For the eighth year in a row, Movie Dearest takes a look back and celebrates the year that was with a salute to the best in film, television and the stage with the 2014 Movie Dearest Awards, a.k.a. the "Dearies"! And the winners are...
Movie of the Year: Pride
A little-known but significant chapter in gay rights history came to light this year thanks to Matthew Warchus' Pride. Showing how a group of British LGBT activists supported a village of impoverished, striking miners (initially to the dismay of most of them) during the conservative rule of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the film offers an inspiring mix of drama and comedy buoyed by a terrific cast including vets Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine and hot newcomer Ben Schnetzer. Already a Golden Globe Best Picture nominee, three-time BAFTA nominee and two-time Dorian Award winner, we are proud to name Pride our Movie Dearest Movie of the Year! — CC
Men of the Year: John Lithgow and Alfred Molina
Although longtime personal friends, John Lithgow and Alfred Molina had never worked together until they committed to playing a longtime couple in Love is Strange, Ira Sachs' latest examination of gay relationships following the writer-director's Keep the Lights On (our Dearie Award winner for Movie of the Year in 2012). The actors (both nominated for Independent Spirit Awards, as is the film and screenplay) bravely eschew any artifice or melodrama, perfectly (at times painfully) capturing the plight of hopeful, late-in-life newlyweds who end up losing everything except one another. These are characters and actors worthy of emulation. — CC
Woman of the Year: Angelina Jolie
2014 was a busy year for Angelina Jolie. She delivered a wickedly perfect (and at times deliciously campy) turn as the villainous sorceress/misunderstood heroine of Maleficent, her biggest box office hit to date. She was appointed an Honorary Dame Commander by Her Majesty the Queen for her services to the United Kingdom's foreign policy. She co-chaired London's Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. She helmed the epic World War II biopic Unbroken, the unbelievably true story of survival of Olympic runner-turned-war hero Louis Zamperini. And, oh yeah, she married some actor named Brad Pitt. — KH
New Star of the Year: Chris Pratt
Not unlike his Star Lord alter ego, Chris Pratt rocketed to movie stardom in two of 2014's biggest blockbusters. Fans of TV's Parks and Recreation were stunned to see Pratt's physical transformation from overweight shlub Andy to the ripped if reluctant hero of Guardians of the Galaxy. Additionally, he gave delightful voice to Emmet, The Lego Movie's cheerfully naïve protagonist. He is already starring in one of this year's guaranteed hits, Jurassic World, and is reportedly in talks to take over the famed fedora and whip from Harrison Ford in an Indiana Jones reboot. Clearly his star is only growing brighter. — CC
TV Show of the Year: The Normal Heart
It finally took director Ryan Murphy to do what longtime rights-owner Barbra Streisand couldn't. While he was only able to bring The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer's landmark play (a previous Dorian Award winner itself) about the early years of the AIDS crisis in New York City, to the small screen (for which we are nonetheless grateful to HBO), it was a superlative, deeply-felt production marked by excellent performances by SAG Award winner Mark Ruffalo, Golden Globe winner Matt Bomer and Julia Roberts, among many committed actors (including the previously honored Alfred Molina). Serving as both art and memorial, a better film probably couldn't have been made... not even by Babs. — CC
Stage Show of the Year: Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Neil Patrick Harris blew even his die-hard fans away and snagged the Tony Award as the transsexual rocker of John Cameron Mitchell's cult musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Making its Broadway debut 16 years after its off-Broadway bow (it was also made into a queer cinema classic), the show proved as radical and relevant as ever thanks to Harris and director Michael Mayer, who previously worked similar rock 'n show tune wonders with Spring Awakening and American Idiot. A staging and star turn for the ages, the multiple Tony winning hit has lived on past Harris' departure with such new Hedwigs as Andrew Rannells, Michael C. Hall and the original Hedwig, Mitchell himself. — CC
Foreign Film of the Year: Stranger by the Lake
Leave it to France to produce one of the sexiest yet most disturbing thrillers in recent memory. With writer/director Alain Guiraudie's Stranger by the Lake (L'inconnu du lac) you'll come for the full frontal nudity and explicit man-on-man action but stay for the Hitchcockian twists and turns. Set exclusively at an idyllic lake/gay pick-up spot where one of the cruisers turns up dead in the water, this Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm Award winner slowly builds the suspense up to its shocking ending and offers an unflinching, uncensored look at the lengths some may go to find sex... and love. — KH
Documentary of the Year: To Be Takei
Groundbreaking actor, Japanese American internment camp survivor, dedicated human rights activist, prolific social media commentator, beloved gay icon: these are all it takes To Be Takei... George Takei, that is. In Jennifer M. Kroot's entertaining documentary, we learn all there is to know about the man we all know as Star Trek's Mr. Sulu, especially in regards to his 28-year relationship with his manager/husband Brad Takei. The scenes of the loving but sometimes bickering couple makes one long for them to star in their own reality show. Whatever the future may bring to the Takeis, this documentary shows that they will always live long and prosper, together. — KH
The Neil V. Cohen Award for Campy Film of the Year: The Grand Budapest Hotel
We know our dearly departed friend and fellow critic would love the Academy Award nominated The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson's giddy yet heartfelt romp, for any number of reasons: the Pepto Bismol-colored interior of its title establishment; Ralph Fiennes playful, sexually ambiguous lead performance; the film's overall air of heightened theatricality; and, last but not least, an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton as a wealthy regular guest (not to mention the rest of the Golden Globe Best Picture winner's all-star cast). We loved it too and trust it will have a long life among both cineastes and mainstream viewers for years to come. — CC
DVD of the Year: Frozen
Not even Disney knew what kind of global juggernaut they had with Frozen. A mere year ago, it was climbing the box office charts to eventually be crowned the #1 animated movie of all time. Two Academy Awards would soon follow: one for Best Animated Feature, the first for a purely Disney film, the other for Queen Elsa's coming out anthem "Let It Go". And then there was the DVDs and Blu-rays, one of the fastest selling titles in the medium's history. Little girls (and quite a few gay adults) rejoiced that they could now watch the adventures of Anna, Elsa and Olaf whenever they wanted to, over and over again. Let it go? Not a chance. — KH
We hope you enjoyed this year's Dearies and thank you for visiting Movie Dearest in 2014!
By Rev. Chris Carpenter, resident film critic of Movie Dearest and Rage Monthly Magazine, and Kirby Holt, creator and editor of Movie Dearest.