“Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s unique drama about the life of an average American boy as he ages from 6 to 18, was named best film of 2014 by the Boston Society of Film Critics on Sunday. Twelve years in the making, the film also won awards for best director, screenplay, editing, and for its ensemble cast.
Winning nearly as many awards was Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Birdman,” a stylistic tourde force in which Michael Keaton plays a Hollywood actor seeking a comeback on the Broadway stage. Keaton was named best actor by the Society while Emma Stone was named best supporting actress; the film was also cited for best cinematography — Emmanuel Lubezki’s camerawork appears to unfold as a single two-hour tracking shot — and, in a rare tie, split the award for best screenplay with “Boyhood.”
France’s Marion Cotillard was named best actress for two 2014 films in which she appeared: the Dardennes brothers’ “Two Days, One Night,” which will be released to US theatres on Dec. 24, and James Gray’s “The Immigrant,” which opened last February. “Two Days, One Night,” in which Cotillard plays a factory worker desperate to hold on to her job, was also named the year’s best foreign language film. In addition, the Society voted to honor the late Boston Globe movie critic Jay Carr, who died in May, by awarding the foreign language film in his memory going forward.
The BSFC is made up of 20 film critics in the New England area; this year marks the organization’s 34th annual awards. The voting reflects a comparatively quiet year for cinema; aside from “Boyhood” and “Birdman,” no one film dominated the voting. “Whiplash,” Damien Chazelle’s drama about the power play between a music student and his sadistic teacher, saw character actor J.K. Simmons win best supporting actor in the latter role; Simmons is widely considered an Oscar front-runner for his performance. “Inherent Vice,” Paul Thomas Anderson’s sprawling adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s stoner-detective novel, won an award for best use of music in a film.
Other notable movies of 2014 were factors in the voting but came up short: Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner,” about the 19th-century artist J.M.W. Turner; Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel”; “Foxcatcher,” with its startling character turn by Steve Carell; two much-admired British biopics about scientists, “The Theory of Everything” (starring Eddie Redmayne as Steven Hawking) and “The Imitation Game” (with Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing). “Mr. Turner” was a runner-up in a number of categories, as was Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” an adaptation of the memoir by the late Iraq war veteran Chris Kyle that is starting to look like a dark horse awards candidate. It opens in theaters Christmas day.
“Citizenfour,” Laura Poitras’s first-person account of the Edward Snowden story, was named best documentary by the Boston critics. Best animated film went to “The Tale of The Princess Kaguya” by the Japanese director-animator Isao Takahata. “Nightcrawler” writer-director Dan Gilroy was named best new filmmaker by the society; the award is annually given in memory of Boston critic and radio personality David Brudnoy, who died 10 years ago this week. Similarly, the editing win that went to Sandra Adair of “Boyhood” is awarded in memory of film editor Karen Schmeer, who died in 2010.
The full list of winners can be found at www.bostonfilmcritics.org.
Watch: The making of ‘Boyhood’:Ty Burr can be reached at