Best Male Performances | The Best of 2014

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Jake Gyllenhaal
5. Jake Gyllenhaal
Nightcrawler
Louis Bloom

The audience cringes in fear for each action taken by this mentally unstable character. J Gyll nails both his subtle and overt mania. In a year with several stand-out male performances, this is my favorite. – Jarryd Baxter

J.K. Simmons
4. J.K. Simmons
Whiplash
Terence Fletcher

The best movie of the year features the best performance of the year. Simmons was given the role he was born to play and that is always when great becomes iconic. – Clark Carmichael

Ralph Fiennes
3. Ralph Fiennes
The Grand Budapest Hotel
M. Gustave

Ralph Fiennes has to have given one of the most underrated performances of the year, if only for the character’s uncanny ability to constantly walk this line between propriety and absolute vulgarity, often with bits of himself on each side of the line at once. It’s a brilliant and delightful character whom I could never imagine played by anyone other than Fiennes. Just like the balance between the proper and vulgar, M. Gustave is a character both tragic and comic, and to pull that off has to be difficult for an actor. Almost everything he says makes me laugh, but there is a deep and dark well of loneliness beneath the character that makes you want to be his friend for all different reasons. – Jeff Pearson

Michael Keaton
2. Michael Keaton
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Riggan Thomson

Eddie Redmayne
1. Eddie Redmayne
The Theory of Everything
Stephen Hawking

This is one of the best performances I have ever seen, but not because of his charisma, enthusiasm, or unique delivery of lines. This is one of the best physical performances I have ever seen, and I was very impressed watching him transform throughout the movie from a fully healthy man to a man in the late stages of ALS. This is also one of those roles where I would imagine the actor is nothing much at all like the character he is playing. He made a great Stephen Hawking. I was never impressed with Eddie Redmayne before this movie but now I am excited to see what he does next, despite the fact that he’s not on my Oscar Fantasy League team. – Anders Oster

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Best Directors | The Best of 2014

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Christopher Nolan
5. Wes Anderson
The Grand Budapest Hotel

As I said before, it’s hard not to feel that Wes Anderson is only getting better at this point. The color palette on display in the Grand Budapest Hotel is both stunning and warm, an amazing feat in such a cold and detached world. His immaculate design actually somehow creates a sense of reality to this world in a way that is very interesting; typically his movies feel almost like fairytales, especially as they have become more and more detailed and arranged, but he’s grown to the point where his fairytale worlds are only our own world, just looked at a little differently. – Jeff Pearson

Christopher Nolan
4. Christopher Nolan
Interstellar

Kudos to writer and director of Interstellar, Christopher Nolan for even attempting to make a movie like this. He has a lot of naysayers, but you have to be a real Debbie Downer to think this guy makes bad movies. Nowadays he gets one of the biggest budgets that any director is given to make a movie and he still makes the weirdest and most interesting movies. They go into a wormhole AND a black hole in this movie and Nolan bravely attempts to visualize all of it. He does a great job too. He also hired a leading theoretical physicist to consult on the movie. It is amazing to me that he didn’t get a best director nomination at the Academy Awards, because this might be the best movie of the year and it has a lot to do with his direction. Top notch idea, cinematography, casting, acting, visuals, sound, and music, and pretty much anything else you can come up with. Christopher Nolan is still at the top of his game. – Anders Oster

James Gunn
3. James Gunn
Guardians of the Galaxy

James Gunn didn't make the best movie of 2014 in my opinion, but Guardians of the Galaxy will be the most iconic and everlasting film of 2014. Mark my words. When this generation of kids starts naming their own generation of children, the names Peter, Quill, Rocket, Gamora, Drax and, yes, even Groot and Star-Lord will be trending like mad. – Clark Carmichael

Damien Chazelle
2. Damien Chazelle
Whiplash

In a year in which established directors are doing some of their best work, we should give some love to the young gun. Chazelle explores the true nature of greatness, mentors, and success in his technical masterpiece. – Jarryd Baxter

Alejandro González Iñárritu
1. Alejandro González Iñárritu
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorace)
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