I always knew Alfonso had this film in him.  I never knew Sandra had this performance in her.

I always knew Alfonso had this film in him. I never knew Sandra had this performance in her.

My Top 20:

  1. Gravity
  2. The Wolf of Wall Street
  3. Inside Llewyn Davis
  4. American Hustle
  5. Nebraska
  6. Philomena
  7. 12 Years a Slave
  8. Blue is the Warmest Color
  9. Her
  10. Blue Jasmine
  11. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  12. Frozen
  13. Wadjda
  14. Prisoners
  15. The Hunt
  16. August: Osage County
  17. The World’s End
  18. In a World . . .
  19. Captain Phillips
  20. I’m So Excited

note:  There are only three films from this year that I haven’t seen that I have any expectation might eventually make it into my Top 20: The Wind Rises, The Past and The Great Beauty.

Consensus Awards:

  • Best Picture:  12 Years a Slave
  • Best Director:  Alfonso Cuarón  (Gravity)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  12 Years a Slave
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Her
  • Best Actor:  Chiwetel Ejiofor  (12 Years a Slave)
  • Best Actress:  Cate Blanchett  (Blue Jasmine)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Jared Leto  (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Lupita Nyong’o  (12 Years a Slave)
  • Best Cinematography:  Gravity
  • Best Animated Film:  Frozen
  • Best Foreign Film:  Blue is the Warmest Color

note:  These are almost the complete reversal of 2012.  In 2012, the only Consensus winners to win the Oscar were Original Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actress and Foreign Film.  This year Actor and Foreign Film are the only Consensus winners to not win the Oscar.  With Consensus / Oscar agreement 7/8 in the major categories, it is only the second time since 1991 that more than 6 of those agree.  This is the 12th time in the last 50 years where 3 of the 4 acting categories agree between the Consensus and the Oscars but the only time that Best Actor was the odd man out.  This is the first close race in Animated Film since 2006 with Frozen barely prevailing over The Wind Rises.  Gravity is the first Consensus winner for Cinematography to win the Oscar since 2008; its 7 wins tie Tree of Life for the most ever.

Academy Awards:

  • Best Picture:  12 Years a Slave
  • Best Director:  Alfonso Cuarón  (Gravity)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  12 Years a Slave
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Her
  • Best Actor:  Matthew McConaughey  (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Best Actress:  Cate Blanchett  (Blue Jasmine)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Jared Leto  (Dallas Buyers Club)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Lupita Nyong’o  (12 Years a Slave)
  • Best Cinematography:  Gravity
  • Best Animated Film:  Frozen
  • Best Foreign Film:  The Great Beauty
Sometimes the critics are much, much smarter than the Academy.

Sometimes the critics are much, much smarter than the Academy.

Top 10 Films  (Top 1000):

  1. Inside Llewyn Davis  –  (#114)
  2. 12 Years a Slave  –  (#140)
  3. Her  –  (#149)
  4. The Act of Killing  –  (#183)
  5. Before Midnight  –  (#201)
  6. Gravity  –  (#224)
  7. Frances Ha  –  (#245)
  8. Stories We Tell
  9. American Hustle
  10. Blue is the Warmest Color

note:  As with previous years, none of these films actually make the Top 1000 yet, so these are their ranks from the Top 250 for the Century.  The last three films come from their list of how the films from this year ranked.

Top 10 Films  (Awards Points):

  1. 12 Years a Slave  –  2616
  2. Gravity  –  2600
  3. American Hustle  –  1914
  4. Captain Phillips  –  1192
  5. Her  –  1133
  6. Nebraska  –  1055
  7. Blue Jasmine  –  966
  8. Dallas Buyers Club  –  962
  9. Inside Llewyn Davis  –  911
  10. The Wolf of Wall Street  –  813

Note:  The 16 points difference is the closest between a #1 and #2 since 2001.  Gravity has far more wins (39 to 22), but they’re in lesser categories.  And Frozen dominates when it’s nominated, with 15 wins in 17 nominations, but they’re again, in categories with fewer points, so it doesn’t make the list.

Top 10 Films  (2013 Best Picture Awards):

  1. 12 Years a Slave
  2. Gravity
  3. American Hustle
  4. Her
  5. Captain Phillips
  6. Inside Llewyn Davis
  7. The Wolf of Wall Street
  8. Nebraska
  9. Philomena
  10. Dallas Buyers Club

Note:  Wolf and Nebraska actually tie – they have the exact same points for the same things – nomination from the Oscars, Globe (Comedy), BFCA and PGA.  Also, while 12 Years dominates this (7 wins), it’s also the first time since 2002 that four different films won at least 2 awards, with Gravity winning the PGA (in a tie) and the LAFC (in a tie), American Hustle winning the Globe – Comedy and NYFC and Her winning the LAFC and NBR.

Well, she didn't win the Oscar this year, but hey, she was in the year's biggest film.

Well, she didn’t win the Oscar this year, but hey, she was in the year’s biggest film.

Top 10 Films  (Domestic Box Office Gross):

  1. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire  –  $423.96 mil
  2. Iron Man 3  –  $409.01 mil
  3. Frozen  –  $393.05 mil
  4. Despicable Me 2  –  $368.06 mil
  5. Man of Steel  –  $291.04 mil
  6. Gravity  –  $271.81 mil
  7. Monsters University  –  $268.49 mil
  8. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  –  $257.39 mil
  9. Fast & Furious 6  –  $238.67 mil
  10. Oz The Great and Powerful  –  $234.91 mil

Note:  For the 4th year in a row and 12th time in the last 13 years, the #1 film is part of a franchise.  The amazing thing is that they represent 10 different franchises.  In all that time, the only two franchises to repeat at #1 are Spider-Man (2002, 2006) and Harry Potter (2001, 2011).  I only saw four of these films in the theaters, but thanks to the end of the Twilight films, for the first time since 2008 I’ve actually seen all 10 of these films.  The total for the 10 films is actually down from 2012 by $160 million, in spite of the fact that Iron Man 3 is the second highest #2 film ever, Frozen is the second highest #3 film ever, Despicable Me 2 is the highest #4 film ever and #7-10 are all the highest ever.  It’s that $200 million difference between Avengers and Catching Fire that does it.  The difference between Catching Fire and Iron Man 3 is the closest between a #1 and #2 film since 2007 and the closest difference, percentage-wise, since 2001.

Another film, another billion dollars for Marvel.

Another film, another billion dollars for Marvel.

Top 10 Films  (Worldwide Box Office Gross):

  1. Iron Man 3  –  $1,215.5 mil
  2. Frozen  –  $1,009.5 mil
  3. Despicable Me 2  –  $970.8 mil
  4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug  –  $937.4 mil
  5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire  –  $863.9 mil
  6. Fast & Furious 6  –  $788.7 mil
  7. Monsters University  –  $743.6 mil
  8. Gravity  –  $708.7 mil
  9. Man of Steel  –  $668.0 mil
  10. Thor: The Dark World  –  $641.4 mil

Note:  For the 4th year in a row and 14th time in the last 15 years, the #1 film is part of a franchise.  But that’s only 9 franchises, even with two more years.  That’s because Harry Potter did it three times, Pirates twice, LOTR twice and Avengers twice.  Spider-Man didn’t manage to be #1 in any year.  Catching Fire is the first film to lead the domestic box office gross but not the worldwide since 2007; it has the lowest worldwide gross for a domestic winner since 2005.  Its fifth-place finish in the worldwide gross is the lowest for a domestic winner since 2000.

Nighthawk Golden Globes:

Oh yeah, she's also the sexiest performance of the year.

Oh yeah, she’s also the sexiest performance of the year.

Drama:

  • Best Picture:  Gravity
  • Best Director:  Alfonso Cuarón  (Gravity)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  Philomena
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Blue Jasmine
  • Best Actor:  Chiwetel Ejiofor  (12 Years a Slave)
  • Best Actress:  Cate Blanchett  (Blue Jasmine)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Michael Fassbender  (12 Years a Slave)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Lupita N’yongo  (12 Years a Slave)

Comedy:

  • Best Picture:  The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Director:  Martin Scorsese  (The Wolf of Wall Street)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Best Actor:  Leonardo DiCaprio  (The Wolf of Wall Street)
  • Best Actress:  Amy Adams  (American Hustle)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Will Forte  (Nebraska)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Julia Roberts  (August: Osage County)
I used a picture where the role EMPIRE called "The MILF of Wall Street" looks the least crazy.

I used a picture where the role EMPIRE called “The MILF of Wall Street” looks the least crazy.  That sentence made more grammatical sense in my head.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture:  Gravity
  • Best Director:  Alfonso Cuarón  (Gravity)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay:  The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Original Screenplay:  Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Best Actor:  Leonardo DiCaprio  (The Wolf of Wall Street)
  • Best Actress:  Cate Blanchett  (Blue Jasmine)
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Will Forte  (Nebraska)
  • Best Supporting Actress:  Julia Roberts  (August: Osage County)
  • Best Editing:  Gravity
  • Best Cinematography:  Gravity
  • Best Original Score:  Gravity
  • Best Sound:  Gravity
  • Best Art Direction:  The Great Gatsby
  • Best Visual Effects:  Gravity
  • Best Sound Editing:  Gravity
  • Best Costume Design:  The Great Gatsby
  • Best Makeup:  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Best Original Song:  “Let It Go” from Frozen  *
  • Best Animated Film:  Frozen
  • Best Foreign Film:  Blue is the Warmest Color
  • *  –  This was really tough.  That U2 was losing the Oscar again was really annoying.  But, overall, I just feel I have to go with “Let It Go”, which is not only a great song, but a complete show-stopper in the film.

Foreign Films:  Again, this piece comes before I can really write this paragraph.  I have seen 4 of the top 6 Consensus films, though that only includes one Oscar nominee.  I have yet to see The Great Beauty, which won the Oscar and came in second in the Consensus or The Past, which came in fourth.  I have seen Blue is the Warmest Color, which won the Consensus, yet wasn’t eligible for the Oscar (France didn’t submit it) and it is my #1.  It’s followed by Wadjda (#3 on the Consensus) and The Hunt (#4 on the Consensus and the only Oscar nominee I’ve seen) as well as I’m So Excited, all of which made my Top 20 for the year.  I have also seen The Act of Killing, which came in sixth, but as a Documentary, isn’t one I consider for these awards.

No wonder Sherlock didn't return until January of 2014.  Look at how busy Benedict was in 2013.  And this doesn't include his brilliant moment at the Oscars (see below).

No wonder Sherlock didn’t return until January of 2014. Look at how busy Benedict was in 2013. And this doesn’t include his brilliant moment at the Oscars (see below).

Nighthawk Notables:

  • Best Film to Watch Over and Over:  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Best Line  (comedic):  ”And if we needed to make a quick getaway, we’d say: “Exit, Pursued by a Bear”. And then, it was: “Exit, Pursued by Yogi Bear”. And then, it was just: “Let’s Yogi and Boo-Boo”. And then: “Let’s Boo-Boo”.” (Simon Pegg in The World’s End)
  • Best Line  (dramatic):  ”I couldn’t forgive you.”  (Steve Coogan in Philomena)
  • Best Opening:  The World’s End
  • Best Ending:  Gravity
  • Best Scene:  the moment where Martin, then Philomena realize the fate of her son in Philomena
  • Best Use of a Song:  ”I’m Free” (The World’s End)
  • Best Use of a Song  (musical):  “The Death of Queen Jane”  (Inside Llewyn Davis)
  • Best Ensemble:  American Hustle
  • Funniest Film:  The World’s End
  • Most Over-rated Film:  Before Midnight
  • Worst Film:  Only God Forgives
  • Worst Sequel (that I saw):  Fast & Furious 6
  • Performance to Fall in Love With:  Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha
  • Sexiest Performance:  Amy Adams in American Hustle
  • Best Description of a Character:  EMPIRE calling Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine “The MILF of Wall Street”
  • Highest Attractiveness / Acting Ability Ratio:  Tao Okamato in The Wolverine
  • Best Soundtrack:  Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Star of the Year:  Benedict Cumberbatch  (The Fifth Estate / 12 Years a Slave / Star Trek Into Darkness / August: Osage County / The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
  • Coolest Performance:  Aidan Turner in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Best Teaser:  Gravity
  • Best Trailer:  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Best Tag-line:  ”Don’t let go.”  (Gravity)
  • Best Cameo:  Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas in I’m So Excited
  • Best Animated Character Performance:  Alan Tudyk in Frozen

Film History:  Though the Top 10 is down from the year before, the box office still sets an overall record.  Blue is the Warmest Color win the Palme d’Or, and for the first time, the two stars are given the award along with the director.  Sacro GRA, an Italian documentary, wins the Golden Lion in Venice.  Fruitvale Station wins the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.  12 Years a Slave takes home 5 Independent Spirit awards, including Picture, Director and Screenplay.  Movie 43 takes home Worst Picture, Director and Screenplay, but Will and Jaden Smith both earn double honors at the Razzies for After Earth.  Roger Ebert dies in April (prompting this piece).  Deanna Durbin dies at age 91, which means I no longer have to worry about all my negative reviews of her films being read by her.  The brilliant Ray Harryhausen dies in May, less than a week after this piece talks about how brilliant he was at what he did.  On back-to-back days in December we lose Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine.

Best photobomb ever.

Best photobomb ever.

Academy Awards:  Gravity wins 7 Oscars, but not Best Picture; it wins as many Oscars as all the other Best Picture nominees combined, something that had never been done in a year with more than 5 BP nominees.  This puts it in second place all-time for wins without winning Picture (behind Cabaret – it ties with Star Wars, but one of its Oscars was a non-competitive special Oscar).  It is the first film to lose Picture and win Director without a Screenplay nomination (only four films previously had won Best Director without a Screenplay nomination – two of them, The Sound of Music and Titanic, won Best Picture – the other two, Two Arabian Knights and The Divine Lady, weren’t nominated for Picture).  It becomes the first film since Wilson in 1944 to win four of the five major tech awards without winning Best Picture.  Her becomes the first film since 2006 to win Screenplay without a Director nomination; it makes Spike Jonze the first director since 1982 to win an Oscar for writing while getting passed over for a Director nomination.  American Hustle becomes the first film since Sunset Blvd. to earn all four acting nominations but win none of them.  By going 0 for 10, it ties Gangs of New York and True Grit for 3rd place and earns 2nd place for most points without a single win (325, behind The Turning Point).  Prior to this decade, two films had gone 0 for 11 (The Turning Point, The Color Purple) but no other film had gone worse than 0 for 9; since 2000, three films have gone 0 for 10, all of which were nominated for Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor and Costume Design, and all of whose Best Actor nominees already had an Oscar.  The Great Gatsby wins both of its nominations, joining a list with Frozen and 14 previous films, one of which was the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby (which had also won Costume Design but whose other Oscar was for Score Adaptation).  Then there’s this amazing fact: only 45 films have been nominated for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay and failed to win any awards.  Only five times had this happened twice in the same year (1938, 1942, 1957, 1987, 2005).  And yet, it happened three times this year.  The Great Beauty wins Best Foreign Film, marking the first time ever the Globes and Oscars agreed on the award four years in a row.  Also, only four directors prior to this year had a film nominated for Picture, Director and Screenplay in the same year twice and fail to win anything (Wyler, Zinnemann (back-to-back in 59 and 60), Kubrick and Lumet); Martin Scorsese just made that five.  U2’s “Ordinary Love” becomes the first song to win the Globe and get nominated for the Oscar but fail to win since U2’s “The Hands That Built America”.  Oh, and on the red carpet, Benedict Cumberbatch photobombed U2.  It was awesome.  There is also all sorts of Oscar trivia from the nominations morning that I put up here.

  • Worst Oscar:  Best Actor for Matthew McConaughy for Dallas Buyers Club  *
  • Worst Oscar Nomination:  Best Animated Film for The Croods
  • Worst Oscar Omission:  Best Original Screenplay for Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Worst Oscar-Nominated Film:  Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa
  • Best Eligible Film with No Oscar Nominations:  Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Worst Oscar Category:  Best Makeup
  • Best Oscar Category:  Best Actress
  • Oscar / Nighthawk Award Agreements:  Director, Actress, Editing, Cinematography, Original Score, Sound, Art Direction, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Costume Design, Original Song
  • *  –  like with Life of Pi, this isn’t a bad choice, just the weakest of a fairly good lot.

Note:  A variety of trivia having to do with the Globes, the Guilds and the various other pre-Oscar awards was put up here.

Golden Globes:  As I said, there is a lot about the Globes in that previous piece.  But a couple of big ones to note are that American Hustle was only the 4th film to be nominated for the big 7 awards at the Globes and that for the sixth time in the last 14 years the main four awards (Director, Screenplay, the two Picture awards) went to four different films.  The big thing about the Globes this year is the quality of the Best Picture – Comedy category.  The previous best was 1996, when they averaged an 89.4 from me.  But this year averaged a 94.8.  Only twice previously had the Globes nominated four films in this category that earned **** from me (2000, 2007).  This year, for the first time, they nominated five.  Contrast that to just three years previously, when the five films averaged a 55.8, the worst ever.  American Hustle earns 380 points, the most for a Comedy film since 2002.

Awards:  12 Years a Slave does the best at the major critics awards but is far from dominant, with the lowest points total (744) for an overall winner since 2008.  It does very well in Boston and dominates Chicago but is completely blanked at the NBR and NSFC.  Next up is Inside Llewyn Davis which does very well at the NSFC and wins something from everyone except Chicago.  They are followed by Gravity and Her, with all four films winning Picture and Director at least once.  With American Hustle also winning Picture, it’s only the second time since 2000 that five different films win a Best Picture award.  With the acting there’s less of a consensus, with Cate Blanchett (five wins) and Jared Leto (three wins) the only actors who win more than two awards.  The other big winner is The Wind Rises, which takes home four of the Best Animated Film awards.

American Hustle becomes the first film nominated for the big 7 awards at the BAFTAs since American Beauty in 1999.  After happening five times from 1999 to 2007, this is the first year since 2007 where Picture, Director and both Screenplay awards go to four different films.  For the record-setting sixth year in a row, the BAFTAs and Oscars agree on Best Picture.

With 12 nominations and 470 points, 12 Years a Slave ties Lincoln’s nominations total and sets a new high for points at the Broadcast Film Critics Assocation.  With Slave winning Picture but Gravity winning Director, those two split at the BFCA for the first time since 2004.  With her third win in 7 nominations, Cate Blanchett takes over the all-time lead at the BFCA from Meryl Streep (who does earn her 6th nomination).  With his fifth nomination, Martin Scorsese ties Steven Spielberg for all-time points at the BFCA.

a quick note:  The following passages below have bits about the consensus picks.  They don’t have my own picks.  Those will follow in an eventual post of the Nighthawk Awards, currently scheduled for 2037.

Best Director:  It’s probably to nobody’s surprise that Alfonso Cuarón wins the Consensus award for Best Director.  What may surprise people is how close the race is, given the awards that I use.  While Cuarón would win head-to-head against Steve McQueen in the big five awards groups (DGA, Oscar, BAFTA, BFCA, Globe), he would lose to McQueen at the Satellites and wouldn’t be eligible for the Indie Spirit (where McQueen would win) due to the budget of Gravity.  And at the critics groups, McQueen would win three awards (New York, Boston, Chicago) to Cuarón’s one (LA) while McQueen and  would both be runners-up at the NSFC (Cuarón would be the runner-up to McQueen in New York and Chicago).  Bringing up a very distant third would be David O. Russell for American Hustle (DGA, Oscar, BAFTA, BFCA, Globe, Satellite noms, runner-up in New York and Chicago), followed by Martin Scorsese for Wolf of Wall Street (DGA, Oscar, BAFTA, BFCA, Satellite noms, Boston runner-up) and Spike Jonze (Her), who manages to just beat out Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) for fifth place (Jonze earns the NBR win, a BFCA nom and runner-up in New York, LA and Chicago while Greengrass earns DGA, BAFTA, BFCA, Globe and Satellite noms).  The last is no longer a surprise; from the late-90’s, when the BFCA and Satellites began, to 2009, only one director was nominated by all five of those groups and passed over for the Oscar – Baz Luhrmann for Moulin Rouge.  But, since 2010, it’s happened to Christopher Nolan (Inception), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Ben Affleck (Argo), and now Greengrass.

Best Adapted Screenplay:  Because the ineligibility of big scripts has mostly been the purvey of Best Original Screenplay (4 Consensus winners in the last 20 years), 12 Years a Slave (ineligible) becomes the first Consensus winner in this category without a WGA nomination since 1989.  Partially as a result of that, it has the fewest points for a Consensus winner since 1999.  It wins the Oscar, BFCA and CFC with Globe and BAFTA noms.  Following it are Before Midnight (LAFC, NSFC wins, Oscar, WGA, BFCA noms), The Wolf of Wall Street (NBR win, Oscar, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA noms), Captain Phillips (WGA win, Oscar, BAFTA, BFCA noms) and Philomena (BAFTA win, Oscar, Globe, BFCA noms).  It’s the first time that five different films have wins in this category since 2002.

Best Original Screenplay:  Her takes the Consensus by winning the Oscar, WGA, Globa, BFCA and CFC.  Its five wins are the most in this category since 2007.  Yet, it is also the first Consensus winner since 2005, the first WGA winner since 2002 and the first Oscar winner since 1997 to fail to earn a BAFTA nomination.  It’s followed by American Hustle (BAFTA, NYFC wins, Oscar, WGA, Globe, BFCA noms), Nebraska (Oscar, WGA, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms), Blue Jasmine (Oscar, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA noms) and Inside Llewyn Davis (NBR win, BAFTA, BFCA noms).

Best Actor:  Though Matthew McConaughey wins the Oscar, SAG, BFCA and Globe – Drama for Best Actor, he can’t manage better than third at the Consensus.  That’s because he’s the first Oscar winner since 2001, the first Globe – Drama winner since 1999 and only the second SAG winner ever (after Jack Nicholson in 1997) to fail to earn a BAFTA nomination.  He also joins Jean Dujardin (from 2011) as the only SAG winners since 2003 and the only Oscar winners since 2001 to fail to earn any major critics awards.  So, with things split at the critics, Chiwetel Ejiofor becomes the Consensus winner with the fewest points (315) to win since 2001.  He does by winning in Boston and Chicago, winning the BAFTA and earning SAG, Oscar, Globe and BFCA noms.  In second is Bruce Dern, with LAFC and NBR wins and SAG, Oscar, Globe, BAFTA and BFCA noms.  With McConaughey in third, he’s followed by a tie for fourth between Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips (SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms) and Robert Redford for All is Lost (NYFC win, Globe, BFCA noms).  A quick note that the Globe – Comedy group is probably the best group of five ever nominated, with Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio for Wolf of Wall Street, Christian Bale for American Hustle, Oscar Isaac for Inside Llewyn Davis and Joaquin Pheonix for Her.

Best Actress:  After the closest finish ever for Best Actress in 2012, with a tie for 1st place in the Consensus and the third place finisher only 7 points back we have an actress who finishes with more points than the rest of the Consensus nominees combined.  Cate Blanchett ends up with the second-highest finish ever, taking five of the critics awards (all but the NBR) and all five awards groups (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA).  She’s only beaten by Helen Mirren for The Queen.  While Emma Thompson (Howards End) and Holly Hunter (The Piano) both managed all six critics wins, neither the SAG nor BFCA existed back then.  The rest of the Consensus nominees are Emma Thompson (NBR win, SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms), Judi Dench and Sandra Bullock (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms for both) and Meryl Streep (SAG, Oscar, Globe – Comedy, BFCA noms).

Best Supporting Actor:  Jared Leto easily wins the Consensus, taking home the SAG, Oscar, Globe, BFCA and awards in New York, LA and Chicago.  In a distant second is Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) with a BAFTA win and SAG, Oscar, Globe and BFCA noms.  He’s followed by Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms), James Franco for Spring Breakers (LAFC and NSFC wins) and a three-way tie for 5th between James Gandolfini for Enough Said (BSFC win, SAG, BFCA noms), Bradley Cooper for American Hustle (Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms) and Daniel Bruhl for Rush (SAG, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA noms).

Best Supporting Actress:  A year after coming in third-place by just seven points in spite of winning the Oscar for Best Actress, Jennifer Lawrence comes in second-place by 24 points because she loses the Oscar.  Lupita Nyong’o wins the Consensus, as well as LAFC, CFC, Oscar, SAG and BFCA (with BAFTA and Globe noms).  Lawrence wins the NYFC, NSFC, BAFTA and Globe and is nominated by SAG, Oscar and BFCA.  They are followed by June Squibb for Nebraska (BSFC win, SAG, Oscar, Globe, BFCA noms), Julia Roberts for August: Osage County (SAG, Oscar, BAFTA, BFCA and Globe noms) and a fifth-place tie between Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine (Oscar, BAFTA, Globe noms) and Oprah Winfrey for The Butler (SAG, BAFTA, BFCA noms).

Lake Bell: officially, a triple threat.

Lake Bell: officially, a triple threat.

Under-appreciated Film of 2013:

In a World . . .  (dir. Lake Bell)

Think of Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, Warren Beatty, Woody Allen and George Clooney.  They are all men who were nominated by the Academy in multiple categories for the same film.  They are what is known as a triple-threat: actor-writer-director.  For the most part, that kind of triple-threat has been the purvey of the males.  Look at the females who have been nominated for Best Director at the Oscar: Kathryn Bigelow, Sofia Coppola, Jane Campion, Lena Wertmuller.  Some of them write (Coppola and Campion won writing Oscars) but none of them act.  Look at some of the females who have had films they directed nominated for Best Picture: Penny Marshall, Lone Scherfig, Randa Haines, Barbra Streisand, Lisa Cholodenko.  Of those, only Streisand acts in her films and she doesn’t write them.  And some of the other talented directors around, like Sarah Polley or Julie Taymor?  Again, they don’t act in their films.

And now let’s look at Lake Bell.  At 33, she gave us her first feature film as a writer and director this past year, In a World….  And 33 is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being a triple-threat.  Allen at 33?  Delivering his first film in which he starred, acted and directed, Take the Money and Run, a bit funnier than this one, but with no better direction and he didn’t quite have Bell’s knack for acting yet.  Beatty at 33?  He had begun producing at 30, with Bonnie and Clyde, but was years away from his directorial debut.  Clooney at 33?  He had just started on “E/R” and was almost a decade away from becoming a director.  There’s a lifetime ahead of Bell, if this is what she chooses to do.

And this is a damn good start.  The directing is smart and assured.  The film is well-cast (more on that down below) and flows quite well.  It’s a first film for a director and there’s nothing wrong with it.  What about the writing?  Well, it’s damn funny, to begin with.  Just watch the trailer and you can get an idea of how funny it’s going to be.  It’s a rather inspired story about a young woman (though, not young enough to manage to stay on in her father’s house) trying to break into the world of voiceovers.  She works as a vocal coach, and she’s got talent – she can mimic how other people speak and she understands the business; after all, her father has been one of the leading men in the industry for years (he’s played rather brilliantly by Fred Melamed and Bell is told more than once that people find her father hot, which is just as hilarious here as it was when Melamed stole away Larry Gopnik’s wife in A Serious Man).  Her father has no confidence in her and she is losing confidence in herself, especially when her father tosses her out because he wants the house to himself and his much younger second wife.  So, Bell is forced to throw herself on the mercy of her sister and her brother-in-law and their relationships show how well Bell has an idea of how real people interact.  If the script is never as gut-bustingly funny as the early Allen films, she does have a better notion of reality and she keeps her humor grounded in it.  And, of course, there is the presence of Bell herself in the lead role.  Though I can’t make room for her among Best Actress in this very good year for performances, she does make my Best Actress – Comedy nominations over Golden Globe nominated performances from Greta Gerwig, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Julie Delpy.

Then there is the supporting cast.  There is Melamed, of course, hilarious here and with the perfect voice for the role.  But the key supporting players are those who haven’t quite gotten the recognition of their peers.  It’s been 15 years now that Jon Stewart has had “The Daily Show”, and in that time his supporting cast has gone on to even more hilarious shows (Steven Colbert), budding new shows (John Oliver) and big television and film careers (Steve Carrell, Ed Helms).  But two of the best from the era are Dmitri Martin and Rob Corddry.  They aren’t nearly as well-known, but they both are solid actors and can be funny as hell.  Martin gets the romantic lead here, with his desperate crush on Lake Bell, the exact kind of romantic lead you would want in this kind of film: smart, charming, adorable and persistent.  Then there is Corddry.  Corddry, even on “The Daily Show”, was always best at being the obnoxious guy, the vaguely creepy guy who was funny but also disturbing.  And here, for what seems like the first time, he gets a truly sympathetic role as the brother-in-law whose couch Bell is crashing on.  It’s a tough role to be the straight man in a film like this but Corddry evokes considerable sympathy in the role, especially as stories get crossed and you think he might end up getting the shaft.  It’s perhaps yet another measure of Bell’s talent not only that she ended up with these two in her film, but that she knew precisely the best way to make use of their talents.

It’s up to Bell what she chooses to do next.  She’s a talented actress and she’s got more films ready to go (her standard sports film with Jon Hamm, which looks a bit beneath both of them, is coming out soon) but I really hope she sticks more to this new path, because she can really blaze a path for females that we’ve rarely seen in this industry.  And she has the talent to pull it off.

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