Top 10 Films of 2013 and the Problem with Award Season

Act of Killing

Mark Harris over at Grantland wrote how the larger “Best Picture” pool in the Oscars have actually shrunk Oscar contenders. But more interestingly, he discusses the campaign system used to nabbed nominations for films.

And for most films that are made and distributed independently, the cost of buying into the campaign system is now prohibitively steep. It is not a coincidence that, of the 12 movies on this year’s much-too-short short list of top-category contenders, 10 are from the studios or from studio-owned indie labels and the other two hail from the mightily well-financed Weinstein Company. Yes, ideally, voters would be able to look past this. But time is short, screeners are numerous, and it is obliviously high-minded to assume that with a little effort, voters can all render themselves invulnerable to the very loud noise that studio money can make. The same titles are being shouted in their faces week in, week out. How can anything else hope to be noticed?


Recently I’ve been on a barrage of movie watching. I’ve missed a few: I still haven’t seen Nebraska or Captain Phillips. But here are my favorite films of 2013:

1. The Act of Killing
2. Spring Breakers
3. 12 Years a Slave
4. Upstream Color
5. Gravity
6. Blue Jasmine
7. The Wolf of Wall Street
8. Stories We Tell
9. Frances Ha
10. Her

I really fucking hated American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club.

I realize I proclaimed my love of Spring Breakers calling it perhaps the best film of the decade. The Act of Killing just blew my fucking mind.