Best Actors of 2017
Gary Oldman - Winston Churchill - The Darkest Hour
Anyone who knows Gary Oldman, knows that he is one of the greatest actors ever. He always brings his “A” game to every role. No exception applies here as well. I do have my problems with the role of Winston Churchill. The movie itself isn’t very good, the role was clearly written for awards and it plays out as an acting reel for Gary Oldman. Oldman does nail Churchill’s mannerisms and it is a very strong performance that showcases Oldman’s talents (like yelling). The fact that it showcases how great of an actor Gary Oldman is, it would be a shame to ignore it. I can’t admit that this is a favorite performance of mine, nor do I think it is the best acting performance of the year but Oldman deserves all the recognition he’s getting.
Jake Gyllenhaal - Jeff Bauman — Stronger
Jake Gyllenhaal continues to pump out amazing performance after amazing performance. You may say I am a fanboy, but I truly believe he is one of our best working actors and even though this role could be consider “baity” Gyllenhaal still gives it his all. Gyllenhaal does not look anything like the real Bauman but he brings Bauman’s pain and experiences to life. It is a heartbreaking and intense performance. Not once did I think this was an actor pretending not to have legs, I genuinely felt as if Gyllenhaal did not have any legs. There is one particular scene where Gyllenhaal’s character argues with Tatiana Maslaney’s character and begins to have a break down. Gyllenhaal doesn’t let his intensity go for one-second and then it gets even more heartbreaking as he begins to crawl on the floor crying. That is the only scene you need to see to how good he is in Stronger. It takes a terrific actor to make you forget you’re watching a performance and Gyllenhaal accomplishes that.
James Franco - Tommy Wiseau - The Disaster Artist
Comedic performances tend to get over looked when it comes to award shows or recognition. When in reality, they are actually very difficult to pull off. Some actors try to hard to be funny or some actors won’t be willing to push themselves. James Franco finds the right balance in The Disaster Artist. Anyone who knows Tommy Wiseau, knows he is a character. People like that can easily be parodied but Franco does something more than an impersonation. He becomes Tommy Wiseau. Instead of a walking caricature, this is a living, breathing human being with emotions. Franco adds depth to this zany guy and makes us sympathize for him. His facial expressions are ridiculously great and his Tommy voice is nearly spot on. Wait till you hear him do the Wiseau laugh. Ridiculously great. Many people can do impressions but can we become spitting images of the people we try to imitate? Not exactly and Franco hits that note hard without sacrificing any laughs.
Hugh Jackman - Logan/Wolverine - Logan
I mentioned Stewart was the perfect Xavier (in the supporting actor poster) and Hugh Jackman is the perfect Wolverine. Jackman does not look much like the comic book Wolverine and his casting was criticized nearly 2 decades ago. Jackman proved the naysayers completely wrong. Hugh Jackman is beyond great as Wolverine. He is so good that he makes us forget that he doesn’t look exactly like comic book Wolverine.. While other films have touched upon Logan’s emotional pain, Logan takes that characterization to a whole new level. Jackman is one of the nicest and charming men in Hollywood but his Logan is unrecognizable. There is so much rage and you can see it in his face and eyes. This performance is a perfect example of show not tell. Jackman is completely absorbed in the character and he not once feels out of character. There are scenes where Jackman has to break down in anger and if done inappropriately those scenes could be laughable. Instead Jackman is terrifying. Jackman’s body movement is incredible, his line delivery is outrageous. There is so much ferocity and again his eyes & face are in a burden of pain. Jackman has dedicated so much to perfecting this role of Wolverine and I think we took his performance as Wolverine for a bit granted. It is a shame that no awards show bothered to nominate Jackman as this is a difficult performance to excel at and the one everyone has been talking about all year. Ridiculous how you have to do oscar bait to get recognized.
Andy Serkis - Caesar - War of the Planet of the Apes
Andy Serkis is awesome. He is the mo-cap king of Hollywood and has helped change the game for Hollywood in that regard. But Serkis is much more than a mo-cap artist. He is an amazing actor. Yes he plays CGI characters, but he plays them with humanity and personality. His role as Caesar might be his best yet. Each rendition of Caesar in the trilogy has felt different and has evolved throughout the series. In War for the Planet of the Apes, Serkis reaches his peak. Caesar is now talking with full dialogue and walks like a human. He is the perfect hybrid of ape and man. Serkis manages to perfectly blend ape mannerisms with human mannerisms. Serkis also manages to create a voice that is full of pain and ruggedness. The entire movie is about Caesar and his emotional battle with himself. He is absolutely distraught through the film as witnessed through body movements and line delivery. Some scenes are silent and Serkis uses his eyes and facial expressions to convey emotion. No detail is lost through the CGI process. The technology in Apes looks terrific but it is Serkis’ emotional, heartbreaking performance of Caesar that makes him feel like a living character. It is nonsensical that award shows do not consider motion capture acting because Serkis and Jackman in my opinion gave the 2 best performances of the year.
Ryan Gosling - K/Joe - Blade Runner
Steve Carell - Bobby Riggs - Battle of The Sexes,
Nikolaj Colster-Waldau - Jacob "Money" Harlon - Shot Caller
Daniel Day Lewis - Reynolds Woodcock - Phantom Thread
Denzel Washington - Roman J Israel - Roman J. Israel, Esq.