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Dan’s Art and Technical Awards for 2014

With the year coming to an end it is a time to reflect to see what exactly happened in these past 365 days. Of course being such a fan of movies my focus goes straight to what movies stood out this year.Top 10 Lists are a great snapshot of the best movies of the year, but like last year I want to go one step further. Staring off this look back is my Movie Awards, which have been separated into three categories. So much goes into making movies what they are, and my hope is to point out some areas that particularly shined this past year.

Best Genre Films:  Where I award the Best representation of each genre like Action, Comedy, Horror, etc…

The Miscellaneous AwardsI guess my awards in general could be considered miscellaneous, but this category is a grab bag of random awards, like Biggest Disappointment, Best Comedic Due, and Movie Most Likely to Be Remade.

We Start the Awards with the category of The Art and Technical Awards. There are a million different elements that go into making a movie. Some of the hardest work takes place off screen. We don’t get to experience the hard work of computer artist or sound technician the same way we experience a performance by a great actor. With that in mind I decided to highlight some of the Best Art and Technical Awards of 2014.



Best Art Design:

The Grand Budapest Hotel

(Full Review) If Wes Anderson is making a movie there is a good chance it is in the running for Best Art Design. The Grand Budapest Hotel  might be his best looking film yet with its vibrant colors, elaborate design, and inventive stage production. Nearly every scene is a feast for the eyes that you can pause and admire.

Honorable Mentions: Under the Skin, The Double, The Lego Movie, The Double, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Congress





Best Special Effects:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

 (Full Review) Was there any doubt this award would go to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? What they accomplished was far and away the most impressive achievement this year in the world of special effects. Taking what was done in Rise of the Planet of the Apes  and pushing it to an entirely different level. Now the emotion that can be evoked through a CGI creation is equal to that of a true life actor.

Honorable MentionsGuardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Solider, Interstellar



Best Cinematography:


(Full Review) No camera was more active than that of Emmanuel Lubezki in Birdman. It wasn’t just the fact the entire film felt like it was a combination of only a few shots that makes it standout, it was the complexity of how those shots were used that was so impressive. Through Lubezki’s camerawork and strong editing we were able to fully experience this lively world.

Honorable Mentions: Under the Skin, 12 O’Clock Boys, Gone Girl, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Nightcrawler






Best Score

Under the Skin

(Full Review) No score was more important to its film than Mica Levi’s work for Under the Skin as it sets the tone right from the beginning and never lets up. The one word that has stuck in my head since I first heard it is haunting. Fittingly it has this alien quality that makes even the most mundane situation seem out of place.

Honorable Mentions: Grand Budapest Hotel, Gone Girl, Captain America: Winter Solider, Birdman, Rich Hill, The Double








Best Soundtrack 

Guardians of the Galaxy

(Full Review) I honestly added this category this year just because Guardians of the Galaxy’s soundtrack deserved some recognition. As mentioned above no score may have been more important to its film than Mica Levi’s for Under the Skin, but no soundtrack has played such a key role for a movie in such a long time. This was not just a random assortment of songs it was the battle cry for this brand new world. One full of fun and adventure and just the right bit of weird.

Honorable Mentions: The Guest, Wish You Were Here






Best Original Song:

‘Everything is Awesome’ – The Lego Movie

(Full Review) I’m sure just reading the title of the song can cause the lyrics to automatically get stuck in your head, which goes to prove how effective the song was at proving its point. The greatest parody tends to also work as a piece of what it is parodying  That is the case with this song. So much so many fail to even see what it is actually doing and just enjoy its catchy beat.

Honorable Mentions: Hunger Games, Rudderless 



Best Editing

Edge of Tomorrow

The success of Edge of Tomorrow was hinged upon how well it could be edited. When you entire premise is about repeating the same day over and over again you have to be able to make it work without it getting too overly repetitive. Through some well designed montages and established scenarios the issue of repetition never became a factor. Even though many of the images were similar there was a distinct progression that kept the excitement high.

Honorable Mentions: Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel



dawn of the planet of the apes


Best Sound Design:

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

I usually try to spread out the awards love as much as possible so I debated long and hard about giving this award to another deserving entry. However, nothing else came close to that of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. When you considered it has all the challenges of your normal blockbuster along with the fact the majority of conversation is through voice over they had quite the task on their hands.

Honorable MentionSnowpierecer , Fury, Edge of Tomorrow



Best Title Sequence:

22 Jump Street

(Full Review) In the past this award when to the Best Opening Titles sequence. Well those are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but luckily enough 22 Jump Street gave us this gem at the end credits. In fact this might of be the best part of the movie.

Honorable Mention: Godzilla, Witching & Bitching 






Best Movie Poster


(Full Review) I am no art expert so when it comes to picking the best movie poster I basically just go with one I think looks the coolest, and typically I am a fan of the simple and straight forward. Someone in one distinct image they capture the mood of Nightcrawler, and the oddity of Louis Bloom. It has a Michael Mann quality to it as well that lets you know what type of movie you are getting into.

Honorable MentionsBorgman, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel 




Best Script


(Full ReviewI could only imagine what it was like trying to even write the script for Boyhood. A twelve year project that I am sure went through a number of changes year in and year out. Richard Linklater has a refined skill for represented the lost art of conversation.  There is as beauty in his dialog, and not because of its complexity or the  social awareness of his characters. It is that the words he writes full human. They are lived in and have that all so important quality of authenticity. He makes the small moments feel big.

Honorable MentionsCalvary, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Locke, The Skeleton Twins, The One I Love

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