Best Actor – Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler:
Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom – wiry, intense, ethically challenged – was criminally overlooked.
Best Actor – Chadwick Boseman, Get on Up: A refreshingly raw and energetic performance in a sea of stately, reserved biopics.
Best Actor – Jack O’Connell, Starred Up: If you think O’Connell’s breakout performance is in Unbroken, think again; his explosive performance as a violent 18-year-old in an adult prison is astonishing.
Best Adapted Screenplay – Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl: Flynn deserved a nom for adapting her runaway bestseller – and improving upon it with a chilling, mature screenplay.
Best Animated Feature – The Lego Movie: Seriously – how could this infectious animated film that transcended its corporate origin as a mass market toy have been given the shaft?
Best Documentary Feature – Tim’s Vermeer: Did Vermeer use 17th century technology to paint his masterpieces? Watch Tim Jenison attempt to do it himself. It will blow your mind.
Best Foreign Film – Force Majeure: This Swedish import blends black humor with the consequences of making a terrible decision when one fears for their lives. Unforgettable.
Best Supporting Actress – Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer:
Swinton’s performance as an ungainly, dictatorial shrew is a showstopper, and the stuff that supporting roles are made of.
Best Original Song – “Hal” by Yasmine Hamdan, Only Lovers Left Alive: Beautiful and plaintive, this song captures the spirit of Tangier as well as the mood of the star-crossed vampires at the center of the film.
Best Cinematography – Grand Piano. This direct-to-video B-movie may have a preposterous plot, but the cinematography has been compared to both Hitchcock and Coppola. They don’t make them like this anymore.
Best Visual Effects – Lucy: The best superhero movie of the year deserves recognition for the unique visual experience it gave us.
Best Sound Editing- Under the Skin: The other great Scarlett Johannson film this year announced itself with a literal buzz as we were thrown into Jonathan Glazer’s terrifying and hypnotic world.
Best Score- Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross; Gone Girl: Three collaborations in, it is clear that Reznor, Ross and director David Fincher are the 21st century’s answer to Ennio Morricone and Sergio Leone.
Best Song – “Hate the Sport”; We Are the Best!: The anthem of the year comes from a film that expertly captures the transformative power of music.
Best Cinematography – Fabrice Aragno; Goodbye to Language: Whether it’s a grainy home video shot or a sumptuous image of lapping ocean waves, Jean-Luc Godard’s philosophical 3D experiment is uniformly gorgeous.
Best Supporting Actor – Josh Brolin; Inherent Vice: Josh Brolin gives the year’s best comedic performance (and possibly the greatest performance of his career) as hard-nosed cop Bigfoot Bjornsen.
Best Actress – Tilda Swinton; Only Lovers Left Alive: Tilda Swinton’s performance brings much needed life to Jim Jarmusch’s undead tale of existential ennui.
Best Actor – David Oyelowo; Selma: Portraying a famous figure is always fraught with peril but Oyelowo’s confident depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr. captures both the fiery orator and the more reserved man behind the cause.
Best Adapted Screenplay – Ryker Chan, Wai Ka-Fai, Xi Yu; Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2: This sequel from director Johnnie To is an endlessly fascinating obliteration of the essentials that made the first film one the best contemporary romantic comedies.
Best Picture – The Tale of the Princess Kaguya: Why should foreign language and animated films be relegated to their own subcategories? Studio Ghibli director Isao Takahata’s swan song is the best film of the year, period.