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2nd Annual Filmiest Awards – Winners (Part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of my winners announcement for the 2nd Annual Filmiest Awards! With eight trophies already handed out in part 1, we will now get to the biggest awards of them all. Click here to read or review part 1. On with the show! The first category to be announced tonight is Best Art Direction. The visual aesthetic of a film can be its most memorable part, whether it be through vibrant colors or muted tones. Last year’s winner, Life of Pi, represents the absolute beauty that filmmaking can produce, and this year’s winner is just as worthy.

The nominees for Best Art Direction are:
 
American Hustle
Design by Judy Becker and Heath Loeffler
 
 
 
The Great Gatsby
Design by Catherine Martin and Beverley Dunn
 
 
 
Her
Design by K.K. Barrett and Gene Serdena
 
 
 
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Design by John Collins and Larry Dias
 
 
 
Stoker
Design by Wing Lee and Leslie Morales
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
Her
 
While Gatsby is the flashier work, the production design in Her is absolutely impeccable on a visual level. The film attempts to predict the visual palette of the future, emphasizing beautiful pops of color throughout the background. Theodore’s (Joaquin Phoenix) vibrant red coat stands out among his surroundings, but the movie’s depiction of Los Angeles in the not-so-distant future is a sight to behold.
 
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Next up is the award for Best Costume Design. Like Art Direction, costumes can be one of the most memorable aspects of a film. They are often necessary in reflecting the clothing of a particular era, especially if the film is a period piece, such as last year’s winner Les Misérables. While over-the-top costumes are often considered best, sometimes it is subdued costumes that create a perfect depiction of a particular scene in time.
 
The nominees for Best Costume Design are:
 
 
12 Years a Slave
Costumes by Patricia Norris
 
 
 
American Hustle
Costumes by Michael Wilkinson
 
 
 
The Great Gatsby
Costumes by Catherine Martin
 
 
 
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Costumes by Trish Summerville
 
 
 
Kill Your Darlings
Costumes by Christopher Peterson
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
The Great Gatsby
 
I may not have liked the film overall, but one thing that The Great Gatsby can be commended for is its costumes. Daisy’s (Carey Mulligan) various elaborate outfits in addition to Gatsby’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) perfectly fitted suits are a spectacle in and of themselves. There is an incredible amount of attention to detail in each costume, from the stars to the background players, making Gatsby the best dressed film of 2013.
 
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And now the award for Best Cinematography. A film is nothing without the framing of its shots — the placement of the camera can sometimes drastically change the overall feel of the story. Many Hollywood films are shot in such a standard, vanilla way that it can be rare to find one that genuinely takes advantage of the technique. Here are five films, like last year’s winner Life of Pi, that know exactly what they’re doing.
 
The nominees for Best Cinematography are:
12 Years a Slave
Cinematography by Sean Bobbitt
 
Captain Phillips
Cinematography by Barry Ackroyd
 
 
 
Gravity
Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki
 
 
 
Inside Llewyn Davis
Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel
 
 
Spring Breakers
Cinematography by Benoît Debit
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
Gravity
 
Gravity wins this for sheer level of skill involved. The ability to keep focus on the building tension while still depicting the floating nature of space must have been remarkably difficult, but cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki pulled it off flawlessly. Just thinking about the amount of precision that went into each shot makes my head hurt, quite frankly.
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We have now reached the big five awards. First up is the award for Best Screenplay. This award went to Mark Boal’s screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty last year. Achievement in screenwriting can be measured in the innovation of the story being told, or in the amount of crazy dialogue, or in excellent structure. This year, all of those types are represented.
 
The nominees for Best Screenplay are:
 
 
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for Inside Llewyn Davis
 
 
 
Spike Jonze for Her
 
 
 
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for The Spectacular Now
 
 
 
John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave
 
 
 
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for American Hustle
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
Spike Jonze for Her
 
What a difficult task Jonze had in front of him. To come up with the concept of a man falling in love with his new OS and following their relationship should have been disastrous. Yet it became the most human story of the year through witty dialogue and moments of genuine, universal humanity. The OS Samantha (Filmiest Award winner Scarlett Johansson) has such an incredible arc as she starts to feel real love for Theodore, her master. Her‘s story is beautifully and respectfully told. Well done, Mr. Jonze.
 
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Next up is the award for Best Lead Actress. While this was not a particular strong year for leading actresses in film, any of the women nominated this year could still be competitive in any other year. From a neurotic socialite to a vulnerable teenager coming of age, these actresses have shown that they are capable of carrying their own films and leading with confidence. Last year’s winner was Emmanuelle Riva for Amour.
 
The nominees for Best Lead Actress are:
 
 
Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser in American Hustle
 
 
 
Cate Blanchett as Jeanette ‘Jasmine’ Francis in Blue Jasmine
 
 
 
Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone in Gravity
 
 
 
Greta Gerwig as Frances Halladay in Frances Ha
 
 
 
Shailene Woodley as Aimee Finecky in The Spectacular Now
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
 
Blanchett’s performance in Blue Jasmine is just on a whole different level compared to her peers. In the film, she plays a narcissistic socialite who loses her fortune after her husband is imprisoned. Her neurosis is sometimes so unbearable that it’s a wonder no one tries to kill her. While it would be easy for Blanchett to go way over-the-top with this character, she allows the audience to see her vulnerabilities hidden under the thick layer of cynicism. It is a pure acting showcase, and Blanchett more than lived up to to the task.
 
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The final acting award is for Best Lead Actor. The five actors nominated this year give some of their career-best performances, and in some instances their absolute career best. Like last year’s winner Daniel Day-Lewis, each actor completely disappeared into their respective character, leaving their mark on 2013 in a huge way. Let’s get to it.
 
The nominees for Best Lead Actor are:
 
 
Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street
 
 
 
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave
 
 
 
Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis in Inside Llewyn Davis
 
 
 
Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club
 
 
 
Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly in Her
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
 
This is the performance of Ejiofor’s life – which is why it’s such a shame that he isn’t getting more awards for it. His performance is such a physical one, embodying Solomon Northup, a free man turned slave, showing all of the baggage that comes from such a journey. It’s a very complex type of character, and Ejiofor does not turn Solomon into a saintly figure. His facial expressions often say more than any line of dialogue, beautifully expressing the plight of a well spoken slave in the 1800s.
 
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The second-to-last award in this presentation is Best Director. A good director guides a film to where it needs to be on the screen. But a great director makes the audience feel like they are a part of an experience from start to finish. Combining every element of a film into one and making everything feel cohesive while also allowing each to stand out is horrifically difficult. The five directors nominated here more than accomplished this feat, and the winner will be a worthy successor after Kathryn Bigelow’s win for Zero Dark Thirty last year.
 
The nominees for Best Director are:
 
 
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Inside Llewyn Davis
 
 
 
Alfonso Cuarón
Gravity
 
 
 
Spike Jonze
Her
 
 
 
Harmony Korine
Spring Breakers
 
 
 
Steve McQueen
12 Years a Slave
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
 
12 Years a Slave is 100 percent Steve McQueen’s vision, and it’s present through every frame of the film. He allows shots to linger on utter brutality, making the audience have a visceral, emotional reaction to the violence. Though the film could have easily been a standard biopic, McQueen is very interested in human behavior, so a vague social message is disregarded for an insular tale of Solomon’s struggle, in addition to Patsey’s (Lupita Nyong’o). He does not beat you over the head with “slavery = bad,” despite its critics who suggest otherwise. Instead, he presents Solomon’s tale raw and uncut, foregoing the need to romanticize. 
 
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And now we come to the award that everyone has been waiting for: Best Picture of the Year. This award goes to the movie I believed to be the absolute best of the year while also taking into account my own personal taste. It was a fantastic year in movies, and the five I’ve nominated here will be modern-day classics for me and many others. But only one can win.
 
 
The nominees for Best Picture of the Year are:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And the Filmiest Award goes to:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HER
 
 
Not since Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has a film so beautifully woven science fiction and human emotion. Though many reject the concept of Her outright (“Oh is that that movie about a guy who falls in love with his computer? So dumb.”), that just makes its qualities all the more impressive. To be able to not only create a convincing movie in which a man falls in love with his operating system but to also make it a touching, thoughtful movie is a magnificent achievement. The film is set in future Los Angeles, during a time period that doesn’t seem that far off from our current one. With today’s world becoming rapidly technological in operations, it’s not too outlandish to imagine that humans might start falling in love with their precious machines. But that’s not what makes Her a great movie, and it’s not what it’s ultimately about.  At its heart, Her is about the universal need for connection. We all want someone to depend on to make us feel safe, to make us feel like what we say and do really matters, to give us the confidence to know we’re not alone in the world. Theodore’s love for Samantha is not made into a joke, despite his initial hesitation to reveal his love for her to others. It is treated with surprising tenderness, and the uniqueness of their relationship makes you want to root for them. Phoenix and Johansson enrich these roles with compassion and sensitive likability, and both are giving some of the best performances of their careers.
 
Her explores a new world, one that could be coming soon, but still one that’s new to us. The film is full of beautiful imagery that paints future Los Angeles in a romantic and realistic light. Yet the emotions on display from our first introduction to a lonely Theodore to the film’s emotionally moving final moments are entirely recognizable. In a year full of great movies, it is the one that foreshadows where our world is going while simultaneously reflecting what we’ve always been that shines brightest.
 
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If you’ve gotten this far, thank you so much for indulging in my own personal thoughts on the outstanding achievements of 2013 in film. Here’s to promising 2014!
 
You can now view a database of every Filmiest Award winner and nominee since 2012 by clicking here.
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