2014 Calvin Awards: Best Picture

By David Mumpower

February 14, 2014

What is it they say about space? No one can hear you... oh, crap.

Two years ago, The Artist became the most successful feature film in the history of The Calvins. Our staff showered it with praise, selecting the film as the best of the year in the categories of Picture, Director, Actor and Actress. I mentioned at the time that such a performance never could be surpassed, only duplicated. In 2014, our selections proved to be top-heavy. A pair of releases won four awards each, and while neither one was dominant in the frontline categories in the same manner as The Artist, they were still wildly popular with our contributors. Not coincidentally, both of these movies wind up in the top three in our Best Picture voting.

The movie of the year, and possibly the decade and entire 2000s to date, is Gravity. The breathtaking cinematic triumph from director Alfonso Cuarón proved dominant during this year’s awards. Cuarón himself received over 70% of the first place votes in the category of Best Director. Sandra Bullock emerged as champion in Best Actress, winning by 16% over her nearest competitor. Gravity also claimed a full third of the top nine selections in Best Scene. Our favorite of the trio, the introduction, won the category by 73%. And a quick perusal of the chart on page three will reveal that Gravity claimed the category of Best Picture by a whopping 99 points, thereby more than doubling the title in second place. In point of fact, our second and third favorite films of the year did not receive as many votes in total as Gravity claimed individually. There is no doubt amongst our staff about the best release of 2013.

What do we love about Gravity that differentiates it from the rest of the pack? Obviously, we are huge fans of the direction, the acting and at least three of the scenes. For that matter, two other scenes received votes as well, which is stunning for a movie with a running time of 83 minutes (not including credits). We as a group effectively voted our love for every single frame of Gravity. Combine our passion for Sandra Bullock, who claims approximately 98.6% of the screen time in the movie, and it is easy to tell how passionate we are about the cinematic triumph of the year.


In a landslide victory, Gravity is our choice for Best Picture. To wit, only two members of our voting staff chose not to select it as one of the ten best movies of the year. For this reason, Gravity will likely stand as the most dominant performer for quite some time. Its margin of victory is three times larger than any previous amount in the history of the competition. Our staff is unified on the point that Gravity is the best of the best from 2013.

Finishing in a distant second place is Her. The movie was already our selection for Best Screenplay, while also claiming second place in Best Supporting Actress (for Scarlett Johansson) and third for Best Director (for Spike Jonze). Her struck a chord with our staff due its plausible evaluation of a not too distant society wherein people’s cell phones and tablets have evolved into ubiquitous artificial intelligence that follows us everywhere. And we can date it. If that concept doesn’t put dating sites out of business, I don’t know what would. Her is a somber evaluation of the nature of isolation that still provides several heartfelt moments and more than its fair share of comedy. Spike Jonze has always exhibited depths of creativity in the past yet Her is his one perfect concept in this regard.

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