2013 has truly seen the rise of the indie drama. There's been a steady and consistent output in well-written, well-acted dramas that have meant for some of the year's best performances. Here's five breakout performances in 2013...
5. WILL FORTE in 'Nebraska'
It might be a familiar story – comedic, mad-cap actor attempts serious indie dramedy – but it's been a route many have tried and many have failed. Will Forte, who was interviewed by Rory Cashin when he was over at the Galway Film Fleadh, has done very well from his off-kilter comedic performances. You take 30 Rock – where he played Jenna Maroney's cross-dressing lover – or any of his characters on sketch show Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job and you'll see that he's got a real talent for playing weird-as-hell characters. So to completely leave his comfort zone and do a film that's almost realistic to point of being boring, you've got to give him real credit. Forte's performance in Nebraska is moving and emotional without being given over to sentimentality. Working alongside veteran Bruce Dern, they've created one of the year's most critically acclaimed dramas.
4. MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY in 'Mud'
We know what you're thinking – McConaughey's been well-known for years. That's very true. However, almost nobody's talking about his romantic comedies or films where he gets shirtless. The career turn-around for McConaughey began two years ago with William Friedkin's Killer Joe. Since then, McConaughey has consistently outdone himself in each passing film. He stole each and every scene in Magic Mike and gave one of his most nuanced performances in the vaguely disappointed The Paperboy. Truly, he has shed any semblance of his former career and completely left it behind him. With Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar and The Wolf Of Wall Street lined up for 2014, we can expect an Oscar for him in no time. Not bad for the dude who starred in How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days.
3. BARKHAD ABDI in 'Captain Phillips'
If you don't know the name Barkhad Abdi, don't worry – his turn in Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips was his first role. Although Captain Phillips' strength comes from both Tom Hanks' performances and Greengrass' innate ability to create on-screen tension, Barkhad Abdi held his own against Hanks. There never felt – at any stage in the film – that Hanks was carrying Abdi in any way. Instead, you saw a raw, unfiltered performance that could very well net the newcomer a Best Supporting Actor nod.
2. LIAM JAMES in 'The Way, Way Back'
We absolutely loved The Way, Way Back and it's little wonder why. It had everything going for it – a great cast, a brilliant story, a fantastic soundtrack and Dean Pelton from Community. One of the most surprising aspects of the story was Steve Carrell's character and his relationship with young actor Liam James. Playing Duncan, a sheepish youngster who's at that horribly awkward middle-phase between teenager and child, Liam James gave one of the year's most understated performances. You weren't exactly sure if they just turned the cameras on and let him off or if he put thought into what he was doing. Either way, carrying the emotional core of the story in The Way Way Back was his job and boy, did he do it.
1. LAKE BELL in 'In A World...'
Lake Bell has, up until now, forged a career not so much as a leading lady, but more of an actress who turns up sporadically in various forms. Although perhaps her most well-known roles have been in romantic comedies such as It's Complicated and No Strings Attached, she truly broke out of the mould when she made In A World. The film, which was criminally underwatched and underrated, tells the story of a young woman's attempts to make it big in the male-dominated world of trailer voiceovers. It might seem meta as hell, but it's a fantastic indie dramedy about women's struggles in modern media and life as a whole. Not only did she star in this cracking film, she also wrote and directed it. Give her a big budget and more well-known directors and she could be the next Diane Keaton.