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Annual Critics’ Poll ‘The Skandies’ Picks ‘Under the Skin’ as the 2014’s Best Film

Annual Critics' Poll 'The Skandies' Picks 'Under the Skin' as the 2014's Best Film

Anyone slightly disappointed by the Oscar results last night can turn to a well-timed alternative. The Skandies, an annual critics’ poll held by Mike D’Angelo (The A.V. Club, The Dissolve), has published their results for the year’s best, with explanations by D’Angelo on his blog. Since its inception in 1995, the poll has done an excellent job of highlighting under the radar films and performances alongside the usual suspects (last year’s poll was likely the only one to rightly cite Amy Seimetz’s work in “Upstream Color” as one of the year’s best performances). This year’s results are no exception, ranging from “Boyhood” to “Stray Dogs,” but here are the top choices:

Best Picture: “Under the Skin”

Best Director: Jonathan Glazer, “Under the Skin”
Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Best Screenplay: Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Best Scene: “The Whoring Bed,” “Nymphomaniac Vol. 1”

Other top picks for picture include “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (#2), “Stranger by the Lake” (#5), “Stray Dogs” (#10), and “Actress” (#16). D’Angelo unveiled the winners of the various categories as the Academy named theirs. The latter’s choices’ placement in the Skandies ranged from exact (Simmons, Arquette) to pretty close (Julianne Moore at #6) to honorable mentions (Alejandro G. Inarritu at #20 for screenplay and #19 for director) to not so close at all (“Birdman” only managed #33 for Picture, while Eddie Redmayne is all the way down at #53 for Best Actor). More interesting: the actors who got nary a mention from most awards shows who made the top 20 at the Skandies: Haluk Bilginer for “Winter Sleep” (#5, Best Actor), Brandy Burre in “Actress” (#9, Best Actress), Nelsan Ellis in “Get On Up” (#14, Best Supporting Actor) and Eva Green for “300: Rise of an Empire” (#12, Best Supporting Actress), among others. 

Furthermore, D’Angelo has an exhaustive history of each actor, director and writer’s previous placement in Skandie history, with an unsurprising result for which actor has the most mentions since the survey started: Philip Seymour Hoffman.

…the late,
great Philip Seymour Hoffman…makes what will almost surely be his final
appearance (though he still technically has one more film coming out). No doubt
someone will eventually pass him by, should the survey continue for another 20
years, but he died as by far the most beloved performer in Skandie history,
with a whopping 15 nods. The complete list:

1s. “The Master”

3s. “Charlie Wilson’s War”
5. “Capote”
6. “Synecdoche, New York”
6s. “The Talented Mr.
Ripley”

6s. “Almost Famous”
10s. “Magnolia”
10s. “25th Hour”
11. “Doubt”
12. “Before the Devil
Knows You’re Dead”

12s. “State and Main”
15s. “Happiness”
15. “Owning Mahowny”
18. “A Most Wanted Man”
19s. “Mission: Impossible III”

The rest of the results are worth poking through to see which films and performances got an odd single vote — I’m with D’Angelo on “Proxy” — and as an excuse to find works that might otherwise slip under the radar. Also, no Best Screenplay mention of “The Imitation Game,” which is A-ok with me.

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