Oscars 2014: BFCA (Critics Choice) Nominations

The Critics Choice nominations are out. At first glance, these don’t sound like anything important, but they’ve proven to be a sneaky relevant awards show. Actually more so than the Golden Globes.

Sometimes they’re populist, but overall, you can really see where the tastes lie, and you can sometimes pick up on what the sneaky choices are all around. I’ll get into it it as we go along.

Here are the 2014 Critics Choice nominations.

Best Picture



Gone Girl

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game



The Theory of Everything



Straight up ten. They usually do ten. To quickly get it over with, here are the Oscar contenders left off this list: Foxcatcher, A Most Violent Year, American Sniper.

Those are the films that have featured on other lists that were left off of this one. The lack of A Most Violent Year love is interesting and shows that it’s just not going to happen. Foxcatcher still has a a shot, though.

Anyway, last year, the Critics Choice list and the Oscar list matched 8 for 9. This list had Inside Llewyn Davis and Saving Mr. Banks, while the Oscar list ended up having Philomena. Harvey got that one on. The big note there is that the BFCA showed us Dallas Buyers Club was going to have a strong showing.

2012, same thing. They had The Master and Moonrise Kingdom on there, and Amour got on instead.

2011, they hit all 9, and had Drive on as their tenth film. And they had Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close on there.

2010, they went 9 of 10, missing only The Kids Are All Right. (They had The Town on instead.)

2009, 8 of 10. They had Invictus and Nine on their list, and missed The Blind Side and District 9.

So the point is — they’re pretty accurate. What this tells me? A lot of these will probably make it on. That’s great news for Whiplash, Unbroken and Gone Girl, which have had lackluster showings thus far.

I feel like Foxcatcher still has a chance at this, so I’m gonna look for the films most likely to be left off. One of them is clearly Grand Budapest. The other — probably Nightcrawler. This could be the sneaky film that’ll make it on in the end, but I’m also gonna look to that as the film that could be left off as well. Since they haven’t had ten nominees in a few years, and it’s so hard to get a full ten. This is gonna be interesting.

Best Director

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ava DuVernay, Selma

David Fincher, Gone Girl

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman

Angelina Jolie, Unbroken

Richard Linklater, Boyhood

What does this tell you? Unbroken should be just fine. The critics have the same streak as Oscar voters. They want that type of film. Don’t pay attention to the precursors, especially when you have a late film. Remember the panic over Wolf of Wall Street last year? Unbroken will be fine, in all likelihood.

Last year, they had all five. 2012, 3/5, missing Zeitlin and Haneke. 2011, 3/5, missing Allen and Malick. 2010, 4/5, missing David O. Russell. 2009, all five.

So unless some crazy shit happens, they’re gonna get at least four of these.

Inarritu and Linklater are locks. DuVernay seems likely. Jolie is a swing vote at the moment. Fincher is always a threat. Don’t think Bennett Miller makes this cut. Wes Anderson just isn’t happening unless he gets DGA. I wouldn’t entirely rule it out, but until the DGA hath spoken, not happening. I don’t actually know who else can get on. Unless they love Imitation Game or Theory of Everything or Nightcrawler or Whiplash (you get my point), I can’t see the director making it on. And in that scenario, Dallas Buyers Club didn’t get a Director nomination. So that only extends so far. So you have to consider the Beasts of the Southern Wild type love (which theoretically could favor Whiplash) as a possibility for getting someone on.

Right now, we’re looking pretty close to what the final list will be.

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

No surprises here. Gyllenhaal continues to make a showing. Still no Foxcatcher love. Now I’m really curious to see how the Academy responds to it. (They loved his last two.)

What this tells me is — it’s six horses for a five horse race.

Cumberbatch, Keaton, and Redmayne are on. And the other two spots are going to any combination of Gyllenhaal, Oyelowo and Steve Carell. You’ve got your work cut out for you here.

Oh, and since we’ve been doing it — last year, they had four of five. They successfully guessed Christian Bale, but not Leo. 2012, they had all five (because there were really only six choices). 2011 was a massacre. They missed Gary Oldman and Demian Bichir). 2010, they had 4 of 5, missing Javier Bardem. It seems they miss the foreign performances. And 2009, they nailed all five.

This one seems like they’ll likely get four of five if Carell gets on, and all five otherwise.

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

These were really the only choices. Amy Adams doesn’t seem like she’s gonna make a push, and no one else got any love anywhere. These are your six choices. They’re gonna get 5/5 here, unless someone crazy shows up out of nowhere.

Last year, they had 4/5, missing Amy Adams. 2012, they had all five. (Remember, they do nominate six, so it is easier for them.) 2011, they had 3/5, missing Rooney Mara and Glenn Close. 2010, they nailed all five. Same for 2009.

They’re usually pretty solid here. Seems like they’re gonna get all five. At this point, you have to give Aniston the edge based on precursors, but I know nothing about her movie or if Cotillard can make a push. Right now, I’m guessing Aniston gets on due to the campaigning.

Best Supporting Actor

Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice

Robert Duvall, The Judge

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

Edward Norton, Birdman

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Oh, what a surprise. The only six that have a chance are all here.

They actually haven’t hit 5/5 here in the past five years. This year, they should.

Interesting, the overall lack of Inherent Vice love. Not shocking, but moderately surprising. Brolin stands a pretty good chance, I’d even say over Duvall.

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

Pretty much everyone assumes that Naomi Watts nomination is never going to happen. (Because Harvey has a way of getting people onto the SAG list. Remember Diane Kruger for Inglourious Basterds?)

This pretty much tells me your category will be the first five actresses on this list. They’ve hit every precursor, and seem like locks.

2009, they hit 3/5. Every year since then has been 4/5 (and 2010 was 5/5). So they’re pretty accurate. This year looks like an easy 5/5.

Also, love the Swinton inclusion. She was awesome.

Best Acting Ensemble



The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Into the Woods


Yup. This makes sense.

Best Original Screenplay



The Grand Budapest Hotel



I’m very okay with this category.

Selma is spoiler here. Most Violent Year has to be considered as well, though at this point, I doubt it can make any headway in this category.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Gone Girl

The Imitation Game

Inherent Vice

The Theory of Everything



Interesting. They went from 5 for Original to 6 for Adapted.

Foxcatcher seems like the other possibility, right?

Chances are, this will be close to your list. It comes down to whether they want to nominate PTA over Wild. Or if Foxcatcher gets on anyway.

Best Editing



Gone Girl



This category is always contingent on what the Best Picture major contenders are. I’d really enjoy if these were the final five. Gone Girl, I figure, is a lock. Whiplash would be awesome. Interstellar will easily be left off for something they love a lot, be it Theory of Everything, Imitation Game, what have you. You know what they say, you need Editing to get Picture. Almost exclusively are your five Editing nominees your five biggest Picture contenders.

Best Cinematography


The Grand Budapest Hotel


Mr. Turner


Haven’t given much thought about Cinematography yet. I’ll say that I don’t agree with Mr. Turner. It looked nice, but I can think of others I liked better. Otherwise, I’m cool with the other four. Loving the abundance of Grand Budapest love. I really thought they were gonna forget all about it. Look at this. This is great. Really hope it can make waves when we get to the actual nominees.

More thoughts on cinematography at a later time, though.

Best Original Score

Birdman, Antonio Sanchez

Gone Girl, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

The Imitation Game, Alexandre Desplat

Interstellar, Hans Zimmer

The Theory of Everything, Johann Johannsson

I’m listening to all these scores now. All of them will make an appearance on my final list. So I’m okay with this. Birdman is ineligible, so that clearly won’t make it. Otherwise, I’m a fan of this list. The Imitation Game score was crazy good.

Best Original Song

“Big Eyes,” from Big Eyes

“Everything Is Awesome,” from The Lego Movie

“Glory,” from Selma

“Lost Stars,” from Begin Again

“Yellow Flicker Beat,” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1

Gotta get Lorde on there. You knew that was gonna happen.

Nice to see Lost Stars get some traction. It may still have a play yet in the race.

Glory was my favorite, as we’ve established.

Everything Is Awesome is weak songwriting, but makes sense.

Big Eyes seems like it’s gonna get on, which I won’t have an issue with.

It’s hard to figure what this category is gonna be. Weird stuff happens every year.

Best Art Direction


The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice


Into the Woods


Snowpiercer. Interesting. All right. I’m fine with that.

Inherent Vice is nice to see, but there are a lot of closeups in that movie. I’m surprised people paid attention enough to the art direction.

Grand Budapest and Birdman are locks, you’d think.

Into the Woods — ehh, sure. But there was too much CG for me.

And Interstellar makes sense.

More thoughts on this next month.

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Inherent Vice

Into the Woods


Mr. Turner

Grand Budapest, yes. Inherent Vice, sure. Into the Woods, of course. Maleficent, makes sense. Turner — okay.

No thoughts here. Gotta do my due diligence before I’m willing to speak about it.

Best Hair & Makeup


Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Into the Woods


All of these featured makeup. Yes. They’re do for a shortlist any day now. That’s one of the few left to come out. We’ll see which of these actually make that list.

Best Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Edge of Tomorrow

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies


This could be your five. Edge of Tomorrow seems like the likely castoff. Could be the surprise entrant, but I feel something like Maleficent sneaks on instead. But who knows. Four of these seem totally locked by now.

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6

The Book of Life

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The Lego Movie

This is the most likely set of five we’re going to have. It makes the most sense. I’m surprised about Book of Life, but it does feel like a nominee.

Best Action Movie

American Sniper

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Edge of Tomorrow


Guardians of the Galaxy

Ah, the bullshit categories.

Any chance Fury can take this?

No. the answer is no. It’s Guardians. You know it is.

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

It’s Pratt, right? Who else would they give it to?

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

Is it weird that I’m actually pulling for Scarlett here?

I don’t want to say “shouldn’t,” but Shailene Woodley? Also, what exactly did Lawrence do in that movie? Not much of anything. Except whine.

Saldana put in the work. Blunt did nice. I’m rooting for Scarlett. I hope she takes it.

Best Young Actor/Actress

Ellar Coltrane, Boyhood

Ansel Elgort, The Fault in Our Stars

Mackenzie Foy, Interstellar

Jaeden Liberher, St. Vincent

Tony Revelori, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Quvenzhané Wallis, Annie

Noah Wiseman, The Babadook

Wallis won’t win. St. Vincent kid won’t win. Babadook kid probably won’t win.

Revelori has a chance. Mackenzie Foy, I thought, was terrific. Doubt she can pull it off, though. Elgort, maybe, but I doubt it.

This is Coltrane’s to lose. How can it not be?

Acting-wise, my vote is Foy or Revelori.

Best Comedy


The Grand Budapest Hotel

St. Vincent

Top Five

22 Jump Street

That’s unfair.

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

Also unfair. But yeah, Favreau!

Nice they snuck Tatum in there. See how they did that?

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

Wiig? Really?

Rooting for Slate.

Byrne was really good too.

Haven’t seen Dawson yet.

McCarthy was fine.

Rooting for Slate.

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

The Babadook

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes



Under the Skin

I’m okay with this.

Interstellar should win, but all bets are off.

Best Foreign Language Film

Force Majeure



Two Days, One Night

Wild Tales

I watched Winter Sleep last night.

That was 200 minutes of talking.

I can see why it hasn’t made anybody’s list.

Wild Tales was entertaining as shit. Two Days, One Night was all right. Leviathan I still have to watch and am excited for, because I loved The Return from this same director. Ida, I hear great things about. And I’m actually really excited for Force Majeure.

You can actually do worse for an Oscar category here.

But they will. Because they usually shortlist weird things instead of the popular stuff.

Best Documentary Feature


Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Last Days in Vietnam

Life Itself

The Overnighters

Life Itself should win the Oscar. But I’m biased.

I hear great things about the rest of these. We’ll see how the shortlist works out (since I think they have a smaller list, right? Maybe not. Either way, it’s early).

– – – – – – – – –

So those are your nominees.

The BFCA is good about getting generally what most people feel are the best movies of the year. They hit a nice cross section of critically revered vs. audience revered while also taking into account watchability. That’s the key with them.

Like I said about Winter Sleep — if it wasn’t laying in bed, not wanting to move because of too much fun the night before, and I were sitting in a theater for 200 minutes to watch that movie, I’d be bored out of my mind. And I think the Critics Choice awards do a good job of not nominating stuff the average public is gonna out and out despise. You know what I mean? They hit a nice cross section. Which is why people take them seriously. And in a way, they are more accurate a guide than something like the Golden Globes.

So that’s what I got. I probably should have looked into each category more to see how much they match up, but I have the guilds to help me there. The important thing for me to impart on everyone is that this is actually one of the most important precursor awards there is.


One response

  1. Foxcatcher got pushed into the Original Screenplay category, which probably scuttles any chance it has of getting a writing nomination.

    I think if Unbroken makes the Best Picture lineup (and I still don’t think that’s anything like a guarantee), it’ll be like War Horse and get Picture plus some tech noms, and that’ll be it. MAYBE Screenplay. But the reviews are really not that great, and worse, there seem to be few passionate supporters of it. The Globe shutout can’t have helped.

    I also think Anderson is in for Director. But that’s just me.

    December 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm

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