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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Finest Performances of the Century

While I am working on a review for There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day-Lewis' unbelievable performance has inspired me to write this. The title is self explanatory, but before I begin, what are your favorite performances of the century? We're only in 2011, so it should not be too hard. Anyway, leave a comment on here and let me know what you think, and  I am give me your opinion as well!

#20 Ryan Gosling, The Notebook - The Academy and me sometimes just struggle to get along period. I mean, when someone like Sandra Bullock wins Best Actress I am disgusted, but then in The Notebook neither Rachel McAdams or Ryan Gosling are even nominated. There is not much I can do about it now, but sit here and tell everyone how I think they were wrong. Eithery way, Gosling was very good in The Notebook and nothing short of Oscar nod worthy.

#19 Meryl Streep, Julie and Julia - Don't be alarmed, you will see her on this list at least two more times, and very possibly more. I was having a conversation with someone about this just a few days ago, and we both agreed, going by talent alone that Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, and Jack Nicholson are above all other actors in history. However, Daniel Day-Lewis is not far behind since I have been watching him more. But on the note of Julie and Julia, it is not Streep's best work, but she sure got into character about as well as anyone I have ever seen.

#18 Tim Robbins, Mystic River - Now, if I said this was his career work I would be getting a little out of hand, as that entirely goes to The Shawshank Redemption, but Robbins is nothing short of excellent is his work in Mystic River. Granted, it might not have been the most difficult work he could have attempted, but I sure believed he was a man disturbed by his past, and that's all that matters.

#17 Sean Penn, Mystic River - Completely deserving of the Oscar, Sean Penn plays the role of the tough guy in the neighborhood perfectly. This was probably my favorite work of the year, though I will never forget Sean Astin in The Return of the King.

#16 Casey Affleck, Gone baby Gone - Well with Ben really beginning to make his name through directing, Casey has kind of fallen under the radar. But one thing is for certain, and that's which of the two brothers are better actors, proven even more in his work with Gone Baby Gone. If I had to pick a most underrated performance of the century, it very well might be this one.

#15 Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind - So, let me see if I know what you're saying, Crowe was better in Gladiator then he was in this, AND Denzel Washington in Training Day was better then Crowe. I'm sorry, whether you are a fan of Crowe or not that seems like junk talk in my opinion. Crowe was excellent, and I do not see any way on this earth you can say he wasn't.

#14 Amy Adams, Doubt - I have said this before and I am going to say it again. I don't think any performances are good enough to entirely carry a movie, but if there were three performance that I had to choose, it would be in "Doubt". I have not seen all of Amy Adams' work, but from what I have seen, her performance in "Doubt" certainly ranks as number 1. Being a younger, more inexperienced actor I thought she would have trouble staying with Hoffman and Streep, but she had no trouble at all.

#13 Jack Nicholson, The Departed - This performance was nothing short of hilarious. I know that statement might take some people by surprise, and I did not absolutely love The Departed, but Nicholson in this stage of his career playing a mobster this well is funny to me. And every time I hear "I'm Shipping up to Boston" I will always picture Nicholson screaming to his men "Get rid of the freaking tail!!!".

#12 Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby - In my opinion, and I know so many people will disagree with this, his work in Million Dollar Baby is his finest yet. Not as a director, but an actor. Eastwood may not be very versatile, but this role was right down his alley, and he hit it out of the park.

#11 Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight - I just could not give this performance a spot in the top ten, way too many Nolan fanatics for that. Can't please them all, right? Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight was and always will be brilliant. I think some people go overboard about how great it was, but maybe it gets on my nerves because of how much I have seen it. Either way, the performance was great, and easily ranks among the best of the century.

#10 Guy Pearce, Memento - After much thought I decided Pearce was easily worth this spot in the list. In one of the craziest movies I have ever seen, that very strangely makes perfect sense, Pearce gives the performance of his career. that may not be saying much to someone who is familiar with his work, but that does not make his performance in Memento any more or less good. It was great.

#9 Leonardo DiCaprio, Blood Diamond - I know film buffs around the world love to hate on Leo, but did anyone else not think this performance was fantastic? I mean, Leo ha splayed in a lot of good movies and has a lot of solid performances, but there is no way in this world I would say any of them touch his work in Blood Diamond. The movie may not be excellent, but he sure was.

#8 Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada - I actually was not planning on putting this one so high but, I forgot about it and she was brilliant so I might as well. Another Oscar nod, and another loss for Meryl Streep. I think that is all most people will remember about her in this film. I really can't recall who all was nominated, but most likely Streep was among the best of them.

#7 Philip Seymour Hoffman - This is one performance I will never forget, the onscreen battle between Hoffman and Streep is so much fun to watch. Streep ultimately wins in my opinion, but Hoffman is not far behind in his career performance (I have not seen Capote).

#6 Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby - Like Tim Robbins, because of his work in The Shawshank Redemption, I hesitate to say this is his fienst work. But nonetheless, Freeman is incredible. He is only the supporter and actually does not have that much screen time, but with the time he has I cannot say enough about the work he does. Ultimately, Freeman's best work will say right here with Million Dollar Baby.

#5 Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby - I am not a fan, you can ask anyone, but I did not care one bit in this movie. As touching as it is heartbreaking, Swank does her best to get the audience to care for her, then rips everything up in her performance. I have said this before, if I had to choose the saddest movie in history, it might just be Million Dollar Baby, largely in part to Swank's performance.

#4 Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler - One of the best movies of the century and one of the best acting performances of the century. The Wrestler was an odd movie that really came out of nowwhere for me, as I had never heard of it and saw it on TV. I only decided to give it a watch because I looked it up and discovered the reviews it received. I was not a Rourke fan at the time, but I am now. That, my friends, is all I really need to say.

#3 Meryl Streep, Doubt - Uh oh, well I lied, she was only on the list three times. Aside from that, it was very difficult for me to place her where I did, and as a note, all of these top 5 are pretty much interchangeable. All brilliant performances and all deserving of endless recognition. I have not seen The Reader so I suppose I really can't say anything against the Academy, but i'm going to anyways. Maybe, by some miracle, Kate Winslet was as good as Streep, but I highly doubt it. Meryl Streep is just about as good as anyone in this film, and I would probably have this in my top 20 performances of all time, along with the next two.

Okay, okay. I could not decide which performance was most deserving (I think you all know which two are next), so I had to choose which one I enjoyed and liked most. Though in all honesty, they are about as equal as two performances can get.

#2 Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood - The best movie of the century? Possibly (that list is coming soon). The best performance of the decade? Very, very, close. Daniel Day-Lewis made my jaw drop to the floor in this film, the first work I saw him in was the Age of Innocence, and since I have still considered that his finest work. Until now. I figured There Will Be Blood and its performances would live up to the hype, but it did, especially on the acting side. I really don't know what else to say, it was perfect.

#1 Colin Firth, The King's Speech - This one, in my opinion, is borderline top 10 all time. Absolutely beyond outstanding, incredible, fantastic, phenomenal, brilliant, flawless, exceptional, touching, all of these words could be used to describe Colin Firth's work in The King's Speech. But I guess, sitting at number 1 on my list, there's only one word needed, the best.

Honorable Mentions: Paul Dano (There Will be Blood), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed), Mark Wahlberg (The Departed), Johnny Depp (The Curse of the Black Pearl), Christian Bale (The Prestige), Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino), Jennifer Connelly (A Beautiful Mind), Denzel Washington (Training Day), Kevin Bacon (Mystic River), Ed Harris (Gone Baby Gone), Ethan Hawke (Training Day).

Note: If it isn't on here, I probably have not seen it.


  1. Good feature and list, think i might have put Daniel-Day Lewis at number 1. With Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Casey Affleck (Assasination of Jesse James) getting a mention as well.

  2. Yeah, I am seriously considering changing the top 2. Unfortunately, I have not seen Sideways or Jesse James :/