i-D’s top 10 film moments of 2014

i-D celebrates the ten best moments on the big screen from 2014.

by Colin Crummy
17 December 2014, 12:35pm

Stacey Martin

1. Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar speech
Big screen newcomer Lupita Nyong'o provided a timely lesson in how to rock an awards show. She won the Oscars red carpet in a pale blue Prada dress channelling Elizabeth Taylor and her Kenyan heritage (she and stylist Micaela Erlanger collaborated on the design). She brought brother Junior as her +1 and the speech after accepting Best Supporting Actress gong for her performance in 12 Years A Slave was a masterclass in eloquence and dignity. Twelve months on, that role as Patsey in Steve McQueen's black slavery epic remains one of the year. Next up: Star Wars.

2. Julianne Moore went apeshit in Map to the Stars
David Cronenberg's Map to the Stars was raining down with hot Hollywood messes: a Bieber esque brat, his new age, creepster parents and estranged sister Agatha [Mia Wasikowska] now living as 'chore whore' for fading actress Havana Segrand [Julianne Moore]. It's Moore who crowned Map to the Stars with a towering performance of neurosis and nastiness. When a boy's death leads to Segrand securing a role she gleefully sings 'Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye'. That's showbusiness!

3. Stacy Martin boffed Shia LaBeouf in Nymphomaniac
It's a brave woman takes on a four hour sex opus directed by Lars Von Triers, given the Danish director's reputation for working his talent on set. But 22 year old British model Stacy Martin nails it (and various men) as the fledging sex addict Joe in Nymphomaniac. The sex scene where Joe loses her virginity to Jerome [Shia LaBeouf - being weird before 2014 got really weird for him] involved Martin in a peculiar set up: German porn stars were filmed in the roles and their positions then mimicked by the pants-and-prosthetics-on actors.

4. Oscar Isaac inhabited Inside Llewyn Davis
Oscar Isaac's turn as a prickly, sadface singer at the fag end of Greenwich village folk scene in 1961 is so nuanced you come away unsure if you like the guy or not. That's exactly what the Coen Brothers want in this low-key meditation on art, commerce and success. The Davis of the title can't catch a break but does he lack the talent or the temperament for it? His one success, a novelty track recorded with Jim [Justin Timberlake of silly beard fame] and Al [Adam Driver] is a joy to behold.

5. The Grand Budapest Hotel looked swell
The soft pink palette of The Grand Budapest Hotel made the accommodation of director Wes Anderson's imagination look good enough to eat. But then everything about Anderson's madcap European adventure was a visual feast as he conjured up old world orders in exquisite detail. Case in point: the fictional state of Zumbrowka's fictional newspaper, the Trans Alpine Yodel, was recreated several times on screen to illustrate plot points. Anderson wrote all its cover stories including the ones you would never even see. That's dedication for ya.

6. Scarlett Johansson went shopping in Under the Skin
Lots of stand out, WTF moments from Jonathan Glazer's much raved about, totally WTF adaptation of Michael Faber's equally WTF novel. Even if Under the Skin just gets weirder the further it delves into the world of its alien protagonist, played by Scarlett Johansson, there's something just so ordinarily odd about the opening scene where she stalks the shopping centres of Glasgow looking for man prey and listening to regular, real human interaction about spray tan and make up.

7. Jack O'Connell kicked off in Starred Up
A huge year for former Skins actor Jack O'Connell who brought new meaning to triple threat with lead roles in prison drama Starred Up, political thriller '71 and Angelina Jolie's Unbroken. The latter may be the Hollywood moment of the Derby boy's year but it's O'Connell's role as young offender-turned-lifer Eric Love in Starred Up that saw an actor get into his stride. The scene where he beared his teeth and beckons the riot squad into his 6 x 4 prison cell was breathtaking visceral. Also, those ill advised teen tats came in handy. Looked the part, he did.

8. Siri broke your heart in Her
Spike Jonze's Her saw Joaquin Phoenix's Theodore fall in love with his operating system called Samantha, voiced by Scarlet Johansson. But Theodore was also unwilling to let go of his broken marriage. "There's something that feels so good about sharing your life with somebody," Theodore told his OS, Samantha, who for logistic reasons couldn't share anything. This one is not about technology after all, but love. It's enough to make you delete Tinder.

9. Boyhood took its time
You expect something really bad to happen to Mason Jnr, the boy we follow over his childhood years in Boyhood because that's how a standard coming-of-age plot works. But nothing catastrophic happens in Richard Linklater's 12-year experiment. Nothing except life itself. When Mason heads off to college near the film's end his mother [Patricia Arquette] breaks down at the sight of her little fella all grown up. On paper it sounds mawkish, in practice Linklater leaves you with an overwhelming sense that what you've just witnessed is time slipping by. And that's kind of catastrophic to think about.

10. The Badadook was freakier than Freud
Australian director Jennifer Kent delivers spine tingling psychological sucker punches and a hellish mother-child relationship that Freud would approve of in this acclaimed retro horror. Recently widowed mother, Amelia has to deal with her erratically behaved young son Samuel who believes the 'Mister Badadook' of a nasty bedtime story has come to haunt them. The scene where Samuel comes into Amelia's room, awoken by the sound of his mum masturbating unreservedly wins this year's monkey-with-hands-over-eyes emoji award.  


Text Colin Crummy
Photography Katja Rahlwes
Styling Cathy Kasterine
[The Q+A Issue, No. 324, Spring 13]

Angelina Jolie
stacey martin
jack o'connell
starred up