2013 Leaman Awards - The Part-Time Critic

Sunday, July 24, 2022

2013 Leaman Awards

*Last Updated 7/24/2022  

1993 Films Seen: 88  
Number of Films with 'A' or 'A+': 3  
Key Films Still to See: n/a  

Brief Summary: n/a


Not a "best of" list or a "favorite" list - but a list of the films and sequences (action, drama, comedy, & musical) that I think represent the best the year had to offer. So think of it as a strange mixture of favorite, best, and defining. Once you get to the top ten films, it definitely becomes more defined as a Top Ten list of the year. The number one film is my favorite of the year. 

Honorable Mentions: 42, Blue Jasmine, Ender's Game, Monster's University, The Wind Rises

25. Pacific Rim (B)
24. The Place Beyond the Pines (B)
23. The Railway Man (B)
22. Oblivion (B)
21. Iron Man 3 (B)
20. Red 2 (B)
19. Prisoners (B)
18. Mud (B+)
17. The Bling Ring (B+)
16. Cloudy with a Chance for Meatballs 2 (B+)
15. Lone Survivor (B+)
14. Out of the Furnace (B+)
13. Dallas Buyers Club (B+)
12. The Way Way Back (B+)
11. Short Term 12 (B+)

THE TOP TEN
10. All is Lost (A-)
9. Philomena (A-)
8. The Act of Killing (A-)
7. Nebraska (A-)
6. American Hustle (A-)

5. The Wolf of Wall Street (A-)

4. Captain Phillips (A-)

3. Before Midnight (A)

2. 12 Years a Slave (A)

1. Gravity (A)


FAVORITE ACTION SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "Escape from Mirkwood Prison: Barrel Riders" -The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Commentary)
  • "Finale Weapons Fight Fight with Surprise Villain" -Ninja: Shadow of a Tear
  • "Battle of Greenwich Finale: Thor vs. Malekith" -Thor: The Dark World (Commentary)
The Great:
  • "Finale: House Party Protocol at the Docks" -Iron Man 3 (Commentary)
The Best: "London Lift-Off: Shaw & Dom's Team Chase Shaw's Ramp Cars" -Fast & Furious 6
Commentary: The last great car chase sequence in the franchise that kept itself primarily grounded, with any big stunts being practical and mostly believable. This is essentially the big action opening to the film and it doesn’t disappoint. The goal here to take down this film's new big baddie Owen Shaw, played by Luke Evans, and his crew. One part of Dom's crew led by Brian goes to Interpol and Dom/Hobbs wait for Shaw so that they can track down Letty. When Shaw appears he blows several concrete pillars that the cops are waiting for him on while he blows by them. It’s hard to articulate it, but it’s a nice stunt and shows a lot of intelligence for Shaw’s planning. Dom and Hobbs follow behind. The main gimmick here is that the Shaw drives a formula one type car in a kind of wedge shape that when it collides with cars will launch them (like a speeding ramp) rather than impact them. It probably wouldn’t work that way in real life, but it’s filmed in a way that’s very believable, practical, and awesome looking. Shaw uses the car to glide back and forth and then launch incoming police cars at anyone following him. It’s quite a visual. It’s simple enough to be believable, but cool enough to be a spectacle. It’s right in the wheelhouse I enjoy. Brian’s team gets into a shootout at Interpol and then a chase. They have to deal with another wedge car, but also a “chip gun” that deactivates a car. They fire at Tej and Roman and deactivate their front tire and cause them to get into some spectacular wrecks. Seriously, this moment looks darn good on screen. The teams meet up, enter a tunnel, and then split up again. There’s even a really clever stunt pulled when Brian is ramming one of the bad guys who eventually swerve left only for that wedge speed car to come straight into Brian launching him high. Shaw’s thread comes to an end when Letty makes an appearance and draws Dom off and Hobbs makes a play on Shaw but misses. It’s so refreshing to see these “superheroes” in the later film bested and getting beaten. This chase is lengthy, grounded, practical, and good fun. It’s an underrated sequence in the franchise. It’s too bad the franchise launched too far into fantasy after this one. Click Here for more commentary on Fast & Furious action sequences.


FAVORITE DRAMATIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
The Very Good:
  • "Sitting Down with a Mobster and Almost Blowing the Con" -American Hustle
  • "Pirates Overtake and Control the Maersk Alabama" -Captain Phillips
  • "Deciding to Go Forward After an Imaginary Pep Talk" -Gravity
  • "Returning to Earth" -Gravity
  • "ISS is Struck by Debris and the Escape Pod is Attached" -Gravity
  • "Lost in Mirkwood: Getting a Clear View at the Top" -The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • "A Final Dream and a ‘Thank you’" -The Wind Rises
The Great:
  • "Debris Strikes the Shuttle Crew and Ryan is Tossed into Space” -Gravity
  • "Forgiveness...That Was Hard For Me" -Philomena
The Best: "Finale: Taking Down the Pirates and Giving Phillips a Checkup" -Captain Phillips
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE COMEDIC SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
*Didn't keep great track of this category initially
The Very Good:
  • "Please Mr. Kennedy" -Inside Llewyn Davis
  • "Dinner Song: Fare Thee Well" -Inside Llewyn Davis
The Great:
  • "News Anchor Fight Part Two" -Anchorman 2 

The Best: 
Commentary: 


FAVORITE MUSICAL SEQUENCES OF THE YEAR
*Very few musical songs to choose from


The Very Good:
  • "For the First Time in Forever" -Frozen
  • "In Summer" -Frozen
  • "Let's Go Fly a Kite" -Saving Mr. Banks 
The Great:
  • "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?" -Frozen 

The Best: 
Commentary: 

BEST DIRECTOR
Nominees:
  • Alfonso Cuaron Gravity
  • Paul Greengrass Captain Phillips
  • Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
  • Alexander Payne Nebraska
  • Martin Scorsese The Wolf of Wall Street
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE FILM ENSEMBLES
Nominees:
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • August: Osage County
  • Before Midnight
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Nebraska
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE MALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Barkhad Abdi Captain Phillips
  • Christian Bale American Hustle
  • Daniel Bruhl Rush
  • Steve Coogan Philomena
  • Bradley Cooper American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave
  • Michael Fassbender 12 Years a Slave
  • Ethan Hawke Before Midnight
  • Tom Hanks Captain Phillips
  • Jonah Hill The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Hugh Jackman Prisoners
  • Jared Leto Dallas Buyers Club
  • Matthew McConaughey Dallas Buyers Club
  • Robert Redford All is Lost
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE FEMALE PERFORMANCES
Nominees:
  • Amy Adams American Hustle
  • Sandra Bullock Gravity
  • Julie Delpy Before Midnight
  • Judi Dench Philomena
  • Jennifer Garner Dallas Buyers Club
  • Scarlett Johansson Her
  • Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’o 12 Years a Slave
  • Meryl Streep August: Osage County
  • Julia Roberts August: Osage County
  • June Squibb Nebraska
  • Emma Thompson Saving Mr. Banks
  • Emma Watson The Bling Ring
Commentary: n/a


FAVORITE SCREENPLAYS
(original or adapted)
Nominees:
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Before Midnight
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • Short Term 12
  • The Way Way Back
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Commentary: n/a


BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Nominees:
  • The Act of Killing
  • Tim's Vermeer
Commentary: n/a


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Nominees:
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
  • The Croods
  • Frozen
  • Monsters University
  • The Wind Rises
Commentary: n/a
BEST FILM EDITING
Nominees:
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • Rush
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Commentary: n/a


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Nominees:
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
Commentary: n/a


BEST ART DIRECTION
Nominees:
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • Her
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Oblivion
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Commentary: n/a


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Nominees:
  • Gravity
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Iron Man 3
  • Man of Steel
  • Pacific Rim
Commentary: n/a


BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nominees:
  • Gravity
  • Man of Steel
  • Oblivion
  • The Tale of Princess Kayuga
  • The Wind Rises
Commentary: n/a


BEST SOUND DESIGN
Nominees:
  • All is Lost
  • Captain Phillips
  • Gravity
  • Oblivion
  • The Wind Rises
Commentary: n/a


BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Nominees:
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • The Great Gatsby
  • The Lone Ranger
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Commentary: 


BEST MAKE-UP & HAIR DESIGN
Nominees:
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Lone Survivor
Commentary: n/a

BIGGEST GUILTY PLEASURE
Nominees:
  • Bad Grandpa
  • Fast & Furious 6
Commentary: n/a

MOST SURPRISING FILM
Nominees:
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Iron Man 3
  • Pacific Rim
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
Commentary: n/a


MOST DISAPPOINTING FILM
Nominees:
  • Elysium
  • A Good Day to Die Hard
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • The Lone Ranger
  • Start Trek Into Darkness
Commentary: n/a


MOST UNDERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • The Bling Ring
  • Ender's Game
  • Lone Survivor
  • Man of Steel
  • Oblivion
Commentary: n/a


MOST OVERRATED FILM
Nominees:
  • The Grandmaster
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Star Trek Into Darkness
  • Stoker
  • This Is the End
Commentary: n/a


WORST FILM
Nominees:
  • Oz the Great and Powerful
  • The Purge
  • Stalingrad
  • This is the End
  • White House Down 
Commentary: It’s tough to determine if this should be considered alongside other war films or as a fantasy action war film - that's how bad this film is. Ostensibly, this is a film about the war of attrition in the Battle of Stalingrad. The macho/jingoistic tone here is so dramatic and over the top that it is hard to take seriously - I think Michael Bay would blush at a few of the ideas here. Add to an overly simplistic plot with horrible acting, artificial and cheesy dialogue, and you have one of the worst films I watched for this project. On top of that, there is truly bizzare and forced framing device as this Stalingrad story is being told by a rescue worker talking to someone in the rubble of the Japanese tsunami in 2011. I mean, what? After getting the Russians out of the rubble they are asking, "Where is the man who told the story?" as if telling them this story got them through the horribleness. It's so strange. Imagine a film that started out with firemen arriving at the scene of the 9/11 World Trade Center rubble and then proceeding to help those trapped in the rubble by telling the story of perseverance he endured during the Second World War during the Battle of the Bulge. It's that strange folks.


BEST COMPILATION OF WORK
Performances/Accomplishments (that I saw anyways):
  • Christian Bale: American Hustle, Out of the Furnace
  • Bradley Cooper: American Hustle, The Place Beyond the Pines
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Tom Hanks: Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks
  • Hugh Jackman: Prisoners, Wolverine
  • Matthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers Club, Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street 
Commentary: n/a


ERIC BANA AWARD
*Given for the best performance in a bad film (See 2004's Troy)
Nominees:
  • Ethan Hawke The Purge
Commentary: n/a


THE END!


"Philomena: Sister Hildegarde, I want you to know that I forgive you.
Martin Sixsmith: What? Just like that?
Philomena: Its not 'just like that'... it's hard. That's hard for me. But I don't want to hate people. I don't want to be like you... Look at you.
Martin Sixsmith: I'm angry.
Philomena: Must be exhausting..." -Philomena

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