I am of the belief that there is a certain art to the construction of a fine trailer and I feel like this is the category where I finally get a chance to express that. However, I do want to clear up that this award is for the best trailer to a 2013 film, not the best trailer that debuted in 2013, so trailers for 2014 that have already debuted will not be eligible until next year. Also I’ll only be considering trailers for movies which I’ve seen so that I can know whether or not they give away spoilers.
- American Hustle: It is perhaps telling that this trailer doesn’t put one iota of effort towards selling audiences on the story of American Hustle. Instead it focuses on the actors and the visuals and outside of the speech about the painting at the beginning it hardly features a single line of dialog. For most of the trailer’s run time it rhythmically cuts between various tantalizing images along to Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.”
- Only God Forgives (Red Band): I’ve gotta say, I like this movie a lot more with all the boring parts cut out. This trailer does a great job of whittling this strange film down to its most intriguing images and moments. Its use of the Thai villain’s karaoke scenes makes for surprisingly effective scoring, and I also like how the music picks up right as the guy is about to be stabbed in the kneecaps. Also, ending on the “wanna fight” line works quite well.
- Spring Breakers: Spring Breakers is a crazy fever dream of a movie, I kind of like the idea of it better than actually sitting through the movie. Fortunately this two minute version of the film exists. There are a lot of deceptive ways that the advertisers could have run with this, but aside from the fact that they maybe sell it as more of a conventional thriller than it really is, this trailer actually seems to “get” the movie’s vibe and doesn’t shy away from its more uncommercial aspects.
- Star Trek Into Darkness (Trailer 3): This is probably the most straightforward and traditional of the trailers here, but there’s nothing wrong with that. This trailer does pretty much everything I expect from a blockbuster trailer: its sells the movie’s epic scale, presents some very cool imagery, teases some really neat action scenes, and most importantly knows what not to show. If anything this trailer’s biggest problem is that it makes the film look a lot better than it actually is, making the final film’s dumber moments all the more disappointing.
- The Wolf of Wall Street: There’s a long and storied history of trailers using Kanye West music, with most of them leaning towards his music’s opulence and grandeur (the trailer for Leonardo Di Caprio’s other film this year did just that), but this trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street instead used his song “Black Skinheads” as a sort of rhythmic march as the trailer presents all sorts of crazy moments from the film. The trailer doesn’t lie at all about the film’s tone and it makes me wonder why so many people were surprised by the film’s nature when it came out.