Year in Review: Best Performances, Direction, and Other Miscellany of 2013

     December 26, 2013


Over the past week, we’ve been looking back on 2013 and trying to whittle down what we thought were the “best” of the year.  Obviously, this is all subjective.  There is no mathematical formula at work.  I feel I shouldn’t have to state this, but there are people in the comments section who feel that everything should be appraised “objectively”, which in this case would simply be “These are five actors who starred in movies” or “These are five people who directed movies”.  The debate comes over who can be considered the best in their respective fields.  Who gave a performance that we still can’t shake?  Who put together a powerhouse of a picture?  Who created the score we’re still humming?  Who was the bane of our protagonists?  Who’s on the cusp of the A-list?  These are fun questions to ask, and hopefully they’ll stir up some fun (and respectful) debate.

Hit the jump for my miscellaneous “Best of 2013″ picks.  Check back from December 28 – 30th for the Top 10 Films of 2013 lists from me, Adam, and Dave.

[Note: Runners-Up are listed in alphabetical order; also, the film had to receive some kind of theatrical release in 2013 to be considered]



Chiwetel Ejiofor as “Solomon Northrup” in 12 Years a Slave


Bruce Dern as “Woody Grant” in Nebraska

Leonardo DiCaprio as “Jordan Belfort” in The Wolf of Wall Street

Oscar Isaac as “Llewyn Davis” in Inside Llewyn Davis

Simon Pegg as “Gary King” in The World’s End



Cate Blanchett as “Jasmine” in Blue Jasmine


Amy Adams as “Sydney Prosser” in American Hustle

Sandra Bullock as “Dr. Ryan Stone” in Gravity

Adèle Exarchopoulos as “Adèle” in Blue Is the Warmest Color

Brie Larson as “Grace” in Short Term 12



Michael Fassbender as “Edwin Epps” in 12 Years a Slave


Barkhad Abdi as “Muse” in Captain Phillips

Dane DeHaan as “Lucien Carr” in Kill Your Darlings

William Fichtner as “Master Chang” in Wrong

Will Forte as “David Grant” in Nebraska



Scarlett Johansson as “Samantha” in Her


Kaitlyn Dever as “Jayden” in Short Term 12

Margo Martindale as “Mattie Fae Aiken” in August: Osage County

Lupita Nyong’o as “Patsey” in 12 Years a Slave

June Squibb as “Kate Grant” in Nebraska



Spike Jonze – Her


Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity

Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave

Joshua Oppenheimer – The Act of Killing

Edgar Wright – The World’s End


M83 – Oblivion


Ramin Djawadi – Pacific Rim

Mark Orton – Nebraska

Steven Price – Gravity

Hans Zimmer – Man of Steel



Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity


Sean Bobbit – 12 Years a Slave

Roger Deakins – Prisoners

Bruno Debonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis

Hoyte Van Hoytema – Her



The Act of Killing

Runner-Up: Stories We Tell




Runner-Up: Monsters University



Short Term 12

Runner-Up: Ender’s Game


[For an actor or actress most likely to get a lead role in a major studio picture based on the outstanding quality and positive reception of his or her performance]


Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station


Brie Larson – Short Term 12

Miles Teller – The Spectacular Now

Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave

Tye Sheridan – Mud


[For an actor or actress who gave more than one outstanding performance in 2013; films are listed in order of release date]


Matthew McConaughey – Mud, Dallas Buyers Club, The Wolf of Wall Street


Sandra Bullock – Gravity, The Heat

Dane DeHaan – The Place Beyond the Pines, Kill Your Darlings

Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, American Hustle


[For an actor or actress who gave an outstanding, memorable, and crucial performance despite being in the film for less than approximately 20 minutes total]


Bill Nighy – About Time


Louis C.K. – American Hustle

Matthew McConaughey – The Wolf of Wall Street



Space Debris – Gravity

Runner-Up: Shipping Container – All Is Lost


  • varagor

    George Clooney wasn’t even nominated for “A lot With a little”? Come on.

    • Person

      Why would he be? He basically played himself in Gravity. (I like Clooney btw.)

      • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

        I wonder what you think about Clark gable, Cary grant and jimmy Stewart

      • subtitlesarejustwords

        your user name makes me want to vomit into your asshole just so it shoots up your esophagus and you choke on it.

      • Gerard Kennelly

        lee van cleef always looks like an evil clark gable
        doesn’t he :)

      • Gerard Kennelly

        he played the volley ball in CAST AWAY more or less

    • God of Collider

      Woe onto those who would believe in false hype and deception. Clooney is the spawn of Lucifer and was delivered unto the world to fool those who are weak of mind into believing he has talent. Likewise with Gravity, the great deceiver, a film with outstanding special effects and a poor, poor unworthy screenplay. It has fooled the simple of mind into believing it a masterpiece when it’s more 7 out of 10. Believe not in the idolaters and liars in the pit of hell known as Rotten Tomatoes for they shall lead you astray.

  • Dustin

    I like all the choices. I do, though, have to throw Jared Leto in for Dallas Buyers Club for best supporting actor.

    • Matt

      I was wondering why when I looked at supporting actor I felt something was missing and that Fassbender wasn’t leading anyone’s list. I guess because Leto is. Leto will probably win because it seems he has all the momentum and his character is more sympathetic. I think whats remarkable about Fassbender’s performance is you end up feeling some measure of sympathy for him.

      • Gerard Kennelly

        trust me
        the best thing fassbender has done onscreen so far is FISH TANK

    • Gerard Kennelly

      best sup actor — leto
      best actor — hanks
      best actress — streep
      best supp actress — lupita

  • Josh Kaye

    This was a solid list…had a nice chuckle with Space Debris and Shipping Container. All in all, very well done. Some nice surprises along the way as well…so glad to see M83 get some love. Oblivion is one of my favorite scores of the year and I absolutely loved the song that went with it.

  • Jan

    I got tired of Oblivion’s score after about two listens; it’s too long to the point of being exhausting. Favorite score this year, for me, is between Rick Smith’s Trance and Jóhann Jóhannsson’s Prisoners. From the former, Raw Umber is absolutely exhilarating.

    • Lex Walker

      If nothing else, Danny Boyle’ movies always have great soundtracks.

    • Gerard Kennelly

      did you hear cliff Martinez OGF score

  • pickaname

    Matt Goldberg, with your inclusion of Simon Pegg in your best actor list, you just pardoned yourself for saying you didn’t like any of Clint Eastwood’s movies since Unforgiven. At least in my book. That sir, was awesome.

  • Person

    Very nice list all-around. I think Ejiofor and Blanchett are shoo-ins to win Actor and Actress this year, but the Supporting categories are still a bit up in the air. Still need to see Her and Wolf of Wall Street. Great picks for score, too.

    • -

      I think the supporting categories will probably come down to one of two people for each (Fassbender or Leto and Lawrence or Nyongo). I haven’t seen any of them but if I had to guess I’d say Leto and Lawrence’ll get it.

      • Person

        I don’t think Lawrence is as much of a lock as the early awards have indicated. Leto is closer to a sure thing, but Lawrence has plenty of competition, especially from Squibb and Nyong’o.

      • Gerard Kennelly

        i remember people said
        it was either gonna be portman black swan
        or Lawrence winters bone to win best actress
        a couple of years ago
        noomi rapace wasn’t even nominated :(

    • Gerard Kennelly

      streep is gonna ”go for” supp actress
      but i think is is painfully obvious she
      will be nominated for (and win) best actress full stop
      same as hopkins in silence of the lambs
      not the longest screen time but wins nonetheless

  • Alexa

    Surprised not to see Jared Leto in the Best Supporting category, although the list is pretty solid indeed.

  • Reina

    lol best villan

  • me

    Happy to see some love for the Oblivion soundtrack.

  • Fulci is God

    imo jane levy in evil dead was the best performance of the year

  • TomNewYorker

    for my list. it will defently be for.

    Best Picture
    12 Years A Slave
    American hustle
    The Bling Ring
    Lee Daniels’ The Butler
    Spring Breakers-winner
    Place Beyond The Pines

    best actor(haven’t seen her or wolf of wall street yet)
    Chiwetel Ejifor-12 Years A Slave
    Christian Bale-American Hustle
    Forest Whitaker-Lee Danies’ The Butler
    Matthew McConaughey-Dallas Buyer’s Club-winner
    Michael B. Jordan-Fruitvale Station
    Tom Hanks-Captain Phillips

    Best Actress
    Amy Adams-American Hustle
    Cate Blanchett-Blue Jasmine
    Chloe Moretz-Carrie
    Emma Thompson-Saving Mr. Banks-winner
    Emma Watson-Bling Ring
    Emily Browning-Plush

    Best Supporting Actor
    James Franco-Spring Breakers-winner
    Jared Leto-Dallas Buyer’s Club
    Michael Fassbender-12 Years A Slave
    Ryan Gosling-Place Beyond The Pines
    Sam Rockwell-The Way, Way Back
    Tom Hanks-Saving Mr. Banks

    best supporting actress
    Eva Mendes-Place Beyond The Pines
    Jennifer Lawrence-American Hustle-winner
    Jenni Rivera-Filly Brown
    Julianne Moore-Carrie
    Melissa McCarthy-The Heat
    Reese Witherspoon-Mud

    Best Director
    Derek cianfrance-Place Beyond The Pines
    Harmony Korine-Spring Breakers-winner
    Jeff Nichols-Mud
    Lee Daniels-Lee Daniels’ The Butler
    Sofia Coppola-The Bling Ring
    Steve McQueen-12 Years A Slave

    Best Score
    12 Years A Slave
    Lee Daniels’ The Butler
    Man Of Steel-winner
    Pacific Rim
    Thor: The Dark World

    Best Cinematography
    12 Years A Slave
    Captain Phillips
    Fruitvale Station-vote
    Place Beyond The Pines
    Spring Breakers

    best animated feature
    Cloudy with a chance of meatballs 2
    Despicable Me 2
    Monsters University
    Walking With Dinosaurs

    best male/female voice for an animated feature(they need this categlory at the oscar)
    Billy Crystal-Monsters University
    John Goodman-Monsters University-winner
    Josh Gad-Frozen
    Nicholas Cage-The Croods
    Skyler Stone-Walking With Dinosaurs
    Steve Carell-Despicable Me 2

    Anna Faris-Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
    Beyonce Knowles-Epic-winner
    Emma Stone-The Croods
    Helen Mirren-Monsters University
    Kristen Bell-Frozen
    Miranda Cosgove-Despicable Me 2

    best suprise
    Filly Brown
    Fruitvale Station
    Spring Breakers-winner

    Best male/female Breakthrough Performance
    Ansel Elgort-Carrie
    Colin Ford-Disconnect
    Douglas Booth-Romeo and Juliet
    Liam James-The Way, Way Back
    Michael B. Jordan-Fruitvale Station-winner
    Miles Teller-Spectacular Now
    Ashley Benson-Spring Breakers-winner
    Gina Rodriguez-Filly Brown
    Shanley Caswell-The Conjuring
    Sharni Vinson-You’re Next
    Taissa Farmiga-Bling Ring

    a very good year (did like the other 3 u mentioned, didn’t want to make this list the same)
    Benedict Cumbebatch-Star Trek, Fifth Estate, The Hobbit, August: Osage County
    Dwayne Johnson-Snitch, G.I. Joe, Pain & gain, Fast 7, Empire State
    James Franco-Oz, Spring Breakers, The Iceman, This Is The End, Lovelace & Homefront-winner
    Joey King-Oz: Great and Powerful, White House Down, The Conjuring
    Melissa McCathy-Identity Thief, Hangover 3, The heat
    Terrence Howard-Movie 43, Dead Man Down, The Butler, Prisoners & Best Man Holiday

    a lot with alittle
    Bruce Campbell-Oz: great and Powerful
    Emma Watson-This Is The End-winner
    James Franco-Lovelace
    Pierce Brosnan-The World’s End
    Robert De Niro-American Hustle
    Robin Williams-The Butler

    Best villian
    Benedict Cumberbatch-Star Trek Into Darkness
    Christopher Eccleston-Thor: The Dark World
    Danny McBride-This Is The End
    Luke Evans-Fast and Furious 6
    Michael Shannon-Man Of Steel-winner
    Woody Harrelson-Out Of The Furance

    Best Horror Movie.
    The Conjuing
    Hatchet 3
    Holla 2
    Texas Chainsaw 3d
    You’re Next

    Best actor in a horror movie
    Alex Russell-Carrie(he’s the only chronicle actor who haven’t made it big yet lol)
    Ethan Hawke-The Conjuring
    Kane Hodder-Hatchet 3-winner
    Nikolaj Coster Waldau-Mama
    Patrick Wilson-The Conjuring & Insidious Chapter 2
    Scott Eastwood-Texas Chainsaw 3d

    Best Actress In A Horror movie
    Alexandra Daddrio-Texas Chainsaw 3d
    Chloe Mortez-Carrie-winne
    Danielle harris-hatchet 3
    Jane Levy-Evil Dead
    Jessica Chastain-Mama
    Julianne Moore-Carrie

    • Gerard Kennelly

      Best villian
      Benedict Cumberbatch-Star Trek Into Darkness ? ? ?

      S M A U G !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • me

    IMO ,shailene woodley missing from that best actress list

  • The Flobbit

    When will Matt Goldberg get over his childish infatuation with Scarlett Johannson in Her?

    • Matt Goldberg

      What did you think of Her?

      • The Flobbit

        I haven’t seen it, thanks to your recommendations… But the trailer looked rather good.

      • Gerard Kennelly

        www 1channel com
        will have all the academy screeners this week

  • GrimReaper07

    Thanks for the comment on objectivity Matt. Some people get on my nerves when they criticize reviewers and throw the word “biased” and “objective” around as if it had any place in reviews.

  • October_1985

    Althoug I really liked “12 years a slave”, for me Chiwetel Ejiofor acting in this movie is too much self conscious, I’ve always thought his way of acting its a bit pretentious, I can always tell that he is fully aware of the camera, is not naturalistic, and in this movie I can see that a lot, not a good choice for me. And for my dear Simon Pegg, as much as I love him, I cant see his usual routine in World’s end cualifying him as runner-up in this list, specially when the tremendous work of Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips is nowhere to be noted.

    • Gerard Kennelly

      Denzel won best actor same night as halle berry (and poitier)
      streisand presented best director to Bigelow
      Lucas, spielberg and coppola presented best dir to Scorsese
      i predict spike lee will present best dir to steve McQueen

  • Gerard Kennelly

    how can anybody not mention ONLY GOD FORGIVES regards best score of 2013

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  • paul h

    LOL Spike (Jonez) has been getting some major sun!

    Are you sure Gravity was out before The Heat? I mean, are you sure you’re sure? (cuz I ain’t…)

    Maybe a year late for MB Jordan… Chronicle?

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