Best director: tie between Tony Kaye, John Hyams, Peter Strickland, and Gareth Evans. They put out some startlingly unified, cohesive pieces of work – so much so that I can’t really choose.
Best acting: Adrien Brody, Traci Lords, Toby Jones, Michael Rogers, Liam Neeson, and the cast of House of Tolerance gave it their all but this one goes to Karl Urban’s mouth and chin. Applause all around for that perfect rictus, you stubbly bastard!
Best soundtrack: sorry about the ties…homie can’t make up his mind. Broadcast’s Berberian score is note-perfect and incredibly evocative of the era and the style. Jon Brion’s Paranorman score flits between similarly evocative Frizzi synth jams and whirling, bright acoustic chords. And I would be remiss not to mention the – ONCE AGAIN – nostalgic strains of Sinonia Cave’s Beyond the Black Rainbow music. I guess really just give me a throbbing synth bass and I’m there.
Best cinematography: damn. For composition I’d have to go with House of Tolerance, which uses mise-en-scene to great effect. Berberian Sound Studio also gets a nod for restraint and depth.Detachment gets great mileage out of its mix of 35mm grit and animation. But we all know the real winner here is The Raid, because it’s a masterpiece of choreography, camera moves, and editing. Props to Anthony Dod Mantle and Dredd for some gorgeous 3D work, and I don’t say that lightly (although on a home viewing, the CG blood really looks awful).
Best fight scene: all ninety minutes of The Raid. The Bruce Willis Explosion in Looper. Store fight in Universal Soldier. Gina Carano versus every guy in Hollywood. The silhouette sparring in Skyfall.
Best editing: Haywire, The Raid, or Universal Soldier. In these kinds of movies it’s really ‘least editing.’ Special mention of the “Year X” sequence in Looper and the horror movie-esque climax of Zero Dark Thirty.
Best screenplay: Paranorman. Affecting and funny. Close second, or maybe narrow first: Detachment.Read less