With the 86th Academy Awards only a few weeks away, you've got to ask yourself, are these really the best films of the year? Well, yes and no. There are plenty of films that were overlooked, many for good reason and others because of a lot of other factors. For example: marketability, demographic, appeal and star power. They may not be the Oscar Bait that spring up every late fall, but here are seven films that will stand the test of time as better than the sum of most parts of many of the films honored this year.  

The Way Way Back

Written and directed by the same team that won the coveted Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for "The Descendants," Nat Faxon and Jim Rash know a thing or two about angst. Their film "The Way Way Back" plays like a perfect mix of "Adventureland" and "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower," and follows 14-year-old Duncan (played touchingly by Liam James), who resentfully follows his mom (Toni Collette) and her insufferable douchebag boyfriend (Steve Carell) on a summer vacation to Cape Cod. With charming, feel-good performances by Sam Rockwell, Allison Janney, Amanda Peet and Maya Rudolph, this is a must-see.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour

Based on the harrowing 2010 French graphic novel by Julie Maroh, Blue Is the Warmest Colour follows the life of two women, both who are trying (and failing) desperately to recognize yourself and your potential in the eyes of someone who loves you. Star-crossed lovers Adele (as played by Adele Exarchopoulos) and Emma's (Lea Seydoux) coming of age tale shows the fever dream of love and all of its colors for what it is. Hyper-sensual, deliciously spirited, raw and shot honestly Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue Is the Warnest Colour is a must-watch. Not only did it win the Palme d'Or for both it's director and two leads-making them two of only three women ever to win the award-but it also got nods at the Golden Globe!

Fruitvale Station

Marking the feature-film debut of Ryan Coogler, "Fruitvale Station" is a devasting drama that the ostensibly real life story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III, following the Hayward, California resident over the last 36 hours of his life. Critics were floored by it and Golden Globe nominee Joseph Gordon-Levitt called it the "best film" of Sundance Film Festival 2013. Portrayed by rising giant Michael B. Jordan, whose take on Oscar is handled with laser-like precision, is heartbreaking as he handles trial and tribulation after trial and tribulation in order to get his life back on track. An Oscar-worthy performance. The night that Oscar was murdered in cold blood by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit Station, swept the nation like a virus and protests were issued. The final shot of this film will leave you nauseated and a drowing in mascara. Bring tissue.


If you can't watch Wadjda for the simple fact that it's on this list, watch it because it's the first feature film made by a female Saudi director, Haifaa al-Mansour. It is also the first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, making the film a cultural landmark. But all of the merits and accolades aside, its an uplifting and transcendental film that follows a Wadjda (Waad Mohammed), a free-spirited tween in the patriarchal and male-centric Middle East who enters a Koran recitation competition in hopes to pay for a bike she desires, but (surprise?) is forbidden to ride because of her gender. It's a nail-biter!

Short Term 12

Few have had a great year like that of Brie Larson, formerly known as Envy Adam in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World." 2013 introduced her to a wide range of audiences like her cameo as Joseph Gordan Levitt's sister in "Don Jon," and Cassidy in the indie fave "The Spectacular Now," but it goes without saying that her true taste of limelight came in this year's "Short Term 12." Her performance is so soul shattering there's no astonishment necessary at her ability to stir up accolades for her role as damaged-goods Grace, a care worker assisting at-risk teens. The synergy between the actors, the storytelling and seamless direction are near flawless.

The Bling Ring

Sofia Coppola can make a pretty film, yes. Sofia Coppola is great at creating characters, each battling their own inner demons, neurosis, ennui or inferiorities. But, her snarky black comedy "The Bling Ring" is by far her most entertaining film since "The Virgin Suicides." Based on the 2008-2009 thefts of the Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch-a truth that seems stranger than fiction-there is something quite wild about Coppola turning her eye toward the vapid, pretentious and fame-obsessed man-children, t and we can't take our eyes off of the screen for a second. With an electro hip-hop krautrock score and some fine acting all around, this makes for one entertaining film and one of the best of 2013. But you can't help but feel that Emma Watson as Nikki Moore based on the real-life Alexis Neiers. Her manufactured personality, glassy-eyed depth and sociopath stance deserved an Oscar nomination.

Blue Caprice

Without a doubt, Alexandre Moors' independent drama "Blue Caprice," is the most underrated movie of 2013, simply because very few have seen it and perhaps shouldn't have. But the film deserves praise, and Isaiah Washington-who made a comeback after years of being blacklisted by his Hollywood colleagues for his homophobic remarks toward his "Grey's Anatomy" co-star T.R. Knight-deserved honors. Based on the sensationalized 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, the film take a bone-chilling look at the a warped father-son relationship that leads to a mass shooting that resulted in 17 deaths and 10 injuries across 11 states. When 17-year-old black youth Lee Malvo  (played by Tequan Richmond) is abandoned, he finds a recently-divorced and toxic father figure in John Allen Muhammad (Isaiah Washington), it sets in motion a wrecking ball of events that would change the course of history. If anything, this film will give you pause to think about the American Dream, delusion, promise and our own potential as people.