2013 Best Book Winner: Rosalind Galt, Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image (Columbia University Press, 2011)

Comments by the panel: Arguing against a long-standing trend in film and art theory that equates austerity and the rejection of the decorative as the hallmark of true and politically more valid art, Galt’s book rehabilitates ‘prettiness’ as a serious aesthetic and political project. Engaging with art and film theory as well as philosophy, and touching on postcolonial, feminist, and queer concerns, Galt’s intellectual tour de force takes the reader through a dazzling array of cinematic examples that include Max Ophuls’s Lola Montez, the documentary Soy Cuba, Derek Jarman, and Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge.

2013 Best Book Runner-up: Lucy Bolton, Film and Female Consciousness: Irigaray, Cinema and Thinking Women (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

Comments by the panel: Offering perceptive readings of films from very different contexts, including The Seven Year Itch (1955), Marnie (1964), and Klute (1971) to contemporary texts such as In The Cut (2003) and Lost in Translation (2003), Bolton focuses on the way female subjectivity and interiority is represented on screen, and makes productive use of Irigaray’s philosophical insights. The resulting readings mark an important departure in feminist film criticism.

2013 Best Book Runner-up: Andrew Higson, Film England: Culturally English Filmmaking Since the 1990s (I.B.Tauris, 2010)

Comments by the panel: Continuing his longstanding investigation into the Englishness of British filmmaking, Higson provides a comprehensive picture of various strands of British cinema over the past twenty years, combining meticulous analysis of film policy developments and industrial patterns with a perceptive reading of different genres, such as the heritage film. Authoritative and intellectually probing, the book marks a major intervention into British cinema historiography.

2013 Best Book Runner-up: David Martin-Jones, Deleuze and World Cinemas (Continuum, 2011)

Comments by the panel: Spanning an impressive range of different historical and cultural contexts, and covering filmic examples from Latin America, India, Hong Kong and South Korea, Martin-Jones makes a forceful and persuasive case for the applicability of Deleuzian analysis to the study of World cinema. In the process the book also challenges common perceptions of Deleuze as a ‘difficult’ and arcane thinker. The clarity of Martin-Jones’s writing is admirable.

Stanfield2013 Best Book Runner-up: Peter Stanfield, Maximum Movies: Pulp Fictions: Film Culture and the Worlds of Samuel Fuller, Mickey Spillane, and Jim Thompson (Rutgers University Press, 2011)

Comments by the panel: Meticulously researched and elegantly argued, Peter Stanfield’s book revisits post-war cinephilia and film criticism in the UK and the US, the the way in which the reception of literary and cinematic pulp fictions helped paved the way towards establishing popular film as a serious object of study. Featuring a cast that includes Jean-Luc Godard, Samuel Fuller, Manny Farber, and Mickey Spillane, Stanfield’s book provides a compelling account of the intersections between intellectual movements and popular culture.

2013 Best Article Winner: Melanie Bell, ‘Film Criticism as Women’s Work: The Gendered Economy of Film Criticism in Britain 1945-1965’, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television 31:2 (2011).

2013 Best Article Runner-up: Bella Honess Roe, ‘Absence, Excess and Epistemological Expansion: Towards a Framework for the Study of Animated Documentary’, Animation 6:3 (2011).

2013 Best Postgraduate Essay: Stephen Presence, ‘An Investigation of Affect in the Cinema: Spectacle and the Melodramatic Rhetoric in Nil by Mouth