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The 4th Annual Golden Geeks: Honoring the Best in Nerd Cinema

There’s no denying that 2013 was a great year for film nerds and nerds on film. From Gravity to Her to Thor 2 to even a decent GI Joe movie, we were catered to this year by the major movie studios. Not every film we loved this year is going to get its due at the Oscars on Sunday. For the 4th year in a row we’re going to make sure the best portrayals of nerds and the content we love get their earned praise. Without further ado, here are this year’s winners of the Golden Geeks:

Best Picture: Her 

A science fiction, futurist romance between a man and his computer could have been many things, but in Spike Jonze’s hands, Her turned out to be a tender, painfully honest look at relationships. From the raw performances of Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson to the incredible score and screenplay, Her managed to sweep us all off our feet last year.

Best Director: Guillermo Del Toro, Pacific Rim

If you’re going to make an American kaiju movie, get someone who appreciates the genre. With Pacific Rim, Guillermo Del Toro created a sci-fi blockbuster that appealed to geeks, kids, and novices alike. Under Del Toro’s careful direction, Pacific Rim was not just a stunning spectacle of mecha/kaiju battles, but also a love letter to the genre itself.

Best Actor: Chase Williamson, John Dies At The End

It’s downright crazy to consider that Chase Williamson made his feature film debut when he snagged the role of David Wong in Don Coscarelli’s gory horror-comedy John Dies at the End. As David Wong, the slacker-turned-hero who trips on a mysterious substance called Soy Sauce in order to save the world from demons, Williamson evoked the perfect combination of the incredulous Average Joe and a burgeoning leader.

Best Actress: Scarlett Johansson, Her

As the evolving OS Samantha in Her, Scarlett Johansson is never physically seen on screen. Instead, her voice, her personality seeps through the technology and brings Samantha truly to life. It is her performance that helps the audience connect with Samantha, and her very real relationship with Joaquin Phoenix’s Theodore Twombly.

Best Supporting Performance: Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back

In a cast that includes Steve Carell, Toni Colette, Maya Rudolph, Allison Janney, and Amanda Peet, Sam Rockwell yet again stole the show in Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s The Way, Way Back. As Owen, the manager of Cape Cod’s Water Wizz water park who befriends a troubled kid (Liam James), Rockwell infuses his signature kinetic energy into every moment he’s on screen, blending a world-weary slacker vibe with heartfelt compassion.

Best Villain: Benedict Cumberbatch, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Benedict Cumberbatch took on not one, but two villain roles this year in Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Though the liquid gold that is his thundering bass of a voice is a gem in and of itself, Cumberbatch’s steely performance as Commander John Harrison (cough, Khan) sits in stark contrast to his impressive motion capture work as the giant dragon Smaug. Both, however, had us trembling in our seats and pumping our fists in malevolent joy.

Baddest Ass: Gipsy Danger, Pacific Rim

As one of the oldest Jaegers still in combat, Gipsy Danger proved that age ain’t nothin’ but a number. The Mark-3 Jaeger, along with one of his original pilots, Pacific Rim hero Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam), survived the Kaiju War, was revamped, and fought valiantly to the bitter end. Plus, it has the most badass weapon ever: a retractable chain sword!

Best Ensemble: The World’s End

In The World’s End, Edgar Wright’s final film in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost pal up with Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman and Eddie Marsan to take on the “Golden Mile” pub crawl and body-snatching robots. As former friends reunited by their pathetic former leader (Pegg), the gang find a way to explore growing up, the dangers of technology, and you know, kicking alien ass.

Best Cameo: Channing Tatum, This is the End

There were a number of hilarious cameos in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s apocalyptic comedy This is the End, but nothing quite compares to Channing Tatum’s appearance as Danny McBride’s “gimp.” Channing “Tay-yum”, clad in leather, chains, and a luchador mask, humps cannibal king McBride’s leg as he monotones, “I love him.” Just… excellent.

Best Buddies: Kristoff and Sven (Frozen)

Disney often gives a voice to its heroes’ animal companions, but Frozen let Kristoff give Sven his voice. As a lone ice salesman with only his pet reindeer for company, it made too much sense that Kristoff would use Sven for scintillation conversation. The scruffy pair really “got” each other, and that’s what best buddies are for.

Best Screenplay: John Dies at the End

For the dark horror comedy John Dies at the End, writer/director Don Coscarelli had the task of adapting David Wong’s genre-bending novel of the same name. Coscarelli skillfully took Wong’s innovative story and created a visceral, roaringly fun psychedelic monster romp — no small feat.

Best Score: Despicable Me 2

Though we still sort of think Pharrell Williams might be a vampire, there’s no denying that he’s yet again at the top of his game. Amidst many collaborations and his album release, Pharrell followed his success with the Despicable Me soundtrack and wrote another three tracks for the sequel. In fact, “Happy” scored itself an Oscar nomination this year, so look out for Pharrell (hopefully in an amazing hat) at the ceremony this Sunday.

And there you have it! Congratulations to our lucky winners. Narrowing them down was no small feat and sparked no fewer than 47 raging debates amongst our editorial staff, but these are your 2013 Golden Geek winners.

Which were your top picks for 2013? Sound off in the comments below.

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  1. Brian de Castro says:

    Glad to see John Dies at the End recognized. It was a great, out-there, anything goes cinematic experience with a superb cast and cool special effects. Kudos to Don Coscarelli for adding another memorable film to his resume.

  2. Errol Cason says:

    Don’t understand all the praise for John Dies at the End, the book was fantastic but the movies is at best so so. Falls a bit flat towards the ending.

  3. fiothehuman says:

    @lyonking, I think you’ve grossly underestimated HER. its not a desperate sollution on how to make an original romance movie, its a satire. Actually a satire, so stop taking it so seriously. It also has a deeper meaning about technological advance about how people are beginning to prefer technology to actual humans. that makes it deep, not sad.

  4. Kialna says:


    It’s not a screencap. It’s a youtube video of the entire STiD movie. This means youtube chose the screencap, which is around half-way through the movie….. unfortunately.

  5. geekgirl1 says:

    So you give Best Villian to Benedict Cumberbatch but the video screencap is of Alice Eve in her unberwear? Hint: girls are nerds too and a lot of us would rather see Cumberbatch as Khan!!!

  6. DBashur says:

    Have to agree w/ Emeraldnite. Best cameo was by far Chris Evans in “Thor: TDW.” Completely unexpected and completely awesome with great backstory.

  7. Bladenite says:

    I don’t see what is sad or pathetic about Her. I’m not sure if you actually watched it because lots of people were loving their OS’s, there was even a surrogate escort service for them. I found it much more poignant that the computers outgrew their human counterparts. Sure they enjoyed the carnal desires and emotional stimulus of a basic relationship and then the computers wanted more and moved on where as the humans could not..

  8. SharlzG says:

    Seems like a better selection that the actual awards. Haven’t seen Her yet but I’m keen to see it now based on it’s winnings here 🙂

  9. Lyonking says:

    Giving the Best Picture Golden Geek to a movie about a guy falling in love with his operating system seems like a stereotypical choice. The movie is sad and pathetic and reinforces the notion that geeks given the choice would prefer automated programed relationships than to function sociably in the real world

  10. Emeraldnite says:

    Humbly disagree with “Best Cameo,” which should have been Chris Evans as Loki/Captain America in “Thor: The Dark World,” a cameo made even better by the realization that Tom Hiddleston actually went first in the Cap suit before Evans followed up with his best impression!