The Oscars are still three months away, but movie awards season got off to it its unofficial start over the weekend with the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards. The prizes, which were televised for the first time in their 18-year history, gave fans their first chance to see who might take home the hardware when the Academy Awards air on Feb. 22, 2015.
The Hollywood Film Awards have historically been an accurate indicator of future Oscar success, as films, actors and filmmakers try to pick up momentum for their Oscar campaigns. In fact, of the four actors who won at the 2014 Oscar ceremony, three had picked up trophies at the Hollywood Film Awards first.
Looking ahead to the Oscars in February, here are the winners and losers from the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards:
“Gone Girl” -- David Fincher’s drama about a husband (Ben Affleck) dealing with troubling allegations in the wake of his wife’s mysterious disappearance won the big prize over the weekend -- the Hollywood Film Award for best movie of the year. Also winning for screenwriting (for the script by Gillian Flynn), the film established itself as the early front-runner for the Best Picture Academy Award. Director Fincher is no stranger to the Oscars, with “The Social Network” picking up awards in 2010 for screenplay, score and editing.
“The Imitation Game” -- The surprise winner over the weekend was director Morten Tyldum’s drama about Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), the mathematician who cracked the Nazi’s Enigma code during World War II. While “Gone Girl” may have won the big prize, “The Imitation Game” won just about everything else. Tyldum won for director, Cumberbatch for actor, Keira Knightley for supporting actress and Alexandre Desplat for film composer. Still unreleased in America (it's set for Nov. 28), the film just became a major Oscar contender.
“How to Train Your Dragon 2” -- With its win for animation over the weekend, Dean DeBlois’ sequel about a Viking boy and his pet dragon may compete at the Oscars against the recently released and massively popular “Big Hero 6.”
“Interstellar” -- The Hollywood Film Awards group does not announce nominations, so it is impossible to know how closely a non-winner was considered, but Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic was shut out of every award over the weekend. Not only did it fail to win for best film, acting or directing, but “Interstellar” also missed out on cinematography and visual effects, losing to “Birdman, and “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” respectively. The whiff by “Interstellar” boosts the argument that the weighty and complicated film might be underappreciated and misunderstood come Oscar time.
“Boyhood” -- While highly acclaimed upon its summer release, Richard Linklater’s innovative coming-of-age story, featuring a young actor (Ellar Coltrane) filmed over 12 years, did not receive a single award. Summer releases have often been plagued by loss of momentum come awards season and “Boyhood” might be doomed to meet that fate.
“Selma” -- The yet-to-be-released biographical rama by Ava DuVernay about Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) during the 1965 voting rights marches was shut out as well at the Hollywood Film Awards. Not even Oyelowo, who plays the iconic civil rights leader, earned a win.
Who do you think will be the big winners come Oscar time? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.