With the Oscars quickly approaching, it seems an appropriate time to look back on the films of 2013. For some time now, critics have decried the quality of artistic integrity, or lack thereof, in Hollywood. Film as an art form is dead, they say, time and time again. And Hollywood has responded to the criticism with a slate of films that shows, beyond a reasonable doubt, that artistic cinema is not going anywhere.
Because of the impending award season, December is usually known for having the year’s best films, and 2013 was no exception. Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, Wolf of Wall Street, and Dallas Buyer’s Club were all released in December, leaving the list of potential award nominees clearly stacked.
These films, each critically acclaimed, took the average moviegoer to interesting places. This award award season belongs to the flawed hero. Matthew McConaughey’s phenomenal performance as the homophobic, terminally ill AIDS patient, Ron Woodroof, was done with heartbreaking honesty, and stands as a career best for the veteran actor. Tom Hanks delivered in 2013 with two standout rolls as Captain Phillips, in the film of the same name, and as Walt Disney in the biopic, Saving Mr. Banks. And Martin Scorcese once again showed his directing chops with the decidedly anti-hero centered con film Wolf of Wall Street, with stellar performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill.
This year also saw some big budget blockbusters, like The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and the second installation of the wildly successful franchise The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. And while there were some notable duds in the blockbuster realm (looking at you After Earth, and Lone Ranger), Hollywood still proved that there is a place for the big movies.
Cinema will always have its critics and detractors, but when you survey the cinematic landscape in 2013 as a whole, it’s safe to say that the future of film is still bright.