Of all the “best of” lists I wrote this year, this is the best!
Film - “American Sniper” Written by Jason Dean Hall. Directed by Clint Eastwood. Based on the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. This film shows the sacrifices the men and women who serve our great nation make, not just physically, but mentally too, as well as their families. We Americans have tremendous freedom and opportunities because of people like Kyle.
Director - Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” You know how this story ends and it’s not good, yet the film is still compelling and full of tension.
Foreign Language Film - “Human Capital” Directed by Paolo Virzì. This is an intriguing film of what happens when a server gets hit by a car. We see it from four different points-of-view and how various lives are affected.
Actor - Tom Hardy, “Locke” Hardy’s character gets in a car at night and drives to London. He is the only character we see on screen. It sounds boring, but it’s the complete opposite. It’s because of good writing and a strong performance by Hardy.
Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” Simmons plays a tough music teacher. Is he overboard or the right amount of push to make someone achieve greatness? You make the call.
Actress - Agata Trzebuchowska, “Ida” A young woman in 1960s Poland grows up as an orphan in a convent and is about to become a nun. She learns of her past and it is sad. Ida is a beautiful looking film and it has great performances.
Supporting Actress - Emma Stone, “Birdman” Birdman is a great film with strong acting and writing. Emma Stone has big expressive eyes.
Screenplay - “Whiplash” by Damien Chazelle. If you aspire to be the best at something, is it possible to achieve that without someone or something pushing you? Pushing you hard? This excellent film explores that.
Cinematographer - Emmauel "Chivo" Lubezki “Birdman” Chivo takes risks like shooting this film in seemingly one continuous shot not because he’s trying to show off, but because it’s a great artistic choice. He’s a maestro!
Television Show Drama - “Game of Thrones“ From a production value standpoint, this is the most ambitious TV show ever made. What other show would spend $12 million and 4 weeks to shoot one episode? That’s the costs of some feature films. The writing is great too. How does one pay for armies to battle one another? By magic? This show actually thinks about stuff like that.
Television Show Comedy “Rick and Morty” This animated show on Cartoon Network is one of the most creative shows on air. It’s full of imagination and comedy.
Television Actor - Kiefer Sutherland “24: Live Another Day” Jack Bauer is perhaps the best character created for television.
Television Actress - Tatiana Maslany “Orphan Black” Has any TV actor ever shown so much range in one episode let alone one show? I think not. Tatiana should have more accolades for what she is doing.
Boxer - Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin fought Daniel Geale this summer. Geale hit him hard right in the middle of his face. When he got hit, Glolovkin was already in the motion to throw a punch. He did not break stride and continued his punch which connected and knocked out Geale. It was amazing! Golovkin is the most exciting fighter today!