The End of Year Awards You Won’t Find At the Oscars

Best Opening Scene:

5. A Touch of Sin
A man on a moped is ambushed on a mountain road by three youths with axes. He shoots them all dead, then rides by the wreckage of an overturned apple truck. Another man takes a bite of an apple. The truck explodes.

4. Prisoners
A deer walks through a wintry forest, and stops. The camera pulls back to reveal the muzzle of a hunter’s rifle, and we hear a father’s voice intoning the Lord’s prayer as he teaches his son to kill.

3. 12 Years a Slave
In a room full of sleeping slaves, a woman rolls over and has sex with the slave beside her. She rolls back over, and weeps, as the man stares up at the ceiling.

2. Gravity
The silence of space as Earth spins below. Very, very slowly, a small space station approaches, we hear a conversation between an astronaut and ground control.

And the winner is…

1.The Place Beyond the Pines 
A tattooed man paces a trailer, flicking a knife. He puts on a jacket, walks through fairground crowds to a large tent, where he mounts a stunt motorbike, and rides into a round cage with two other riders. (sigh. if only the rest of the movie had been this good.)

Best singing scene:

5. `Roll, Jordan Roll’, 12 Years a Slave
At a funeral, Solomon Northup joins in with the other mourners, finally no different than his fellow slaves.

4. `So You Know What It’s Like’, Short Term 12
In the bedroom of a foster-care  facility, damaged teen Marcus raps out all of his bottled up pain, anger and confusion to a single drumbeat.

3. `Every Time’, Spring Breakers
On an outdoor piano overlooking the ocean, white rasta pimp `Alien’ croons a Britney Spears pop anthem as his two lovers dance around in day-glo ski masks and bikinis, holding machine guns.

2. `Let it Go’, Frozen.
Alone at the top of a mountain, Princess Elsa gives in to her powers of snow manipulation, and embraces her inner diva to the elation of children and drag queens everywhere.

And the winner is…

1. `The Death of Queen Jane’, Inside Llewyn Davis
In an empty Chicago music hall, Llewyn Davis sings for an ashen-faced impresario, baring his soul to a soul-crushing outcome.


Best Dancing Scene:

5. Frances Ha
Frances runs through New York streets, occasionally busting into eccentric dance moves to the euphoric  strains of David Bowie’s `Modern Love’.

4. The Spectacular Now
At the high school prom, alcoholic class clown Sutter (Miles Teller) slow dances with Aimee (Shailene Woodley), the shy girl who accepts him as he is.

3. American Hustle
FBI agent Richie takes Edith, the con artist he has a crush on, to a 70s nightclub, where they feverishly boogie their mutual lust to strobe-lit disco awesomeness.

2. Blue is the Warmest Color
Hurt by her lover’s passive aggressive disdain, Adele meets a co-worker at a salsa evening, and dances the night away in a trance of attraction, abandon and hunger for life. 

And the winner is…

1. The Great Beauty
Jep Gambardella’s 65th Roman birthday rooftop rave. Simultaneously grotesque and wondrous, it’s a scene of pure elation inside a total Fellini-esque hell-realm. Amazing.

Best Falling-In-Love Scene:

5. The Wind Rises. 
Young aerial engineer Jiro Horikoshi, flies ingeniously designed paper planes up to his sick wife-to-be’s balcony.

4. American Hustle
Christian Bale sees Amy Adams at a pool party. `Is that Duke Ellington on your bracelet?’

3. Blue is the Warmest Color
The world spins and stops as Adele crosses the street and makes eye contact with Emma, her blue-haired object of desire.

2. The Grandmaster
Kung Fu legend Ip Man fights Gong Err, the daughter of a vanquished master, and their eyes hold as they spin gracefully through the air, changing both their lives forever.

And the winner is…

1. Upstream Color.
Two damaged souls finish each other’s stories, unsure whose memory is whose, as birds flock above them at twilight.


Best Argument:

5. Louis vs. Cecil, The Butler

`Sidney Poitier is the white man’s fantasy of what he wants us to be.’

`What are you talking about? He just won the Academy Award!’

4. Violet vs. Barbara, August: Osage County

`See these little blue babies? These are my best fucking friends and they never let me down.’

`Gimme those goddam pills!’

3. Jean vs. Llewyn, Inside Llewyn Davis

`Do you ever think about the future at all?’

`The future? You mean like, flying cars? Hotels on the moon?’

2. Benedick vs. Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing

`What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet living?’

`Courtesy itself must turn to disdain, if you come in her presence.’

And the winner is…

1. Celine vs. Jesse, Before Midnight

`I am not going to do it. This is bigger than me. This means more than me.’

` Wow! Bravo! The Nobel committee is taking note!’

Best Adrenaline-Pumping Action Scene:

 5. Israeli wall attack, World War Z
The film is a stitched together, half successful PG-13 zombie movie, but goddam, the sequence where they crawl over Israel’s wall like ants works like gangbusters.

4. Train chase, The Lone Ranger
The film is a tonal disaster with crappy characters and an atrocious script. But goddam, that final train sequence is an epic western Loony Tunes cartoon come to glorious, lunatic life.

3. First debris strike, Gravity
Three astronauts try to avoid the high-speed debris from a shattered satellite, in a jaw-dropping sequence without a single edit, nor the sound of any impact.

2. Barrel ride, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug
Orcs, Elves, and Dwarves chase each other down a river, in the most giddily exciting, inventive roller-coaster ride since Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’s mineshaft escape.

And the winner is…

1.  Pacific Rim
A giant `Jaeger’ Robot fights a Godzilla-style `Kaiju’ in the rubble of Hong Kong. The Kaiju unfurls its wings, the Jaeger’s arm turns into a samurai sword, and my inner 12 year old whoops for joy.


Best Laugh-Out-Loud Moment:

5. Her
Theodore Twombly has chatroom phone sex with a stranger, who suddenly asks him to choke her with a dead cat.

4. This is the End
McBride and Franco argue over the world’s last remaining porn magazine, and what reading protocols apply.

3. The World’s End
After discovering the town of their youth is overrun with androids, Gary King and his friends continue to get shit-faced in order to not arouse suspicion.

2. Spring Breakers
Alien shows off his material possessions – including baseball caps of every color, a framed Scarface poster, and his stash of machine guns: `Look at my Shit!’

And the winner is…

1. The Wolf of Wall St. 
Leo and Jonah take copious amounts of the world’s most powerful quaaludes, and lose all their motor skills while having to deal with FBI surveillance.

Best Sex Symbol:

5. Alexander Skarsgard as `Benji’, The East.
For making his eco-terrorist ring-leader so attractive that Brit Marling completely fudges her undercover mission.

4.  Margot Robbie as `Naomi Lapaglia’, The Wolf of Wall St.
For being so ridiculously hot that Jonah Hill openly masturbates when he sees her.

3. Matthew McConaughey as `Mud’, Mud
For making his unbuttoned pale yellow shirt, and its absence, a major plot point.

2. Adele Exarchopolous as `Adele’, Blue is the Warmest Color
For eating, dancing, and fucking with enough sensual hunger and passion to fuel Europe for a decade.

And the winner is…

1. Chris Hemsworth as `James Hunt’, Rush
For infusing his race-car driving star with the most effortless, laid-back, blonde rock god sex appeal since Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall.


Best Good-Egg Protagonist:

5. Will Forte as `David Grant’, Nebraska.
For agreeing  to take his dad on a delusional fool’s gold road trip, and doing something really sweet when it doesn’t pan out.

4. Jake Gyllenhaal as `Detective Loki’, Prisoners.
For doggedly pursuing a missing-child case, despite Hugh Jackman’s hysterically twisted angry dad behavior.

3. Waad Mohammed as `Wadjda’, Wadjda
For shaking up patriarchal Saudi society, while never being less than utterly adorable.

2. Mads Mikkelsen as `Lucas’, The Hunt
For refusing to lie down when his entire community unjustly turns against him, and still being kind to the kid who started it all.

And the winner is…

1. Brie Larson as `Grace’, Short Term 12
For taking her own experience as an abused child, and using it to help others, no matter how painful the cost.

Best Rotten-Egg Protagonist:

5. Simon Pegg as `Gary King’, The World’s End
For dragging everyone else into his insufferably narcissistic, alcohol-infused delusions of past grandeur.

4. Isaiah Washington as `John’, Blue Caprice
For corrupting his adopted son’s soul with his own hatred for the world.

3. Oscar Isaac as `Llewyn Davis’, Inside Llewyn Davis
For being a bitter, misanthropic douchebag, and leaving the cat in the car.

2. Leonardo di Caprio as `Jordan Bellfort’, Wolf of Wall St
For embodying the hollow, carnivorous heart of no-holds barred capitalism run amuck, to devastatingly entertaining results.

And the winner is…

1. Cate Blanchett as`Jasmine’, Blue Jasmine
For taking self-centered entitlement to def-con 5 levels of samsaric cluelessness.


Best Survivor:

5. Robert Redford as `our man’, All is Lost
For thinking his way through being lost at sea.

4. Sandra Bullock as `Ryan Stone’, Gravity
For feeling her way through being lost in space.

3. Tom Hanks as `Richard Phillips’ , Captain Phillips
For his shockingly vulnerable post-traumatic meltdown.

2. Amy Seimetz as `Kris’, Upstream Color
For finding her true self after identity-theft hypnosis-by-maggot-capsule. (Don’t ask).

And the winner is…

1. Chiwitel Ejiofor as `Solomon Northup’, 12 Years a Slave
For maintaining his soul, and his dignity, in the face of unspeakable horror.

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