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The 31 Best Performances Of The Summer

Summer of 2013 has come to its unofficial end, which means what better time than now to look back over the last four months of movie releases to find the season's best onscreen work. Ahead, in chronological order, the 31 performances that made this summer worth every heat wave.

  • 1 Ben Kingsley In "Iron Man 3"
    Ben Kingsley's Mandarin, all idle threats and subterfuge, helped make "Iron Man 3" the best superhero movie since "The Dark K
    Marvel
    Ben Kingsley's Mandarin, all idle threats and subterfuge, helped make "Iron Man 3" the best superhero movie since "The Dark Knight."
  • 2 Elizabeth Debicki In "The Great Gatsby"
    <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/elizabeth-debicki-great-gatsby_n_3276671" target="_blank">Newcomer Elizabeth Debicki<
    Warner Bros.
    Newcomer Elizabeth Debicki played Jordan Baker in Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," and made an impact even among A-list stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan. Great job, old sport.
  • 3 Greta Gerwig In "Frances Ha"
    If Greta Gerwig only <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/frances-ha-trailer_n_2812664" target="_blank">danced down the st
    IFC
    If Greta Gerwig only danced down the street to David Bowie's "Modern Love," it would have been enough to make this list.
  • 4 Ethan Hawke & Julie Delpy In "Before Midnight"
    The year's best film thus far includes two of the summer's finest performances, but let's just agree to throw all the awards
    Sony Pictures Classics
    The year's best film thus far includes two of the summer's finest performances, but let's just agree to throw all the awards at Julie Delpy for this one. She tears through Richard Linklater's trilogy capper with a ferociousness that becomes more nuanced with each subsequent viewing.
  • 5 Brit Marling In "The East"
    Those wondering why everyone keeps flipping out over <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/brit-marling-the-east_n_3354665"
    Fox Searchlight
    Those wondering why everyone keeps flipping out over indie queen Brit Marling would be wise to check out her taut work in "The East," one of the summer's most satisfying thrillers.
  • 6 Nick Offerman In "The Kings Of Summer"
    One of the biggest disappointments of the last four months? That more people didn't check out "The Kings of Summer," a coming
    CBS Films
    One of the biggest disappointments of the last four months? That more people didn't check out "The Kings of Summer," a coming-of-age comedy that mixed "Superbad" with Terrence Malick and provided "Parks and Recreation" star Nick Offerman with an opportunity to cuss a lot. More movies like this, please.
  • 7 Amy Acker In "Much Ado About Nothing"
    Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" was a hit-and-miss affair, but only a very dull fool would dare question the bona fide
    Lionsgate
    Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing" was a hit-and-miss affair, but only a very dull fool would dare question the bona fides of Amy Acker's portrayal of Beatrice. In a just world, she would be one of Hollywood's biggest actresses.
  • 8 James Franco & Danny McBride In "This Is The End"
    No tripping here: James Franco and Danny McBride (as "James Franco" and "Danny McBride") are perfect in "This Is The End," to the point that their sustained argument about masturbation is only gravy. (Video is widely NSFW.)
  • 9 Henry Cavill In "Man Of Steel"
    "Man of Steel" star Henry Cavill gave Superman something he hasn't had in a long time: a personality.
    Warner Bros.
    "Man of Steel" star Henry Cavill gave Superman something he hasn't had in a long time: a personality.
  • 10 Melissa McCarthy & Sandra Bullock In "The Heat"
    "The Heat" was just more proof that Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock might be the two best comedic actresses in Hollywood.
    Fox
    "The Heat" was just more proof that Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock might be the two best comedic actresses in Hollywood.
  • 11 Sam Rockwell In "The Way Way Back"
    How to make a typical Sundance coming-of-age comedy like "The Way Way Back" better than most typical Sundance coming-of-age c
    Fox Searchlight
    How to make a typical Sundance coming-of-age comedy like "The Way Way Back" better than most typical Sundance coming-of-age comedies? Cast Sam Rockwell as Bill Murray in "Meatballs." A great bit if there ever was one.
  • 12 Michael B. Jordan & Melonie Diaz In "Fruitvale Station"
    This is shaping up to be one of the most crowded awards seasons in recent memory, but Oscar voters would be wise to remember
    The Weinstein Company
    This is shaping up to be one of the most crowded awards seasons in recent memory, but Oscar voters would be wise to remember Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz for their heartbreaking work in "Fruitvale Station." Jordan has received the lion's share of praise for his performance, but don't sleep on Diaz. She's a revelation and the beating heart of the film's third act.
  • 13 Cate Blanchett In "Blue Jasmine"
    The entire supporting cast of "Blue Jasmine" is incredible (Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay, in particular),
    Sony Pictures Classics
    The entire supporting cast of "Blue Jasmine" is incredible (Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay, in particular), but Cate Blanchett's lead performance is the stuff of Best Actress trophies. It's mesmerizing, difficult work.
  • 14 Alia Shawkat & Sarah Steele In "The To-Do List"
    CBS Films
    Aubrey Plaza is great and all, but if anyone wants to write a buddy comedy for Alia Shawkat and Sarah Steele, please feel free.
  • 15 Miles Teller & Shailene Woodley In "The Spectacular Now"
    A24
    Just watch this clip and fall in love.
  • 16 Jennifer Aniston & Jason Sudeikis In "We're The Millers"
    Jason Sudeikis gave the second best Bill Murray performance of the summer in "We're the Millers," where he was matched sarcastic barb for sarcastic barb by Jennifer Aniston.
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