Sunday, December 22, 2013

Top 10 Cinematic Breakouts of 2013

Everyday I'm going to make a top 10 list of something until New Years Day where I will give my top 10 movies of 2013 (this is mostly to give me a bit more time to catch The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Saving Mr. Banks).  Today the focus is going to be on directors, actors, and actresses who I felt were the biggest breakouts (meaning fairly new) of 2013.

10. Nax Faxon and Jim Rash, Directing - The Way, Way Back
These two get a spot on the list for merely just the opening scene of the Way Way Back, it was so subtle, yet also menacing at the same time, and set the melodramatic tone of the entire movie.  There was such a fine tonal balance between the water park scenes and the home scenes, and being able to make such an overdone fresh and unique.  A very well done movie done, by two actors gone directors, for their directorial debut.

9.Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, Directing and Screenwriting - Frozen
Who would have known two newcomers off of Broadway would be able to bring a movie that finally brought Disney back to glory?  The writing was hysterical, smart, and almost satirical, and it was directed in such a direction.  They were able to encompass that Book of Mormon humor and turn it into a family friendly animation that was incredibly enjoyable by pretty much anyone of any age or gender.

8.Shailene Woodley, Acting - The Spectacular Now
Although she was just a supporting role in the film, she was really the soul of the film when I saw it, and did a great job playing the charm of the character, while not giving into the nerdy girl falls in love with a popular guy cliche.  She portrayed an extremely realistic character, and was able to stand her own performance wise with Miles Teller despite having half the screen time.

7.Brie Larson, Acting - Short Term 12
Brie Larson delivered an absolutely breathtaking performances, and completely sold the role.  She broke the cliches that are typically given in a film like this (the entire film did) and followed no stereotype.  Her entire performance came out completely naturally and flowed nicely as she came to terms with her own life and existence.  It's also worth noting she had two good performances in The Spectacular Now and Don Jon respectively.

6.Jeff Nichols, Directing - Mud
Sure, Mud wasn't his first film technically, but it was also the first one of any significant note from this new director.  The whole subtlety of the film is done so well and the characters and themes have a very natural development, while the messages never beat the audience over the head or get close to it.  There are some great cinematographic shots and the setting is captured masterfully.

5.Miles Teller, Acting - The Spectacular Now
Miles does a phenomenal job carrying this movie with such ease, and his character arc is done so gracefully, but realistically is never fully resolved, giving room for interpretation.  You learn about his character as his character changes, and his ending monologue was a fantastic realization.  He again is realistic, and breaks the typical tropes of your usual coming-of-age story.

4.Michael B. Jordan, Acting - Fruitvale Station
This was one of my favorite lead performances of the year period, not just one of the best breakthrough performances.  Michael B. Jordan completely encompasses Oscar Grant and shows how much of a talent he truly is.  His performance was real and utterly powerful, but also maintained the quietness that it needed, this man is a force to be reckoned with in the acting world.

3.Barkhad Abdi, Acting - Captain Phillips
What Abdi was able to accomplish in Captain Phillips was truly amazing, he took a movie written to showcase Hanks, where Hanks delivered an Oscar worthy performance, and still managed to completely steal every scene he was in and arguably gave the best performance in the film.  He was menacing, complex, and an absolute wonder of an actor.

2.Lupita Nyong'o, Acting - 12 Years A Slave
This girl managed to turn an already heartbreaking film and make it nearly unbearable, her entire character arc was a tragedy and she captured that immensely.  She is able to invoke pity into the audience, and absolutely steal their hearts for the torment that she is subject to throughout the film.  Her performance stood tall in a film swarming with powerful actors and was one of the most memorable parts of an unforgettable film.

1.Ryan Coogler, Directing - Fruitvale Station
What a debut, there are very few directors that are able to start off so strong with a first film that is up there on a masterpiece level.  There is such honesty in the story, yet such power as well, he makes it where you can never take your eyes off this quiet, slow moving film.  He also invokes such emotion with each scene, and provides a powerful statement of the social injustice that goes on today.  I'm not even going to say Ryan Coogler has immense potential, because with Fruitvale Station he already achieved.

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