Thursday, March 7, 2013

Top 20 Acting Performances of 2012

Normally I don't do more than my top films for "Best of the Year", but then I started thinking about my previous 20 Most Anticipated Performances of 2012 and figured it would be cool to see how my eventual favourites matched up. In the end, 6 of those performances made my Top 20 of 2012. Also interesting to note was the emergence of performances that eclipsed the ones I was excited for from the same film. So without further ado, here are my Top 20 Acting Performances of 2012:

20. Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy
Perfectly nasty and sexy and that's fine with me!

19. Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables
Jackman bares all and nails a tremendously demanding role.

18. Liam Neeson in The Grey
Takes his newfound badass persona and infuses it with heart and soul.

17. Priyanka Chopra in Barfi!
She's unrecognizable in the role, but very believable.

16. Meryl Streep in Hope Springs
Meryl's always great and this performance is no exception.

15. Javier Bardem in Skyfall
Bardem's having a blast with this role and so is the audience.

14. Mikkel Boe Følsgaard in A Royal Affair
Shows terrific range as he navigates his character's immaturity, loneliness and madness.

13. Samuel L. Jackson in Django Unchained
A vital part of a great ensemble, digging into an ugly aspect of slavery with unfettered aplomb.

12. Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
Waltz speaks Tarantino's lines of dialogue like he was truly born to play these roles.

11. Noomi Rapace in Prometheus
Rapace gives her best performance to date, proving serious movie star potential.

10. Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz
The character isn't exactly likable, but the actress is infinitely compelling.

9. Helen Hunt in The Sessions
Her brave, warm performance truly lingers.

8. Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained
Plays brilliantly against type, somehow managing to give us understated flamboyance.

7. Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
His interpretation surpasses all our expectations, with impressive voice modification and skillful restraint.

6. Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
In one devastating scene, she gives us her character's entire life journey with powerful effect.

5. Logan Lerman in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
A performance of impeccable skill that truly belies his years.

4. Denzel Washington in Flight
A well-executed performance that is abrasive but honest.

3. Quvenzhane Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild
She blew me away with her poise and natural instincts.

2. Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
Half of a masterful "yin and yang" duet.

1. Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
Half of a masterful "yin and yang" duet.


  1. I see that you also think Leo DiCaprio was the best of the ensemble in "Django Unchained" :)

    1. It was incredibly difficult to choose between Leo, Sam and Christoph..but I settled on Leo. Such a surprising performance from him.

  2. All were solid. Kudos in having Mikkel Boe on this list

    1. Mikkel Boe was so great, as was the rest of the cast.

  3. Great list. I've to see The Grey, I guess

  4. I'm surprised to see Logan Lerman so far up the list. I thought he was fine but nothing more. I can't argue with the rest of the top ten though, although I'd have jigged it about a little. I'm glad to see Mikkel Boe Følsgaard included too.

    1. I was incredibly moved by Logan's performance and it's the main reason why that film ended up as my #2 of the year.

  5. It's cinematically sinful to argue against Phoenix and Hoffman's #2 and #1 spot. I agree that they had the best performances in 2012 that seemed to be overall snubbed in the long run.

  6. Great list! Reminded me of a few films I still need to check out. Did you Smashed? I haven't seen it myself but Mary Elizabeth Winstead received a lot of praise for it so I've been meaning to seek it out.