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Betsy Sharkey’s best films of 2013

A perfect marriage of art and technology, Alfonso Cuarón’s film and Sandra Bullock’s performance, out of this world in wondrous ways.

MORE: Scenes | Read the review (Warner Bros. Pictures)
‘American Hustle’
David O. Russell’s raucous, riotous con game. Christian Bale’s hustle and flow, Jennifer Lawrence’s scene stealing. Wow, baby.

MORE: Director, editor discuss the film | Read the review (Francois Duhamel / Sony - Columbia Pictures)
‘12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler,’ ‘Fruitvale Station’
Beautifully rendered portraits of our racial past. In looking back, the future may change.

MORE: Cast, crew discuss the film | ‘The Butler’ review | ‘Fruitvale Station’ review (Fox Searchlight / The Weinstein Co.)
Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams caught up in Spike Jonze acerbic techno love triangle. Brilliant concept, great execution.

MORE: Scenes | Joaquin Phoenix, Spike Jonze on ‘Her’  (Merrick Morton / Warner Bros.)
‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’
For using sex — explicitly — to get beyond sex and into purer extremes of love; and introducing Adàle Exarchopoulos.

MORE: Read the review | Photos (Sundance Selects)
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
In my book the Coen brothers do no wrong. It’s only a matter of what they’re doing right: Everything and Oscar Issac too.

MORE: Read the review (Alison Rosa / CBS FIlms)
‘Nebraska,’ ‘Mud’
Earthy stories, harsh realities. Bruce Dern, Matthew McConaughey, respectively, handle the raw and real exceptionally.

MORE: Cast, crew discuss the film | Southern drawls on film (Paramount Pictures / Roadside Attractions)
‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ ‘Philomena’
Men driven crazy by smart, insistent women. Emma Thompson, Judi Dench perfectly on point. What’s not to like?

MORE: Cast, crew discuss ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ | Read ‘Philomena’ review (Disney Enterprises / The Weinstein Co.)
‘The Armstrong Lie,’ ‘Inequality for All,’ ‘The Unknown Known ‘
Shrewd documentaries that show truth is not just stranger than fiction, it’s far scarier. (Sony Pictures Classics / Sundance Film Festival / Telluride Film Festival)
‘Frozen,’ ‘The Way Way Back’
Disney animation and indie comedy. Very different beasts. Both made me laugh. And that, my friends, is priceless.

MORE: Read ‘Frozen’ review | Read ‘The Way Way Back’ review (Disney / Twentieth Century Fox)