2014 Best Trailer Nominees

I’m going to be honest, I’ve been kind of lax about keeping track of trailers throughout the year this year (long story).  As such I kind of feel like I might be missing something this year, but I do think I found five solid nominees.  Anyway, as always, I’m only applying the advertising awards to movies from 2014 (so no, Star Wars isn’t eligible) and what’s more I’m only nominating trailers to movies I’ve seen (so I know they aren’t spoilery or something).

  • American Sniper:The trailer for American Sniper is awesome, but also misleading.  It basically plays out a single scene from early in the film where Chris Kyle is forced to consider shooting a child who may or may not be planning to bomb a group of marines.  As the tension rises we hear heatbeats and on each beat it cuts to images of his family life.  Here’s the thing though, the trailer suggests that this is going to be a movie about the morality of war and making tough decisions, but the actual movie doesn’t live up to that, it’s about a dude who is more than willing to shoot that kid and then brushes it off without too much trouble.
  • Citizenfour: Documentary trailers are usually pretty by-the-numbers but this isn’t the average documentary.  The trailer opens with Laura Poitras reading the first email that “Citizenfour” sent her over oddly ominous images from around the world which establish a sense of international importance.  The audience isn’t told exactly what this letter is until finally a minute into this 90 second trailer we see Snowden for the first time and his entrance seems oddly chilling even though he’s being quite friendly.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Marvel’s usual M.O. is to advertise their films as mostly serious superhero films and their trailers for movies like Iron Man 3 and The Avengers: Age of Ultron have emphasized pathos even if the final movies were jokey as ever.  There was no such coyness with Guardians of the Galaxy, which came right out of the gate looking like the comedy it was.  This early trailer does a great job of introducing these characters and the film’s sense of humor as well as establishing the film’s famous soundtrack with that Blue Suede song.
  • Inherent Vice: I wasn’t really feeling this trailer at first, but over time it’s grown on me.  Firstly, it seems to do a surprisingly good job of trying to set up this film’s wacky all over the place plot by quickly cutting between various characters’ descriptions.  From there it very wisely manages to find fun split second moments from throughout the film without giving away any major jokes.  What’s more it makes very good use of Sly and the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher” and Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World.”  Cool neon font too.
  • Nightcrawler (teaser): I don’t think I saw this teaser before I saw Nightcrawler and I don’t know what impression it would have left me with if I had.  The trailer focuses in on Lou Bloom’s interest in motivational jargon, and as he repeats this nonsense over and over it starts to sound increasingly deranged.  The way the images flash on screen really enhance the effect, as do the couple of shots of Bloom directly addressing the screen with his slogans.

And the Golden Stake goes to…

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