The Top 13 Performers of 2013

UPDATE Jan. 16, 2014: Amended to reflect Golden Globe Award wins and Oscar nominations.

While Jennifer Lawrence set theaters (and microwaves) ablaze this year, Sandra Bullock launched herself that much further into the stratosphere.

Some stars drew heavy awards season buzz while others simply busted the box office wide open (We're talking about you, Robert Downey Jr.!). Others, still, achieved that special mix of praise and profit.

Yahoo Movies has zeroed in on the elite class of actors who took this year by storm. Here are the top 13 movie performers of 2013:

13. Brad Pitt

Pitt has received so much attention for his off-camera producing efforts, it nearly slipped our minds that he also acted in three films. Defying naysayers, the big-budget zombie thriller "World War Z" made a killing at the box office, marking Pitt's biggest career success as a leading man. Pitt also appears in the awards season darling "12 Years a Slave," which he produced. Unfortunately, "The Counselor's" ice-cold reception kept the 50-year-old pro low on our list.

[Related: The 10 Worst Movies of 2013]

 

12. Benedict Cumberbatch

The ubiquitous Brit is currently voicing the biggest baddest dragon ever depicted in film in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" as well as its evil Necromancer. He also appeared in awards favorite "12 Years a Slave," and he helped bolster box office returns as the über-villain Khan in "Star Trek: Into Darkness." Add to that his turn in "August: Osage County," and we can almost forgive "The Fifth Estate" for lacking luster. And hey, no one can argue — Cumberbatch does a dead-on Julian Assange.

 

11. Scarlett Johansson

Even though this was a non-"Avengers" year for Johansson, she did well for herself in smaller films. Johansson got major props for her turn as a Jersey Shore-type "dime" with traditional values in "Don Jon." Johansson also voices a role as computer program Samantha in "Her," which has already earned a slew of award nominations and five Oscar nods. Sadly, since she doesn't appear onscreen, Johansson isn't eligible for a Golden Globe or Oscar nom for her buzzy performance in the Spike Jonze film.

 

10. Melissa McCarthy

This will be remembered as the year that McCarthy took it to the next level. She cracked us up as an earthy Boston cop in "The Heat," which was, incidentally, the biggest comedy of the year. Lady McC also starred alongside Jason Batemen in the surprise comedy hit "Identity Thief." Her one-two slapstick punch solidified that even the unlikeliest of movie stars can command a major audience.

 

9. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

The Rock is money. Period. Starring in both "Fast & Furious 6" and "G.I. Joe: Retaliation," the wrestler-turned-actor was in two of the biggest movies of the year. Add the action-comedy "Pain and Gain" and super-intense crime thriller "Snitch" to that list, and he earned bragging rights to a total box-office take of more than $1 billion worldwide this year alone.

 

8. Robert Downey Jr.

What takes four movies for The Rock to achieve, RDJ does in one. "Iron Man 3" made $1.2 billion worldwide and was the No. 1 movie of the year. That is all.

 

7. Leonardo DiCaprio

He has gotten heaps of praise, a Golden Globe win, and an Oscar nomination for playing outlandish '80s stock market crook Jordan Belfort in "The Wolf of Wall Street." Sure, "The Great Gatsby" wasn't strong with critics, but DiCaprio's star power brought a huge audience to the vibrant and stylish F. Scott Fitzgerald adaptation.

 

6. Chris Hemsworth

In "Thor: The Dark World," Hemsworth hammered his way to some box-office glory. Add to that the high marks he got for the acclaimed — and Golden Globe-nominated — racing film "Rush," and you have one hot actor who continues his road to total domination.

[Related: The 25 Best Movies of 2013]

 

5. Tom Hanks

After "Cloud Atlas" we were worried we'd lost Mr. Hanks and all of his bizarre personas to the ether of self-indulgence. Luckily "Saving Mr. Banks" and "Captain Phillips" brought him back to center stage. With one Golden Globe nod under his belt for "Phillips" and several Oscar nods for the film, Hanks is back.

 

4. Amy Adams

Play Lois Lane in a Superman blockbuster ("Man of Steel"): Check. Astound audiences and get major awards season buzz as a sexy crook in "American Hustle": Double check. Appear in the buzzy relationship film "Her," you know, to add to the hype: Check. Kiss Jennifer Lawrence: Smooch and check. Yeah, with a Golden Globe win and an Oscar nomination to add to that, Adams is having her greatest year ever.

 

3. Matthew McConaughey

He just keeps getting better. McC's tour de force performance as a dying man with a savvy spirit in "Dallas Buyers Club" earned him a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nod. "Buyers" came along only a few months after McConaughey drew raves for his performance as a killer in hiding in "Mud." As if that wasn't enough, McConaughey is more than a delight as he steals early scenes in "The Wolf of Wall Street" as the devil on Leonardo DiCaprio's shoulder.

 

2. Sandra Bullock

Bullock hit the bull's-eye — big time. Starring in the year's biggest comedy, her feat in "The Heat" was soon overshadowed by the mammoth success of her turn as an astronaut in survival mode. "Gravity" has received heaps of awards season buzz since it came out in the fall, also becoming a global hit with $642 million earned.

 

1. Jennifer Lawrence

Since her Oscar win for "The Silver Linings Playbook," Lawrence has been on fire. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" is now the highest grossing movie of the year, and, oh yeah, critics loved it. She won a Globe and earned another Oscar nomination for her supporting role in "American Hustle." It all makes us wonder, could J.Law possibly get any hotter?

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Watch Jennifer Lawrence Burn Up a Microwave in 'American Hustle':

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