Friday, February 28, 2014

Best of 2013: Performances

When it came to performances in 2013, it was the best of times.

In fact I am so sated with the quality of acting this year, from stellar films as well as films not so stellar, that 2013 feels like an aberration. An unearned treat, that will likely not present to us again in future years. Just look at the embarrassment of riches amongst female actors; I have fourteen (!) names in this category and not the heart to strike a single one off because each is so fully realized. 

As in past years, I refuse to shorten my list of best actors in each category. If the purpose of such lists (as silly as they may be) is to grant recognition to those who were able to find that inscrutable ether where actor becomes character, then why not spread the wealth. 

So here are my picks for the top performances, more or less in the order of their effect on me. 
Brie Larson in Short Term 12

Best Actor, Female
Brie Larson, Short Term 12
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
Julie Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight
Olivia Wilde, Drinking Buddies
Paulina Garcia, Gloria
Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now
Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha
Veerle Baatens, The Broken Circle Breakdown
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
Judy Dench, Philomena
Suzanne Clement, Laurence Anyways

Best Actor, Male
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
Jake Gyllenhaal, Prisoners
Christian Bale, Into The Furnace
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
John Gallagher Jr, Short Term 12
Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight
Robert Redford, All Is Lost
Miles Teller, The Spectacular Now
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Great Gatsby
Oscar Isaac, Inside Lleywn Davis
Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt

Best Supporting Actor, Female
Kate Hudson in The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Kate Hudson, The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Melonie Diaz, Fruitvale Station
Lea Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color
Scarlett Johannson, Her and Don Jon
Onata Aprile, What Maisie Knew
Juliette Nicholson, August: Osage County
Reese Witherspoon, Mud
Paula Patton, Disconnect

Best Supporting Actor, Male
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years A Slave
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Tye Sheridan, Mud
Michael Fassbender in 12 Years A Slave
Kyle Chandler, The Spectacular Now
James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Jason Bateman, Disconnect
Daniel Bruhl, Rush
Matthew McConaughey, Mud
Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back
Jonah Bobo, Disconnect
Paul Giamatti, Saving Mr Banks
Alexander Skarsgard, What Maisie Knew
Woody Harrelson, Into The Furnace
Bradley Cooper, The Place Beyond The Pines

And even with so many names I cannot shake off the feeling that I have overlooked a few others. I honestly fail to understand those who have been complaining that it hasn't been a good year for films. 

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