Years ago, my esteemed predecessor, Ms. Dayna Papaleo, founded her very own award ceremony to rival the Oscars, and to acknowledge the films and filmmakers she deemed worthy of honoring for their cinematic achievements over the previous year. These prestigious awards came to be known as "The Daynas." Tragically, over the intervening years, Ms. Papaleo developed a nasty candy addiction, squandered her fortune, and allowed the naming rights for the awards to lapse. Thus the annual ceremony was suspended and remained but a distant memory... until now.
It's with no small amount of excitement that I hereby announce the resurrection of those awards, with the presentation of the freshly monikered 1st Annual "Lubies." To commemorate this momentous occasion, I invited all of Hollywood's A-listers to my humble apartment, stocked up on cheap wine, and doled out golden "everything" burritos to the honorees because, really, there is no greater reward anyone can receive than a delicious everything burrito. Plus, having the awards double as catering really cut down on my overhead costs.
With that out of the way, on we go to the winners of the 1st Annual Lubies!
Best Supporting Actor: Dwayne Johnson, "Pain and Gain"
That's right, you heard me. No matter what your thoughts on Michael Bay or his most recent cinematic endeavor, there's no denying that Johnson's turn as a dim-bulb cokehead would-be kidnapper was comedic brilliance.
Best Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johansson, "Her," "Don Jon"
Not only did Johansson manage to craft a compelling, fully realized character out of thin air as the OS, Samantha, in Spike Jonze's melancholy tale of technological romance, but she added depth to what could have been a simple stereotype with her performance as a New Jersey princess in Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut.
Best Actor: Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station"; Robert Redford, "All is Lost"; Simon Pegg, "The World's End"
This is my awards ceremony, so I don't have to hold myself to any sort of consistency or logic (translation: the wine had already gotten to me at this point). So I handed out burritos to all three of these worthy recipients. Three wildly different performances, but all thrillingly alive and complex.
Best Actress: Brie Larson, "Short Term 12"
All due respect to Cate Blanchett, who is fully deserving of the acclaim she's gotten (and will continue to get, come Oscar night) for "Blue Jasmine," but Larson's performance as a young supervisor at a home for troubled youth was the best performance of the year. Destin Cretton's smartly observed and deeply moving film will be screening at the Dryden March 15-16, and you shouldn't miss it.
Biggest Thrill: "You're Next"
I didn't have a better time at the cinema last year than with Adam Wingard's wildly entertaining, tongue-in-cheek take on the home-invasion slasher flick. A total blast, and even better when watched with a rowdy, and enthusiastic crowd.
Biggest Trip: "Upstream Color"
Shane Carruth's mind-bending tale of love, loss, pig farmers, and brain-controlling worms was the most mesmerizingly strange experience at the movies this year. It's currently streaming on Netflix, and I recommend watching it somewhere with a great sound system so you can take advantage of the film's impeccable sound design.
The Completely Overrated: "Dallas Buyers Club"
Yes, McConaughey's performance was good, but in the age of the McConaissance, that's increasingly commonplace. And the film's underlying insinuation that the only way mainstream audiences will watch a film about the AIDS crisis is if it features a straight man as a protagonist was deeply problematic. I thought we left that mindset behind in the 90's with "Philadelphia." And don't even get me started on Jared Leto's skin-deep performance as a transgendered woman named Rayon, who exists solely so the hero can learn a valuable lesson in tolerance. Nevermind that the real-life Ron Woodroof might not have been so straight after all. (There are reports that I chucked a half-eaten burrito at Leto's head in the middle of presenting this award, but I refuse to dignify those malicious rumors with a response).
The Poetically Underrated: "Inside Llewyn Davis"
It seems somehow fitting that the Coen brothers' brilliant, richly layered portrait of an unappreciated musical genius was largely ignored by the Academy, so I guess I'm ok with it. The fantastic soundtrack, produced (as seemingly every great soundtrack is) by T-Bone Burnett, has been on heavy rotation in my apartment for months now.
The Better Than It Had Any Reason To Be Award: "White House Down"
It's a throwback to the knowingly stupid (and stupidly fun) action movies of the mid-90's; full of flag-waving, explosions, and 'Murica! Thank you, Roland Emmerich, you magnificent bastard.
Best Film That Functions as a Commentary On Itself: "Stories We Tell"
Actress and director Sarah Polley mined one of her own family's long-buried secrets to create this deeply personal documentary, and what she emerged with was a fascinating exploration of the elusive nature of truth, memory, and the power of storytelling itself.
The Let's See What Sticks Award: James Franco
Appearing in (roughly) a bajillion movies per year significantly improves the odds of delivering a great performance, so perhaps it's not surprising that Franco managed to turn in two in 2013. First he was a hardcore rapper who's not quite as hardcore as he'd like to believe, in Harmony Korine's venomous satire, "Spring Breakers." Then he excelled as a funhouse mirror version of himself in Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen's post-apocalyptic comedy, "This is the End."
The Wishes Come True Award: "Before Midnight"
Nine years ago, in this very space, Ms. Papaleo wished for a second sequel to Richard Linklater's heartfelt romances "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset." Granted, she had hoped that the film would be "Before Lunch," but when the result turned out as magnificent as "Before Midnight," I'm sure she's OK with it.
Most Uncomfortable Piano Duet: "Stoker"
Fair, there wasn't a whole lot of competition in this category, but if you've seen this stylish, delightfully twisted gothic thriller from South Korean director Park Chan-wook, then you know precisely which scene I'm talking about.
Rookie of the Year: Lake Bell, "In a World..."
Bell wrote and directed her first feature film, about a young woman (played by Bell) struggling to make it in the competitive voiceover industry, and turned in something smart, funny, and even moving. And she did it all while managing to work in some sly commentary about the hardships women face in Hollywood.