Here we are again, at the end of what was a stellar year for movies, assuming you were in the right place at the right time, had the right streaming subscriptions, exhibiting spaces, etc. And like last year, making a final Top 10 proved too arduous a task. So, seeing as I have no stakes, you won’t mind if I cheat a little. Still, the Honorable Mentions list is replete with titles that have every right to be on any other hypothetical Top 10 (but some of these kids had to die, so). And the final 10, or 12, or 14, can honestly be rearranged however you please, and I would still be happy. There’s been a fair share of tweaking and maybe contradictions. I was very lukewarm about The World’s End until I revisited it on disc, and though it still has its problems, there are few movies with which I just want to “hang out” and have a drink, or 12. American Hustle also initially underwhelmed me, though a second viewing played much better and I will refrain from joining the estimable David O. Russell Hate Club, even if Hustle doesn’t have the sting of Behind the Candelabra (or Soderbergh’s unjustly forgotten The Informant! for that matter) and it amounts to, I don’t know, Midnight Run with a comb-over (I know some Midnight Run fans won’t appreciate the comparison, so I apologize). There’s also a purgatory containing highly esteemed titles that didn’t particularly move me one way or another: All is Lost, Mud, Museum Hours…I hate when the word “overrated” is pulled, so I’ll just call this drawer the “Shrug File,” where you’re perfectly welcome to adore the contents, but they’re just not my type of pizza toppings. And then there are the films I haven’t seen, like Leviathan, or August: Osage County. Or, of course, Grudge Match. Errrm.Anyway. Without any more delay, let’s get on with it.
1. THE ACT OF KILLING (Director’s Cut), Joshua Oppenheimer
The Act of Killing is Joshua Oppenheimer’s extraordinary exposé of a person’s soul, or as the filmmaker calls it, “a documentary of the imagination.” Its staged recreations of 50-year-old Indonesian atrocities are probably less illuminating about concrete historical incidents than they are about the veiled and jagged contours of the perpetrators’ inner lives. This is a film that understands the power of images, the viewfinder reaching inward, the undertaking an exercise in psychological voyeurism not only probing into the mystery of a mass killing, but also the dark heart of how we now, presently, reflect on the creation and ingestion of moving pictures – how they influence us, how we see ourselves in them, and how we want to use them to project our inner lives. In filmmaking, a monument is given to memory, and the anti-heroes in The Act of Killing are play-acting through memories quite happily, emulating the Hollywood films that inspired and entertained them. But we also see how the process of “seeing” may, Hamlet-like, set up the mousetrap to catch conscience and provoke a deep and painful reflection. The film forces us to excavate this mystery further, transcending its setting with perennial questions of identity and guilt. Is the guilt real, when heinous past deeds have given power and happiness? Or is it performative, even in cloistered intimacy with only the watchful gaze of one’s conscience? The film’s anti-hero, former gangster and executioner Anwar Congo, is the year’s most memorable film character, and arguably the year’s best performance (depending on your interpretation), as tragically compelling as The Godfather trilogy’s Michael Corleone. READ FULL COLUMN HERE
2. A TOUCH OF SIN, Jia Zhangke /// THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, Martin Scorsese
Neorealism erupted in 1940s Italy as a reaction to the war, fascism, and escapist ideals and aesthetics perpetuated through the motion pictures of Mussolini’s Italy and Hollywood. The filmmakers aimed to wake up a slumbering audience and ignite change and revolution, turning their lenses away from White Telephone frivolities and luxury and to the common streets of struggling laborers, where viewers could recognize themselves and be stirred to empathy instead of just disappearing in a whirlwind of entertainment. 60 years later amidst global economic turmoil and deepening chasms between the realms of the very wealthy and of the poor, Jia Zhangke and Martin Scorsese, with authority, irony, and flexing currents of frustrated rage, approach contemporary capitalism’s obscenities, pessimistically acknowledging the acceleration of sociopathic, systematic greediness, as the ideals of De Sica and Zavattini have been flushed away.
An anthology of stories set in modern China, A Touch of Sin is a heart-wrenching and smog laced canvas of gritty social realism, electric circuit high-def futurist beauty, and sudden, horrifying violence. Jia ponders the spiritual weight of the past set against a fresh free-market flow that mutes meaningful human contracts, where lonely statues of Mao cross hairs with Christian iconography, both dwarfed by fast jets, cars, trains, and hyperreal environments possessed by the elite few able to buy themselves applause along with leisure. It’s a film about powerlessness, with four protagonists who wind up in movie-like fantasies of violent revolt, lifeless desolation morphing into the aesthetic of car commercials and Kung Fu spectacles of violence. Out of time, these people are stuck in China Year Zero (and one climactic leap of despair certainly recalls Rossellini’s Germany Year Zero). With its motif of animals (monkeys, snakes, tigers, whales, and hey, even the Turin Horse makes a cameo!), the thing that differentiates human beings from the wild kingdom is that touch of sin.
On the other side of the globe, The Wolf of Wall Street has the Hollywood studio system’s greatest living director making another New York story, veering away from his famed mean streets and instead peering into the ether of “fairy dust,” geographical space evaporating into capital flux while stock traders submit to self-abandon in orgies and narcotics. It’s an epic of three hours, but an implosive one deliberately without an arc, where the focus squeezes tight on Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), an individual whose prosperous existence disintegrates into a cartoon. Wolf of Wall Street begins at the end of the financial world (1987’s Black Monday) and concludes, so the aspect ratio tells us, during the recent advent of Smart TV. It’s unfortunately been compared to Goodfellas and Casino, and though there are similarities, it’s more spiritually attuned to the discomforting absurd wackiness of King of Comedy–except everyone (except straight-laced FBI man Kyle Chandler) is Rupert Pupkin and successful. The neorealist-influenced filmmaker, hijacked by his main character (Scorsese tellingly voice acts as Belfort’s first penny stock victim), flees from movie realism and is at the submission of the most unseemly of his characters, probably the closest the director’s come to portraying the Devil. The corrupt Long Island brokerage firm of Belfort is not unlike Dr. Strangelove’s War Room, where real people become expendable abstract data; the fact-based world is so ridiculous that satire is impossible. With The Departed, Scorsese made the present a futurist cyborg thriller in the vein of William Gibson; in Wolf of Wall Street, recent financial archeology is Monty Python’s Crimson Permanent Assurance. But even if, at 71, Scorsese’s filmmaking has more rhythm, stomp, and kick than savvy filmmakers decades younger, beneath it all is the lament of a wise old sage.
Inside Llewyn Davis is not a 1961 time capsule channeling the spirit of the Greenwich Village folk revival. It’s a character study about a man who is predestined to be apart from the “folk.” Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac, who gives my favorite leading performance of 2013) launches the film by singing “Hang Me” at the Gaslight and, 100 minutes later, winds up close to where he began. But it’s not a gotcha trick structure so much as a question of what we’re perceiving: honestly, not to get all Coast to Coast Art Bell on you, but has Llewyn traversed between dimensions? Is the structure of Inside Llewyn Davis, with its looping device, really a noose, where Llewyn is sacrificed again and again, a Prometheus or Sisyphus doomed, like other Coen heroes, for defying the gods? Set over the course of a week, as Llewyn deals with an unexpected pregnancy with a colleague’s wife (Carey Mulligan), a road trip to Chicago with a Santeria-devoted jazzman (John Goodman), judgment from an illustrious club owner and promoter (F. Murray Abraham), and the responsibility he feels for an escaped feline, Inside Llewyn Davis is an interior movie, an odyssey that’s less Homeric than Joycean. The Coens take us to a particular time and place with its fact-based pop mythology, but through all the spaces and songs, there’s a haunting and unsettling mysticism that refuses to be a part of collectively endorsed history (no wonder Greil Marcus hates it, while a statement by Dave Van Ronk’s ex-wife reads like one of those fake intros the Coens used to write for their Faber & Faber screenplay publications). Few films handle the curse of creativity—along with the stifling reality of failure—so adeptly, movingly, and elliptically. “I’m so fucking tired,” Llewyn says in defeat, ready to give up music and head on out to the merchant marine, “just existing” like the rest of us. But the gods won’t let him escape. Thomas Mann lays out Llewyn’s cursed vocation in his story “The Hungry”: “Ah, to be not an artist but a man, if only once, if only on a night like this! If only once to escape the inexorable doom which rang in his ears: ‘You may not live, you must create; you may not love, you must know.’ Ah, just once to live, to love and to give thanks, to feel and know that feeling is all! Just once to share your life, ye living ones, just once to drink in magic draughts the bliss of the commonplace!” Creativity, sentimentalized as something enlivening, is damnation, and the “folk” collective is something a hungry egoist, even against his better judgment, just won’t—or can’t—embrace. (I also want to mention that among Inside Llewyn Davis’ many feats is that it gets Marcus Mumford to jump off a bridge).
Director Steve McQueen tells Solomon Northup’s (Chiwetel Ejiofor) story, and 12 Years a Slave feels less like a period film relating to important historical issues than a startling confrontation with a long-muted past. This past may feel more foreign than that to which we are accustomed, but it also carries exponentially more weight. It’s strange, but much more immediate–history made uncanny. The heaviness of the past when we think about the passing phenomena of sounds, images, and people in Solomon’s unfortunate adventure, is crushing as it is fleeting. The images sink in deep and hurt. John Ridley’s excellent screenplay is resolute in maintaining an unfamiliar vernacular with its period dialogue, important for a film highlighting the significance of language. The characters define themselves by their means to expression, while the infrastructure surrounding the slaves disdains the forthrightness of any verbal address. McQueen is stressing the urge for the Past to express itself, and if not be heard, be at least seen. Paper, carrying a list which Solomon delivers to a grocer from a plantation, is a temptation, the recognition of words a sin meriting 100 lashes. For slaves, expression has been perverted into something diabolical. McQueen, using Ejiofor’s face (modeled on silent film acting), wakens us to the nightmare of history. READ FULL COLUMN
The two most beautiful films I’ve seen this year, To The Wonder and Upstream Color, premiered on iTunes and Video-On-Demand at roughly the same time they hit theaters (in a very limited exhibition). Both are gorgeously shot and edited, with a symphonic rhythm calling out to each other as cinematic brethren, as if DIY directors old and young, Terrence Malick and Shane Carruth, were content to be mutually accelerating on this new celestial sphere with the camera eye registering the various phenomena of nature, drawing from the forgotten gospel of Dziga Vertov’s Kino Eye philosophy of the 1920s, life “caught unawares” by omniscient lenses canvasing the totality of space, offering a gesture of the soul. The Kino Eye references something transparently religious in Malick and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, but Carruth’s more secular sensibilities, while hinting at the sci-fi conceptualism of David Cronenberg, also bend to something Transcendental, as both filmmakers are engaged with cosmic loops: Malick’s God whose “seeing” the director’s boyhood alter-ego yearns to identify with in The Tree of Life, and Carruth’s pig-farming Sampler (Andrew Sensenig), recording sounds, creating (analog?) synth melodies, and, so it seems, associated with the invasive trickster deity, the malevolent Thief (Thiago Martins), the two of them manipulating and reformatting the narratives – and so identities – of their clueless victims.
To The Wonder and Upstream Color are already notorious for their narrative obliqueness. They’re destined for limited audiences who will likewise debate the merits and debits of both films. The masterly control that strings both pictures together, not only in images but in two extraordinary sound designs, really demands the sanctuary of the theater, of an imposing and overhanging flux of flickering great light and encompassing sound. Shuffled on to immediate streaming access, To The Wonder and Upstream Color are the efforts of two filmmakers who, in addition to those large questions we always hear about in reviews, are wondering where their vocation of cinema is going–a vocation they’ve both mastered, yet have been seemingly reluctant to embrace at full-force: six films over forty years for Malick, while Upstream Color is only Carruth’s second picture, coming almost 10 years after the startling, $7,000 cult time-travel marvel Primer. READ FULL COLUMN ON UPSTREAM COLOR
6. BEFORE MIDNIGHT, Richard Linklater
“Every generation believes they’re witnessing the end of the world,” says the revered writer Patrick (Walter Lassally) to the dinner guests of his Greek isle summer house. He wearily undercuts the practicality of hindsight, saying, “But I feel that I’m actually living it.” The new Vesuvius eruption is more abstract than viscerally cataclysmic. The world that’s changing is the notion of what is human, and how they relate to each other. This eschatological thought is from probably the central conversation of Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, the third film in the trilogy that began with 1995′s Before Sunrise and 2004′s Before Sunset. This pivotal section is the moment when the series opens up beyond its principle characters of American writer Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and the more jaded but politically activated Celine (Julie Delpy), the twenty-something lovers who met on a Vienna train in 1994 and had a one night stand, then met nine years later in Paris, disappointed with where their lives had drifted, dreaming of each other (Jesse writing a book of that Vienna one night stand, Celine a song) while attached to other partners. Now, on the precipice of middle age, we see that Jesse and Celine have long been in a committed relationship — though they remain unmarried — with a pair of twin girls. They live in Paris and struggling to make time for Jesse’s son from his failed marriage, Hank (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick). On holiday, the couple again reflects on romance and existence. Their romantic ideals now long ago consummated, they’re no longer the only two people in the world, as it were, and the fulfillment of longing brings no finality to regret and uncertainty. We’re with them. A generation of moviegoers has grown up with Jesse and Celine, and Before Midnight reminds us how the world — romantically, existentially, technologically, cinematically — moves on without us, a thought that is both simple and horrifying. Linklater has made the first interactive film trilogy. READ FULL COLUMN HERE
Drug War has a title lending itself to the genre simplicity of a modern crime film. We have the expected participants of devoted cops matching wits with desperate criminals, a jittery-cool percussive guitar-synth score skipping along with grey urban metal and smokey noir nights, and information technology gadgets underlying the movement toward explosive violence. But all that, assuming that it’s under the masterly guiding arrangement of a director like Johnnie To (moving from his usual terrain of Hong Kong to mainland China), reminds us how good an honest genre picture can be, and how rare it is that Hollywood would allow one to glow with such a controlled slow-burn, the heated sensory alertness of frenetic action playing alongside cool precision and measured restraint, packed with blistering suspense from start to finish, though the film’s first gunshots aren’t heard for nearly 65 minutes. Focusing on a drug manufacturer (Louis Koo), whose only way out of an immediate death sentence is to collaborate with a brilliant and multifaceted police captain (Honglei Sun), Drug War is a lacerating procedural of cops infiltrating cartels, a diamond bullet dazzler of existential dread and undercover play-acting through insurmountable criminal layers where the players are pawns on a draconian police state grid. For both sides, action on the board is insanely desperate, but still futile. READ FULL COLUMN HERE
Blue Jasmine has Woody Allen’s most remarkable character since Martin Landau’s guilt-stricken eye-doctor Judah Rosenthal in 1989′s Crimes and Misdemeanors, and his most potent woman since Farrow. That’s not to say Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) is as lovable or exudes the integrity of Farrow’s best creations, but she’s the richest ink-blemish born from Allen’s antique typewriter in many moons. A woman absorbed in overactive delusions, much like the New Age fancifulness lightly parodied through Gemma Jones in You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Blanchett dazzles as someone who initially reads like a Blanche DuBois reprint, a hungry ghost assaulted by passing shades of departed happiness. Her wealth went away with her conniving Madoff-like husband Hal (Alec Baldwin), incarcerated for unethical financial behavior. Tapped out and babbling incoherently about her life, she pursues an artificial dream. After Allen opens with a CGI airplane, she name-drops Horace Greeley, “Go West.” She’s fleeing her infamy and worn-out prospects, but her spirit is stuck in the past, in Manhattan, and in her wealth. Even though the government has taken everything she’s got, she’s still somehow splurging, flying First Class with the best luggage and casually giving her cab driver $100. Unable to be independently prosperous–plagued with the “freedom” of free enterprise– she’s increasingly rattled and alone with the damning consciousness of her self-made undoing. Allen effortlessly relaxes the film in a perfect rhythm of downward spirals and beaming prospects, through San Francisco’s Inferno with flashbacks of Manhattan’s 1% Paradiso. Through different times, places, and economic conditions, Blanchett could be playing two women. But she’s not. Indeed, she’s not playing one or three women either. What we come to understand in Blanchett’s performance is that Jasmine is an assorted myriad of drives acting and reacting, groping and adapting. Constructed by the contagion of wealth, there’s not really a “there” there. READ FULL COLUMN HERE
Alfonso Cuaron makes myths. His newest film, Gravity, is an astounding 3-D visual feat where Cuarón’s troubled Earth is a beautiful background mural. His hero, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), is a novice astronaut who finds herself disconnected and adrift in the inhospitable and silent void of outer space after an unexpected satellite explosion cuts off NASA’s transmission and destroys her mission’s spacecraft. As a bare bones thriller, the picture is a triumph of finely crafted intensity, with Ryan moving from one module of inhospitality to another, the perils of debris, physics, time, and technology working against her. But what lingers long after the visceral excitement fades, and is palpable throughout the levels of daring and contingency, relates to the divide between space’s infinite silence and isolation and what’s happening down there on the crowded Earth, so serene from the stratospheric vantage. This is a story about opening our eyes and registering who and what is around us. It’s referenced that Stone and Kowalski’s mission involves testing “a new set of eyes to scan the universe” (Stone has been recruited because she’s an imaging specialist at her hospital), and the filmmakers’ camera-eye draws attention to its own optical wizardry. It’s a presence, a there-ness, unseen but watching with sentient interest, its reality demonstrated by drops of water colliding with the lens and, in more than one instance, becoming Stone’s perspective as it crosses the threshold of her mask and assumes her eyes. Looking at the huge screen and the things human engineering have wrought, it’s hard not to be impressed, but Cuarón and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki have given us an impression of the whole universe in their exciting 90-minute microcosm. Boundaries broken, the world moves from an “It” to a “You” for Stone, and possibly for many cinema viewers also. With fertile receptivity, Cuarón makes a little myth about our rebirth. READ FULL COLUMN HERE
And at last, the two “final” (so it’s been alleged) feature film offerings of Steven Soderbergh, which I’ve generously decided to make #10 (edging out Beyond the Hills). Soderbergh has made several films in the last few years that I’ve loved (The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant!, Contagion, Haywire, Magic Mike), but they still all had to settle for Runner Up slots. Not this year, baby!
“Being happy isn’t all that great,” Andie MacDowell says to her therapist at the beginning of Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Soderbergh’s 1989 breakthrough. Compare Ann to Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) in Side Effects, another dutiful housewife with a dopey husband, Martin (Channing Tatum). She may be suffering from depression — or she may not be. A suicide attempt lands Emily in the care of Dr. Jonathan Banks (Jude Law), a psychiatrist who’s quick to prescribe various anti-depressants. But in the sleek world of Side Effects, mental medication isn’t only for the legitimately sick. This is a Huxleyian Somasphere, where seemingly everyone is taking something, including the doctors and their families. As wife Dee (Vinessa Shaw) grows anxious before an important job interview, Banks puts a blue pill in her hand. “What does it do?” she asks. “It doesn’t make you anything you’re not. It makes it easier for you to be who you are.” There are prominently displayed billboard signs for a drug called Ablixa which promises to help patients “take back tomorrow.” Human existence is constantly under a sort of feel-good surveillance with steady modifications. Instead of dealing with sadness, why not just eliminate it? Subjectivity is calibrated by how people tamper with their biology – and for a film audience, often restricted to one character’s perspective (and, like with great psychosexual thrillers like Psycho or Dressed to Kill, that perspective migrates in Side Effects), that’s a significant resonance. Soderbergh tampers with his movie and modifies our experience with various characters. Side Effects could have been one sort of didactic pharma-commentary, but becomes a more encompassing and melancholy gesture, wickedly linking the unchecked parasitic sicknesses connecting various modern institutions — medical, economic, and judicial. READ FULL COLUMN HERE
“I was the first person to look directly into the camera,” Liberace (Michael Douglas) gloats to his boyfriend Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) in Behind the Candelabra, Soderbergh’s (for now) final motion picture. The HBO-produced biopic is not merely an impeccably detailed period film about an eccentric and enigmatic showbiz personality, loudly publicized for having household name hetero actors like Douglas and Damon playing gay characters. As its title suggests (and like Soderbergh’s Magic Mike), Behind the Candelabra anticipates an audience’s voyeuristic appetite and the tired apathy that goes along with indulging in the reflective mirror hall of entertainment, the glean of artifice obscuring the corporeal decay of time. Liberace looking at the camera and proclaiming, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful,” is the empty and placating reassurance of the “Entertainment” industry, which manufactures identities: Liberace can easily look into the camera because he’s assimilated with the illusion. Though its action is removed from us by 30 years, Behind the Candelabra presents its glitzy excesses as an analog to the market of rampant modification – and futile transcendence of reality – of the modern digital terrain that offers immediate alteration, physically and psychologically. The filmmaker casts comedians in otherwise serious roles (Dan Aykroyd, Tom Papa, David Koechner, Paul Reiser), amplifying the sense of a farcical clown mask gaudily struggling to smile through something empty, grotesque, and lonely. Behind the Candelabra flashily begins with its own snazzy HBO logo in disco rainbow flair digging into the synthetic beats that overtakes the air with sonic fuzz, beating American Hustle‘s similar–though admittedly more light hearted touch–by several months. The kind of entertainment Liberace represents is one of transcendence, “to dream the impossible dream,” dodging pressing realities by disappearing into the Rhinestone simulacrum. The final shot of Thorson’s plasticized mannequin face, the Frankenstein’s Monster of Liberace, is one of the most horrifying things I saw this year.
The Act of Killing–theatrical cut (Joshua Oppenheimer); After Lucia (Michel Franco); American Hustle (David O. Russell); Apres Mai (Olivier Assayas); Bastards (Claire Denis); Beyond the Hills (Cristian Mungiu); The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola); Blue is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche); Byzantium (Neil Jordan); Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass); Computer Chess (Andrew Bujalski); Enough Said (Nicole Holofcener); Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach); The Grandmaster–Chinese cut (Wong Kar-wai); The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino); Her (Spike Jonze); Like Someone in Love (Abbas Kiarostami); Nebraska (Alexander Payne); No (Pablo Larrain); Paradise: Faith (Ulrich Seidl); Prince Avalanche (David Gordon Green); Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine); Stoker (Park Chan-wook); Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley); ‘Twixt (Francis Ford Coppola); The World’s End (Edgar Wright).
The Canyons (Paul Schrader); The Counselor (Ridley Scott); I’m So Excited! (Pedro Almodovar); The Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski); Old Boy (Spike Lee); Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn); Passion (Brian De Palma).
Adele Exarchopoulos, Lea Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Wu Jiang, Zhao Tao, A Touch of Sin
Olga Kurlyenko, To The Wonder
Myles Paige, Computer Chess
Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Andrew Dice Clay, Blue Jasmine
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
James Franco, Spring Breakers
Sharlto Copley, Old Boy
Amy Seimetz, Upstream Color
Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, ‘Twixt
Dwayne Johnson, Pain and Gain
Rooney Mara, Side Effects
Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Bradley Cooper, Louis CK, Robert De Niro, American Hustle
Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
THE HALL OF DISAPPOINTMENT
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (Adam McKay); Elysium (Neill Blomkamp); Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallee); The Family (Luc Besson); The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann); Lee Daniels’ The Butler (Lee Daniels); Lone Survivor (Peter Berg); Man of Steel (Zack Snyder); Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Justin Chadwick); Pacific Rim (Guillermo Del Toro); Rush (Ron Howard); Salinger (Shane Salerno); Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock); The Way Way Back (Nat Faxon, Jim Rash).
Cinematography: To The Wonder (Emmanuel Lubezki); Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel); Upstream Color (Shane Carruth); A Touch of Sin (Nelson Yu Lik-wai); 12 Years a Slave (Sean Bobbitt); Spring Breakers (Benoit Debie).
Editing: The Wolf of Wall Street (Thelma Schoonmaker); Side Effects (Mary Ann Bernard); Drug War (Allen Leung, David M. Richardson); 12 Years a Slave (Joe Walker); Blue Jasmine (Alisa Lepselter).
Sound: Upstream Color (Shane Carruth); To The Wonder (Erik Aadahl); Gravity (Niv Adiri, Ben Barker).
Music: Upstream Color (Shane Carruth); Inside Llewyn Davis (various); To The Wonder (various); Spring Breakers (various); The Bling Ring (various); The Wolf of Wall Street (various); The World’s End (various).