Critically acclaimed documentary about Amy Winehouse was also a roaring success at the box office (as far as documentaries go).
Todd Haynes has come a long way since filming an unlicensed Karen Carpenter bio with Barbie dolls instead of actors (unfortunately unlikely ever to see the light of legitimate DVD release, Superstar is still a fascinating watch if you get the chance). His latest, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's scandalous-in-1952 lesbian romance, stars super-A-listers Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara and has been nominated for six Academy Awards.
Ruben Ostlund's drama-slash-pitch-black-comedy about a Swedish family staying at a resort in the French Alps drew several comparisons to art-house superstar Michael Haneke among its heaps of critical praise and industry awards, which itself is pretty high praise.
I'll let the New York Times' Manohla Dargis speak for Frederick Wiseman's latest documentary masterpiece, "Magnificent... The movie is at once specific and general, fascinating in its pinpoint detail and transporting in its cosmic reach. It's about art and process, money and mystery. . . (a) privileged three-hour virtual tour of the museum."
Zaza Urushadze's Estonian/Georgian life-during-wartime drama secured him Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes. He could also paper the walls of his home with all the little laurel icons he won for special film festival awards.
Hou Hsiao-Hsien won Best Director at Cannes for his unexpected foray into the martial arts genre. The New York Times Manohla Dargis called it "staggeringly lovely".
Joshua Oppenheimer's sequel-of-sorts to the devastating The Act of Killing flips its predecessor's point of view on the Indonesian genocide to no less harrowing effect. Nominated for a Best Documentary Feature Oscar.
It's that time of year when it's hard to find a movie that's not an "Award Winner". Ridley Scott's adaptation of Andy Weir's bestseller took home Best Picture - Comedy or Musical at the Golden Globes, to everybody's confusion. One overwrought disco joke aside, The Martian fits more comfortably alongside The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road on the slate for the Best Picture Oscar than it did alongside Spy and Trainweck at the Globes.