The Cutprice Guignol: A Year’s Review
Well, it’s time: time for the magnificent Guignol to take a look at the highs and lows in this year’s television and film. Be warned of spoilers ahead, because I get excited about stuff and want to tell everyone about everything I’d seen.
Best Movie Performance of the Year: Jake Gyllenhal in Nightcrawler. Somehow managing to scrub his beautiful, deep, expressive eyes completely free of any emotion and it actually worked. Can’t implore anyone enough to go and see this very quiet masterpiece.
Best TV Performance of the Year: There’s a lot of competition in this category as you might imagine given the amount of fucking TV I spend all day every day watching. Special commendations have to go to Gustaf Skarsgard in Vikings (and the whole rest of the leading cast in Vikings, come to think of it), Michelle Gomez (despite the pitiful amount of screentime she got as the Master), and everyone who even considered being in Hannibal, but I’m going to go ahead and throw this one to Finn Wittrock as Dandy in American Horror Story. In a patchy season, the virtual unknown has proved himself with style, claiming some of the best moments of the series as his own as well as bringing an American Psycho-esque depth and neuroses to what is essentially a totally clichéd role.
Best On-Screen Duo of the Year: Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison in Sleepy Hollow. Next.
Accent of the Year: Kathy Bates in American Horror Story with that alleged Baltimore accent. Considering how great her performance is this season, that accent is a testament to good acting overcoming all.
Biggest Film Disappointment of the Year: Godzilla. Probably just missold, if anything, but it wasn’t anything I expected it to be, in a bad way.
Biggest TV Disappointment of the Year: Doctor Who. So much so that me and the consort very nearly never spoke again after the first episode as it so shook the foundations of our relationship. If Doctor Who isn’t good, what can I believe in?
TV Moment of the Year: I’d repressed it till now, but Michael Pitt sawing off his own face under the influence of psychotropic drugs and feeding it to dogs is eternally etched onto my memory. The woozy cinematography and presence of Mads Mikklesen’s terrifying Hannibal Lecter (the only truly great one there’s ever been, in my eyes) served to make this scene the petrifying, distorted crescendo to an already brain-bending series. Ugh. Think I was just a little bit sick into my mouth.
Movie Moment of the Year: There have been a few great ones, but the closing moments of Mockingjay part 1- with Josh Hutchinson’s Peeta battling in a terrified stupor against his bindings while a doubtful, vulnerable Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) looks on- was ominous, brutal, and utterly brilliant.
Cheering-Out-Loud Moment of the Year: Anything involving Carol (Melissa McBride) in the first episode of The Walking Dead series five. Especially her tear-jerking but not sentimental reunion with Daryl. That woman can kick ass AND rock a pixie haircut: therefore, she’s my idol.
TV Show of the Year: Anyone who’s spoken to me since those manic few days where I marathoned both series will know that I’m going to say Vikings. The plotting is refreshingly simple in an era of Moffatian twists and turns, the performances are affecting, understated and well-earned, the characterisation is consistent and constantly evolving, the story is driven by logical character choices, the battle scenes as good as you’d hope, and it’s shot with audacious beauty and style for a low-budget, History channel drama. And Clive Standen punches someone off a chair! OFF A CHAIR!
Runner-Up: Logically, Hannibal, because it’s beautiful, utterly original, and will lodge itself under your skin in ways you won’t always like. And I say this as someone who’s watched and enjoyed seven Saw films: it’s really fucking brutal.
Movie of the Year: Nightcrawler. It won’t get any Oscars, but that’s probably just a statement as to how original, dark, and adult this psycho-thriller is.
Runner-Up: The Double, Richard Ayoade’s superd follow-up to Submarine. Jesse Eisenberg proved himself as a truly diverse actor taking on the two lead roles in a psychedelic, sci-fi noir thriller that was unafraid of having a sense of humour. Think Gilliam, but British.
Music Moment of the Year: Jessica Lange out-Bowieing Bowie with an entirely anachronistic performance of Life on Mars in AHS. Why not?