Simon Dillon reveals his shortlist

Before I list my ten best films of 2013, I am once again compelled to mention those that narrowly missed out. It is with great regret, therefore, that I name Saving Mr Banks, The Conjuring, Frozen, Byzantium, Prisoners, Rush, Mud, A Hijacking and I Wish as films that almost but didn't quite make the shortlist.

Also a quick note for non-UK residents: to qualify for this list the film must have been released in the UK in 2013 - hence some of the major Oscar contenders (such as 12 Years a Slave) are not in the running.

One final point: I have yet to see Robert Redford's supposedly superb All is Lost, so I may later amend this list. However for now, in order of merit, my ten best films of 2013 are as follows:

My Ten Favourite Films Of 2013

10. Nebraska - Alexander Payne's slow but warmhearted father/son road movie contains much of his usual offbeat, darkly comic, melancholy schtick. It also throws up interesting subject matter including economic downturn in the Midwest, small town racism, aging veterans and more. Beautiful monochrome vistas too.

Best Bit: The hilariously inappropriate comments in the graveyard.

My Ten Favourite Films Of 2013

9. Zero Dark Thirty - Whatever the controversies surrounding this depiction of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, Katherine Bigelow's film is absolutely first-rate. Jessica Chastain is brilliant as usual in the lead role - a woman whose entire existence is defined by her obsession with tracking down Bin Laden.

Best Bit: The riveting climactic raid, shorn of all machismo with professionals merely carrying out their job.

My Ten Favourite Films Of 2013

8. The Place Beyond the Pines - Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Dane DeHaan excel in this modern Greek tragedy exploring - in epic fashion - difficult relationships between fathers and sons. Some argued the film was flawed by the plot being too neat, but that didn't bother me one bit. In fact, I found it a properly upsetting experience (that's a compliment, by the way).

Best Bit: (SPOILER WARNING) The shot of the motorbike zooming away at the end is quite possibly the most heartbreaking image I have seen all year.

My Ten Favourite Films Of 2013

7. The Great Gatsby - Unfairly trounced by critics, this was a remarkable interpretation of Fitzgerald's classic novel. Baz Luhrmann's unique visual style, bold musical choices and a terrific performance by Leonardo DiCaprio are only three reasons this is far from the turkey so many claimed it to be. Its themes are both timely (capitalist excess, moral decadence) and timeless (romantic obsession).

Best Bit: The hotel room showdown between Gatsby and Daisy's boorish husband Tom.

My Ten Favourite Films Of 2013

6. Wreck-It Ralph - This animated Disney gem based in a computer game world was an unexpected blast of pure joy from beginning to end. In the run-up to this film's release I had subjected myself to the likes of Amour and Zero Dark Thirty, and had almost forgotten what it was like to feel better coming out of a cinema than when you went in.

Best Bit: The ridiculous - and absolutely hilarious - romantic subplot between Fix-It Felix Jr and the tough-as-nails soldier from the space bug game.

My Ten Favourite Films Of 2013

5. Philomena - This hugely powerful true story of a journalist helping an Irish woman track down her lost son decades after he was taken from her by the Catholic church (via the notorious Magdalene laundries) has an undercurrent of seething rage lurking beneath its entertaining, odd-couple dynamic. Great performances from Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.