5. Beyond the Hills – Cristian Mungiu
For an austere but deeply composed allegorical investigation.
4. August: Osage County – Tracy Letts
For the savagery we loved. Unlike most critics, I believed his screen piece retained the ardent nobility of his stage piece.
3. 12 Years a Slave – John Ridley
For his (along with his director's) interest in not only the horror but also the mechanics. The physical violence is imperative, but it was the pettiness of a nation that allowed the sin to occur.
2. No – Pedro Peirano
For taking a rather wishy-washy David vs. Goliath proposition and creating a most dynamic thriller with some of the most astute confabulations of the year.
1. The Wind Rises – Hayao Miyazaki
For having precise control over the aesthetic shifts into both melodrama and dream logic. It's maybe the greatest biopic since Raging Bull.
Runner Up: From Up on Poppy Hills – Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa