Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best Performances of 2012

A great performance can make an otherwise unmemorable movie memorable. And conversely, a movie is rarely great without at least one great performance. Below are my favorite performances from 2012, ranked roughly in order beginning with my favorite. You will notice that, just like with my Best Films of 2012 list, I don't subscribe to a fixed number.

Best Actor:
  1. Joaquin Phoenix - The Master
  2. Denzel Washington - Flight
  3. Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
  4. Ben Affleck - Argo
  5. Matt Damon - The Promised Land
  6. Richard Gere - Arbitrage
  7. John Hawkes - The Sessions
  8. Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook
  9. Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables

Best Actress:
  1. Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Smashed
  2. Naomi Watts - The Impossible
  3. Melanie Lynsky - Hello I Must be Going
  4. Viola Davis - Won't Back Down
  5. Maggie Gyllenhaal - Won't Back Down
  6. Rashida Jones - Celeste and Jesse Forever
  7. Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook
  8. Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty

Best Supporting Actor:
  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Master
  2. Ewan McGregor - The Impossible
  3. John Goodman - Flight
  4. Sam Rockwell - Seven Psychopaths
  5. Stanley Tucci - The Hunger Games
  6. Eric Bana - Deadfall
  7. Philip Seymour Hoffman - A Late Quartet
  8. Gary Oldman - The Dark Knight Rises
  9. Bill Nighy - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  10. Matthew McConaughey - Killer Joe
  11. Leonardo DiCaprio - Django Unchained
  12. Samuel L. Jackson - Django Unchained
  13. Christoph Waltz - Django Unchained
  14. Javier Bardem - Skyfall
  15. Michael Caine - The Dark Knight Rises
  16. Alan Arkin - Argo
  17. John Krasinski - The Promised Land
  18. Jeremy Irons - The Words
  19. Jonathan Pryce - Hysteria
  20. Aaron Paul - Smashed

Best Supporting Actress:
  1. Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
  2. Amy Adams - The Master
  3. Catherine Keener - A Late Quartet
  4. Helen Hunt - The Sessions
  5. Elizabeth Banks - The Hunger Games
  6. Gina Gershon - Killer Joe
  7. Samantha Barks - Les Miserables
  8. Anne Hathaway - The Dark Knight Rises

Best Young Actor/Actress:
  1. CJ Adams - The Odd Life of Timothy Green
  2. Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild
  3. Tom Holland - The Impossible
  4. Samuel Joslin - The Impossible
  5. Pierce Gagnon - Looper

Best Overall Year:
  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master, A Late Quartet)
  2. Ewan McGregor (Perfect Sense, The Impossible, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen)
  3. John Goodman (Flight, Argo, Trouble with the Curve, Paranorman)
  4. Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises)
  5. Christopher Walken (Seven Psychopaths, A Late Quartet, Dark Horse)
  6. Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, The Details, Pitch Perfect, People Like Us, Man on a Ledge, What to Expect When You're Expecting)
  7. Chris Messina (28 Hotel Rooms, Ruby Sparks, Argo, The Giant Mechanical Man, Celeste & Jesse Forever, The Trouble with Bliss)
  8. Richard Jenkins (The Cabin in the Woods, Killing Them Softly, Darling Companion, Liberal Arts, Jack Reacher)
  9. Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe, Magic Mike, Bernie)
  10. Maggie Gyllenhaal (Won't Back Down, Hysteria)
  11. Mark Duplass (Your Sister's Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed, Darling Companion, People Like Us, Jeff Who Lives at Home - director)
  12. Olivia Wilde (Deadfall, Butter, People Like Us, The Words)
  13. Zeljko Ivanek (The Words, The Bourne Legacy, Argo, Seven Psychopaths)

Best Ensemble:
  1. The Master
  2. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  3. Seven Psychopaths
  4. A Late Quartet
  5. Argo
  6. Les Miserables
  7. Django Unchained


  1. Chris Messina also was good in The Trouble with Bliss. Mark Duplass had a pretty good year despite Darling Companion and The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, haha

  2. Yeah, I tried to only list the good ones. Some of them had not-so-good ones too, like you mentioned. But I never even heard of 'The Trouble with Bliss'! I looked it up and I''m not sure how I missed it! I need to see it! As always, you know your stuff TMcG!

  3. Yeah, I figured. Thanks. I also enjoyed Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe, Bernie, The Paperboy, Magic Mike) and David Oyelowo (Jack Reacher, Middle of Nowhere, Lincoln, The Paperboy)

  4. One more for the list, Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, People Like Us, Man on a Ledge, and hilarious in Pitch Perfect)

  5. As usual, you're right on, TMcG. I added McConaughey and Banks. I haven't yet seen The Paperboy, but I really want to when it comes to DVD on the 15th. Nor have I seen Middle of Nowhere. And I can't say I paid attention to Oyelowo, but I will certainly take note. Thanks!

  6. Mark Duplass also popped up in Zero Dark Thirty. Scoot McNairy performed well in 3 good movies this year ( Argo, Promised Land, and Killing Them Softly ). And I might be wrong but Kyle Chandler is the only actor to appear in 2 of the Best Picture nominees ( Argo & Zero Dark Thirty )

    1. As usual you are correct on all counts, sir. But none of those performances called out to me enough to warrant a mention.