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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The 2014 RyMickey Awards - Best Actor

2014 was a strong year for actors and while none of them quite reached the 2013 tour de force performance of Leonardo Dicaprio's Wolf of Wall Street, it still was an abundance of riches.  I've flip-flopped on my top two spots up to the very last minute and #3 was oh-so-close to moving up in the ranks as well.  I may regret my decision as the years pass, but either nominee would be a worthy winner.  That said, there's no Michael Keaton from Birdman here who was of many pundits' choices to win the Oscar before being beaten out by Eddie Redmayne...who does make an appearance somewhere on the list below.

Best Actor of 2014
(SoN = Streaming on Netflix / SoA = Streaming on Amazon Prime)

Also in the running...
(in alphabetical order)
Ben Affleck  - Gone Girl
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Robert Downey, Jr. - The Judge
Ansel Elgort - The Fault in Our Stars
Bill Hader - The Skeleton Twins (SoN)
Tom Hardy - Locke (SoA)
Oscar Issac -  A Most Violent Year
Bill Murray - St. Vincent

Honorable Mentions
  • #14 - Jack O'Conner - Starred Up - A gritty performance in which O'Conner creates a visceral love for violence that proves a bit scary.  (SoA)
  • #13- James Corden - Into the Woods - Corden reminds me of me were I to be in movies.  There's nothing wrong with a charming, moderately pudgy guy succeeding!
  • #12 - Chris Evans - Snowpiercer - Who knew that this action star could handle the dramatic side necessary for not only his character, but for this film to succeed?  (SoN)
  • #11 - Jake Gyllenhaal - Enemy - While I initially thought Gyllenhaal's double role in Enemy was a little greater than another 2014 role he undertook (which you'll see further down the list), in retrospect this one hasn't quite stayed with me as much.  Still, taking on two distinctly disparate roles, Gyllenhaal is captivating as a man struggling to figure out the chaos going on around him. (SoA)
And the Top Ten...

#10 - Miles Teller - Whiplash
Certainly the less showy of the two roles in the forefront of Whiplash, Teller finally gives us an acting performance that doesn't exude any of the frat boy-esque prickish machismo we're used to seeing from him and instead takes us on a journey with his character, letting us truly understand why he puts up with the insanity of his drill sergeant of a music professor.

#9 - Noah Wiseman - The Babadook
Already the winner of the Best Younger Actor of 2014, Wiseman is chillingly compelling as an out-of-control child whose behavior warps his mother's reality and then must do all that is necessary to help her regain her sanity.  (SoN)

#8 - Jude Law - Dom Hemingway
Brash, ballsy, and delightfully disarming, Jude Law makes Dom Hemingway worth watching with his portrayal of a sleazy crook whose release from jail brings him heaps of trouble.

#7 - Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
Obviously known for his comedic prowess, Steve Carell proves he can also tackle drama in this hefty, melancholic film.  Lacking the typical social skills to really communicate with others, Carell's John du Pont has skated by for decades on his family's money and when he attempts to finally make a name for himself, it's obvious to the audience he'll never succeed.  Carell, however, makes us believe in his character's warped drive and it's a scary and unpleasant thing to witness.

#6 - Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Without feeling treacly or forced, Benedict Cumberbatch tackles the unique tics and idiosyncrasies of Alan Turing creating both a heartbreaking and inspiring figure.

#5 - Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
Weird.  That's probably the best word to describe Jake Gyllenhaal's role as the driven videographer Louis Bloom who will stop at nothing to get a news story.  Fast talking and manipulative, we never once feel at ease watching Bloom and that's a huge compliment for Gyllenhaal who's crafted a character who has creepiness seeping out of his pores.  (SoN)

#4 - Channing Tatum - Foxcatcher
With an animalistic monotone delivery of mainly monosyllabic words, Tatum's muscular loner is surprisingly captivating.  In what is by far is best work yet, Tatum shows here that he's got the dramatic chops to really take on heavy pieces.

#3 - David Oyelowo - Selma
It's an unenviable task to bring a well-known figure such as Martin Luther King, Jr., to life on the big screen, but Oyelowo succeeds at undertaking the spiritual leader's diction, mannerisms, strength, humility, and intelligence.  Moving in the film's calmer moments, yet powerfully rousing as the rather ingenious orator that King was, Oyelowo is the biggest reason this film worked as well as it did for me.

#2 - Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Playing handicapped is often an easy road to an Oscar, and while Redmayne won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, he wasn't simply handed the Academy Award because he mimicked a man with ALS.  There's a joy an vigor in Redmayne's portrayal prior to his character's diagnosis that makes it all the more heartwrenching when his life gets turned upside down.  Redmayne certainly captures the physicality -- both vocal and physical -- of an ALS patient, but he also captures the emotional pain that accompanies it, showcasing glimmers of forgotten joy in his eyes for his jubilant past.

#1 - Ralph Fiennes - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Comedy is never easy, but Ralph Fiennes gives an effortless performance as Gustave, the manager of the titular hotel.  The dry humor and wit that exudes from every line reading and gesture of Fiennes showcases his enviable acting chops.  Balancing an elegance and a chauvinistic crassness, Gustave is the absolute best part of a somewhat off-balance film, but Fiennes excels and is an absolute treat.

Previous RyMickey Award Winners
2013    --    2012
2011    --    2010


  1. Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler--agree that weird is a good word to describe his role. Creepy, unnerving, rubberneck-inducing. Sooooo weird.

  2. I didn't love the movie as much as I loved Jake's performance which was kinda scary. I felt like the film's skewering of local news programs felt too forced, but Gyllenhaal worked.