1. Her I laughed, I cried, I said "Hey, that's me!" Spike Jonze delivers yet another emotional sucker punch, this time with (amazingly, even more) feeling.
2. The Act of Killing Drafthouse Films' big-league Academy coup comes not from the genre but from horrific reality in this nightmarish and real documentary. Pleasant dreams.
3. The Punk Singer Riot grrrl power and Kathleen Hanna examined in absorbingly anarchic detail. Grrrls to the front; guys, chill the fuck out and learn.
4. All Is Lost The old man (the old Robert Redford) and the sea go white-knuckle to whitecap and call it a draw. Just flat-out exhilarating.
5. 12 Years a Slave Director Steve McQueen nails a trifecta (following Hunger and Shame) with this riveting recounting of Solomon Northup's disastrous travails.
6. Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction That face, that voice, those weatherbeaten-but-still-golden pipes ... Who knew the Repo Man could out-sing the man in black?
7. American Mary The Soska sisters took Fantastic Fest 2012 by storm, and no wonder: American Mary is the curdled American dream, de-fetishizing a fetish-mad world.
8. The Wind Rises Hiyao Miyazaki's final film is a dream of poetry in motion corrupted by bombs in flight. He will be sorely missed.
9. Ain't Them Bodies Saints Austinite David Lowery's lovely and lyrical ode to love and a .45 (or two) is a timeless and beautiful thing, like death, or Texas.
10. Blue Is the Warmest Color Sure, the NC-17 girl-on-girl sex is, ahem, hot, but more to the point, young love both flares and chars with relentless, honest vitality here.
Stoker, Escape From Tomorrow, Narco Cultura, Kill Your Darlings, Zero Charisma
Pacific Rim, Inside Llewyn Davis, Room 237
The Lords of Salem, You're Next, Spring Breakers
ACTING KUDOS (MALE)
Robert Redford (All Is Lost), Ben Foster (Kill Your Darlings), Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Toby Jones (Berberian Sound Studio), Elijah Wood (Maniac)
ACTING KUDOS (FEMALE)
Katharine Isabelle (American Mary), Julie Delpy (Before Midnight), Rooney Mara (Ain't Them Bodies Saints), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color)
Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), Spike Jonze (Her), Wong Kar-Wai (The Grandmaster)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL)
Mud (Jeff Nichols), The Wind Rises (Hiyao Miyazaki), All Is Lost (J.C. Chandor)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED)
12 Years a Slave (John Ridley), Lone Survivor (Peter Berg), Captain Phillips (Billy Ray)
Grudge Match: Not every crinkly wrinkle in a great actor's career should be steamrolled into a faux-inspirational rationale to go one more round. Kill the darlings, already.
Best-Ever Black Metal Brotherhood o' Love and Flaming Mentos Goat Heads Short Film: Austinites Cliff and Kyle Bogart's "Necronomica"
Copyright © 2014 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.