I have now begun a celebratory manner of retrospect after each year passes on this blog. A major form of self-satisfying recognition for what movies made me enjoy them and how. I call it the Motors cause I’m classy like that. An alternate Oscars of sorts for each year to come, 2013 gets to be lucky number one with this new tradition of mine.

It’s largely opinionated and solely based on the movies I have seen this year with no compromise based on outside influence.

Ladies and Gentlemen… THE 2013 MOTORS

I limit maximum ten nominations per category. Winners are in bold.


  • “Please Mr. Kennedy” – T-Bone Burnett (Inside Llewyn Davis) – For being another piece of a perfect reflection in the struggle of independent art and goddamn catchy to go with.
  • “Let It Go” – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Frozen) – For demanding the character-based gusto of Idina Menzel while also giving her room to display her voice’s immaculate shine.
  • “I See Fire” – Ed Sheeran (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) – For being a proper mix of modern pop sensibilities, Suffolkian folk and Tolkien language (both musical and verbal), heralding both young and adult fans.
  • “Ordinary Love” – U2 (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) – For respectfully tributing one of the world’s greatest revolutionaries in a surprisingly tasteful and moving manner, from one of the bands known to get carried away sometimes.
  • “Becomes the Color” – Emily Wells (Stoker) – For providing an eerie and trippy leitmotif for the film’s atmosphere that reestablishes what is wrong with the subjects and haunting you with its beat long after you leave the theater.



  • William Chang – The Grandmaster
  • Mobolaji Dawodu – Mother of George
  • Paco Delgado – Blancanieves
  • Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby
  • Richard Taylor & Ann Maskrey – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug



  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Evil Dead
  • Metallica: Through the Never




  • All Is Lost – For trying to be just as obvious a moment of loneliness as Gravity.
  • Frozen
  • Gravity – For making even the safest company like George Clooney or areas like the shuttles and stations seem the loneliest and emptiest zones in existence.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis – Because that’s sort of how you mix music and soul.
  • The Lords of Salem



  • Ender’s Game
  • Gravity
  • Man of Steel
  • Pacific Rim – For finally realizing the dreams of modern kaiju fans on the big screen, from the heart of the kaiju cult itself.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness – For bringing us back a riveting vision of our favorite frontier and yet for also never downplaying the severity of the heavily destructive acts of Khan and Vengeance in the film.



  • The Grandmaster – For mixing in the romanticism of Wong Kar-wai with the cultural differences between the East and West of China.
  • The Great Gatsby – For being another Baz Luhrmann production that demands your wonder and then for being a movie that brings out all the more visual touches of Fitsgerald’s storytelling you previously could only read about.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis – For having the world reflect the state of Davis’ journey and never letting up.
  • The Lords of Salem – For being a glorious collection of movie and music pastiche that makes me want to live in it.
  • Pacific Rim – For making what seems like an incomplete fantasy seem not only complete but totally immersive and surrounding.



  • Peter Beaudreau – All Is Lost – For making a singular event so exciting and running like a champ.
  • Alfonso Cuaron & Mark Sanger – Gravity – For having the sense to move from long sweeps to short intimate cuts as the visual music calls it.
  • Glenn Garland – The Lords of Salem – For the devious “ha ha!” of those final montage moments.
  • Joe Hutshing – Metallica: Through the Never – For, inspite of its shortcomings in pacing, doing the impossible with concert footage editing and juggling four shows in order to tell a story about the heart of metal music and having the performances reflect that.
  • Lauren Zuckerman – Don Jon – For pulling out all the stops in storytelling through editing, from flashes of euphoria to montages of chauvinism.



  • John 5 and Griffin Boice – The Lords of Salem – For shaking your vertebrae indefinitely the deeper the movie goes.
  • Mike Patton – The Place Beyond the Pines – For grabbing hold of the audience as the one true guiding anchor of these generational tales and matching the character’s thoughts with each flicker of the eye.
  • Steven Price – Gravity – For being a comfort in the air of the film’s danger and yet feeling just as fragile as the lifelines of the two characters. In the meantime, for also sweeping our fears and perils in the film while also providing a percussionary sound to all the silent destruction around us.
  • Rob – Maniac – Are you sure that music wasn’t just lifted from the 80s?
  • Hans Zimmer – Man of Steel – For feeling like the tale of Superman as told by Vangelis.



  • Shane Carruth – Upstream Color – For the sharpest form of study to the events that lead up to Kris and Jeff’s meeting and for having us know all the things they don’t know.
  • Bruce Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis – For making us feel coldest in the outside world and warmest when the guitar begins strumming.
  • Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity – For once again having space become as breathtaking as when we saw it live on the screens or as when we saw it in the classics like 2001. And for forcing us into the perspective of the fated drifters of space.
  • Mauro Pinheiro Jr. – Southwest – For having the sensibility to make the most magical moments seem like a focused dream.
  • Bradford Young – Mother of George – For god damn if that ain’t one of the best usages of color to coordinate emotion I’ve seen since Yi Yi.



  • Barkhad Abdi as Abduwali Muse – Captain Phillips (dir. Paul Greengrass) – For making the most intense character film also seem the most aware.
  • Dane DeHaan as Jason Cankam – The Place Beyond the Pines (dir. Derek Cianfrance) – For being the most watchable part of the moment in the movie when a lead actor was lost and audiences feared lost interest.
  • Michael Fassbender as Edwin Epps – 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen) – For portraying unrestrained cruelty in a fashion that never seems over-the-top nor cartoonish.
  • Nick Frost as Andy Knightley – The World’s End (dir. Edgar Wright) – For becoming the grounded character and retaining a grown-up manner, even when it comes to rolling up sleeves.
  • Dwayne Johnson as Paul Doyle – Pain & Gain (dir. Michael Bay) – For completely going all over the range of comedic acting, from fear to derilection to naivete and then back to enlightenment in blind faith.



  • Scarlett Johannesson as Barbara Sugarman – Don Jon (dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – For becoming another piece of the atmosphere of the film, likened to Marisa Tomei but without the cartoonish buffoonery of the likes of South Park’s Jersey episode.
  • Nicole Kidman as Evelyn Stoker – Stoker (dir. Park Chan-wook) – For a spiteful and jealous personification of a mother who forgets that she is a mother or a widow.
  • Jean Malone as Johanna – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (dir. Francis Lawrence) – For being the punk of the film, giving an edge to everything that comes at her in a manner that would come off as action heroine bullshit if utilized by a lesser actor.
  • Sarah Paulson as Mary Epps – 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen) – For being such a goddamned outrageously human bitch with the humanity in her.
  • Lea Seydoux as Emma – Blue Is the Warmest Colour (dir. Abdellatif Kechiche) – For making it very very obvious and natural how someone could both fall for her and then fall out of her graces without ever tipping to sympathetic balance of the film.



  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup – 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen) – For a never-ending riveting battle of survival laying in the face of Ejiofor.
  • Ethan Hawke as Jesse – Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater) – For portraying a character a third time, but with still new elements of his personality to discover and new philosophies to state. (see: Julie Delpy)
  • Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis – Inside Llewyn Davis (dir. Joel & Ethan Coen) – For being a great singer, a great songwriter and a great character who is never able to learn how great he is.
  • Tom Hanks as Richard Phillips – Captain Phillips (dir. Paul Greengrass) – For being half the symbol of the working class man under the worst pressures.
  • Robert Redford as Our Man – All Is Lost (dir. J.C. Chandor) – For telling a relatable story of fear and courage in all its forms without ever uttering a word.



  • Amy Adams as Sydney Prosser – American Hustle (dir. David O. Russell) – For being the centrifrugal force of the lead characters and bringing the con artist movie into a romantic triangle, all insecurities and vulnerability attached.
  • Julie Delpy as Céline – Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater) – For portraying a character a third time, but with still new elements of his personality to discover and new philosophies to state.
  • Adèle Exarchopoulos as Adèle – La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 (dir. Abdellatif Kechiche) – For being a source of disordinary spontaniety in a film that collides two personalities in a fascinating form.
  • Danai Gurira as Adenika – Mother of George (dir. Andrew Dosunmu) – For being the heartbreaking look of the pressures of motherhood before it’s even granted.
  • Zhang Ziyi as Gong Er – The Grandmaster (dir. Wong Kar-wai) – For stealing the show from the legendary martial arts grandmaster the film supposedly is meant to follow.


BEST ORIGINAL AND ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – For remembering that film is as much about what it says as it is about what it shows.


  • Joel & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis 
  • Tobias Lindholm – A Hijacking
  • Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy – Before Midnight 
  • Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright – The World’s End
  • David O. Russell & Eric Singer – American Hustle


  • Abdellatif Kechiche & Ghalia LaCroux – Blue Is the Warmest Colour
  • Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
  • John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave 
  • Terrence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street


BEST DIRECTOR – For making certain of what we saw in their films.

  • J.C. Chandor – All Is Lost
  • Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
  • Eduardo Nunes – Southwest
  • Joshua Oppenheimer – The Act of Killing
  • Rob Zombie – The Lords of Salem


BEST PICTURE – For being more than films this year…

  • 12 Years a Slave (USA, dir. Steve McQueen)
  • Before Midnight (USA, dir. Richard Linklater)
  • Frances Ha (USA, dir. Noah Baumbach)
  • Gravity (USA, dir. Alfonso Cuarón)
  • Inside Llewyn Davis (USA, dir. Joel & Ethan Coen)
  • The Lords of Salem (USA, dir. Rob Zombie)
  • Southwest (Brazil, dir. Eduardo Nunes)
  • Upstream Color (USA, dir. Shane Carruth)




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