With the pinnacle of the film award season halting to an end last night; we have a year full of anticipated cinema releases ahead of us. With awards shows such as: The Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Independent festivals, and the mother of all shows The Oscars; we get a glimpse of what the general consensus is on who is the best of their categories. As an avid lover of film, television, and any form of a story; I have my own criteria mixed with my gut feeling that has helped me create my list of the Top 5 actors that had a remarkable year in film.
#5: Ben Affleck (Tony Mendez / Argo)
Ben Affleck has evolved into one of the most underrated men in Hollywood and it is only a matter of time before he consistently is in top honors conversations. Directing and starring in 2012’s Argo, Affleck gave a strong performance in his portrayal of a CIA operative who successfully pulled off one of the biggest top secret missions in America’s history. With a growing resume of outstanding performances, and a gutsy performance this year, Ben Affleck should have received an Academy nomination.
#4: Denzel Washington (Whip Whitaker / Flight)
No stranger to the conversation of extraordinary actors, Denzel Washington gave one of his best performances this year in Flight as a brilliant pilot who saves the lives of hundreds while still avoiding his underlying problem of addiction. When I saw this film in theaters I was impressed by such an intriguing and creative story, but more so by how amazing I thought Denzel was. He’s been credited for several other roles but his convincing portrayal of a conflicted addict trying to free himself from his lies and downward spiral.
#3: Christoph Waltz (Dr. King Schultz, Django Unchained)
The extremely charismatic Austrian actor Christoph Waltz is beginning to make quite the name for himself in Hollywood. Last night he won his second Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor winning both in Quentin Tarrantino directed films. The diverse actor has a special persona about him on screen; he is witty, well spoken, and delivers every line of his dialogue on queue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some leading roles in his near future and an opportunity to win his third Oscar.
#2: Joaquin Phoenix (Freddie Quell, the Master)
In my opinion, he was the only actor that was going to give Daniel Day-Lewis a run for his money this year. The extremely talented Phoenix had the role of his life this year in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film The Master. His role of an eccentric World War 2 veteran struggling to adapt back in society, showed a side of his abilities that has not been previously displayed to us. In preparing for the role, Phoenix studied the behavior of animals held in captivity as they are released back into the wild. Brilliant!
#1: Daniel Day-Lewis (Abraham Lincoln / Lincoln)
It’s hard to imagine anyone out acting Daniel Day-Lewis. The only person to ever win three Academy Awards for the category of Leading Role Actor is without a doubt the pinnacle of what every actor should strive to be. His dedication to every role he has ever portrayed puts any hard work ethic to shame. Months before his films begin shooting he transforms himself into his character and until the final “cut” does not lose his perspective. Portraying one of the greatest Presidents that the United States have ever seen is no easy task and yet he did a more than exceptional job with ease. He is known for: physically, emotionally, and psychologically preparing himself to become his character. If you want proof watch: My Left Foot, There Will be Blood, Gangs of New York, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer, essentially you can IMDB Daniel Day-Lewis and watch every movie to his credit. After three decades of near perfect portrayals, he still brings the same love and respect of his job to each and every take.