2014 Awards: Best Book
Winner (Best Book 2014)
Sarah Street (Bristol)
(BFI/Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
Comments by the panel: ‘ This book boasts a wealth of original research and embraces the technological, aesthetic, cultural and industrial nexus of ideas around colour on film. The British historical context is particularly illuminated. Street teases out the nationalistic discourses around the UK’s use of Technicolor and its innovations ably and persuasively. What this amounts to is a gripping story about how cultures deal with change. The book is quite brilliant and admirably lucid in the way it describes the sensibilities of colour perception. A breath-taking level of archival work underpins the writing here, and Street vitally incorporates a commentary about all of the difficulties of dealing with fragile, faded material; hence she takes care to be tentative in her analysis. This feels like a book which is destined to make us all more colour conscious.’
Runner-up (Best Book 2014)
Ian Christie (Birkbeck)
(Amsterdam University Press)
Comments by the panel: This volume is more than the sum of its parts. It is a test case in what an edited collection can be. It benefits from the many voices and the many perspectives, and throughout there is a keen sense that what’s here has been intelligently curated by Ian Christie. Where “audience studies”, for all its insights, has emerged from qualitative and quantitative statistics with a sociological impetus (and has necessarily had to reflect at length on its own methodology), this volume is wider-ranging. It is an energetic (and jargon free) exploration of how and where films have been and continue to be seen. The set of interests here is very impressive: cinema design, stage aesthetics, address to audience, cinema-going, the use of statistics, emerging technologies, and bio-cultural understandings of how we respond to film. Cinephilia in the digital age is explored; a fascinating piece on mobile phones is included; there is back to basics and refreshed consideration of cognitive psychology, as well as a defence of the merits of what the discipline of ‘audience studies’ can bring. As a whole, this is a serious, broad-ranging and immensely readable volume, a genuine contribution to scholarship, and it asks us to think again about what watching a movie actually entails.
Honorable Mention (Best Book 2014)
Belén Vidal (Kings College London)
Figuring the Past: Period Film and the Mannerist Aesthetic (Amsterdam UP)
Comments by the panel: A finely observed, minutely detailed exploration of style in the period drama, productively borrowing from art history to expound on the rhetoric of mannerism (a painterly self-consciousness) in recent examples of the genre. This is written with relish. Choice phrases leap out at the reader, and the acute attention to detail allows for the basic premise to be finessed. Scorsese’s Age of Innocence is quite brilliantly attended to, the book capturing precisely the way it lures the spectator into its world while at the same time rendering it’s pastness strange. Enriched rather than hamstrung by its post-structural theoretical foundations, Vidal is deft in explaining the way matters of form and style mobilise senses of fantasy, of desire and of fidelity. This reads like a labour of love.
2014 Awards: Best Journal Article
Winner (Best Journal Article)
‘The Work of Film in the Age of Fordist Mechanization’
Cinema Journal, 51:3
Runner-up (Best Journal Article)
‘Remembering Cinema “Elsewhere”: From Retrospection to Introspection in the Gallery Film’
Cinema Journal, 51:2