In lieu of picks and predictions for tonight’s Oscar winners, I give you my top 10 most notable films of the year. Not necessarily the 10 best or the 10 I’d be quickest to watch again, but these are the ones that are worth calling out in one last pre-Oscars blog post. Listed from most-to-least recently viewed.
12 Years a Slave: Beautiful and tragic, and never feels it has to conform to a Hollywood-ized vision. Except for Brad Pitt.
Captain Phillips: Entertaining without being exploitative. Hanks should have been nominated for the final scene alone.
Dallas Buyers Club: Sorry that much of this true story was fictionalized, but then there would have been no Rayon, the emotional center of the film.
The Square: A documentary in the classic sense (compare to The Act of Killing, which was more akin to a horror film). Grateful for the brave young people who took to the streets with their cameras and never pressed stop.
The Wolf of Wall Street: Leo DiCaprio’s best performance since Gilbert Grape. I wish so many people hadn’t taken this film at face value.
Inside Llewyn Davis: The most overlooked film of the year, and as misunderstood as The Wolf of Wall Street.
Enough Said: One of the most authentic romantic comedies to come along in years.
Blue Jasmine: Don’t hate it because it’s Woody Allen. Love it for two of the best performances by women in 2013. Blanchett and Hawkins are spectacular.
Upstream Color: Rivals The Act of Killing for the most unusual film of 2013. Experimental and trippy, it’s hard to look away.
The Place Beyond the Pines: When will Ryan Gosling get his due as one of the great actors of this generation?
Honorable mention: The Act of Killing, which is harder to watch than 12 Years a Slave and unlike any film — fiction or nonfiction — I’ve ever seen.