”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Force Majeure”
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Two Days, One Night”
“Wild Tales”

Best Documentary Feature
“CITIZENFOUR”
“Glen Campbell: I”ll Be Me”
“Jodorowsky”s Dune”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“Life Itself”
“The Overnighters”

Best Acting Ensemble
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Into the Woods”
“Selma”

Best Young Actor/Actress
Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”
Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”
Mackenzie Foy, “Interstellar”
Jaeden Lieberher, “St. Vincent”
Tony Revolori, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”
Noah Wiseman, “The Babadook”

(Check out genre-specific nominations on the next page.)

Best Action Movie
“American Sniper”
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Edge of Tomorrow”
“Fury”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Actor in an Action Movie
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Tom Cruise, “Edge of Tomorrow”
Chris Evans, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Brad Pitt, “Fury”
Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Actress in an Action Movie
Emily Blunt, “Edge of Tomorrow”
Scarlett Johansson, “Lucy”
Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”
Zoe Saldana, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Shailene Woodley, “Divergent”

Best Comedy
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“St. Vincent”
“Top Five”
“22 Jump Street”

Best Actor in a Comedy
Jon Favreau, “Chef”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
Chris Rock, “Top Five”
Channing Tatum, “22 Jump Street”

Best Actress in a Comedy
Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”
Rosario Dawson, “Top Five”
Melissa McCarthy, “St. Vincent”
Jenny Slate, “Obvious Child”
Kristen Wiig, “The Skeleton Twins”

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie
“The Babadook”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Interstellar”
“Snowpiercer”
“Under the Skin”

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