Top Ten of 2013 - The Editor's Take on a Historic Year for Cinema

Top 10 of 2013 – The Editor’s Take on a Historic Year for Cinema

Highlighting the very ten films that made an impression...

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BestPicture_2013What a fantastic year.  Just so much to be grateful for with family, friends, good health, and so on but one thing is just an amazing year at the movies.   Creating a top ten list has never felt so daunting.  At least 25 films made a play for my list, looking solid at one point, but moving over at the next to make way for something else.  I love the movies and one thing I am unashamed to admit is that my feelings on my movies change, as yours do I’m sure.  What may be your #1 today may not be your #1 ten years from now.  I don’t know if that will be the case but I’m excited to share them with you.  Down below you will find them, along with excerpts from (most of) my reviews.

Here’s to a great year.  Include your top ten films in the comment section.

nebraska_2#10 – NEBRASKA (Paramount Pictures)
Directed by: Alexander Payne

Bruce Dern is perfectly used and exquisitely raw presenting the actor’s best outing of his career.  As the co-anchor of the story, Dern is finally given a chance to show what Hollywood has missed out on for over fifty years.  Touchingly reserved through most of the narrative, Dern allows Woody to open up to the audience for the briefest of moments that works beautifully.  It’s an Oscar-worthy performance.

Taken from my review of it from the New York Film Festival.

Disney-Animated-Movie-Frozen#9 – FROZEN (Walt Disney Pictures)
Directed by: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee

Disney has truly outdone themselves this time.  Going back to their roots,  Disney has reinvented their signature storytelling abilities that made them great and the final result is one of the year’s most heartwarming motion pictures.  Frozen is an absolute dream and the year’s best animated film.  There are so many things to applaud in this inspired film from Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen.”  Accompanied with dazzling music by Christophe Beck and songs to simply gush over, this is destined to become a movie classic.

Taken from my review from early November. 

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Clayton Davis

Editor-in-Chief & Owner at The Awards Circuit
Clayton Davis started to write professionally in his sophomore year of college when Johnny Alba, the editor and owner of the old Oscar prediction site, The Oscar Igloo, had an opening for staff writers. Clayton wrote for The Igloo for nearly four years before being appointed editor and revamping and renaming The Oscar Igloo into the now popular mega-site, The Awards Circuit. Since then, Clayton has become a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to awards season show, The Critics Choice Awards. Most recently, Clayton is a now an active member of the International Press Academy, which hosts the popular Satellite Awards as well as the newly integrated Broadcast Television Journalists Association, which hosts the Critics Choice Television Awards. In June 2014 he became the year's first accepted member to New York Film Critics Online. He has been quoted in various outlets (,,,,, and continues to raise the bar for film-talking enthusiasts around the globe.

  • Peter Templeman

    Great List! I Completely agree with what you said about Captain Phillips.

  • Andrej Bosco

    Fuck the rest.
    *chomps on hamburger*

    • Joshua Black

      Haha, tote hilaire

    • Steve Glansberg

      Yeah, because The Square was just a big ol’ slice of apple pie Americana…

      • Andrej Bosco

        Produced by the US of A and some country in Africa.
        *guzzles some Mountain Dew*
        Still, 9 movies out of 10 speak English.
        ‘murica, fuck yeah!

        • Dan Hogan

          I’ll be honest, it’s harder for me to enjoy non-English films simply because of subtitles. I love movies from around the globe (some of my favorites are not English-speaking), but because English is my native language, it’s more comfortable and easy for me to enjoy films I can understand without reading. That, and I often miss lots of the nuance in a performance because I don’t understand the words the way they are meant to be spoken. This isn’t unique to English either — If I spoke Vietnamese, I bet it’d be the same for Vietnamese films. My mother tongue resonates with me more.

          • Andrej Bosco

            This is arguably the most small-town, narrow-minded and obtuse opinion I’ve ever read about anything,

            • Dan Hogan

              Ouch. Troll much?

  • Kyle

    10. The Wolf of Wall Street
    9. The World’s End
    8. American Hustle
    7. The Hunt
    6. The Place Beyond the Pines
    5. Blue is the Warmest Color
    4. Upstream Color
    3. Nebraska
    2. Her
    1. Inside Llewyn Davis
    11. Gravity
    12. 12 Years a Slave
    13. The Way, Way Back
    14. Captain Phillips
    15. Only God Forgives
    16. Prisoners
    17. Fruitvale Station
    18. About Time
    19. Dallas Buyers Club
    20. Blue Jasmine

    • Kyle

      This is more a favorites list then a best of list, just to clarify. If under “best films” 12 Years would have definitely made it into the top five.

    • Kyle

      This was my list, for some reason, I felt like deleting it. No idea why, but I did, but hey, might as well claim ownership.

  • Dan Hogan

    I’m surprised Frozen got so high for you. I liked it a lot, but there were some pretty weak parts for me (the troll song, for instance). It was a three star for me.

    • Joshua Black

      Agreed, with all the reviews calling it a return to form I was very disappointed. I expected beauty and the lion king but this wasn’t even as good as Aladdin.

      • Dan Hogan

        I really enjoyed it as a family film, but it wouldn’t crack my top ten. Then again, Monsters U cracked my top ten… but that’s mainly for the message and my nostalgia for it as a college professor.

  • Roberto925

    Although the love for Inside Llewyn Davis and Gravity is perplexing, your list is interesting in a good way Clayton.

    • Yeehaw

      Oh, yes. Both Davis and Gravity were hated amongst most viewers to make them “perplexing” choices.

  • Viktor Vilotijević

    Great list! I am glad that “American Hustle” is excluded, at least from your list. Definitely one of the year’s most overrated films, like all David O. Russell’s films.

  • Wael Khairy

    I think you mean Tahrir Square not Tehran Square. I’m an Egyptian film critic who took part in this uprising and I’m glad you like this documentary.

    • Clayton Davis

      I apologize. I definitely did mean Tahrir. I corrected it. Thanks

  • UBourgeois

    Our top 10s are pretty similar. Just looks like you didn’t like Frances Ha, All Is Lost, Short Term 12, or Spring Breakers as much as I did.

    • Clayton Davis

      I adore “Short Term 12″ and it pained me to leave it out of the top ten. #11 ain’t bad at all. I liked Frances Ha and All is Lost quite a bit and haven’t seen why Spring Breakers is so beloved. Just one of those things I don’t get.

      • Dan Hogan

        I’m with Mark on Frances Ha. I felt like it was the female Llewyn Davis, only that we WEREN’T SUPPOSED to like Llewyn. That, and I found it un-funny, over-written, and pretentious. I also hated the David Bowie “Modern Love” scene with Frances running, totally ripped off from Mauvais Sang.

  • Andrej Bosco

    My top10:

    10) At Berkeley, Frederick Wiseman, USA
    9) Under the Skin, Jonathan Glazer, UK
    8) Die Frau des Polizisten, Philip Groning, Germany
    7) L’image Manquante, Rithy Panh, Cambodia/France
    6) La Vénus à la Fourrure, Roman Polanski, France/Poland
    5) The Grandmaster, Wong Kar-Wai, China/Hong Kong/USA
    4) La Vie d’Adèle, Abdellatif Kechiche, France
    3) Kaze Tachinu, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan
    2) Die andere Heimat: Chronik einer Sehnsucht, Edgar Reitz, Germany/France
    1) Feng Ai, Wang Bing, Japan/France/Hong Kong

  • Calvin Philips

    Good list (-Wolf of Wall Street and Before Midnight):
    1. Inside Llewyn Davis
    2. Her
    3. August: Osage County
    4. 12 Years a Slave
    5. Captain Phillips (even if he spells his name incorrectly)
    6. Enough Said
    7. Nebraska
    8. Fruitvale Station
    9. The Spectacular Now
    10. Gravity

  • Jed Bookout

    10. Frances Ha

    09. Nebraska

    08. Blue Jasmine

    07. Fruitvale Station

    06. The World’s End

    05. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    04. The Wolf of Wall Street

    03. 12 Years A Slave

    02. Inside Llewyn Davis

    01. Her (though these two are interchangeable; my feelings fluctuate by the day which i prefer. both were absolutely astounding pieces of work.)

    20. American Hustle

    19. Blue is The Warmest Colour

    18. Pain & Gain

    17. Spring Breakers

    16. Gravity

    15. Upstream Color

    14. This is The End

    13. Dallas Buyers Club

    12. You’re Next

    11. Frozen