5. Tom Courtenay in Quartet - Courtenay rises above his material and offers some dignity in his portrayal of an aging musician still holding a grudge.
Best Scene: The church.
4. Toby Jones in Berberian Sound Studio - Jones amplifies the best elements of his film through his unique and compelling portrayal of a man in a strange purgatory.
Best Scene: Calling the airline.
3. Mads Mikkelsen in A Royal Affair - In his second best leading turn of the year Mikkelsen gives a charismatic and moving portrayal of a decent man trying to play the game of the royal court for good.
Best Scene: The Execution.
2. Mathias Schoenaerts in Rust and Bone - Schoenaerts gives another great physical turn this time as a man who finds solace in connections yet fails to understand them.
Best Scene: Saving Sam.
1. Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt - Good predictions Omar, Giuseppe, Luke, Robert, Charles, Anonymous, Jackiboyz, RatedRStar, Michael Patison, Tahmeed, Varun, moviefilm, and Alex. Well of course Mikkelsen was easily my favorite of these five, though good performances all. Mikkelsen though is on another level here and the only performance that can stand against his work here is Joaquin Phoenix's equally impressive work in The Master. Phoenix's work as the broken man trying to find some sort of path against Mikkelsen's work as the normal man going through a terrible situation. Each are compelling in their own way, and each have their own set of challenges which they both surpass at every turn. Both are two of the greatest performances I've ever seen, and since I am pained to choose right now....eh. I apologize in advance.