Month after month, 2013 proved so stunning, you almost had to hold your breath. The early-to-mid-year festivals produced an ample batch of keepers, from Richard Linklater’s Sundance sensation Before Midnight to Cannes gems like Bastards andInside Llewyn Davis. Bracing for summer dumb, we gasped in surprise at The World’s End and Blue Jasmine. And as the year closed, some of America’s most dependable directors—big names like Martin Scorsese and David O. Russell—were operating in peak form. Here, we count down the movies that jockeyed for position in our top-ten lists, which easily could have gone to 20 or 30.