What kind of circle is time again? A year after blowing the doors off our annual critics’ poll, golden boy Matthew McConaughey won just a single vote for his turn in the loudest movie of the year, Christopher Nolan’s tears-in-space effort Interstellar, which has tied with the unprescient Transcendence as 2014’s worst film. (Transcendence dreamed that Johnny Depp’s character would take over every screen in the world — that didn’t happen.) But his margin of victory lives on, this year in the form of Marion Cotillard, who wins best actress twice: first for the Dardenne brothers’ vote-gathering drama Two Days, One Night, then besting second-place Scarlett Johansson (Under the Skin) with her turn in James Gray’s glorious melodrama The Immigrant, available now on Netflix streaming because Harvey Weinstein doesn’t believe Oscar voters will bite.
Our voters bit, bless them, ranking The Immigrant as this year’s seventh best film, just beneath Cotillard’s other winner. Meanwhile, Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer’s cryptic alien creep-out, landed at number two, a capital showing for a movie that chucks out plot and story beats. Glazer’s film was edged out only by the inevitable: Boyhood, from Richard Linklater, also our best-director winner. Linklater had wanted to call this long- gestating experiment 12 Years, but Steve McQueen’s 2013 slave drama stomped that out. Boyhood is a more reductive title, but certainly a truer one: What else are most movies about, these days, than boyhood? And isn’t it grand that most of the top films toasted by our critics are actually about something else? That’s encouraging — and almost enough to make you feel better about the fact that even if combined, both Cotillards and Johansson’s Under the Skin won’t rake in a fraction of what Interstellar managed in a weekend.
This year 85 critics voted, ranking their top films, performers, and directors. For the full results, visit houstonpress.com/filmpoll.
Best Film: 1. Boyhood, 376 points and 37 mentions 2. Under the Skin, 225 points and 37 mentions 3. The Grand Budapest Hotel, 211 points and 31 mentions 4. Only Lovers Left Alive, 163 points and 28 mentions 5. Goodbye to Language, 143 points and 18 mentions 6. Two Days, One Night, 134 points and 22 mentions 7. The Immigrant, 124 points and 24 mentions 8. Inherent Vice, 115 points and 18 mentions 9. Whiplash, 113 points and 22 mentions 9. Gone Girl, 103 points and 17 mentions
Best Actor: 1. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler; 53 points and 25 mentions 2. Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel; 51 points and 22 mentions 3. Michael Keaton, Birdman; 40 points and 17 mentions
Best Actress: 1. Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night and The Immigrant; 61 points and 25 mentions, and 116 points and 47 mentions, respectively 2. Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin and Lucy; 46 points and 24 mentions, and 50 points and 27 mentions, respectively 3. Essie Davis, The Babadook; 46 points and 20 mentions
Best Supporting Actress: 1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood; 105 mentions, 41 points 2. Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer; 61 points and 27 mentions 3. Elisabeth Moss, Listen Up Philip; 49 points and 21 mentions
Best Supporting Actor: 1. J.K. Simmons, Whiplash; 90 points and 37 mentions 2. Edward Norton, Birdman; 48 points and 24 mentions 3. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood; 46 points and 22 mentions
Best Undistributed Film: Blind, 11 points and 5 mentions
Best Documentary: Citizenfour, 14 mentions
Best First Feature: The Babadook, 24 mentions
Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Movie, 35 mentions
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Best Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood, 27 mentions
Best Screenplay: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel, 12 mentions
Worst Film: Transcendence/Interstellar (tie), 4 mentions each
Movie Everyone Is Wrong About: Birdman, 7 mentions