2007 : Best Actor

January 19, 2008 | 300 News

1. Daniel Day-Lewis – THERE WILL BE BLOOD
I’m writing this at a very interesting time because right now the backlash against Day-Lewis’ performance is matched only by the increased quotability of dialogue from the portion of the film fueling the backlash. Admittedly, this kind of acting is not for everyone. Those who believe acting should be subtle, invisible are going to have a problem here. I like a good theatrical performance. One that goes for broke and risks looking like a fool. Day-Lewis hinted at this type of behavior while tapping his glass eye with a knife in GANGS OF NEW YORK, but here it’s like all that down time not acting just unleashed something inside. Besides, he already got an Oscar doing the subtle realism thing in MY LEFT FOOT.

2. Emile Hirsch – INTO THE WILD
The performance for those who don’t like what Daniel Day-Lewis did. Hirsch’s work feels so real, so natural it’s difficult to believe he didn’t write the dialogue himself. While filming the movie he opted to stay on location rather than in his trailer, and I believe it actually did help.

McCandless is a very difficult person to play. As foolish and naïve as he is likable, it’s difficult to not make a judgment on how he lived his life. Hirsch always stays in the now, never hinting at the bigger story arc of McCandless’ ultimately epic experience.

3. Johnny Depp – SWEENEY TODD
While I hated his Willy Wonka, I tend to love the flamboyant excess of a meaty Johnny Depp performance. Strip away the hair and the costumes and the fact that most of the dialogue is sung, and you’re still left with a risky, hypnotic portrait of a tortured soul. He doesn’t just hit the notes, he makes them his own, allowing the songs to express the broken heart inside this unhappy monster. A friend commented that some of Depp’s expressions he wouldn’t be able to make if he was actually singing the notes live. That only makes me like what he did more.

4. Simon Pegg – HOT FUZZ
Anyone remember “Sledge Hammer” the TV show that made fun of Dirty Harry tough cops? That was a spoof…this is so much more. Pegg, a slight man with thinning hair, was very convincing as Sgt. Nicholas Angel, the toughest and smartest cop in England. Pegg didn’t go for laughs based on the fact that he doesn’t look like a tough guy. In this film, you totally believe him as a tough guy. But he always finds a way within his humorless character to be very, very funny.

5. Ulrich Muhe – THE LIVES OF OTHERS
Muhe’s character starts out as a cold, and empty spy and for a stretch it look like he’s the villain of the film. But Muhe brings so much depth to the part that you quickly see his government spy as a lonely man in need of a good wake up call. Without spoiling things so, his character makes some tremendous changes. By the end, it’s almost as if Muhe is playing a different man.

6. Thomas Turgoose – THIS IS ENGLAND
Turgoose has no shot at a real nomination. He’s too young. Not enough people saw the film. THIS IS WHY I DO THESE LISTS! Turgoose plays a young kid growing up without a dad, who falls in first with some friendly skinheads, and then with some very dangerous ones. Trying to find the proper values and grow up to be a good lad, the performance is empathetic and heartbreaking.

7. Phillip Seymour Hoffman – THE SAVAGES
Hoffman is starting to become an American Peter O’Toole. There’s just something about the gravel in his voice that makes every line interesting. He can take any material and find an interesting angle in which to play it. And his scenes with other actors become great tennis matches, each one making the other look better.

8. Terrance Howard – PRIDE
I wrote about this performance before. Click Here.

9. Glen Hansard – ONCE
When he’s not singing, Hansard is quiet and unassuming in ONCE. His character wears the fresh wound of recent heartbreak and he doesn’t want to be hurt again, but can’t lock his heart away. There’s a moment early in the relationship where he oversteps his bounds. She’s polite about it, but you see him get down on himself and it’s very powerful. Speaking of powerful, some of his vocal performances howl with the pain he keeps locked up inside.

[b]10. Gerard Butler – 300
Even behind a heavy beard and usually a helmet, Butler became a movie star as the commanding leader of the 300 Spartans. He’s remembered for the yelling, but he shines just as much in the film’s few quiet moments.[/b]

Publication: Strong Opinion
Author: Cutshaw

Press Archives

Press Categories