Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The 2011 RyMickey Awards - Best Actor

Like the ladies, there was some great work from the men in 2011 with my Top Five really being performances that have surprisingly still stayed with me since I've seen them.

Best Actor 2011

Paul Giamatti - Win Win
Owen Wilson - Midnight in Paris
Peter Mullan - Tyrannosaur
Mel Gibson - The Beaver

Honorable Mentions
#10 - Mel Gibson - The Beaver
Poor Mel...likely never again to be taken seriously as an actor and it's a shame.  Despite his anger problems, he really is solid onscreen and he elevates this rather disappointing film to another level.

#9 - Michael Shannon - Take Shelter
I would agree with some who have said that Michael Shannon is turning into a fairly one-note character actor, playing seemingly the same intense (some would say "crazy") roles again and again.  However, he plays them so darn well that it's tough to complain and he succeeds again in Take Shelter.

#8 - Michael Parks - Red State
Michael Parks has a very lengthy monologue at the beginning of Red State in which his preacher character denounces the sordid direction of society.  Juxtapose what he's saying against the fact that he's got a panicked guy gagged, wrapped in plastic wrap, and tied to a pole standing behind him and you've got a role that so easily could have been laughable that it's rather amazing that Parks is able to play it straight.  Yes, it may be an over-the-top role, but Parks brings it down to earth.

#5 - Brad Pitt - Moneyball
No denying that Brad Pitt is a "Movie Star" of the highest caliber (whether that's deserved or not, I'm not debating at the moment), but somehow while watching Moneyball I forgot that this was "Brad Pitt" up on the screen.  Pitt completely embodies the real-life character of Billy Beane and while there isn't necessarily anything extraordinary about the role itself, Pitt helps to make this flick more interesting than its premise should probably allow.

#7 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt - 50/50
Joseph Gordon-Levitt's role in 50/50 may not be the most fact, it's probably the most straight-forward of anyone on this list.  But he manages to play a young guy going through cancer treatment with such believability and heart that it's hard not to be won over by him.

And the Top Five...

#5 - Michael Sheen - Beautiful Boy
Much like his onscreen counterpart Maria Bello, Michael Sheen is riveting in Beautiful Boy.  Sheen starts the film as the more level-headed of the couple whose son just committed a horrible mass killing at his college, but as the film progresses he begins to spiral out of control taking his character on quite an interesting journey.

#4 - Thomas Horn - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I'm not sure whether young Thomas Horn will ever be able to branch out of the awkwardness he displays in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, but having read the book on which this film is based, this kid did a fantastic job with a very difficult character.  For a first-time actor to have to carry this heavy movie on his own and be so darn effective in it is a feat I'm not sure many others would have been able to achieve.

#3 - Jean Dujardin - The Artist
The Oscar winner gets a place on my list as well as Jean Dujardin completely embodies the old-style (often melodramatic) acting techniques so common in silent film.  With facial expressions that convey everything we need to know, it takes talent to express emotions solely through physicality without stooping to overacting.

#2 - George Clooney - The Descendants
Simply put, this is George Clooney's best role to date.  Portraying perhaps the most "regular guy" I've seen him play, it was rather refreshing to see him take on the role of both parent and grieving widow, providing some of the most emotional and understated work he's given to date.

#1 - Michael Fassbender - Shame
This is one heckuva performance tackling a difficult subject matter that many actors may not have been brave enough to take on.  Fassbender's Brandon is very quiet in this movie, but we're always well aware of what his sex addict character is thinking and the pain he's inflicting upon himself.  I keep going back to one scene in particular that I've discussed before (which will certainly show up in the upcoming RyMickey Award Best Scene category) in which Brandon is in the midst of a threesome and after a bit of a focus on the writhing bodies, we shift to viewing only Brandon's face.  In that visage, we see that this menage a trois is the furthest thing from a pleasurable experience for Brandon.  It's painful for him...and it's painful for us as well.  Amazing work from an on-the-rise actor.

Previous RyMickey Award Winners

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