Just like with Oscar ballots I'm weighting these with #1 as my top choice and so on down the list.
1. Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
It's damn near impossible to choose between Phoenix and Day-Lewis for the top spot here, but I'm giving the edge to Phoenix for the pure, blazing originality of the performance. I've never met a guy like Freddie Quell in a movie before, yet no matter how outlandish Freddie's behavior, or how wild Phoenix's choices, there is not one moment, not one beat, that feels less than real. One for the ages.
2. Daniel Day Lewis - Lincoln
4. Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
At this point it no longer seems fair to have Day-Lewis compete against other actors. Adding to his inventory of all-time great performances, he seizes a vivid Kushner screenplay to takes a figure enshrined as historical myth and portrays him as thoughtful and reserved man, burdened with melancholy but possessed of great reserves of fire. His Lincoln is all the more magnificent for being a plausible human being.
3. Jean Louis Trintignant - Amour
Co-star Emmanuelle Riva is the one racking up the awards, but Trintignant is every bit her equal as the other half of Haneke's sad love story. Like the film's title, Trintignant's performance is beautiful in its simplicity. He does more silently absorbing his characters pain than most actors due with a dramatic monologue. The moment where he returns to reality from imagining his wife in health playing music is one the most devastating moments of silent acting I've ever seen.
If Lancaster Dodd has moments where he confesses himself to be a charlatan and his movement a farce PTAnderson doesn't include them. Instead he lets Hoffman's beguiling, multilayered performance carry the mystery of the man. The performance is amazing in the way it remains consistent despite hitting contrary notes. Dodd is at once shrewd and credulous, phony but sincere in his concern. He is such an instantly fascinating figure it's no stretch to grasp how he bedevils poor fragile Freddie.
Spike Lee's return to Brooklyn may be a scattershot piece of storytelling but there's nothing middling or so-so about its central creation, Bishop Enoch Rouse, played with towering presence by Clarke Peters. Rouse is a Shakespearean tragedy playing out on the tiny stage of his crumbling under-attended Brooklyn church. Rouse spends the Summer attempting to whip some religion on his wayward grandson, but the real lesson is taught by example as Peters reveals Rouse to be a man of terrible hidden depths.
Denis Lavant - Holy Motors, Denzel Washington - Flight, Tim Heidecker - The Comedy, Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained, Scoot McNairy - Killing Them Softly
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