Thursday, July 01, 2010

my Alex In Movieland awards, 2nd edition: Episode 2/2 - the Actors

Scroll down to the previous post (Episode 1), which includes Best Picture. This one is the final set and it’s all about the acting, which I think is most delicious to rank, in an awards season or outside one.

Some things about me and these categories:

- I have few real favorites. I think the men easily had a greater year. The women had some fabulous performances, but just a few and, as a whole, cannot compare will all those wonderful leading men.
- Best category: Best Actor, the other ones are less interesting. Each of the male performances in my top 10 could easily be a winner of his own, from no. 1 to no. 10 which is Tahar Rahim and those great runner-ups.
- I’ve made some eccentric, subjective choices like in Supporting Actor, but some obvious ones which I consider brilliant, like the Supporting Actress winner (a strange category, in which I can find moments of greatness AND flaws in all except for the terrific first 2).

I am mentioning again the list of eligible/seen films (60):

500 Days of Summer, Ajami, Antichrist, Avatar, Away We Go, The Blind Side, Bright Star, Broken Embraces, Bronson, Brothers, Capitalism: A Love Story, Cheri, Coco Before Chanel, Coraline, Crazy Heart, District 9, Il Divo, Duplicity, An Education, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Hangover, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Hurt Locker, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, In the Loop, The Informant!, Inglourious Basterds, Invictus, It’s Complicated, Julia, Julie & Julia, The Last Station, The Lovely Bones, Mary and Max, The Messenger, The Milk of Sorrow, Moon, Nine, Precious, The Princess and the Frog, A Prophet, Public Enemies, The Road, The Secret in Their Eyes, The Secret of Kells, The September Issue, Seraphine, A Serious Man, Sherlock Holmes, A Single Man, Star Trek, Summer Hours, Transformers II, Two Lovers, Up, Up in the Air, Whatever Works, The White Ribbon, Where the Wild Things Are, The Young Victoria

And here we go:


1. Ben Foster – The Messenger
Incredible. Simple, but heartbreaking. Likeable. Regular guy. The power of the intense moments. Reliving the war moments.

2. Viggo Mortensen – The Road
The face, those eyes! So much with so little dialogue. Underrated. Heartbreaking and moving. Perfect casting.

3. Tom Hardy – Bronson
Unexpected. So much cruelty. Disturbing hotness. 100% dedicated to the character. Deliciously plays around. Fantastic.

4. Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker
Makes an impact. Fit for the film. Subtle. Right casting. Effective macho bullshit. Natural & charming. The camera loves him.

5. Sam Rockwell – Moon
Complicated. Survives the story. Believability. Lived-in performance. Attention grabbing. Knows how to play the victim. Heartbreaking.

6. Colin Firth – A Single Man
7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – (500) Days of Summer
8. Toni Servillo – Il Divo
9. Robert Downey Jr. – Sherlock Holmes
10. Tahar Rahim – A Prophet

Almost there: George Clooney – Up in the Air, Johnny Depp – Public Enemies, Sharlto Copley – District 9, Joaquin Phoenix – Two Lovers, Jeff Bridges – Crazy Heart.


1. Yolande Moreau – Seraphine
Fascinating. So inside the character. Accomplished. Heartbreaking. Real. The greatness of simplicity. The best.

2. Carey Mulligan – An Education
A star is born. Breath of fresh air. Lightness. Believable. Adorable. Smart, well thought, but so natural.

3. Tilda Swinton – Julia
The experience of acting. Tough. Rough. No vanity. Fun & crazy. Carries an unlikeable character. No excuses.

4. Michelle Pfeiffer – Cheri
Diva is back. Sentimental. Easy & effortless. The beauty of simplicity. So cool to like. Fun, but with dramatic twist. Delivers the ending.

5. Gabourey Sidibe – Precious
Real. Keeps it grounded. Emotional. Heartbreaking. No excuses. In the zone. Natural. Powerful.

6. Meryl Streep – Julie & Julia
7. Meryl Streep – It’s Complicated
8. Zooey Deschanel – (500) Days of Summer
9. Charlotte Gainsbourg – Antichrist
10. Sandra Bullock – The Blind Side

Almost there: Saoirse Ronan – The Lovely Bones, Abbie Cornish – Bright Star, Penelope Cruz – Broken Embraces, Helen Mirren – The Last Station, Julia Roberts – Duplicity


1. Leonard Proxauf – The White Ribbon
I am so damn subjective. One scene to kill them all. The crying game. Raw emotions. Incredible talent. Contributes to the mystery.

2. Anthony Mackie – The Hurt Locker
Great team with Renner. Believable. Always in control of the performance. Emotional twist. Subtle. Likeable.

3. Woody Harrelson – The Messenger
The performance has balls. Relaxed. Natural. Makes it look easy. No excuses. Great mix of funny and dramatic.

4. Christopher Plummer – The Last Station
Heart of the film. Emotional. Relaxed. Believable. Forest scene. His honesty. Intelligence. Acting experience.

5. Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
Intelligent performance. Calculated. Knows how to play with the camera. Funny. Cruel. Steals the show. Takes advantage of the role.

6. Peter Capaldi – In the Loop
7. Peter Sarsgaard – An Education
8. Alfred Molina – An Education
9. Stanley Tucci – The Lovely Bones
10. Robert Duvall – The Road

Almost there: Zach Galifianakis – The Hangover, Brian Geraghty – The Hurt Locker, Jim Broadbent – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Jim Broadbent – The Young Victoria, Steve Buscemi – The Messenger


1. Mo’Nique – Precious
One of the best ever. Indescribable. Well calculated. No vanity. Has fun with the monster. Reinvents a character type. Heartbreaking. Brilliant.

2. Marion Cotillard – Public Enemies
Does justice to an all-familiar character. Delicate. Sweet. Extremely likeable. Fierce. Grabs the attention. Shows experience.

3. Melanie Laurent – Inglourious Basterds
Subtle. Brings the acting just in key scenes. Her face. Believable. Knows the character. Likeable. Restaurant scene.

4. Emma Thompson – An Education
A fan. So much with limited screentime. I smiled. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted more. In 3 minutes, I felt like I knew her.

5. Samantha Morton – The Messenger
Take it as it is. Subtle. Kind. Not afraid of the camera. The difficult dialogue. The difficult scenes. Natural, free. Confident.

6. Diane Kruger – Inglourious Basterds
7. Marion Cotillard – Nine
8. Edith Scob – Summer Hours
9. Olivia Williams – An Education
10. Julianne Moore – A Single Man

Almost there: Susan Sarandon – The Lovely Bones, Penelope Cruz – Nine, Paula Patton – Precious, Mariah Carey – Precious, Rosamund Pike – An Education.

Top 5 performances of 2009:

1. Mo’Nique – Precious
2. Ben Foster – The Messenger
3. Viggo Mortensen – The Road
4. Tom Hardy – Bronson
5. Yolande Moreau – Seraphine

Overall winners of the Alex In Movieland awards…

Best Picture: Precious
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, for The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Ben Foster, for The Messenger
Best Actress: Yolande Moreau, for Seraphine
Best Supporting Actor: Leonard Proxauf, for The White Ribbon
Best Supporting Actress: Mo’Nique, for Precious
Best Original Screenplay: Mary and Max
Best Adapted Screenplay: Precious
Best Cinematography: Bright Star
Best Original Score: Up

Thanks for reading :)


Runs Like A Gay said...

I'm embarassed, I've seen so few of these performances (and so far none of your winners) although I intend to catch up with some over the coming months.

Do you generally prefer performances grounded in reality, or the delicious cartoonishness of characters like Hans Landa?

Malcolm said...

It's really fun to read this!

And some of your choices are really interesting because they haven't had much hype last awards season.

Alex in Movieland said...

I guess Tom Hardy and Christoph Waltz are the only ones in my top 5 which have "cartoonish characters". I obviously prefer more dramatic, but these 2 previously mentioned were excellent, especially Hardy.

Alex in Movieland said...

I don't know if Seraphine was eligible for last year's Oscar, but, if so, I can't believe there wasn't a very serious campaign for Yolande Moreau.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Okay, glad to see Foster there and of course Carey and Marion. I know you didn't like Bright Star but Whishaw doesn't even crack your top 15? You think Bullock is better that darling Saoirse? Nonetheless great reading people's lists.

Alex in Movieland said...

Andrew, I know you're a fan of Abbie and Saoirse, but yes, I'd put Sandra above.
however, I hardly care about the Best Actress list from no. 6-7 down... as I said, I found it to be a weak year for the ladies, as a whole

James D. said...

Good to see Séraphine there. A criminally underseen film.

Uwe said...

If you like Leonard Proxauf in "The White Ribbon" you should see his acting in the 2006 film "Nevermore"
Incredible young talented actor.
I will tell him about this blog.
Btw: Leonard won this year the Young Artist Award for his role in "The White Ribbon"