Top 10 Performances of the Year

Next up in these lists is my favourite performances of the year. 2012 had some brilliant acting jobs and there are a lot of performances that I really wanted to put in this list. That said, there were 10 performances that bested all of them:

10. Alice Lowe – Sightseers – Here is a performance that is a great show of an actress getting involved with the character. Aside from the fact that Lowe helped write the script, the little nuances that she gives really give you a sense that you’re watching a person you could meet in real life rather than a character. The chemistry that Lowe and Steve Oram share together is excellent and there is a great sense that you don’t know the true nature of the character until the very end of the film, handled excellently by Lowe.

9. Fran Kranz – The Cabin in the Woods – This is a character that could have gone easily wrong. If the performance was not right then the character would come across as annoying. Thankfully, Kranz plays the character perfectly bringing in a great mix of comedy and heart to this performance making him more than just a one joke character and putting him in this list.

8. John Goodman – Argo – Now with Argo, all of the praise for the performances in the film goes to Alan Arkin but for me, John Goodman gave the superior performance. Goodman really makes you like John Chambers, he’s funny, he’s warm, he works off of Ben Affleck and Alan Arkin perfectly and he gives Chambers all of the respect that he deserves. Plus it doesn’t hurt that Goodman looks virtually identical to Chambers in real life.

7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Looper – Now it was really tough over whether to put Joseph Gordon-Levitt in for this or The Dark Knight Rises and there are 2 reasons why I chose this film. Firstly, as you’ll see later, there is a performance in The Dark Knight Rises that I felt was better and secondly, he was better in this film. The way that he works with Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt in the film is brilliant and he plays the sense that he is out of his depth and has no idea what will happen next perfectly. This is a great show of a character that you should hate but the writing and the performance help make the character great.

6. Javier Bardem – Skyfall – Now here we get the best villain performance of not just the year, but of the entire James Bond series. Bardem is just straight up scary as Silva, you really get a feeling that you do not want to mess with this guy from the second that he appears on screen for the first time. There is also a sense of dark humour in the character that Bardem shows brilliantly, particularly at the end of the film. I don’t think there’s been a villain performance this good since easily Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and that more than qualifies Bardem for a spot in this list.

5. Michael Fassbender – Prometheus – Now here is the ultimate example from this year of a film saving performance. I thought that Prometheus was a really bad film but the only reason I cannot hate the film is because Fassbender is so good as David. There is a very creepy feeling you get whenever David is on screen, just through Fassbender’s mere presence. His voice, his look everything just spells creepy and that really saves the film. Despite the dialogue he says being pretty bad, Fassbender is still brilliant and is the only reason to watch Prometheus.

4. Martin Freeman – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – This is an example of perfect casting. Everything about Martin Freeman just spells Bilbo Baggins and he shows in the film why he was so perfect. He fully encapsulates the whole “what the hell am I doing” attitude of Bilbo Baggins excellently and he works off of the other actors in the film brilliantly, especially Andy Serkis in the Riddles in the Dark scene. All of that puts Freeman in this list.

3. Anne Hathaway – The Dark Knight Rises – Here is a performance that I really wasn’t expecting. I expected Hathaway to be good as Selina Kyle but I didn’t expect her to be as good as she was. The way she commanded the screen and could so easily change her whole appearance and mannerisms within a blink of the eye. You never knew what to expect next from her and with a character like this, that’s the most important aspect to pull of and Hathaway nailed it.

2. Mark Ruffalo – Avengers Assemble – After his great performance in The Incredible Hulk, I felt that no-one could top Edward Norton as Bruce Banner. Thankfully I was proved spectacularly wrong. Simply put, Mark Ruffalo is excellent in the role, he provides a sense of dark humour to the film through his situation, his interaction with Robert Downey Jr is excellent and the way he plays the darkness in Banner due to the Hulk is just perfect. There is only one performance this year that topped Ruffalo and that is:

1. Toby Jones – Berberian Sound Studio – I finally get the chance to honour one of my favourite actors in one of these lists. This is not just my favourite performance of the year but it is also my favourite Toby Jones performance, and considering his excellent work in the past that’s saying a lot. His performance is just perfect, encapsulating the thrill and fear of watching horror for the first time and the effect that has on the mind, as well as showing a great contrast between the ideals of the British and the Italians. Simply put, no performance I’ve seen this year is better than Toby Jones in Berberian Sound Studio.

Honourable Mentions:

  • Martin Sheen – The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Edward Norton – Moonrise Kingdom
  • Dane DeHaan – Chronicle
  • Lynn Collins – John Carter
Come back soon for the final part of these lists, my favourite films of 2012.
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