5. Jeff Bridges in The Contender- Bridges is fine in this film but he
really is never anything special or memorable. He has his nice charisma
but besides that his performance really brings nothing that any
competent actor could have done.
4. Albert Finney in Erin Brockovich- Finney is better than the main star
Julia Roberts in both being more likable, less annoying, and far more
believable in his role. In fact if the film had to have the same roles I
would have preferred Finney in the lead. Having said all that though
his role is still very limited, and unfortunately his character takes a
backseat to Roberts' limiting his performance potential.
3. Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator- Phoenix takes most of his ideas for his
portrayal of an evil emperor from those who have played similar parts
before him. He is too over the top, although Phoenix does have an
interesting screen presence.
2. Benicio Del Toro in Traffic- Del Toro gives a subtle but very effective performance as the lone man trying to do something right. He finds a way to get empathy without ever pleading for it, and finds some emotional powerful moments through some very quiet scenes.
1. Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire- Dafoe stands head and shoulders above the rest here in my book. His imitation of the original Max Schreck is uncanny. Dafoe though utilizes his incredible imitation though also to create an odd, and original villain with the right amount of evil delight, but also oddly some sorrow. Simply a terrific performance.
Takeshi Kitano in Battle Royale