Ray’s 2013 Movie Awards


Ray’s 2013 Movie Awards

The Best Films of the Year

  1. Gravity:  Alfonso Cuarón’s startling vision of a very bad day in outer space knocked my socks off.
  2. The Past:  Asghar Farhadi’s emotionally devastating look at the power of secrets and the painful struggle to overcome our own questionable decisions.
  3. Captain Phillips:  Paul Greengrass created a thrilling and harrowing sea adventure.
  4. Mud:  This unusually involving coming of age story features stunning writing and an tremendous supporting performance by Matthew McConaughey.
  5. The Way, Way Back:  This oddly nostalgic story of painful youth had tons of zip and freshness, with a knockout career highlight performance by Sam Rockwell.
  6. Blue Jasmine:  Woody Allen’s best film in years delves painfully and irresistibly into Streetcar Named Desire territory, with spectacular results.
  7. Her:  Spike Jonze film manages to be authentically weird, accessible, and romantic.
  8. Stories We Tell.  Not sure if this is a documentary or what, but it’s a weird and marvelous film about family secrets from the talented Sarah Polley
  9. Prisoners:  A story that at first seems familiar but gets stranger and stranger.  Plus Roger Deakins’ stunning cinematography.
  10. Short Term 12:  Simple and sincere film about second chances.

Honorable Mention:  Fruitvale Station, American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street; The Reluctant Fundamentalist, 42, Blancanieves, The Company You Keep, Dallas Buyers Club, The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug


Jeff Nichols, Mud

Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Way Way Back

Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine

*Asghar Farhadi, The Past

Spike Jonze, Her


Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine

Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips

*Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity

Asghar Farhadi, The Past

Spike Jonze, Her


*Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Sandra Bullock, Gravity

Bérénice Bejo, The Past

Judi Dench, Philomena

Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks

Honorable Mention:  Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha, Amy Adams in American Hustle


Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips

Robert Redford, All is Lost

*Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Honorable Mention:  Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street; Hugh Jackman in Prisoners; Chadwick Boseman in 42, Alan Rickman in CBGB; Christian Bale in American Hustle

Supporting Actor

Matthew McConaughey, Mud

Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave

*Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back

Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips

Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Honorable Mention:  Bradley Cooper in American Hustle;  Alan Tudyk in 42; Bobby Cannavale in Blue Jasmine, Nathon Fillion in Much Ado About Nothing, Frank Grillo in Disconnect; Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now

Supporting Actress

Octavia Spenser, Fruitvale Station

Scarlett Johansson, Don Jon

*June Squibb, Nebraska

Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Honorable Mention:  Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine; Allison Janney in The Way Way Back


Mark Orton, Nebraska

*Stephen Price, Gravity

Arcade Fire, Her

Art Direction

Inside Llewyn Davis





Film Editing

*Thelma Schoonmaker, The Wolf of Wall Street


Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska

*Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

Barry Ackroyd, Captain Phillips

Roger Deakins, Prisoners

Hoyte Van Hoytema, Her

Foreign Language Film

Prey (La Proie) [France]

*The Past [France]

Wadjda [Saudi Arabia]

Let’s Save Time:  Every Technical Category


Puzzlingly Overrated

12 Years a Slave.  There, I’ve said it.  To paraphrase friends of mine who have had the courage to note the emperor’s nakedness:  It’s like getting punched in the face for three hours.  And just because slavery is an important and legitimate issue doesn’t mean I have to pretend this movie is important.  Newsflash: I know slavery was bad.  It was horrible and shameful and it’s an ugly, ugly blight on our history.  But that’s a lesson I didn’t need to learn, and this movie showed me nothing else but that.  Feel guilty, feel guilty, feel guilty, it’s saying.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I do not like Steve McQueen as a director.  Sure, the cast was excellent, and they’ll get some nominations.  But I don’t have to like the movie.  And Brad Pitt’s cameo was stupid.

The Spectacular Now.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Drunks are not interesting.

The Great Beauty:  Snorefest from Italy which somehow had all the critics gushing.


Side Effects – Even the presence of Catherine Zeta-Jones couldn’t ruin Steve Soderberg’s sly psychopharmaceutical thriller.

Disconnect – featuring yet another terrific performance by Most Improved Actor Frank Grillo.

Oblivion – Seriously.  I liked it.

White House Down.  Shut up, it was very fun.

Will Cause You No Bodily Harm to Netflix

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Sapphires, The East, Trance, This is the End, Kon-Tiki, The Heat, About Time, Kill Your Darlings

Special Musical Mention

While I had mixed about the film in general, the music in Inside Llewyn Davis was phenomenal.  The fact that all of the music was recorded live makes this even more impressive.

Guilty Pleasures

Identity Thief


A Good Day to Die Hard

The Call

Best Comeback From Oblivion

Andrew Dice Clay in Blue Jasmine

Best Neener Neener Movie

The Armstrong Lie.  I’ve been saying that Lance Armstrong was a lying sack of excrement for a decade.  It’s nice to see the world catch up.

Three Movies I Just Couldn’t Get Myself To, No Matter How Great I Heard They Were.  I’m a Terrible Person.

Blue is the Warmest Color

The Invisible Woman

The Act of Killing

Best Hair

Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

Jeremy Renner’s game show host ice cream sundae in American Hustle


Room 237:  I loved this ridiculous movie about five movie lovers who just get a whole lot more out of Kubrick’s The Shining than I do.

*20 Feet From Stardom:  Delightful film profiling the most prominent of the Motown and rock backup singers.

Inequality For All : Robert Riech tells it like it is.

Production Design




The Year in Dreamboats

Jai Courtney in A Good Day to Die Hard

Riz Ahmed in The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Tahar Rahim in The Past

Max Martini in Pacific Rim and Captain Phillips

Aiden Turner (Fili) in The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug

Funniest Movies of the Year

In a World…  Big props to writer/director/star Lake Bell for this devastating take on the world of voiceover artists.

Anchorman 2:  The Legend Continues:  A love song to a shark and apologetic Canadian broadcast journalist assassins!

Person Who Needs to Get His S%&t Together So He Can Get Back to the Business of Being a Movie Star

Shia LeBoeuf

Best Name for Movie Character

Anita Kravos plays “Talia Concept,” a performance artist who only refers to herself in the third person in the otherwise tedious The Great Beauty

Please Can We See More Of…

About Time’s Domhnall Gleeson

The Reluctant Fundamentalist’s Riz Ahmed

Nebraska’s June Squibb

In A World’s Lake Bell

Best Movie Performance in History by a Cabbie From Minneapolis

Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips

Best Nose

José María Yazpik in I’m So Excited!

Best Film This Year About a Drug-Induced Orgy During a Commercial Flight

I’m So Excited!

Biggest Turnaround

Congrats to the beautiful and talented Scarlett Johansson, who has graduated from being the consistent butt of my jokes to being an actual unironic nominee this year.  Well done, girlfriend.

Best Action Sequences

The Jerusalem / Airplane section of World War Z

The Amazing first 17 minutes of Gravity

Best Single Scene

The final scene of Captain Phillips

Great Dialog

“We’ve invited ourselves along.  Accept it and move on.” Allison Janney brings The Pushy in The Way Way Back.

“Anxiety, nightmares and a nervous breakdown, there’s only so many traumas a person can withstand until they take to the streets and start screaming.”  Really inappropriate babysitter talk from the divine Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine.

Not as Bad As Everyone Said it Was


Disappointing Sequel

Despicable Me 2

Movie So Unpleasant and Amateurish I’m Not Even Going to Mention It in These Awards

Escape from Tomorrow

The Jodie Foster Award for Worst Actress of the Year

Once again, the winner is the unstoppable Jodie Foster herself, for turning in yet another Seventh-Grade-Class-Play-Worthy performance in the hideous Elysium.  Really, she should produce a new film version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Starring herself, Radha Mitchell, Christian Bale and John Leguizamo, and the results could actually prompt the Heat Death of the Universe.

The Very Worst Films of the Year

Stoker. No.  Just no.

The Place Beyond the Pines:  I also hated Blue Valentine.  Let’s face it, I just don’t like the work of director Derek Cianfrance.

*TIE:  Elysium and Upstream Color, two SHOCKINGLY disappointing second films from oh-so-promising directors.  Elysium gets points for taking an intriguing premise and doing absolutely nothing interesting with it.  Upstream Color scores big because it’s one of the most pretentiously opaque and obtuse films ever made.  It made me wish I was watching Tree of Life again.

Pacific Rim:  Why on earth did Guillermo del Toro feel a need to make a Transformers movie?  Even Charlie Hunnam’s stunning physique, Idris Elba’s stern charisma, and Max Martini’s steamy smolder couldn’t keep me awake.

Man of Steel – What a borefest.  Even Henry Cavill’s ridiculous pulchritude couldn’t save this boring, overlong piece of dreck.

In Memoriam

Roger Ebert.  I never met him, but he was my teacher and my hero.  Even more than the fabled Mr. O’Toole, he’s the one I’ll miss the most.

Peter O’Toole

Julie Harris

James Gandolfini

Jean Stapleton

Dennis Farina

Conrad Bain

Lou Reed

Paul Walker

Joan Fontaine

Annette Funicello

Jonathan Winters

Bonnie Franklin

Deanna Durbin

Richard Griffiths

Elmore Leonard

Esther Williams

Ray Harryhausen

Hal Needham

Marcia Wallace

Fay Kanin

Eileen Brennan

Karen Black

Ray Dolby

Ray Manzarek

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala

Richie Havens

Tom Laughlin

Van Cliburn

Jeanne Cooper

George Jones

Ray Price

Comments?  Accusations?  Accolades?  Please leave a comment below!



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