Monday, 26 January 2015

Alternate Best Actor 2014: Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar

Matthew McConaughey did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Cooper in Interstellar.

Interstellar is an ambitious but problematic film about a group astronauts trying to find a new home as earth is becoming uninhabitable. The film contains some of Christopher Nolan's very best as a director, but some of his very worst as a writer.

Matthew McConaughey plays an average Joe hero for the film, although technically not all that average considering he is a former spacecraft pilot. When the film opens though he is merely a farmer attempting to do his best to take care of his family. This is an interesting character for McConaughey to take on as it is sort of a blend for him from his former days as the leading man, and his more intense character driven work. In the early scenes it mostly stresses McConaughey to once again be the semi straight forward leading man to invest in. McConaughey is quietly charming in his usual way that he hones in properly to fit into a guy like Cooper. He's particularly good in portraying Cooper as a father. McConaughey has particularly great chemistry with Mackenzie Foy as Cooper's daughter Murph. McConaughey and Foy both are terrific in creating the needed natural ease and warmth between the two. They are absolutely convincing in creating the needed bond between the two which is truly an essential part of the film.

An idea behind Cooper in the early scenes is that he seems to constantly still have his head in the stars even while it seems that the rest of society has become particularly worldly minded. McConaughey is great at being a bit of a personification of an individual exceptionalism. McConaughey carries this incredible passion around the ideas that Cooper holds dear that it's hard not to sympathize with the character's dreams involving them. McConaughey, for the lack of a better word, is properly spunky in the role. Cooper basically wants to save the day for his family and the earth as a whole, and McConaughey makes this a sensible idea through his performance. McConaughey is very important in creating the sense of excitement in seeing the mission through as he conveys such a powerful desire in Cooper to find the way. What matters the most is that McConaughey makes it such a genuine fervor and allows this to be such an inspiring idea. McConaughey makes Cooper's objective, even though he leaves his family, a noble endeavor.

McConaughey's performance becomes all the more essential once the mission takes off and the film does indulge in a great deal of expository dialogue in order to explain the various scientific concepts involved in the film. McConaughey always grounds the film whenever he is onscreen as he never becomes lost in the words. He perhaps has less of it to deal with, and the some that he does have McConaughey handles in a particularly natural fashion. More necessary though is the way that McConaughey always conveys what it is that the others are talking in terms of emotional means. When they speak of something relating to completion of the mission, what way they are going to complete the mission, or simply whether or not they will lose more time, McConaughey always reflects what this means to the story of Cooper and what he cares most about. This being of course his family and McConaughey always keeps that human quality within the larger spectacle of the film, and never loses it for a moment even during all of the film's sound and fury.

Now as good as McConaughey is in showing how Cooper is always remembering his family that seems like almost nothing compared to the scenes where the film focuses right on it. There is one long scene where Cooper watches messages from home after having lost a considerable amount of time caused by gravitational time dilation. Which means that while Cooper explored one of the planets decades went by on earth while Cooper was only on the planet for a few hours. McConaughey is absolutely heartbreaking in the scene. He is outstanding as he reflects just how every message forces Cooper to see what he has lost over the years, and realize the lives he's left his children of. The intense emotional devastation McConaughey depicts is incredibly moving, and makes one the remarkable scenes in this epic just a man watching a monitor. All of the real weight of the time loss is completely expressed by McConaughey's performance, and this whole idea is never lost for a moment due to his presence.

The emotional poignancy of McConaughey's work brilliantly carries the film and is never overwhelmed by the larger vision of the film. McConaughey treads so efficiently through every turn that it is something amazing to behold. There are even a few moments where McConaughey does throw in a light bit of comedy particularly in Cooper's reactions with the robot TARS, that McConaughey never overplays this but does bring some much needed humor to the film. He also never allows any scene that he's in to completely fall flat because of his performance. Even the very divisive ending scene where Cooper spends his time in a time bending bookshelf, McConaughey still does not lose it. McConaughey does his absolute best to make this a believable result of the journey through his depiction of the emotional state of the moment. Again McConaughey is absurdly moving in the scene as he shows Cooper desperately pleading with himself to stay home, and even if you don't buy the scene as a whole you can certainly believe McConaughey's performance.

The film does have more than a few pitfalls along the way, but Matthew McConaughey never falls into one of them. Although McConaughey is even in scenes that don't entirely work, such as the demented guest appearance by Matt Damon, McConaughey never falters in his portrayal of Cooper. The missteps going on in the scene such as Damon getting much too of an over the top of a villain speech as well as villainous performance. The character frankly would be more fitting for a Star Trek episode than this sort of science fiction, but McConaughey does not lose his mark as he keeps Cooper's reactions wholly honest. He acts as the perfect guide for the film's literal journey as well as its emotional one. McConaughey makes for a likable hero who we want to see survive and succeed his mission. In addition McConaughey brings that intensity he's more currently known for in portraying simply the devotion a father has for his daughter. I could actually easily see none of the film working if it were not Matthew McConaughey's performance which stands as the dramatic core which holds the far reaching story together.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Alternate Best Actor 2014

And the Nominees Were Not:

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler

Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice

Matthew McConaughey in Interstellar

Brendan Gleeson in Calvary

Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man

Predict Those Five or Predict These Five:

Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy

Guy Pearce in The Rover

David Oyelowo in Selma

Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel

Tom Hardy in Locke 

Or predict both if you want.

Best Actor 2014: Results

5. Steve Carell in Foxcatcher - Steve Carell unfortunately portrays his character as an obvious psychopath when a subtler approach likely would have been more effective. His performance is not without merit, but even the best elements are hurt due to his work being fundamentally flawed.

Best Scene: John du Pont does a training session while his mother watches.
4. Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything - His film's depiction of Stephen Hawking might be a bit inadequate, but Redmayne's performance never is. He gives an especially remarkable and convincing depiction of the decay caused Hawking's disease.

Best Scene: At dinner with Jane and Jonathan.
3. Bradley Cooper in American Sniper - Like Redmayne his film does leave something to be desired. Bradley Cooper though elevates his material by giving a powerful portrayal of the toll of war on a both on the battlefield and at home.

Best Scene: His first kill.
2. Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game - The film demands that Cumberbatch be a delightful eccentric genius and a tragic suicide. Cumberbatch mends these differing tones by being an endearing hero, and a heartbreaking victim. 

Best Scene: Turing after his chemical castration.
1. Micheal Keaton in Birdman - Good Prediction mcofra7. Michael Keaton easily stood above his competition for me with his great portrayal of a superhero actor proving himself. Whether the allusion is intentional or not, Keaton certainly proves himself here. He guides the film brilliantly with his multifaceted performance that meets every challenge presented to him. He attains greatness with this entertaining and truly inspiring work.

Best Scene: Kinda all of them, but I'll say....Riggan's flight of fancy.
Best Actor Ranking:
  1. 2013
  2. 1962
  3. 1939
  4. 1964
  5. 2002
  6. 1978
  7. 1965
  8. 1974
  9. 2014
  10. 1970
  11. 2012
  12. 1976
  13. 1954
  14. 1966
  15. 1982
  16. 1960
  17. 1983
  18. 1967
  19. 1979
  20. 1955
  21. 2011
  22. 1986
  23. 1973
  24. 1972 
  25. 1994
  26. 1940
  27. 1950
  28. 1963
  29. 1975
  30. 1952
  31. 1980
  32. 1953
  33. 1959
  34. 1987
  35. 1977
  36. 1968
  37. 2006
  38. 1938
  39. 1969
  40. 1992
  41. 1961
  42. 1971
  43. 1956
  44. 1951
  45. 1984
  46. 1943
  47. 1958
  48. 1948
  49. 1998
  50. 1999
  51. 1988
  52. 1944
  53. 1936
  54. 1946
  55. 1957
  56. 2007
  57. 2005
  58. 1942
  59. 1947
  60. 1993
  61. 1981
  62. 1989
  63. 1995
  64. 2004
  65. 1937 
  66. 2009
  67. 1941
  68. 1997
  69. 1931
  70. 1996
  71. 1949
  72. 2003 
  73. 2010
  74. 1990
  75. 1945
  76. 1985
  77. 2001
  78. 2008
  79. 1991
  80. 2000
  1. F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus (1984)
  2. Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  3. James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) 
  4. Richard Farnsworth in The Straight Story (1999)
  5. Laurence Olivier in The Entertainer (1960) 
  6. Alec Guinness in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  7. William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) 
  8. Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot (1989)
  9. Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954) 
  10. Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  11. George C. Scott in Patton (1970)    
  12. Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975)
  13. Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies (1983)
  14. Jack Lemmon in Save the Tiger (1973)
  15. Peter O'Toole in The Lion in Winter (1968)
  16. Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy (1969)
  17. Al Pacino in Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  18. Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces (1970)
  19. Paul Newman in The Verdict (1982)
  20. Laurence Olivier in Sleuth (1972)
  21. Peter Finch in Network (1976)
  22. Laurence Olivier in Hamlet (1948)
  23. Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  24. Clark Gable Gone With the Wind (1939)
  25. Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend (1945)
  26. Ernest Borgnine in Marty (1955)
  27. Joaquin Phoenix in The Master (2012)
  28. Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (2012)
  29. Bob Hoskins in Mona Lisa (1986)  
  30. William Holden in Stalag 17 (1953)
  31. Paul Newman in Hud (1963) 
  32. Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club (2013)  
  33. Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) 
  34. James Stewart in Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
  35. Michael Keaton in Birdman (2014)
  36. Richard Burton in The Spy Who Came in From The Cold (1965)
  37. Montgomery Clift in From Here to Eternity (1953)
  38. Stuart Whitman in The Mark (1961)
  39. Paul Newman in The Hustler (1961) 
  40. Richard Burton in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)  
  41. Jack Lemmon in Days Of Wine And Roses (1962)
  42. Gregory Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
  43. Kirk Douglas in Lust For Life (1956)
  44. Laurence Olivier in Richard III (1956)
  45. Rod Steiger in The Pawnbroker (1965)
  46. Tom Hulce in Amadeus (1984)
  47. Robert De Niro in Raging Bull (1980)
  48. Laurence Olivier in Rebecca (1940)
  49. Leonardo DiCarpio in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  50. Michael Caine in Alfie (1966)
  51. Paul Scofield in A Man For All Seasons (1966)
  52. Giancarlo Giannini in Seven Beauties (1976)
  53. Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune (1990)
  54. Jean Dujardin in The Artist (2011)
  55. Montgomery Clift in A Place in the Sun (1951)
  56. Robert Montgomery in Night Must Fall (1937) 
  57. Charles Laughton in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933)
  58. Jack Nicholson in Ironweed (1987)
  59. Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (1934)
  60. Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven (1992)
  61. James Woods in Salvador (1986)
  62. Alec Guinness in The Lavender Hill Mob (1952)
  63. Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  64. Spencer Tracy in A Bad Day At Black (1955)
  65. Art Carney in Harry and Tonto (1974)
  66. Peter O'Toole in Becket (1964)
  67. Adrien Brody in The Pianist (2002)
  68. Jack Nicholson in Chinatown (1974)
  69.  Victor McLaglen in The Informer (1935)
  70. Al Pacino in The Godfather Part 2 (1974)
  71. Bruce Dern in Nebraska (2013)
  72. Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  73. James Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes Washington (1939)
  74. Anthony Quinn in Zorba the Greek (1964)
  75. Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland (2006)
  76. Rod Steiger in The Heat of the Night (1967)
  77. Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail (1973)
  78. Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  79. James Cagney in Angels With Dirty Faces (1938) 
  80. Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry (1960)
  81. Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver (1976)
  82. Laurence Harvey in Room at the Top (1959)
  83. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote (2005) 
  84. James Dean in East of Eden (1955)
  85. Ronald Colman in A Double Life (1947) 
  86. Jon Voight in Coming Home (1978)
  87. Laurence Olivier in Wuthering Heights (1939)
  88. Tom Wilkinson in In The Bedroom (2001)
  89. Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt (2002)
  90. Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2008)
  91. Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (2007)
  92. Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field (1963)
  93. Richard Harris in This Sporting Life (1963)
  94. Albert Finney in Tom Jones (1963) 
  95. Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style (1962)
  96. Gene Hackman in The French Connection (1971)
  97. Edward Norton in American History X (1998)
  98. Demian Bichir in A Better Life (2011)
  99. Marlon Brando in Julius Caesar (1953)
  100. Robert Donat in The Citadel (1938)
  101. Charles Boyer in Gaslight (1944)
  102. Paul Lukas in Watch on the Rhine (1943)
  103. James Mason in A Star is Born (1954)
  104. Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940)
  105. Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr Chips (1939)
  106. Leslie Howard in Pygmalion (1938)
  107. Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  108. Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972)
  109. Peter Sellers in Being There (1979)
  110. Walter Huston The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
  111. Michael Caine in Sleuth (1972)
  112. Robert Duvall in The Apostle (1997)
  113. Emil Jannings in The Last Command (1928)
  114. Liam Neeson in Schindler's List (1993)
  115. Walter Huston in Dodsworth (1936)
  116. John Hurt in The Elephant Man (1980)
  117. Ben Kingsley in Gandhi (1982)
  118. Jack Lemmon in The Apartment (1960)
  119. Laurence Olivier in Henry V (1946)
  120. Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game (2014)
  121. Nicolas Cage in Adaptation (2002)
  122. Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker (2009)
  123. Kirk Douglas in Champion (1949)
  124. Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda (2004)
  125. Tom Courtenay in The Dresser (1983)
  126. Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (1943)
  127. Henry Fonda in The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  128. Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
  129. Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises (2007)
  130. Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator (2004)
  131. Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption (1994) 
  132. Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York (2002)
  133. Gene Hackman in Mississippi Burning (1988)
  134. Bradley Cooper in American Sniper (2014)
  135. William Hurt in Children of Lesser God (1986)
  136. Ronald Colman in Bulldog Drummond (1930)
  137. Richard Burton in Becket (1964)
  138. Marlon Brando in Viva Zapata! (1952)
  139. Bing Crosby in The Country Girl (1954)
  140. Dudley Moore in Arthur (1981)
  141. Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
  142. Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond (1981) 
  143. Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way (1944)
  144. Nigel Hawthorne in The Madness of King George (1994)
  145. Charles Laughton in A Witness for the Prosecution(1957)
  146. John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever (1977)
  147. Oskar Werner in Ship of Fools (1965)
  148. Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  149. Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking (1995)
  150. Marcello Mastroianni in A Special Day (1977)
  151. William Powell in The Thin Man (1934)
  152. Monty Woolley in The Pied Piper (1942)
  153. William Hurt in Broadcast News (1987) 
  154. Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1982)
  155. Maximilian Schell in The Man in a Glass Booth (1975)
  156. Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything (2014)
  157. Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables (2012) 
  158. Alexander Knox in Wilson (1944)
  159. Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters (1998)
  160. Tom Hanks in Cast Away (2000)
  161. James Stewart in Harvey (1950)
  162. Gary Busey in The Buddy Holly Story (1978)
  163. Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke (1967)
  164. Robert Duvall in The Great Santini (1980)
  165. Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  166. William Holden in Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  167. Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network (2010)
  168. Jose Ferrer in Cyrano De Bergerac (1950)
  169. Daniel Day-Lewis in In the Name of the Father (1993) 
  170. Cary Grant in Penny Serenade (1941)
  171. Leonardo DiCaprio Blood Diamond (2006)
  172. John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (1994)
  173. Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  174. Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate (1967)
  175. Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  176. Peter Fonda in Ulee's Gold (1997)
  177. Paul Muni in I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang (1933)
  178. Alan Bates in The Fixer (1968)
  179. Anthony Quinn in Wild is the Wind (1957)
  180. Albert Finney in The Dresser (1983)
  181. Albert Finney in Under The Volcano (1984)
  182. Sidney Poitier in The Defiant Ones (1958)
  183. Tony Curtis in The Defiant Ones (1958)
  184. Orson Welles in Citizen Kane (1941)
  185. Sam Waterson in The Killing Fields (1984)
  186. Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987)
  187. Brad Pitt in Moneyball (2011)
  188. Russell Crowe in The Insider (1999)
  189. Richard Harris in The Field (1990)
  190. Roy Scheider in All that Jazz (1979)
  191. Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965)
  192. Topol in Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
  193. Colin Firth in A Single Man (2009)
  194. Melvyn Douglas in I Never Sang for My Father (1970)
  195. Clark Gable in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  196. Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  197. Marlon Brando Last Tango in Paris (1973)
  198. Peter Finch in Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)
  199. David Niven in Separate Tables (1958)
  200. Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson (2006)
  201. Richard Jenkins in The Visitor (2008)
  202. Clint Eastwood in Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  203. Robert Downey Jr. in Chaplin (1992)
  204. Lionel Barrymore in A Free Soul (1931)
  205. Gary Cooper in High Noon (1952)
  206. Jack Lemmon in The China Syndrome (1979)
  207. Spencer Tracy in Father of the Bride (1950)
  208. Dan O'Herlihy in Robinson Crusoe (1954)
  209. Peter O'Toole in The Ruling Class (1972)
  210. Paul Newman in A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)
  211. Fredric March in A Star is Born (1937)
  212. Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire (1996)  
  213. Jackie Cooper in Skippy (1931)
  214. Arthur Kennedy in Bright Victory (1951)
  215. Ronald Colman in Random Harvest (1942)
  216. Kirk Douglas in The Bad and The Beautiful (1952)
  217. Gregory Peck in The Keys of the Kingdom (1945)
  218. Peter O'Toole in My Favorite Year (1982)
  219. James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  220. Montgomery Clift in The Search (1948)
  221. Richard Burton in Equus (1977)
  222. Mickey Rooney in The Human Comedy (1943)
  223. William Holden in Network (1976)
  224. Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient (1997)
  225. William Powell in My Man Godfrey (1936)
  226. Cliff Robertson in Charly (1968)
  227. Paul Newman in Nobody's Fool (1994)
  228. Maximilian Schell in Judgment At Nuremberg (1961)
  229. Laurence Olivier in The Boys from Brazil (1978)
  230. Ronald Colman in Condemned (1930)
  231. Peter O'Toole in The Stunt Man (1980)
  232. Kenneth Branagh in Henry V (1989)
  233. Laurence Olivier in Othello (1965)
  234. Peter O'Toole in Venus (2006)
  235. Warner Baxter in In Old Arizona (1929)
  236. Dustin Hoffman in Lenny (1974)
  237. Gary Cooper in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
  238. Fredric March in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  239. Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  240. Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
  241. Warren Beatty in Heaven Can Wait (1978)
  242. Michael Caine in The Quiet American (2002)
  243. James Earl Jones in The Great White Hope (1970)
  244. Marcello Mastroianni in Dark Eyes (1987)
  245. Fredric March in The Royal Family of Broadway (1931)
  246. Michael Caine in Educating Rita (1983)
  247. Al Pacino in ...And Justice for All (1979)
  248. Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart (2009)
  249. James Franco in 127 Hours (2010)
  250. Anthony Hopkins in The Remains of the Day (1993)
  251. Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity (1953)
  252. James Dean in Giant (1956)
  253. Burt Lancaster in Atlantic City (1981)
  254. William Powell in Life With Father (1947)
  255. Charles Laughton in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  256. Jack Lemmon in Some Like it Hot (1959)
  257. Maurice Chevalier in The Love Parade (1930)
  258. Bill Murray in Lost in Translation (2003)
  259. Jude Law in Cold Mountain (2003)
  260. Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur (1959)
  261. Rock Hudson in Giant (1956)
  262. Charles Boyer in Algiers (1938)
  263. Stephen Rea in The Crying Game (1992)
  264. Tom Conti in Reuben, Reuben (1983)
  265. Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah (2007)
  266. Jack Lemmon in Missing (1982)
  267. John Garfield in Body and Soul (1947)
  268. Ron Moody in Oliver! (1968)
  269. Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964)
  270. Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty (1948)
  271. Denzel Washington in Malcolm X (1992)
  272. Raymond Massey in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
  273. Charles Boyer in Conquest (1937)
  274. Lew Ayres in Johnny Belinda (1948)
  275. Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman (1992)
  276. Max von Sydow in Pelle the Conqueror (1988)
  277. George C. Scott in The Hospital (1971)
  278. Broderick Crawford in All the King's Men (1949)
  279. Spencer Tracy in Inherit the Wind (1960)
  280. Steve McQueen in The Sand Pebbles (1966)
  281. Kevin Spacey in American Beauty (1999)
  282. Robin Williams in Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
  283. Paul Muni in The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
  284. Al Pacino in Serpico (1973)
  285. Trevor Howard in Sons and Lovers (1960)
  286. Christian Bale in American Hustle (2013)
  287. James Cagney in Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
  288. David Straithairn in Good Night and Good Luck (2005) 
  289. Harrison Ford in Witness (1985)
  290. Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver (1988)
  291. Ryan O'Neal in Love Story (1970)
  292. Spencer Tracy in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
  293. Geoffrey Rush in Shine (1996)
  294. Alan Arkin in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1968)
  295. Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  296. Paul Newman in The Color of Money (1986)
  297. Woody Allen in Annie Hall (1977)
  298. Tom Hanks in Big (1988)
  299. Humphrey Bogart in The Caine Mutiny (1954)
  300. Richard Burton in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
  301. Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (1988)
  302. Michael Redgrave in Mourning Becomes Electra (1947)
  303. Richard Barthelmess in the Patent Leather Kid (1928) 
  304. Nick Nolte in Affliction (1998)
  305. Peter O'Toole in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969)
  306. Burt Lancaster in Birdman of Alcatraz (1964)
  307. Walter Pidgeon in Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  308. Charlie Chaplin in The Circus (1928)
  309. Robert Redford in The Sting (1973)
  310. Walter Matthau in The Sunshine Boys (1975)
  311. James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  312. John Wayne in Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)
  313. Steve Carell in Foxcatcher (2014)
  314. Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets (1997)
  315. Paul Muni in The Valiant (1929) 
  316. Adolphe Menjou in The Front Page (1931)
  317. Denzel Washington in The Hurricane (1999)
  318. Dustin Hoffman in Wag the Dog (1997)
  319. Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)
  320. Alan Arkin in The Russians are Coming, The Russians Are Coming (1966)
  321. Spencer Tracy in Judgment At Nuremberg (1961)
  322. Louis Calhern in The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
  323. Paul Muni in The Last Angry Man (1959)
  324. Sean Penn in Sweet and Lowdown (1999)
  325. Gregory Peck in Twelve O'clock High (1949)
  326. Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994)
  327. Colin Firth in The King's Speech (2010)
  328. Richard Dreyfuss in Mr. Holland's Opus (1995)
  329. Johnny Depp in Sweeney Todd (2007)
  330. Gary Cooper in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
  331. Russell Crowe in Gladiator
  332. Walter Pidgeon in Madame Curie (1943)
  333. Billy Bob Thorton in Sling Blade (1996)
  334. Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland (2004)
  335. Albert Finney in Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
  336. Spencer Tracy in San Francisco (1936)
  337. Johnny Depp in The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  338. Bing Crosby in Going My Way (1944)
  339. Mickey Rooney in Babes in Arms (1939)
  340. Spencer Tracy in Boys Town (1938)
  341. Franchot Tone in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
  342. Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line (2005)
  343. John Wayne in True Grit (1969)
  344. Paul Winfield in Sounder (1972)
  345. Jose Ferrer in Moulin Rouge (1952)
  346. Anthony Hopkins in Nixon (1995)
  347. Denzel Washington in Flight (2012)
  348. Gerard Depardieu in Cyrano De Bergerac (1990)
  349. Cary Grant in None but the Lonely Heart (1944)
  350. Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen (1951)
  351. Robert De Niro in Awakenings (1990)
  352. Richard Todd in The Hasty Heart (1949)
  353. Frank Sinatra in The Man With the Golden Arm (1955)
  354. Morgan Freeman in Invictus (2009)
  355. Alfred Lunt in The Guardsman (1932)
  356. Charles Boyer in Fanny (1961)
  357. Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (1993)
  358. Denzel Washington in Training Day (2001)
  359. James Whitmore in Give 'Em Hell Harry! (1975)
  360. Robin Williams in The Fisher King (1991)
  361. Ed Harris in Pollock (2000)
  362. Sean Penn in Mystic River (2003)
  363. Gregory Peck in Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
  364. James Garner in Murphy's Romance (1985)
  365. Maurice Chevalier in The Big Pond (1930)
  366. Robert Montgomery in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
  367. Sylvester Stallone in Rocky (1976)
  368. Wallace Beery in The Champ (1932)
  369. George Arliss in The Green Goddess (1930)
  370. Gregory Peck in The Yearling (1946)
  371. George Clooney in Michael Clayton (2007)
  372. Fredric March in Death of a Salesman (1951) 
  373. Gary Cooper in The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
  374. Geoffrey Rush in Quills (2000)
  375. Walter Matthau in Kotch (1971)
  376. George Arliss in Disraeli (1930)
  377. Wallace Beery in The Big House (1930)
  378. Paul Newman in Absence of Malice (1981)
  379. Frank Morgan in The Affairs of Cellini (1934)
  380. Jeff Bridges in True Grit (2010)
  381. Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls (2000)
  382. Warren Beatty in Reds (1981)
  383. Massimo Troisi in The Postman (1995)
  384. Dan Dailey in When My Baby Smiles At Me (1948)
  385. Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh (1945)
  386. Ben Kingsley in The House of Sand and Fog (2003)
  387. Robert De Niro in Cape Fear (1991)
  388. Jon Voight in Runaway Train (1985)
  389. Nick Nolte in The Prince of Tides (1991)
  390. Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
  391. Marlon Brando in Sayonara (1957)
  392. Laurence Fishburne in What's Love Got To Do With It (1993)
  393. Richard Burton in The Robe (1953)
  394. Leslie Howard in Berkeley Square (1933)
  395. Bing Crosby in Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
  396. Rex Harrison in Cleopatra (1963)
  397. Spencer Tracy in The Old Man and The Sea (1958)
  398. Frank Langella Frost/Nixon (2008)
  399. Dexter Gordon in 'Round Midnight (1986)
  400. Jack Nicholson in Prizzi's Honor (1985)
  401. Jack Lemmon in Tribute (1980)
  402. Javier Bardem in Biutiful (2010)
  403. Sean Penn in Milk (2008)
  404. Woody Harrelson in The People vs Larry Flynt (1996)
  405. Larry Parks in The Jolson Story (1946)  
  406. Warren Beatty in Bugsy (1991)
  407. Terrence Howard in Hustle and Flow (2005)
  408. Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting (1997)
  409. Robin William in Dead Poet's Society (1989)
  410. Tom Cruise in Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
  411. George Clooney in Up in The Air (2009)
  412. Yul Brynner in The King and I (1956)
  413. George Clooney in The Descendants (2011)
  414. Cornel Wilde in A Song to Remember (1945)
  415. Jeff Bridges in Star Man (1984)
  416. Spencer Tracy in Captain Courageous (1937) 
  417. Gary Cooper in Sergeant York (1941)
  418. Chester Morris in Alibi (1929)
  419. Will Smith in Ali (2001)
  420. Roberto Benigni in Life is Beautiful (1998)
  421. Sean Penn in I Am Sam (2001)
  422. Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves (1990)
  423. Jamie Foxx in Ray (2004) 
  424. Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  425. Anthony Franciosa in A Hatful of Rain (1957)
  426. Richard Dix in Cimarron (1931)
  1. F. Murray Abraham in Amadeus (1984)
  2. Alec Guinness in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  3. William Hurt in Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985) 
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot (1989) 
  5. Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront (1954)
  6. George C. Scott in Patton (1970)
  7. Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest (1975) 
  8. Robert Duvall in Tender Mercies (1983)
  9. Jack Lemmon in Save the Tiger (1973) 
  10. Peter Finch in Network (1976)
  11. Laurence Olivier in Hamlet (1948)
  12. Ray Milland in The Lost Weekend (1945)
  13. Ernest Borgnine Marty (1955)
  14. Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (2012)  
  15. William Holden in Stalag 17 (1953) 
  16. Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club (2013)  
  17. Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
  18. Robert De Niro in Raging Bull (1980)
  19. Paul Scofield in A Man For All Seasons (1966)
  20. Jeremy Irons in Reversal of Fortune (1990)
  21. Jean Dujardin in The Artist (2011) 
  22. Charles Laughton in The Private life of Henry VIII (1933)
  23. Clark Gable in It Happened One Night (1934)
  24. Art Carney in Harry and Tonto (1974)
  25. Adrien Brody in The Pianist (2004)
  26. Victor McLaglen in The Informer (1935)
  27. Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland (2006)
  28. Rod Steiger in In the Heat of the Night (1967)
  29. Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  30. Burt Lancaster in Elmer Gantry (1960)
  31. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote (2005)
  32. Ronald Colman in A Double Life (1947)
  33. Jon Voight in Coming Home (1978)
  34. Daniel Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood (2007)
  35. Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field (1963)
  36. Gene Hackman in The French Connection (1971)
  37. Paul Lukas in Watch on the Rhine (1943)
  38. Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
  39. Marlon Brando in The Godfather (1972)
  40. Emil Jannings in The Last Command (1928)
  41. Ben Kingsley in Gandhi (1982)
  42. Fredric March in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
  43. Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
  44. Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond (1981)
  45. Jose Ferrer in Cyrano De Bergerac (1950)
  46. Michael Douglas in Wall Street (1987)
  47. Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (1965)
  48. David Niven in Separate Tables (1958)
  49. Lionel Barrymore in A Free Soul (1931)
  50. Gary Cooper in High Noon (1952)
  51. James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy
  52. Cliff Robertson in Charly (1968)
  53. Maximilian Schell in Judgment At Nuremberg (1961)
  54. Warner Baxter in In Old Arizona (1929)
  55. Fredric March in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  56. Dustin Hoffman in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
  57. Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
  58. Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur (1959)
  59. Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady (1964)
  60. Al Pacino in The Scent of a Woman (1992)
  61. Broderick Crawford in All the King's Men (1949)
  62. Kevin Spacey in American Beauty (1999)
  63. Geoffrey Rush in Shine (1996)
  64. Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl (1977)
  65. Paul Newman in The Color of Money (1986)
  66. Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (1988)
  67. James Stewart in The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  68. Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets (1997)
  69. Paul Muni in The Story Louis Pasteur (1936)
  70. Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump (1994)
  71. Colin Firth in The King's Speech (2010)
  72. Russell Crowe in Gladiator (2000)
  73. Bing Crosby in Going My Way (1944)
  74. Spencer Tracy in Boys Town (1938)
  75. John Wayne in True Grit (1969)
  76. Humphrey Bogart in The African Queen (1951)
  77. Tom Hanks Philadelphia (1993)
  78. George Arliss in Disraeli (1930)
  79. Denzel Washington in Training Day (2001)
  80. Sean Penn in Mystic River (2003)
  81. Sean Penn in Milk (2008)
  82. Wallace Beery in The Champ (1932)
  83. Yul Brynner in The King and I (1956)
  84. Spencer Tracy in Captains Courageous (1937)
  85. Gary Cooper in Sergeant York (1941)
  86. Roberto Benigni in Life is Beautiful (1998)
  87. Jamie Foxx in Ray (2004)
Supporting Actor Ranking:
  1. 2014
  2. 1944
  3. 1981
  4. 1975
  5. 2008
  6. 1972
  7. 1966
  8. 1974
  9. 1988
  10. 1987
  11. 1964
  12. 1986
  13. 1959
  14. 1983
  15. 1980
  16. 1951
  17. 1998
  18. 1963
  19. 1952
  20. 1999
  21. 1989
  22. 2013
  23. 1993
  24. 1946
  25. 1969
  26. 1954
  27. 1961
  28. 2012
  29. 2007
  30. 1992
  31. 1968
  32. 1939
  33. 1970
  34. 1979
  35. 1994
  36. 2002
  37. 1978
  38. 2010
  39. 1947
  40. 1996
  41. 1945
  42. 1990
  43. 1982
  44. 1941
  45. 1971
  46. 2001
  47. 1937
  48. 1955
  49. 1962
  50. 1995
  51. 1967
  52. 1973
  53. 2009
  54. 2005
  55. 2011
  56. 1942
  57. 2006
  58. 1984
  59. 1957
  60. 1950
  61. 1958
  62. 2000
  63. 1976
  64. 2004
  65. 1960
  66. 1997
  67. 1943
  68. 1956
  69. 1949
  70. 1965
  71. 1977
  72. 1948
  73. 1940
  74. 1991
  75. 1938
  76. 2003
  77. 1936
  78. 1953
  79. 1985
  1. Martin Landau in Ed Wood (1994)
  2. Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  3. Haing S. Ngor in The Killing Fields (1984)
  4. Gene Hackman in Unforgiven (1992)
  5. Sessue Hayakawa in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  6. James Dunn in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
  7. Joe Pesci in Goodfellas (1990)
  8. Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008) 
  9. Claude Rains in Notorious (1946)
  10. Casey Affleck in The Assassination of Jesse James (2007)
  11. Al Pacino in The Godfather (1972)
  12. Ralph Fiennes in Schindler' List (1993) 
  13. Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master (2012)
  14. Rod Steiger in On the Waterfront (1954)
  15. George Sanders in All About Eve (1950)
  16. Thomas Mitchell in Stagecoach (1939)
  17. Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now (1979)  
  18. Gene Hackman in I Never Sang for My Father (1970)
  19. Montgomery Clift in Judgment At Nuremberg (1961) 
  20. Melvyn Douglas in Hud (1963)
  21. Peter Ustinov in Topkapi (1964)
  22. Martin Landau in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
  23. Gig Young in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
  24. Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way (1944)
  25. Christopher Walken in Catch Me If You Can (2002)
  26. Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  27. Jason Miller in The Exorcist (1973)
  28. Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  29. Karl Malden in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  30. Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  31. J.K. Simmons in Whiplash (2014)
  32. Jackie Gleason in the Hustler (1961) 
  33. Ralph Richardson in The Heiress (1949)
  34. Albert Brooks in Broadcast News (1987)
  35. Morgan Freeman in Street Smart (1987)
  36. Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
  37. Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained (2012)
  38. Jack Nicholson in Reds (1981)
  39. Claude Rains in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939
  40. Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds (2009)
  41. William H. Macy in Fargo (1996)
  42. Walter Matthau in The Fortune Cookie (1963)
  43. Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips (2013) 
  44. Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave (2013)
  45. Lee J. Cobb in On the Waterfront (1954) 
  46. Edward Norton in Primal Fear (1996)
  47. Jack Albertson in The Subject Was Roses (1968)
  48. James Mason in The Verdict (1982)
  49. Van Heflin in Johnny Eager (1942)
  50. Karl Malden in On the Waterfront (1954)
  51. Burgess Meredith in Day of the Locust (1975)
  52. George Burns in The Sunshine Boys (1975)
  53. Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death (1947)
  54. George C. Scott in Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
  55. Joe Pesci in Raging Bull (1980)
  56. Tom Courtenay in Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  57. Alec Guinness in Little Dorrit (1988)
  58. Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects (1995)
  59. Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man (1976)
  60. George C. Scott in The Hustler (1961)
  61. Tom Cruise in Magnolia (1999)
  62. Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People (1980)
  63. Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
  64. Peter Ustinov in Quo Vadis (1951)
  65. Pete Postlethwaite in In the Name of the Father (1993)
  66. Sam Jaffe in The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
  67. John Gielgud in Arthur (1981)
  68. Billy Bob Thorton in A Simple Plan (1998)
  69. George Segal in Whose Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966)
  70. Walter Brennan in The Westerner (1940)
  71. Charles Coburn in The More the Merrier (1943)
  72. Ian Holm in Chariots of Fire (1981)
  73. Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff (1983)
  74. Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II (1972)
  75. Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men (2007) 
  76. Danny Aiello in Do the Right Thing (1989)
  77. Edward Norton in Birdman (2014)
  78. James Caan in The Godfather (1972)
  79. Jack Lemmon in Mister Roberts (1955)
  80. Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder (2008)
  81. Tommy Lee Jones in JFK (1991)
  82. Paul Newman in The Road To Perdition (2002)
  83. Robert Shaw in A Man For All Seasons (1966)
  84. Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense (1999)
  85. Gene Hackman in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  86. Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  87. Burl Ives in The Big Country (1958)
  88. Joel Grey in Cabaret (1972)
  89. Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider (1969)
  90. Lee Strasberg in The Godfather Part II (1974)
  91. Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction (1994)
  92. Brad Dourif in One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (1975)
  93. William Hurt in A History of Violence (2005)
  94. Al Pacino in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
  95. Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
  96. Charles Coburn in The Devil and Miss Jones (1941)
  97. Jeff Bridges in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974)
  98. Gene Wilder in The Producers (1968)
  99. Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher (2014)
  100. John Hawkes in Winter's Bone (2010) 
  101. Burgess Meredith in Rocky (1976) 
  102. Tom Berenger in Platoon (1986)
  103. Ian Mckellen in Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  104. James Coburn in Affliction (1998)
  105. Ethan Hawke in Boyhood (2014)
  106. Willem Dafoe in Platoon (1986)
  107. Chris Sarandon in Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
  108. Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
  109. Clifton Webb in Laura (1944)
  110. Ben Johnson in The Last Picture Show (1971)
  111. Seymour Cassel in Faces (1968)
  112. Thomas Mitchell in The Hurricane (1937)
  113. Alec Guinness in Star Wars (1977)
  114. Anthony Quinn in Lust for Life (1956)
  115. Robert Duvall in A Civil Action (1998)
  116. Claude Rains in Mr. Skeffington (1944)
  117. Hume Cronyn in The Seventh Cross (1944)
  118. Jackie Earl Haley in Little Children (2006)
  119. Josh Brolin in Milk (2008)
  120. Thomas Haden Church in Sideways (2004)
  121. Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
  122. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Doubt (2008)
  123. Charles Coburn in The Green Years (1946)
  124. John Mills in Ryan's Daughter (1970)
  125. James Cromwell in Babe (1995)
  126. Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  127. Ethan Hawke in Training Day (2001)
  128. Robert Duvall in The Judge (2014)
  129. Chris Cooper in Adaptation (2002)
  130. Claude Rains in Casablanca (1943)
  131. Victor McLaglen in The Quiet Man (1952)
  132. Terence Stamp in Billy Budd (1962)
  133. Richard Farnsworth in Comes A Horseman (1978)
  134. Peter Falk in Murder, Inc. (1960) 
  135. Anthony Quinn in Viva Zapata! (1952)
  136. Peter Ustinov in Spartacus (1960)
  137. John Gielgud in Becket (1964)
  138. Benicio Del Toro in Traffic (2000)
  139. Hugh Griffith in Ben-Hur (1959)
  140. Michael Chekhov in Spellbound (1945)
  141. Joseph Schilderkraut in The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
  142. Jack Palance in Sudden Fear (1952)
  143. Christian Bale in The Fighter (2010)
  144. Stanley Holloway in My Fair Lady (1964)
  145. Jude Law in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
  146. Anthony Perkins in Friendly Persuasion (1956)
  147. Rip Torn in Cross Creek (1983)
  148. Robert Mitchum in The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
  149. George Kennedy in Cool Hand Luke (1967)
  150. River Phoenix in Running on Empty (1988)
  151. Justin Henry in Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979)
  152. Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile (1999)
  153. Robert Forster in Jackie Brown (1997)
  154. John Lithgow in The World According to Garp (1982)
  155. Lou Gosset Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  156. Lee J. Cobb in The Brothers Karamazov (1958)
  157. Gig Young in Come Fill The Cup (1951)
  158. James Mason in Georgy Girl (1966)
  159. Walter Brennan in Kentucky (1938)
  160. Vincent Gardenia in Moonstruck (1987)
  161. Jim Broadbent in Iris (2001)
  162. Walter Brennan in Come and Get It (1936) 
  163. Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights (1997)
  164. Klaus Maria Brandauer in Out of Africa (1985)
  165. Ed Begley in Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)
  166. Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech (2010)
  167. Leonardo DiCaprio in What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
  168. Donald Crisp in How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  169. John Malkovich in In the Line of Fire (1993) 
  170. Martin Landau in Tucker: A Man And His Dream (1988)
  171. Gig Young in Teacher's Pet (1958)
  172. Jeremy Renner in The Town (2010)
  173. Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers (1986)
  174. Bobby Darin in Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)
  175. Kevin McCarthy in Death of a Salesman (1951)
  176. Arthur O'Connell in Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
  177. Red Buttons in Sayonara (1957)
  178. Sal Mineo in Exodus (1960)
  179. Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast (2001)
  180. Frederic Forrest in The Rose (1979)
  181. Kenneth Branagh in My Week With Marilyn (2011)
  182. Lee Tracy in The Best Man (1964)
  183. Hugh Griffith in Tom Jones (1963)
  184. John Huston in The Cardinal (1963)
  185. Robert Vaughn in The Young Philadelphians (1959)
  186. Robert Ryan in Crossfire (1947)
  187. Jeff Bridges in The Last Picture (1971)
  188. Max Von Sydow in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
  189. Jason Robards in Julia (1977)
  190. Roy Scheider in The French Connection (1971)
  191. Arthur Hunnicutt in The Big Sky (1952)
  192. Tim Robbins in Mystic River (2003)
  193. Bruce Davison in Longtime Companion (1990)
  194. Ralph Bellamy in The Awful Truth (1937)
  195. Monty Woolley in Since You Went Away (1944)
  196. Elliot Gould in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)
  197. Michael V. Gazzo in The Godfather Part II (1974)
  198. Richard Burton in My Cousin Rachel (1952)
  199. Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain (2005)
  200. Jason Robards in Melvin and Howard (1980)
  201. Edmond O'Brien in Seven Days in May (1964)
  202. James Whitmore in Battleground (1949)
  203. Ed Wynn in The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
  204. Michael Lerner in Barton Fink (1991)
  205. Armin Mueller-Stahl in Shine (1996)
  206. Charles Durning in To Be Or Not To Be (1983)  
  207. Eddie Albert in The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
  208. Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  209. John Hurt in Midnight Express (1978)
  210. Jack Palance in Shane (1953)
  211. Rupert Crosse in The Reivers (1969)
  212. Robert Morley in Marie Antoinette (1938)
  213. Adolph Caesar in A Soldier's Story (1984)
  214. Thomas Gomez in Ride the Pink Horse (1947)
  215. Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  216. Howard Rollins in Ragtime (1981)
  217. John Lithgow in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  218. Ed Harris in The Truman Show (1998)
  219. Vincent Gardenia in Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
  220. Jaye Davidson in The Crying Game (1992)
  221. Denzel Washington in Glory (1989)
  222. Greg Kinnear in As Good As It Gets (1997)
  223. Matt Dillon in Crash (2005)
  224. Christopher Plummer in Beginners (2011)
  225. Peter Firth in Equus (1977)
  226. Brian Aherne in Juarez (1939)
  227. Robert Duvall in The Godfather (1972)
  228. Chief Dan George in Little Big Man (1970)
  229. Clive Owen in Closer (2004)
  230. Michael J. Pollard in Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  231. Denzel Washington in Cry Freedom (1987)
  232. James Coco in Only When I Laugh (1981)
  233. Woody Harrelson in The Messsenger (2009)
  234. Michael O'Keefe in The Great Santini (1980)
  235. Walter Huston in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
  236. Paul Giamatti in Cinderella Man (2005)
  237. Mark Wahlberg in The Departed (2006)
  238. Andy Garcia in The Godfather Part III (1990)
  239. Gary Sinise in Forrest Gump (1994)
  240. Victor Buono in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)
  241. Tim Roth in Rob Roy (1995)
  242. Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton (2007)
  243. Robert Preston in Victor Victoria (1982)
  244. Arthur Kennedy in Champion (1949)
  245. Cecil Kellaway in The Luck of the Irish (1948)
  246. Paul Scofield in Quiz Show (1994)
  247. Jack Warden in Heaven Can Wait (1978)
  248. Arthur Kennedy in Trial (1955)
  249. Al Pacino in Dick Tracy (1990)
  250. Jack Kruschen in The Apartment (1960)
  251. Fred Astaire in The Towering Inferno (1974)
  252. Alan Alda in The Aviator (2004)
  253. Dean Stockwell in Married to The Mob (1988)
  254. John C. Reilly in Chicago (2002)
  255. Erich von Stroheim in Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  256. Frank Finlay in Othello (1965)
  257. Robert Strauss in Stalag 17 (1953)
  258. Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  259. Chazz Palminteri in Bullets Over Broadway (1994)
  260. John Marley in Love Story (1970)
  261. Nick Nolte in Warrior (2011)
  262. Randy Quaid in The Last Detail (1973)
  263. Bruce Dern in Coming Home (1978)
  264. Richard S. Castellano in Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  265. Vittorio De Sica in A Farewell to Arms (1957) 
  266. Hal Holbrook in Into The Wild (2007)
  267. Nick Adams in Twilight of Honor (1963)
  268. Dan Aykroyd in Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
  269. Mickey Rooney in The Black Stallion (1979) 
  270. Charles Bickford in Johnny Belinda (1948)
  271. Pat Morita in The Karate Kid (1984)
  272. Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road (2008)
  273. Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men (1992)
  274. Arthur O'Connell in Picnic (1955)
  275. Marlon Brando A Dry White Season (1989)
  276. Jack Wild in Oliver! (1968)
  277. James Woods in Ghosts of Mississippi (1996)
  278. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
  279. Brian Donlevy in Beau Geste (1939)
  280. Ken Watanabe in The Last Samurai (2003)
  281. Matt Damon in Invictus (2009)
  282. John Houseman in The Paper Chase (1973)
  283. Mako in The Sand Pebbles (1966)
  284. Judd Hirsch in Ordinary People (1980)
  285. Anthony Hopkins in Amistad (1997)
  286. John Malkovich in Places in the Heart (1984)
  287. Mickey Rooney in The Bold and the Brave (1956)
  288. William Bendix in Wake Island (1942)
  289. Jack Warden in Shampoo (1975)
  290. Alan Arkin in Argo (2012) 
  291. Jack Gilford in Save the Tiger (1973)
  292. Henry Travers in Mrs. Miniver (1942)
  293. Robert Stack in Written on the Wind (1956)
  294. Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive (1993) 
  295. Frank Morgan in Tortilla Flat (1942)
  296. Christopher Plummer in The Last Station (2009)
  297. Walter Brennan in Sergeant York (1941)
  298. Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln (2012)
  299. Roland Young in Topper (1937)
  300. David Paymer in Mr. Saturday Night (1992)
  301. Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond (2006)
  302. Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  303. Eddie Murphy in Dreamgirls (2006)
  304. Denholm Elliot in A Room With A View (1986)
  305. Jason Robards in All the President's Men (1976)
  306. Robert Loggia in Jagged Edge (1985)
  307. Richard Jaeckel in Sometimes a Great Notion (1971)
  308. Maximilian Schell in Julia (1977)
  309. J. Carrol Naish in Sahara (1943)
  310. Peter Falk in Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
  311. Sean Connery in The Untouchables (1987)
  312. John Cassavetes in The Dirty Dozen (1967)
  313. Jack Palance in City Slickers (1991)
  314. Theodore Bikel in The Defiant Ones (1958)
  315. Charles Bickford in The Farmer's Daughter (1947)
  316. Edmond O'Brien in The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
  317. Ned Beatty in Network (1976)
  318. J. Carrol Naish in A Medal For Benny (1945)
  319. Charles Bickford in The Song of Bernadette (1943)
  320. Edmund Gwenn in Mister 880 (1950)
  321. Harvey Keitel in Bugsy (1991)
  322. Geoffrey Rush in Shakespeare in Love (1998)
  323. Albert Bassermann in Foreign Correspondent (1940) 
  324. Basil Rathbone in Romeo and Juliet (1936)
  325. James Stephenson in The Letter (1940)
  326. Alec Baldwin in The Cooler (2003)
  327. Melvyn Douglas in Being There (1979)
  328. Harry Carey in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) 
  329. Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator (2000)
  330. Anthony Quayle in Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)
  331. Clifton Webb in The Razor's Edge (1946)
  332. Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich (2000)
  333. Leonard Frey in Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
  334. William Demarest in The Jolson Story (1946)
  335. Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones (2009)
  336. Joe Mantell in Marty (1955)
  337. Cecil Kellaway in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
  338. H.B. Warner in Lost Horizon (1937)
  339. Martin Balsam in A Thousand Clowns (1965)
  340. Gene Lockhart in Algiers (1938)
  341. Jonah Hill in Moneyball (2011)
  342. Jamie Foxx in Collateral (2004)
  343. Jeff Bridges in The Contender (2000)
  344. Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys (1995)
  345. John Garfield in Four Daughters (1938)
  346. Michael Dunn in Ship of Fools (1965)
  347. Graham Greene in Dances With Wolves (1990)
  348. Ed Harris in Apollo 13 (1995)
  349. Jack Oakie in The Great Dictator (1940)
  350. Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules (1999)
  351. Arthur Kennedy in Peyton Place (1957)
  352. Mark Ruffalo in The Kids are All Right (2010)
  353. Ralph Richardson in Greystoke (1984)
  354. Djimon Honsou in In America (2003)
  355. Benicio Del Toro in 21 Grams (2003)
  356. Eddie Albert in Roman Holiday (1953)
  357. Bradley Cooper in American Hustle (2013)
  358. Burt Young in Rocky (1976)
  359. Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting (1997)
  360. William Gargan in They Knew What They Wanted (1940)
  361. Charles Durning in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982)
  362. Ben Kingsley in Bugsy (1991)
  363. William Hickey in Prizzi's Honor (1985)
  364. Jeff Chandler in Broken Arrow (1950)
  365. Dean Jagger in Twelve O'clock High (1949)
  366. Oskar Homolka in I Remember Mama (1948)
  367. Akim Tamiroff in The General Died at Dawn (1936)
  368. Brandon De Wilde in Shane (1953)
  369. Akim Tamiroff in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943)
  370. Telly Savalas in Birdman of Alcatraz (1962)
  371. Russ Tamblyn in Peyton Place(1957) 
  372. Basil Rathbone in If I Were King (1938)
  373. Arthur Kennedy in Some Came Running (1958)
  374. John Ireland in All the King's Men (1949)
  375. Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  376. Ed Harris in The Hours (2002)
  377. Daniel Massey in Star! (1968)
  378. Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire (1996)
  379. Leo Genn in Quo Vadis (1951)
  380. George Clooney in Syriana (2005)
  381. John Dall in The Corn is Green (1945)
  382. Chill Wills in The Alamo (1960)
  383. James Gleason in Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941) 
  384. Stuart Erwin in Pigskin Parade (1936)
  385. Tom Tully in The Caine Mutiny (1954)
  386. Ian Bannen in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
  387. George Chakiris in West Side Story (1961)
  388. Jon Voight in Ali (2001)
  389. Jose Ferrer in Joan of Arc (1948)
  390. Mischa Auer in My Man Godfrey (1936)
  391. Don Murray in Bus Stop (1956)
  392. Don Ameche in Cocoon (1985)
  393. Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity (1953)
  394. Eric Roberts in Runaway Train (1985) 
  395. Mikhail Baryshnikov in The Turning Point (1977)
Actual Winners:
  1. Martin Landau in Ed Wood (1994)
  2. Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter (1978)
  3. Haing S. Ngor in The Killing Fields (1984)
  4. Gene Hackman in Unforgiven (1992)
  5. James Dunn in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
  6. Joe Pesci in Goodfellas (1990)
  7.  Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)
  8. George Sanders in All About Eve (1950)
  9. Thomas Mitchell in Stagecoach (1939)
  10. Melvyn Douglas in Hud (1963)
  11. Peter Ustinov in Topkapi (1964)
  12. Gig Young in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
  13. Barry Fitzgerald in Going My Way (1944)
  14. Harold Russell in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  15. Karl Malden in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
  16. Walter Huston in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
  17. Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained (2012)
  18. Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds (2009) 
  19. Walter Matthau in The Fortune Cookie (1963)
  20. Jack Albertson in The Subject Was Roses (1968)
  21. Van Heflin in Johnny Eager (1942)
  22. George Burns in The Sunshine Boys (1975)
  23. Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  24. Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects (1995)
  25. Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People (1980)
  26. John Gielgud in Arthur (1981)
  27. Walter Brennan in The Westerner (1940)
  28. Charles Coburn in The More the Merrier (1943)
  29. Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II (1972)
  30. Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men (2007) 
  31. Jack Lemmon in Mister Roberts (1955)
  32. Burl Ives in The Big Country (1958)
  33. Joel Grey in Cabaret (1972)
  34. Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
  35. James Coburn in Affliction (1998)
  36. Michael Caine in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
  37. Ben Johnson in The Last Picture Show (1971)
  38. Anthony Quinn in Lust for Life (1956)
  39. John Mills in Ryan's Daughter (1970)
  40. Alan Arkin in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
  41. Chris Cooper in Adaptation (2002)
  42. Anthony Quinn in Viva Zapata! (1952)
  43. Peter Ustinov in Spartacus (1960)
  44. Benicio Del Toro in Traffic (2000)
  45. Hugh Griffith in Ben-Hur (1959)
  46. Joseph Schilderkraut in The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
  47. Christian Bale in The Fighter (2010)
  48. George Kennedy in Cool Hand Luke (1967)
  49. Lou Gosset Jr. in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  50. Walter Brennan in Kentucky (1938)
  51. Jim Broadbent in Iris (2001)
  52. Walter Brennan in Come and Get It (1936) 
  53. Ed Begley in Sweet Bird of Youth (1962)
  54. Donald Crisp in How Green Was My Valley (1941)
  55. Red Buttons in Sayonara (1957)
  56. Jason Robards in Julia (1977)
  57. Tim Robbins in Mystic River (2003)
  58. Edmund Gwenn in Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
  59. Jack Nicholson in Terms of Endearment (1983)
  60. Denzel Washington in Glory (1989)
  61. Christopher Plummer in Beginners(2011)
  62. John Houseman in The Paper Chase (1973)
  63. Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive (1993) 
  64. Jason Robards in All the President's Men (1976)
  65. Sean Connery in The Untouchables (1987)
  66. Jack Palance in City Slickers (1991)
  67. Edmond O'Brien in The Barefoot Contessa (1954)
  68. Melvyn Douglas in Being There (1979)
  69. Martin Balsam in A Thousand Clowns (1965)
  70. Michael Caine in The Cider House Rules (1999)
  71. Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting (1997)
  72. Dean Jagger in Twelve O'clock High (1949)
  73. Morgan Freeman in Million Dollar Baby (2004)
  74. Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire (1996)
  75. George Clooney in Syriana (2005)
  76. George Chakiris in West Side Story (1961)
  77. Don Ameche in Cocoon (1985)
  78. Frank Sinatra in From Here to Eternity (1953)
 Next Year: 2014 Lead

Best Actor 2014: Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything.

The Theory of Everything is an okay though very standard, and excessively respectful telling of the life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

Eddie Redmayne is not a favorite actor of mine, and he has given at least one downright terrible performance in The Good Shepherd. Even his best work prior to playing Hawking, Les Miserables, still came with a few odd facial reactions to bring his performance down, which I suppose was a trademark of his early performances. Thankfully the odd reactions are gone in his performance as Stephen Hawking, although that might be due to one reason, but I will get to that later on in this review. The film begins with Stephen Hawking working towards his doctoral thesis while beginning a romance with a fellow student Jane (Felicity Jones). Redmayne performance is relatively simple in these scenes. He has a nice enough charm in his performance that is naturally part of his whole somewhat shy and retiring academic type. In addition Redmayne and Jones are good together. They project a natural sweetness in the romance between Stephen and Jane which works quite well in an understated sort of fashion.

Despite being called the Theory of Everything, there is not a great deal of time spent in having Redmayne actually try to portray any sort of genius in Hawking. It is not that Redmayne avoids portraying this or is in anyway inadequate at this, but rather the way the film chooses to present this. There basically is the standard scene of writing on the chalkboard and that's about it. Even the theories when presented are for the most part explained by other characters rather than Hawking. Redmayne is convincing in the little he has to do, but the film asks very little of him in this regard. What the film does focus on is when Stephen Hawking is diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and told he has only two years to live. Redmayne is very effective in portraying Hawking's initial reaction. He expresses well the way Hawking withdraws into almost nothing into his depression, and is very good as he lashes out expressing Hawking's anger over the lot in life he has been given. Along with his emotional distress though Hawking begins to show the signs of the disease.

The physical and verbal depiction of Hawking's disease easily could have easily lead to some terrible overacting. Well thankfully that is not that case here. Redmayne takes Hawking's speech, before he eventually loses his voice due to surgery, and is very effective in how he slurs his delivery that becomes more intense as well as less comprehensible. Redmayne makes it feel absolutely genuine and does well to never use it to a point in which he over accentuates it. Redmayne is equally good in portraying the loss of his physical abilities as he starts to lose his ability to walk and move freely. Redmayne effectively shows going from a limp, as well as some difficultly in maneuvering normally, to the point of not even being able to keep his body in the right shape. Redmayne does not let being put in the wheelchair finish his performance either. He still shows how it frankly does not stop as he can't sit up, and he even loses his ability to keep his mouth straight, perhaps that spares us the strange reactions. To be fair though every body contortion feels genuine in Redmayne's performance and he most of all is terrific in portraying exactly what the disease does to him over time.

Now portraying Hawking's disability is the highlight of Redmayne's performance. He is good though in portraying early on how Jane's involvement in his life causes him to develop a passion to work and live again. He also importantly never portrays that to be the end of Hawking's depression though as it returns brutally when Hawking loses his ability to speak. There is also one scene where Jane has her future second husband come over to their house, and Redmayne is very effective at first by expressing Hawking's dismay at this development. Of course even this is brushed aside when Hawking just views him as someone there to help. The problem is other than those few things Hawking is not developed into all that much of a character. He has his theories, his wife, and his disability and unfortunately they kind of call it a day. The film refuses to ever portray Hawking in much of a negative light, and leaves him in the end to be a bit too simplistic of a character. This is all the writing though and not at all Redmayne's fault. When there is a chance for depth, Redmayne takes it, there unfortunately are few of them.

For awhile the film even kinda shoves Hawking aside mostly to view how Jane sees him, which sure it gives Jones some time to shine, and keeps Hawking as too much of a constant. The biggest failure in this regard is the depiction of Hawking's relationship with his second wife. They portray her as kinda a problematic usurper, but seem to purposefully avoid putting any blame onto Hawking in these scenes. The film instead just makes it something he just has to do, which is unfortunate because it does kind of go around the fact that Hawking leaves Jane by his own volition. Redmayne is great in the goodbye scene as he is moving in portraying Hawking's emotional breakdown, it's a shame the film was not able to make it mean little more. Almost all of my complaints though are really due to the screenplay not Eddie Redmayne's performance. Redmayne gives a very good performance and there are times that he is exceptional, in fact the overarching way in which he becomes Hawking certainly is that. I would have liked if the film had let him delve a bit more into the man past simply his accomplishments and his disability, nevertheless this is truly fine work by Eddie Redmayne.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Best Actor 2014: Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game

Benedict Cumberbatch received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. 

The Imitation Game is an enjoyable enough "prestige biopic" telling of Alan Turing's attempt to break the Nazi Enigma code during World War II.

Benedict Cumberbatch seems a fit for the part being one the current first names in British prestige productions, although I have not seen any of his television work, although I did see him in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which I feel he's sometimes forgotten in due to that film's remarkable ensemble. I have read that this performance is a variation on his work as Sherlock, but that does not mean a great deal to me since I have not seen Sherlock. I would say it does bare similarities to his work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy simply because in both films he plays men working for the British government who must hide the fact that they are homosexuals. The similarities mostly end there because The Imitation Game is a different kind of film than Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, not really subject matter they are both technically spy thrillers, but in terms of tone and style. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in a way embraces the double cross world and presents it in its gruesome and disheartening details, The Imitation Game on the other hand attempts to be inspiring while telling this sort of tale.

Benedict Cumberbatch's performance very much matches of the style of the film in his portrayal of Alan Turing. In the scenes set earliest chronologically, with Cumberbatch in the role, we meet Turing as he joins the top secret code breaking organization. Alan Turing as written in the film seems to have Asperger sydrome, and Cumberbatch's performance goes along fully with this idea. Cumberbatch presents Turing in the early scenes as a man who is somewhat in a world of his own in terms of the way he speaks to other people. Cumberbatch delivers his lines in always a somewhat out synch way as though Turing has difficulty in merely conducting a conversation with another person. In the same way Cumberbatch always positions himself physically in a somewhat awkward fashion. He always seems to face in the wrong direction and not to make the right kind of eye contact. Cumberbatch's method here is quite obvious, but that's not always problem when here that's actually purposeful. Most importantly though Cumberbatch at least is consistent and makes it at least feel natural to what he does with Turing in this section of the film.

A more serious version of Turing story, this is not a comedy but does often keep a lighthearted tone, Cumberbatch's approach might not have worked. His performance though matches the tone the film takes with the character in the war scenes. The thing is Turing's social awkwardness is often used in a very particular way which is perhaps questionable but again it works for the film. Cumberbatch does not close we the audience away from Turing while Turing technically is closed off from the other characters in some way. Cumberbatch instead makes the whole social awkwardness in Turing to be an endearing quality. One of the reasons is Cumberbatch often does give a dead pan sort of comic performance as Turing. Cumberbatch actually has some excellent timing in being quietly humorous such as in the scene where Turing causes a whole fuss over the other men failing to comprehend how exactly to ask him a question about lunch. He also succeeds in making the action involved with the failure of telling a joke to get along with the other men enjoyable all in itself rather than the actual joke.

I suppose one of Cumberbatch's great accomplishments is when we kinda are in his side when he is unemphatic when he dismisses to co-workers when put in charge. One of the reasons being is Cumberbatch is quite great in exuding the necessary genius to play Turing. It's hard to be against Turing's decisions simply because Cumberbatch makes it so Turing is right, even though we don't exactly see this for some time during the film. Cumberbatch though brings the needed earnestness into every one of Turing's speeches about how he's right. Although technically insufferable, he never feels as such because Cumberbatch is always very clever in how he makes Turing likable while being convincing in his portrayal of the genius of the man. When there comes the eventual eureka moment where Turing figures exactly how to break the code utilizing the machine he constructed, Cumberbatch brings the needed passion and sells it to its inspirational fullest. The material is very much constructed in a certain way, and Cumberbatch's performance works well in that specific framework of the film.

Now there are scenes that are out of the film about the exceptional work of one man during tumultuous times. These are the scenes where Turing is being interrogated due to indecency charges after he has been caught engaging in homosexual behavior. These scenes actually seem like a major tonal shift as these actually depict a tragic story of the genius we met before having his life destroyed due the discrimination laws against homosexuals at the time in Britain. Cumberbatch's performance actually is quite different as well in that he rids himself of any of the lighter qualities of the performance, and instead effectively presents Turing as a man haunted by his past. Cumberbatch deserves a great deal of credit that he reflects the differing tones without compromising either portrayal. Cumberbatch is kinda of two different types of films, but he manages to bridge the gap fairly well with his performance. He shifts just enough to still seem plausible as both versions of Turing, and succeeds by suggesting that this darker Turing perhaps resulted from the difficult and sometimes problematic work he had to do during the war.

The film does kinda tip toe around Turing's eventual suicide, but we are given one scene where we see what lead Turing to this. Turing is forced to undergo a chemical castration, and Cumberbatch is terrific in his one scene where he expresses both the physical and mental deterioration of Turing. It may again be a skip around seemingly pivotal moments but Cumberbatch matches the jump with his work. Of course the film challenges him all the more because it basically asks him to still leave Turing on an uplifting note even though the man is obviously going to commit suicide soon. Well Cumberbatch is moving in portraying the emotional devastation in Turing. I will say he does do his very best to bring a glint of hope at the end of the scene, as he shows Turing looks at his past with pride rather than some pity, although I won't say he can fully save the idea of the scene since the real situation make it so the inspirational qualities in the scenes are still a bit forced. The scene is a great example of what Cumberbatch accomplishes into the role which is to give a compelling and convincing portrayal of Turing even as the film makes some questionable choices regarding his character.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Best Actor 2014: Bradley Cooper in American Sniper

Bradley Cooper received his third Oscar nomination for portraying Chris Kyle in American Sniper.

American Sniper is an uneven film, with a far too many clich├ęs, but not a wholly ineffective telling of the story of Chris Kyle dubbed the most lethal sniper in American history. 

Bradley Cooper has received his third consecutive Oscar nomination this time being the first time where it is not from a David O. Russell film, and the first time he plays a real person. After his over acted work in American Hustle Cooper thankfully has dialed it back substantially to play Chris Kyle in this film. In addition to his physical transformation in the part Cooper plays the role with a thick Texan accent. Cooper makes it consistent and naturally sound, but most importantly it contributes greatly into the way he becomes Kyle. Cooper makes the transition seem relatively simple but it is very effective in terms of disappearing into the role of Chris Kyle. Cooper in fact does not have a single scene where he is manic or does his wild eyes routine once. He stays with Kyle as a man who Cooper plays rather well as a somewhat reserved figure. It is interesting because the way Cooper does it is not like someone who purposefully closes them off emotionally, but rather is a man from a specific background where he has learned to behave in a certain way. 

In some of the earliest scenes chronologically speaking we are given some particularly standard scenes as Kyle begins his career in the military and starts the courtship of his wife Taya (Sienna Miller). Cooper is good in them though carrying a certain charm as Kyle. He importantly does not overplay this though bringing out a likability that is very much fitting to a guy like Kyle. These scenes are written as particularity standard interactions between future husband and wife and after their wedding it is rather standard husband and wife interactions. Cooper though is good even given the somewhat weak material presented to him. He does his very best to sell everything he has and is at least convincing in creating an honest feeling relationship between Kyle and his wife, even though it is about as standard as one could be. Cooper though does not ever the weak material weigh down his performance. He gives it his all still, and creates well enough the starting point for Kyle's life just before he is about to go to war where he seems to find his true calling. 

The war scenes are Cooper's best scenes in the film particularly the scenes where Kyle is proving his skill as a sniper. His very first kill, which is of a young boy and his mother are particularly harrowing. Cooper adds to this through his very convincing portrayal of Kyle's manner as he's sniping. Cooper shows the way his whole self seems to be in on the target as there is such an ferocity he brings into the moment as he makes his mark. Cooper even uses the way he breaths in the scene to suggest how he chooses the split second in which to make the shot. Cooper is great in all of the action scenes as he brings the needed dramatic weight to them through his performance. That first kill of his is an outstanding moment for Cooper as there is no moment where he screams out about having to kill the kid, but Cooper does release just through his slight facial reaction the anguish Kyle goes through in the moment. Cooper is fantastic in that scene because he does completely realize the emotions of the scene without needing to go over it in the film. Cooper internalizes it so well and makes the sniping scenes the best scenes in the film.

The film juxtaposes the scenes at war with particularly simplistic scenes of Kyle at home with his family. Again it goes through some simple motions with his wife showing concern while Kyle still has love towards his wife and children. Cooper again is good and successfully avoids being overwhelmed by when the script lags. Cooper is especially effective in portraying the way the war wears on him and how he expresses the post-traumatic stress disorder that Kyle seems to develop. What Cooper does so well once more is keep it as a guy like Kyle would. Cooper shows Kyle still being very to the point about things and constantly as a man who seems to have it together. There are none of the scenes you might expect in this regard as he has no outbursts, but Cooper still realizes it. Cooper in his physical manner and delivery gradually becomes more tightly wound. He builds the pressure of beneath the surface, revealing it yet never exposing so to speak. Cooper is rather fascinating in the way he does present a man who is slowly decaying yet never once loses it. Cooper knows exactly how to far to go with it and it's a very compelling portrayal of his condition. 

Although the film has problems throughout Bradley Cooper's performance is never one of them. He becomes Chris Kyle here. He brings out the best of what there is in the script. Whether it is in the war scenes where Cooper successfully coaxes the needed intensity to make them have an actual visceral impact. Without Cooper's presence these scenes very well might amounted to nothing, but Cooper keeps them from being emotionless through his performance. He is equally important in bringing some emotional poignancy to the home scenes which is very much needed. These scenes certainly can be repetitive but Cooper's work never seems as such. Cooper elevates the material best he can, and even such scenes as the somewhat over done final scene, where everyone seems a bit too sure of Kyle's fate already, Cooper stays convincing. Although I would say a much better film likely could have been made out of the story of Chris Kyle, there also should have been a better film for Bradley Cooper's performance. Even when the film does falter Cooper's performance never does. He carries the film through its rough patches, and gives a consistent and moving portrayal of Chris Kyle.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Best Actor 2014: Michael Keaton in Birdman

Michael Keaton received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Riggan Thomson as well as the titular character in Birdman.

Birdman is an excellent film about a former super-hero actor trying get his life back together while putting on a play on Broadway.

Michael Keaton was the first man to play Batman in a "serious" rendition and left after the first two films. He then went on to have not an unsuccessful acting career, but not an especially distinguished one in terms of being either critical darling or as a commercially bankable star. For me personally, I've always found Michael Keaton to be an actor I like, but unfortunately rarely is in films I loved. The back story connections between Riggan and Keaton are just an extra bit of something for all to enjoy, although I don't think should be taken too seriously, but I think the strongest bit is both possibly finding something to make use of their talent. Well Birdman is finally a great film for Michael Keaton, and he is essential part of achieving this greatness. Birdman's first two thirds spend a considerable time with the great ensemble cast of the film and their interactions. Not all the supporting players interact with one another, but Michael Keaton as Riggan interacts with them all. Here is the first part of what Keaton brings to his role, and by first a mean quite a few different things that are all rolled up into one Riggan.

Keaton fulfills many roles as Riggan must fulfill many roles as he tries to put on his play rendition of Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love", which we see through Riggan's relationship with every other supporting character in the film. One being with his lawyer/best friend Jake (Zach Galifianakis) who he technically schemes with to handle every problem to ensure that the play is a success. On this side Keaton displays the frustrations of the moment as he tries to brush them all off to Jake. Keaton here suggests more than anything he wants to use Jake just to make things gone as easily as possible, while subtly suggesting just a bit of his madness to him from time to time as though he is one of his few actual confidants. There is far less comfort that Keaton shows with his co-star/girlfriend Laura (Andrea Riseborough). We don't see much of their apparent romance but Keaton and Riseborough create their relationship instantly. Laura clearly wants something more than just an affair shown Riseborough's lusty approach, Keaton is great in bringing a distance from hesitation portraying that Riggan obviously is not sure what to make of his future with her.

The relationship that probably offers the most entertainment value is with Riggan's last minute replacement co-star the insufferable actor Mike Shiner (Edward Norton). Keaton is terrific in portraying the unease in Riggan as he seems to be preparing himself beforehand to face an actor who has a bigger ego than he does. Keaton nicely portrays even maybe a little bit of a type of fear as Riggan first approaches Mike and has to deal with some slight insults based around Riggan's credibility as a true thespian. Keaton does not play as though Riggan's actually afraid, but rather indicates the apprehensive of have to dealing with an actor like Mike. They are both very funny together as Mike basically wants to prove that he's better than Riggan. Keaton is again great because he does not show Riggan wanting Mike to recognize him as superior, but just wants some respect that he believes he deserves. Although he does not mind trading a few insults, Keaton nicely puts an honest earnest quality as he wants Mike to recognize his accomplishments, particularly when he shows Mike the napkin he received from Raymond Carver himself which praised Riggan's performance.

Their best moments together though may be when the two are actually working on the play as Keaton and Norton realize the creative spark between the two of them wonderfully well. They are both good in kinda suggesting two styles between the two with Norton accentuating the confidence of Mike as he performs the script, even offering ideas for re-writes, while Keaton is very good by showing the way Riggan has to perhaps work harder to that point, and has a stronger passion perhaps as he wants the play to succeed so badly. My favorite moment between the two has to be technically their last substantial moment where the two have perhaps their most intense confrontation after Mike has given an interview where he criticized Riggan. Keaton is fantastic in the scene as exudes the rage in Riggan and finally just bluntly puts his distaste towards Mike directly towards him in the way of a fist. His best moment though is how he actually gets one over Mike more effectively when Riggan becomes very emotional, and Keaton is rather moving, as Riggan explains his brutal upbringing by an alcoholic father. Well that is until he reveals that's just an act and basically defeats Mike by beating him at his own game, and Keaton absolutely delivers in the moment.

That's not all though as there is even his relationship between his other female co-star Lesley (Naomi Watts), who hopes the play is her big break. Their interactions are relatively brief but even here Keaton naturally portrays another side of Riggan as the supportive director. There's a nice bit of warmth that Keaton brings as Riggan support here, particularly after one problematic stage performance thanks to Mike. It's almost fatherly something that's not quite there in his actual relationship with his daughter Sam (Emma Stone). Keaton's not cold in the scene that he shares with Stone, but does an express a certain confusion on how even to approach his relationship despite her being his assistant. Keaton does well to express the attempt of Riggan to try to make his relationship with her work as he seems overprotective at times, but carelessly harsh at others. Keaton does well to honestly show that early on Riggan does not know how exactly to approach being a father to her. It is only when Riggan is a bit down himself as Keaton suggests that because Riggan does not have the energy he doesn't bother to frankly try too hard. In these moments Keaton quietly shows the connection because he's not preventing himself from connecting with her.

Perhaps his most poignant relationship though is with his ex-wife Sylvia (Amy Ryan). Keaton and Ryan are just about perfect together as they have such a genuine chemistry with one another. There is an ease and often understanding that underlies their conversations in a way that suggests the two's past and that Sylvia does probably know Riggan better than any one else. The past is in the comfort there is between the two but as well an undercurrent of bitterness. It is not strong but something that still can be felt, an animosity still present no doubt from a hatred that was once quite strong due to Riggan's past behavior. There is though as well the love between the two that is muted, but still very palatable between the two. There's a particularly effective moment late in the film where Sylvia congratulates Riggan on seemingly finally finding success again. There is a beautiful moment of adoration between the two and Keaton and Ryan in that moment seem to express the happiness they once had together. It is amazing how convincing Michael Keaton is in this and every other relationship of the character, and bringing the needed depth to each while naturally working with the different tones involved with each. It's incredible work as he brings the whole ensemble together.

Of course I have not even gotten to Riggan on his own. Well sorta since Riggan does not seem quite alone as he is constantly being reminded of his faults by the voice of his superhero Birdman. The voice incidentally is fairly similar to the voice he used as Batman in the Batman films. The most eloquent way to describe the voice would be to say that's it's rather awesome. I don't mean that's its just cool though, although is the case, but rather it is all by itself an imposing presence within the film. The dark and rich voice that Keaton uses creates the Birdman persona as the voice of something that cannot be ignored. The callousness and cruelty in his delivery though are made properly ambiguous by Keaton. It is hard to say whether or not the Birdman is there to discourage Riggan from his potential or to inspire him greatness. The voice is an ideal representation of whatever it is that is going on in Riggan himself. Is he a man simply going insane due to the stress of his failures, perhaps he really does have telekinetic abilities, or perhaps Birdman is not a sign of insanity but merely the normal voice of  his mind. The nature of a voice is a great question that never feels like a cheap trick.

With that we have Keaton direct portrayal of Riggan as a man. There is the exasperation of a man who knows he has made many mistakes and the desperation of man trying to recapture some sort of glory. Keaton is remarkable in his scenes of performing as Riggan. He does not change his accent or his mannerisms, nor does he have to. In his performances Keaton expresses that desire for success and integrity simply through the "honest" delivery of words he respects so dearly. Keaton though just is endlessly compelling in his portrayal of the bundled emotions going through the process of putting on the play and dealing with his personal demons. Keaton reflects every set back and success so incredibly well. Something so notable about this performance is this isn't one necessarily about the big moments, but rather he is just so realizes Riggan as someone to sympathize with throughout it is every second of his performance is something special. The way he can bare his soul yet have a hilarious reaction in the very same scene is a most unusual challenge, but one that Keaton meets without a misstep throughout the entire film.

I would be remiss though not to mention when Riggan gives into the idea of the Birdman. Keaton's performance is essential to the success of this oddity working because it could have easily come off as just pretentious or just something lacking in any substance. Keaton though helps turns it into a piece of cinematic magic with his performance. It can be interpreted still but what Keaton does is outstanding in his creation of Riggan becoming one with Birdman, and again it may be one finally inspiring to be something greater than himself, or maybe finally giving into a madness that is destroying him. No matter what you may believe it is I absolutely love the way Keaton expresses this discovery that may be the unexpected virtue of ignorance or it might not be. This is an absolutely great performance by Michael Keaton. Keaton gathers it all and there would have been so many places for him to fall. Keaton only ever soars (pun definitely not intended) in the role as he amplifies the emotions and even the entertainment value of second of the film in which he appears. Keaton brings us through the otherworldly mind and place of Riggan in a truly wondrous fashion.