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The 5th Annual Nerdist Movie Awards: Winners Revealed

The 5th Annual Nerdist Movie Awards: Winners Revealed

The Oscars are but a few days away, but who cares when you can find out the winners of the 5th Annual Nerdist Movie Awards right here, right now? That’s right — we asked, you answered, and now we’re going to celebrate the best of the best in the year’s cinema as voted on by you.

Best Picture


Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy

Honorable Mentions: Birdman, Begin Again, Gone Girl, Nightcrawler, Whiplash, The Imitation Game, Top Five, The LEGO Movie, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

We were hooked on a feeling that this might happen, and lo and behold your favorite film of 2014 was James Gunn’s truly excellent Guardians of the Galaxy. No other film even came close to catching Guardians‘ numbers in the voting, which is a testament to just how damn popular it is. And for good reason too. What set Guardians apart from the pack wasn’t the fact that it was a great superhero movie; rather, Guardians is just a great film. Packed to the brim with compelling characters, high-stakes spacefaring action, and more heart and humor than anyone could have anticipated, it was the surprise hit of the year and one that has us eagerly counting down the days until the sequel lands in 2017. — Dan Casey

Editor’s Choice


Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy

Honorable Mentions: Too many to list — we saw a lot of great movies this year.

Are you surprised to see Guardians of the Galaxy again already? Honestly, you really shouldn’t be. While our editorial staff was split over what our favorite films of the year were — case in point, Whiplash was my favorite film of the year, managing editor Rachel Heine preferred Gone Girl, etc. — there was one thing on which we all agreed: Guardians of the Galaxy was our favorite filmgoing experience of 2014. Not only was it the most fun we had in theaters all year, it defied all expectations. Before its release, everyone scoffed at the idea of turning a semi-obscure comic from Marvel’s Cosmic Universe into a big budget feature film. We were willing to accept Chris Pratt as an action movie star, but Chris Pratt starring alongside a talking raccoon and a sentient tree that can only say his own name, Hodor-style? Get outta here! With Guardians, though, seeing was believing, and after seeing that movie, we believed that Marvel could do damn near anything. — Dan Casey

Best Director

james gunn gotg_featured

Winner: James Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy

Honorable Mentions: Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Frank Pavich (Jodorowsky’s Dune), Jon Favreau (Chef), David Leitch and Chad Stahelski (John Wick), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (The LEGO Movie) , Jonathan Glazer (Under the Skin), Ava DuVernay (Selma), Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow)

More so than any other studio out there right now, Marvel Studios is doing a tremendous job of matching directorial talent to franchises in its ever-expanding cinematic empire. Just as Joss Whedon was the chocolate to the Avengers’ peanut butter, James Gunn proved to be the perfect complement to our favorite group of a-holes, the Guardians of the Galaxy. With a singular vision, a wicked sense of humor, and the best damn soundtrack in recent memory, Gunn crafted a raucously entertaining and sprawling piece of sci-fi that was bursting with life and oozing charisma out of every pore. From Star-Lord’s Walkman-fueled dance party of an introduction to the mesmerizing kinetic violence of the escape from the Kyln to the heart-wrenching emotion packed into three little words — “We are Groot” — Guardians of the Galaxy is a rollercoaster of emotion, a kaleidoscopic experience stays with you long after the credits roll. Its parts work well individually, but it took the narrative wizardry and directorial finesse of a man like Gunn to make it truly fire on all cylinders. — Dan Casey

Best Screenplay

Grand Budapest

Winner: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Honorable Mentions: Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice), Andrew Dodge (Bad Words), Chris Rock (Top Five), Andrea Seigel (Laggies), Graham Moore (The Imitation Game), John-Henry Butterworth, Jez Butterworth and Christopher McQuarrie (Edge of Tomorrow)

And the Golden Geek goes to…Guardi– wait a minute! In a year of excellent scripts, Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness’ tightly constructed, meticulously plotted The Grand Budapest Hotel was a particular delight. Thanks to a supremely memorable and vivacious cast of characters, The Grand Budapest Hotel offers up a pitch perfect period piece, an homage to the caper stories of yesteryear. Though the Republic of Zubrowka may be fictional, The Grand Budapest Hotel feels like a travelogue brought to life, memoirs made flesh. Alternately witty and wistful, the script walks the razor’s edge of emotion and pulls off its mission magnificently. — Dan Casey

Best Adaptation

The Winter Soldier splash

Winner: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, based on Captain America, Vol. 5: “The Winter Soldier”

Honorable Mentions: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Imitation Game, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Inherent Vice, Edge of Tomorrow, Gone Girl

The first Captain America film was a fun, action-packed foray into Steve Rogers’ wild world. However, it felt like a patchwork quilt, weaving together different aspects of Captain America’s early years to create a silver screen-ready origin story. The Winter Soldier not only raised the stakes narratively speaking, but it felt like the comic book had come to life. We weren’t just watching Sebastian Stan battle Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson; we were bearing witness to Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s seminal story brought to life before our very eyes. Just as Bucky seemingly rose from the dead, The Winter Soldier breathed new life into Captain America, turning what could have been a sophomore slump into one of the most salient political thrillers of the year. — Dan Casey

Best Actor


Winner: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game

Honorable Mentions: Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), David Oyelowo (Selma), Chadwick Boseman (Get on Up), Dan Stevens (The Guest)

‘Batch please. Those were your words, not ours. (Okay, I might be paraphrasing a bit.) Alan Turing is one of the most important figures in the modern scientific landscape, making contributions to not only the war effort, but the advent of modern computer science as we know it. Yet, too often his story is brushed aside by history. Thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turing as a man of fierce intelligence, quiet conviction, compulsive dedication, and a decided lack of social graces, there is little doubt that we will forget Turing anytime soon. — Dan Casey

Best Actress


Winner: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

Honorable Mentions: Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Scarlett Johannson (Under the Skin), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Essie Davis (The Babadook), Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night)

The strength of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl — both the film and the novel — relies not only on the twisty turns of its plot, but the enigmatic, charismatic, dual nature of its eponymous girl, gone. As Amy Dunne, the wickedly sharp mind whose actions spur the story (if you haven’t seen/read it — do so immediately. We won’t spoil it for you here), Rosamund Pike plays multiple characters. As diary Amy, calculating Amy, amazing Amy, her husband Nick’s Amy, Pike plays each iteration with an eerie, breathless grace. The film is about, among many things, how little you can know someone, how well, and the many selves we shuffle through in our relationships. Pike truly brought Flynn’s amazing novel, character, and story to life, and that’s something that should be celebrated. — Rachel Heine

Best Supporting Performance

Rocket Raccoon

Winner: Bradley Cooper & Sean Gunn, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Honorable Mentions: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer), Edward Norton (Birdman), Carrie Coon (Gone Girl), Josh Brolin (Inherent Vice), Kathryn Hahn (Bad Words)

There is no question amongst the editorial staff that J.K. Simmons gave an incredibly nuanced and intense performance in Whiplash, but we’re super happy that you guys didn’t overlook Bradley Cooper and Sean Gunn’s work in Guardians of the Galaxy. Gunn’s physical work as Rocket, as well as his improv on set, gave Bradley Cooper a lot to work with. To his credit, Cooper was no slouch with his voiceover work, creating a unique character that’s recognizable as Bradley Cooper right away. Both men, together, have given an admirable performance in a role that was passed off as a joke for the better part of 3 years. In the end, it was Rocket’s rage, indignation, sarcasm, wit, and heart that accompanied us on the roller coaster that was Guardians, a performance that should and shall be celebrated. — Brian Walton

Best Villain


Winner: Sebastian Stan as The Winter Soldier, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Honorable Mentions: Lord Business (The LEGO Movie), Amy Dunne (Gone Girl), Terrence Fletcher (Whiplash), Howard Howe (Tusk), Koba (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Louis Bloom (Nightcrawler), Mister Babadook (The Babadook)

Fighting with your best friend is always rough. Fighting with your best friend after they have presumably been dead for sixty years and have since been brainwashed into the ultimate killing machine by a secret cabal of fascists is straight-up devastating. Yet that’s exactly what happened in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it’s a large reason why the film resonated with so many viewers. Seeing the once affable Bucky Barnes transformed into a cruel, cold-blooded assassin is heartwrenching, but it gives each battle with Captain America a sense of unparalleled stakes as the two former friends must face off over the fate of the free world as we know it. And, come on, have you seen that hair? Flawless. — Dan Casey

Baddest Ass


Winner: Scarlett Johannson as The Black Widow, Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Honorable Mentions: Keanu Reeves (John Wick), Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), Godzilla (Godzilla), Iko Uwais (The Raid 2), Dan Stevens (The Guest)

Guardians of the Galaxy may have been the “best” Marvel movie of the year, but in terms of bone-crunching, jaw-dropping action sequences and comprehensive ass-kickery, Captain America: The Winter Soldier has it beat. For proof in the pudding, look no further than Natasha Romanoff, a.k.a. the Black Widow. Played by Scarlett Johannson, who displayed an alien iciness in last year’s Under the Skin, Black Widow comes into her own in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, emerging as more of a fully fleshed out character. Yet, true to form, she’s also running black ops missions, breaking necks, going toe to toe with cybernetically enhanced assassins, and taking down armed goons left, right, and center. And unlike Cap, she does it all on her own merits — no Super Soldier Serum required.

Now seriously, Marvel, where is her damn solo movie? — Dan Casey

Best Ensemble


Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy

Honorable Mentions: The Grand Budapest HotelInto the WoodsBegin AgainChefInherent ViceTop Five

A smooth-talking thief with a vintage 1979 Sony TPS-L2 Walkman cassette player. A green-skinned master assassin betraying the most powerful man in the galaxy. A tattooed musclebound juggernaut on a quest for revenge who takes everything literally. An arrogant, rage-filled talking raccoon with a machine gun the size of his attitude. A towering, sentient tree who can shift between playful and deadly at the drop of a hat. These are the bunch of a-holes that comprise the Guardians of the Galaxy. Individually, they’re fascinating. Together, they’re unstoppable, and we clearly cannot get enough. — Dan Casey

Best Cameo


Winner: Howard the Duck (Seth Green), Guardians of the Galaxy

Honorable Mentions: Christopher Lloyd (A Million Ways to Die in the West), Matt Damon (Interstellar), Bill Murray (Dumb and Dumber To), DMX (Top Five)

The only cameo appearance in 2014 less likely than DMX was Howard the Duck. Ever since his ill-fated, George Lucas-produced 1986 film (the first Marvel movie, mind you), Howard the Duck has been as far away from the limelight as humanly possible. Yet, eagle-eyed viewers who noticed a certain suit-clad waterfowl in The Collector’s display room were treated to something even better after the credits rolled: a genuine cameo from everyone’s favorite martini-swilling, sarcasm slinging feathered friend Howard (voiced by Seth Green, to boot). Now, Howard has his own successful comic book series again and he’s back on the big screen. I guess history really is cyclical… — Dan Casey

Best Buddies


Winner: Rocket Raccoon and Groot, Guardians of the Galaxy

Honorable Mentions: Hiccup and Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon 2), Hiro and Baymax (Big Hero 6), Jenko and Schmidt (22 Jump Street), John Wick and his puppy (John Wick), Guy Trilby and Chaitanya Chopra (Bad Words)

Sure, I could write something eloquent about how Rocket and Groot are perfect for each other, but why mince words when this GIF says it all? — Dan Casey

Best Use of Music


Winner: Guardians of the Galaxy

Honorable Mentions: Into the Woods, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1BirdmanBegin AgainChefGod Help the Girl

Of all the nominees, Guardians Of The Galaxy was the only movie whose soundtrack had a beating heart. It received and broadcasted shocks of adrenaline (“Ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch Cherry Bomb!”) to Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians when they were in hot pursuit of Thanos. You could feel the moment get heavy and full as Elvin Bishop plays in background when Peter and Gamora share a tender moment. There was always a precise reason why each track played, aside from sounding like a perfect fit.

It’s been said that The Awesome Mix Volume 1. Is the only soundtrack to have felt like an additional character in the movie. Though I agree, I think it exceeds even that. As a narrative device that at once aids Peter Quill in becoming a sympathetic character, represents the supportive spirit of his erstwhile mother, and allows the audience to invest more deeply in the narrative arc of the story, the music in Guardians Of The Galaxy is the reason this Marvel story was our favorite movie of the year. But I am the music guy, so you know. — Matt Grosinger

Best Integration of Science

Interstellar Trailer Tech 4

WinnerInterstellar for Christopher Nolan and astrophysicist Dr. Kip Thorne’s visualization of black holes

Honorable Mentions: The Imitation GameThe Theory of EverythingEdge of Tomorrow

Using actual equations from astrophysicist Kip Thorne, Interstellar showed audiences the most realistic simulation of a black hole yet seen by human eyes. It was done accurately enough that scientific papers are coming out of Thorne and Nolan’s visualization. And keep in mind that Nolan didn’t have to make the science in his film stand up at all. He could have simply CG’d everything and been done with it. But that wasn’t good enough. A major theme of Interstellar was that humanity had lost interest in exploring space. Well, what better way to get audiences exicted about traversing the ‘verse than to make your science fiction movie as close to science fact as possible? What is incredible to me is that if we ever do get close enough to a black hole to obervse its awesome appetite, it will actually look like what we saw in Nolan’s latest. — Kyle Hill

Most Anticipated Movie of 2015

Force Awakens

Winner: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Honorable Mentions: Avengers: Age of UltronJurassic WorldMad Max: Fury RoadPitch Perfect 2, Crimson Peak, Spectre, Straight Outta Compton, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, Fantastic Four

Another foregone conclusion, but we can’t blame you — we’re excited too! Ever since Disney purchased Star Wars and Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, all eyes have been on the House of Mouse to see what they would do with what is arguably the most beloved franchise in existence. No other film has been put under more scrutiny than J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens as we analyze every leak, every bit of concept art, and every rumor under the twin suns of Tatooine. Naturally, it follows that there is no other film we could be looking fowrard to more in 2015. For better or for worse, 2015 is the Year of Star Wars. — Dan Casey

Do you agree with your fellow readers? Let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Croaker says:

    Ok where is any love for XMEN Days of Future Past?

  2. Heather says:

    i love Black Widow but she was not the Baddest Ass. Keanu Reeves in John Wick hands down is the winner. He killed 84 people! Between the fighting, gun work & driving skills it was something new to watch & made you want to see more. The world that was created was awesome! I’m hopeful for a sequel & a higher body count. 

  3. Jeff says:

    How was Bradley Cooper for American Sniper not at least an honorable mention for best actor? 

  4. Miranda says:

    I thought most of these were great choices. I was thoroughly impressed with Guardians of the Galaxy and The Grand Budapest Hotel. These were my favorites for this year. I am probably one of the only nerds not excited for Star Wars. It is hard to be impressive on a series that was ground breaking, and it doesn’t help Disney thinks they are being clever by creating their own story. Also I have not been impressed by Scarlett Johansson’s performance as Black Widow. She is too soft and not convincing as a badass assassin. Please for the love of God, do not give her a solo movie. Read the comics and you will understand my feelings about the injustice that has been done to the Black Widow character. I also wish more people from the nerd community would be more mature about the way they express their views, and more positive.

  5. Kiji says:

    Heidi Moneymaker (and other doubles) should also receive recognition for ‘Baddest Ass’. The physical work that goes into those characters is what makes them so great.

  6. Bowman941 says:

    I walked out of Guardians. Couldn’t stand it. Hopefully I see it again and realize I was wrong. I’m just burnt out on the comic book genre.

  7. Maggie says:

    BUCKY BARNES IS NOT THE VILLAIN! Did you miss the entire plot of the movie? Nothing he did was his choice. He’s not the villain. He’s a victim. 

  8. JB says:

    Agree with all but:Best VillainJake Gyllenhaal’s character in Nightcrawler was far and away the best. Louis Bloom was pure, narcissistic evil.
    Baddest AssI think this is category suffered from lack of articulation as to what the category was about. While ScarJo certainly has the baddest ass of the nominees (especially in Black Widow’s skin-tight leather), based on the blurb, the award for the biggest bad-ass should have gone to Iko Uwais of The Raid 2, hands down 

  9. Hitchard Sinkwaiter says:


  10. Sarah says:

    I voted for most of the winners and that makes me feel like a winner

  11. Chuck says:

    I was with it until Best Villain. Anybody that watched that movie will agree, the Winter Soldier was NOT a villain, he was a victim. Pierce was the villain (and a really good one). I would say J.K. Simmons’s character in Whiplash was the best villain instead.

  12. Luke James says:

    Nothing for LEGO Movie??????????

  13. Charles says:

    You did a good job with everyting save Best Screenplay.

  14. Araknar Lord of the Spider People says:

    I agree for the most part, but along the lines of best villain, if we’re looking ahead at who’s going to be remembered as a villain, I personally think J.K. Simmons will be more remembered for Whiplash than Sebastian Stan for Winter Soldier. They’re both great, but Winter Soldier won’t be the one I remember cringing to.

  15. John Corner says:


    • Jeremy says:

      Mmm… Marvel cock.

      • mikedudez says:

        ill admit it was not the star wars of our days but it was a good movie, but ya i dont see the “wow!  best movie ever ” excitement

        • ShadowMerlyn says:

          To be honest, I enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy more than the original Star Wars trilogy. It felt more polished, and the effects of the originals don’t hold up very well.

    • Crystal says:

      Guardians was a great movie! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and this was not a decision made by the Nerdist network, it was voted upon. Clearly more people share my opinion than yours. Maybe you should try not being such a dick.

    • YuSuk says:

      ^ has absolutely no taste in films whatsoever.

    • raChelkati. says:

      It’s the only good Marvel movie. As a bitter, hateful, ex Disney employee, I wanted it to fall flat on it’s face and BOMB (sorry @jamesgunn but I did).  The trailer looked kind of dumb. A talking raccoon? Really. I was dragged kicking and screaming and guess what. It was fun. It wasn’t dumb and the raccoon was actually an interesting character. In fact it had character. These people had depth and sorry arcs and all that BS they taught me in film class. 
      All the other Marvel movies are at best good live action cartoons. They are fluff. They have no personality even with great talents like Kenneth Branagh and Joss Whedon at the helm. 
      James Gunn achieved what Christopher Nolan achieved ten years ago. He turned the comic book genre on it’s ear. He grabbed it and made it his own. He brought the fun back but kept the gravitas. 

    • Matt Spears says:

      People who comment in all caps should shampoo my crotch.

    • -Di. says:

      Just because you did not like the movie doesn’t mean that other people aren’t allowed to.  

    • DRH says:

      Sorry, it’s not physically possible to do both of those actions simultaneously…

  16. Carrie says:

    Its nice to see Guardians get the kudos it deserves on all points. It was such an amazing film.

  17. Kenny says:

    Totally agree with Best Screenplay. Grand Budapest has a refreshing plot for 2014, among all the blockbusters. The use of the word “delight” was spot-on. It was simply, a delightful movie. I also love the Best Use of Music category. Great pick; Guardians matched music at the perfect time for a given scene.