By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
With just hours remaining in 2014, I wanted to document for myself — and share with you — the films that I enjoyed the most this year. I have seen hundreds of titles — on the big screen and on screeners, at festivals and at multiplexes — among them all of the top Oscar contenders, up to and including every film on the documentary and foreign language film shortlists. In other words, I have done my best to be well-versed in what’s out there — but, needless to say, no list of this sort is anything but a subjective exercise for anyone.
It pains me that I do not have room to acknowledge, on the list itself, more of 2014’s extraordinary films (i.e. the 12-year project Boyhood, the acting showcases Birdman and The Imitation Game, the timely Selma and films both profound and moving, such as Citizenfour, Finding Vivian Maier and Leviathan, and funny, such as The Humbling and Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon); performances (i.e. Selma’s David Oyelowo, Still Alice’s Julianne Moore, Get On Up’s Chadwick Boseman, Dear White People’s Tessa Thompson,The Skeleton Twins’ Bill Hader, Fort Bliss’ Michelle Monaghan, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby’s Jessica Chastain); and scenes (i.e. the silent sparring in Foxcatcher, the highway showdown in A Most Violent Year, the firing of a man for being gay in Love Is Strange, the courtroom speech in Black or White and the pantomimed soccer game in Timbuktu) — so I’ve taken the liberty of doing so here in the intro.
The last thing that I’ll note, for those who primarily follow me for my objective assessments of the awards race, is that the list that the following list and remarks reflect my personal opinions and do/will not in any way impact my projections or analysis on this site, through which I strive above all else to accurately report what has happened and forecast what will happen. My demonstrated ability to do that over the years is what has led many of you to my coverage, and any failure on my part to do that would undoubtedly lead many of you away from it, so you can rest assured that I mean it when I say that one has/will have no bearing on the other.