2014 Best Poster Nominees

Some Drew Struzan purists might disagree, but I think we’re living in something of a golden age for movie posters.  Yeah, there are some bad photoshop jobs out there, but if a graphic designer comes up with a really cool idea they’re usually able to get it through, posters are a small enough portion of an overall advertising campaign that there usually isn’t too much of a risk.  I wouldn’t say this was a truly exceptional year for the craft but I did have a long list with a good ten to fifteen options to whittle down and some of the last cuts were brutal.

  • Blue Ruin:
    Stakes14BlueRuin
    This poster takes a memorable scene from the film and presents it in a new way by pulling back and showing it in profile.  The car with its trunk open, the man standing with the gun, and the man on the ground are all enticing silhouettes that invite you to construct a narrative and they’re stylishly backlit by the setting sun.  Then on top of all that they turn use the sky to fill in the typeface of the title and shape it all in this neat little rectangle box.
  • Enemy:
    Stakes14Enemy
    The Achilles heel of this poster is the color scheme.  I hate the beige background, it just makes the poster unpleasant to look at.  However, the basic concept is so clever that I just couldn’t leave the poster off the list.  Those who’ve seen the movie know that spiders are a running psychological theme in the movie and one of the more memorable shots involved a spider roving through a city skyline.  Placing that scene directly in the main character’s head is something of a clue as to what’s going on in the film and I love how the spider is placed to perfectly round out the head.
  • Inherent Vice:
    309431id1h_InherentVice_Teaser_27x40_1Sheet_6C.indd
    It took me a little to warm up to this one but I came to like it the more I thought about it.  This is technically a sort of cropped off version of a larger horizontal poster, but I actually kind prefer it.  The way the poster cuts off right at the ass gives it a sort of mysterious and sexy aura, but what really makes it stand out is the neon purple color scheme, the stylized night sky, and also the cool neon sign typeface that played a big role in the film’s wider campaign.  Also, if you look in the lower right you can see the Golden Fang ship in the ocean, which is a cool touch when you know that plays a role in the film.
  • The Interview:
    Stakes14TheInterview
    This poster for The Interview was certainly one of the more widely seen of the year if only because it kept showing up on news broadcasts for all the wrong reasons, but it’s really a pretty clever bit of graphic design.  The idea to emulate a sort of fictional North Korean propaganda poster with symmetrical military symbolism is very eye catching and a lot different from most comedy posters.  Also they do a great job of rotoscoping in Rogen and Franco’s faces.  On top of all that there’s a hidden joke here in that the Korean writing above the title translates to “Do not trust stupid Americans!”
  • The Theory of Everything:
    Stakes14TheoryofEverything
    A neat trick I’ve been seeing lately with posters is a sort of shift in perspective.  I nominated the poster for the movie 42 for doing something similar last year and this poster seems to pull it off even better.  Taking a still of Hawking and his wife seemingly in the middle of a dance, the poster presents this image rotated 90 degrees clockwise to create the illusion that the couple has been rendered weightless by their mutual attraction.  Focusing in on the central relationship of the film rather than its biopic aspects was an interesting approach.

And the Golden Stake Goes To…

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