The International Online Film Critics Poll, an organization of which I am a voting member, only polls their constituent critics once every two years (unlike most groups, which meet annually to vote), which provides an interesting mix of apples to oranges comparisons — is last year’s best picture better (or worse) than this year’s? — which makes it an interesting amalgam of contenders. This weekend marked the conclusion of the most recent biennium, and it saw the Texas-shot feature Boyhood named the best film of 2013 or 2014, and its director, Richard Linklater, the best director of the last two years. The film’s co-star, Patricia Arquette, was named best supporting actress.
Fellow Texan Wes Anderson was also honored when his film The Grand Budapest Hotel took three prizes — for best ensemble cast, best production design and best original music score.
Among the other big winners were Michael Keaton as best actor for Birdman; Cate Blanchett as best actress for Blue Jasmine; and J.K. Simmons as best supporting actor for Whiplash. Gravity took three awards — best cinematography, film editing and visual effects — and 12 Years a Slave and Her both took one of the screenwriting prizes. (For the record, I voted for seven of the eventual winners, and among the 60 nominations I made, 29 made the final list.)
Lest you think newness is preferable, of the 14 winners, seven were from 2013; seven from 2014. And to highlight the internationality of the selections, the presence of nominees like The Great Beauty and The Hunt showed the diversity from the 20 nations represented among the voting critics, from the U.S. to Mexico to Poland, Romania, Pakistan and Estonia.
This is the fourth biannual poll. Previous best picture winners include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011-12), Inglourious Basterds (2009-10) and Slumdog Millionaire (2007-08).
A full list of 2013-14 nominees and winners (in bold) is below:
Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave; Birdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Wolf of Wall Street.
Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman; Richard Linklater, Boyhood; Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty; Roman Polanski, Venus in Fur.
Best Actor: Michael Keaton, Birdman; Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel; Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt; Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color; Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl; Julianne Moore, Still Alice; Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant.
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton, Birdman; Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club; Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher; J.K. Simmons, Whiplash.
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave; Emma Stone, Birdman; Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine; Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; June Squibb, Nebraska.
Best Ensemble Cast: 12 Years a Slave; Birdman; Boyhood; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game.
Best Original Screenplay: Birdman; Boyhood; Calvary; Her; The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Best Adapted Screenplay: 12 Years a Slave; Gone Girl; Snowpiercer; The Imitation Game; The Wolf of Wall Street.
Best Cinematography: Birdman; Gravity; Ida; Nebraska; The Great Beauty.
Best Production Design: Gravity; Her; Mr. Turner; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game.
Best Film Editing: Birdman; Boyhood; Gravity; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Wolf of Wall Street.
Best Original Score: Gravity; Her; Interstellar; The Grand Budapest Hotel; The Imitation Game.
Best Visual Effects: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Interstellar; Gravity; Guardians of the Galaxy; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.