DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM. It was a great year for SF and fantasy movies. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY was a lot of fun and will undoubtedly end up on the final ballot... but I'd go with INTERSTELLAR as the best of the year. The most ambitious and challenging SF film since Kubrick's 2001. A feast for the eyes, and a film that demands to be seen more than once. I will also be nominating a long-shot: PREDESTINATION, the film version of the ultimate time-travel story, Robert A. Heinlein's "All You Zombies." RAH himself would have liked this, I suspect: very faithful to his story, well directed, superb acting (Sarah Snook especially). It's a small film compared to blockbusters like GUARDIANS and INTERSTELLAR, but I hope it won't be overlooked.
DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM. Sure, I'd be thrilled if one or more episodes of GAME OF THRONES made the ballot... but I have to admit, there was a LOT of great SF and fantasy on TV last year. It would great if the voters would start looking beyond our show and DOCTOR WHO. ORPHAN BLACK got a nomination last year, and probably deserves another one. The British anthology series BLACK MIRROR had some wonderfully original and mind-bending segments. Horror fans had a lot to enjoy between THE WALKING DEAD, Z NATION, and PENNY DREADFUL. And for something truly from left field, the always witty crime romcom CASTLE has been known to wander into SF from time to time. The time travel episode from 2013 was overlooked, alas... but 2014 included "The Time of Our Lives," a parallel worlds story that I enjoyed almost as much.
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST. John Picacio, of course. Donato, for the calendar, as mentioned in my last post. But also MICHAEL KOMARCK, and JOHN HOWE, and ALAN LEE, and MAGALI VILLENUEVE.
BEST NOVEL. The big one. I read a lot of good novels in 2014... but, alas, not all of them were published in 2014. So many books, so little time, it's hard to match the reading to the awards calendar. One of the 2014 books that I did read stands above all the others, however: STATION ELEVEN, by Emily St. John Mandel. As best I can recall, I've never met Emily St. John Mandel, and I've never read anything else by her, but I won't soon forget STATION ELEVEN. One could, I suppose, call it a post-apocolypse novel, and it is that, but all the usual tropes of that subgenre are missing here, and half the book is devoted to flashbacks to before the coming of the virus that wipes out the world, so it's also a novel of character, and there's this thread about a comic book and Doctor Eleven and a giant space station and... oh, well, this book should NOT have worked, but it does. It's a deeply melancholy novel, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac... a book that I will long remember, and return to.
BEST FAN WRITER. There have been arguments in the past about what, precisely, constitutes fan writing, and who should or should not be eligible for this award. LAURA J. MIXON is a professional writer, and a very talented one, with half a dozen strong novels under her own name and her pseudonym of M.J. Locke... but this year she published on-line, in a non-professional and unpaid capacity, 'A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names,' a detailed, eloquent, and devastating expose of the venomous internet troll best known as 'Requires Hate' and 'Winterfox.' You can find it here: http://laurajmixon.com/2014/11/a-report-on-damage-done-by-one-individual-under-several-names/ It's not your usual sort of fan writing, admittedly... but it wasn't done for money, and it wasn't published professionally, and it's a terrific piece of journalism, an important piece that speaks to issues of growing importance to fandom in this internet age. So I'm nominating Mixon for Best Fan Writer, and I urge you to do the same.