The 12 Best Performances of 2013

To quote the great Jon Lovitz: “ACTING!” Yes, actors are the most visible component of any motion picture, achieving cults of personality and physical attractiveness and, in the case of the best on-camera performers, also their uncanny talent. Their an important part of any motion picture, even if some of the more crass below-the-line artists I know often refer to them as “meat puppets.”

But sure enough, a bad actor can ruin an otherwise great movie, and sometimes, a great actor can make an enormous piece of crap worth watching. With an impressive assortment of great movies released this year, picking the best performances of 2013 really is something of a chore, particularly if you don’t make arbitrary distinctions based on gender or whether or not the thespian’s performance was “supporting” someone else’s (which we don’t here at CraveOnline, at least when we’re not forced to talk about the Oscars or anything). 

Indeed, there were so many “best performances of 2013” that ranking them was a pain in my ass (oh woe is me, my job is SO hard) and even after jacking my picks up to twelve – as opposed to the more conventional ten – I was still forced to leave off some of the best performances of 2013 anyway. So credit where credit is due, and although if you put a gun to my head I’d stand by the follow list and its rankings (surely all the performances in my top five are an enormous testament to what actors are capable of), I’d like to issue a few honorable mentions to Scarlett Johansson’s remarkable voice-over performance in Her, Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson’s lovely chemistry in Drinking Buddies, Greta Gerwig’s captivating title role in Frances Ha, Sally Hawkin’s bittersweet and conflicted performance in Blue Jasmine, Simon Pegg’s impressive play against type in The World’s End, and even James Badge Dale’s standout role in the otherwise abysmal Parkland.

Those were some of the better performances of 2013, but these are my picks for The 12 Best Performances of 2013.

Read Witney Seibold’s picks for the Best Performances of 2013.

Read Fred Topel’s picks for the Best Performances of 2013.

Read Brian Formo’s picks for the Best Performances of 2013.

William Bibbiani is the editor of CraveOnline’s Film Channel and co-host of The B-Movies Podcast. Follow him on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.