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13. Selma Jezkova

Dancer in the Dark (2000), Bjork

Lars von Trier may have tricked Bjork into portraying Selma - and the whole production was postpones until he inevitably convinced her to play the lead in his musical tragedy. Bjork is many things - but she’s definitely not an actress. Rather than act out the role, she became Selma. She became a mother, an immigrant, a factory worker, an optimist, and a tragic cinematic heroine.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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33. Severus Snape

Harry Potter (2001-11), Alan Rickman

Alan Rickman graced the screen eight different times as the hated/beloved Severus Snape. The Harry Potter film franchise, though ultimately less successful than J.K. Rowling’s novels, was a resounding worldwide success. Sure, it brought us the beautiful Emma Watson, and severely boosted Maggie Smith’s popularity, but the real star of the films is Rickman. His character development over the films is superb.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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So, naturally, there are some people I’ve forgotten to include in my 50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time list.

Honorable Mention 01 - Patrick

Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012), Ezra Miller

Ezra Miller has wowed me around every corner. He’s easily one of the finest young actors around. His portrayal of Patrick, a flamboyant class-clown struggling with homosexuality in an early-90s high school carried so much realism and expertise, it’s hard to believe Miller hasn’t reached his twentieth birthday. I regrettably put this fantastic motion picture off for too long, but it’s clear - if Ezra Miller is involved, it’s probably worth checking out.

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42. Driss

The Intouchables (2011), Omar Sy

This buddy comedy/French fairy tale has been a worldwide phenomenon of late. It seems everyone not living in Hollywood enjoyed this film - and I’m fairly certain that Omar Sy is the main reason. He lights up the screen in an inexplicable manor. Every time he smiles - the audience smiles; when he laughs - the audience laughs. His happiness is mesmerizing.

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01. Anton Chigurh

No Country for Old Men (2007), Javier Bardem

The beautiful Spanish actor finally graced the silver screen in America after what was already an impressive career in foreign cinema. And he did so in an historic manor. Anton Chigurh is a character of virtually no description in Cormac McCarthy’s eponymous novel. His actions are described with a Hemingway-esque brevity. The Coens’ award-winning adaptation adds nothing to the character. Bardem showed up on set with some ideas in mind and they kind of just let him fly with it - this goes against everything else I’ve heard of the Coens, a meticulous duo to say the least. Bardem’s haircut alone is a cinematic feat. Anton Chigurh is the epitome of evil, and some - myself included - would go so far as to say that Chigurh is an embodiment of the devil himself. He is a force as unyielding as water who leaves everything up to his own twisted definition of fate.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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44. Mia

Fish Tank (2009), Katie Jarvis

Writer/director Andrea Arnold discovered Katie Jarvis in the London Underground. She was across the Gap having a spout with her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. Arnold walked over to her and asked her if she’d done any acting before, she hadn’t. Arnold’s direction, coupled with an unbelievably talented co-star (Michael Fassbender), and Jarvis was thrown into a lead role of a three million dollar film. She shines. She really, really shines.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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46. Julia Child

Julie & Julia (2009), Meryl Streep

Meryl, Meryl, Meryl… she really is as good as everybody says she is. If you don’t believe me - watch he destroy you in this mediocre little film. She brings Julia Child to a level Ms. Child never reached. She not only brings her full-formed to the silver screen, but she improves upon her as well. It’s truly a joy to watch Streep perform, and this is just another example of why.

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02. Jules Winnfield

Pulp Fiction (1994), Samuel L. Jackson

A villainous hero of biblical proportions, Samuel L. Jackson may just be recycling this same performance over and over again - but it still hasn’t cheapened the smooth-talking hitman for me. Winnfield is wonderful because he has no problem killing strangers in cold blood, but he still has his own set of morals. He’s the complete package, he’ll shoot the shit, tell you a story, make you laugh, make you cry, then shoot you in the head without thinking twice about it.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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37. Hannibal Lecter

The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Sir Anthony Hopkins

Never been a huge Sir Anthony fan, and he did end up tainting this character by attempting to turn the film into a franchise - but holy shit he’s fantastic in the Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal Lecter is terrifying… and he’s trapped behind bars inside of a tv. Lecter is able to achieve this level of terror because never - not for one single second - do we think he’s insane. He knows perfectly well what it is he’s doing.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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39. Mia Wallace

Pulp Fiction (1994), Uma Thurman

Crass, chic, classy, covetable, cold-blooded, cokehead Mia Wallace. She’s also adorable, aware, awe-inspiring and abrasive. Mia Wallace is damn-well anything you want her to be. It’s part of the beauty of Thurman’s performance. Everyone can draw something different from Mia. Some loathe her while others love her. She’s the classic femme fetale, redone, in a way only Tarantino could.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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26. Michael Gordon Peterson, a.k.a. Charles “Charlie” Bronson

Bronson (2008), Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy is relentless in this performance. He’s hysterical, crazy, and utterly enthralling. It’s a strange biopic from Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn, and Hardy is brilliant as Britain’s Most Violent Prisoner. Hardy even goes so far as to strip down to his birthday suit, paint his entire body bronze (making himself a living statue) and engage in fisticuffs with a slew of British policemen. Terrific.

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08. Gollum

The Lord of the Rings (2001-03)/The Hobbit (2012), Andy Serkis

Through a blend of motion-capture technology and CGI, Andy Serkis has flourished in the field of acting (he’s impeccable as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes as well). Serkis has done for the Lord of the Rings franchise what Frank Oz did for Star Wars - and that, my dear readers, is the highest of praise.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time

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19. Frank T.J. Mackey

Magnolia (1999), Tom Cruise

If you’re a doubter in Cruise - watch this film. Cruise’s emotional defenses slowly crumble in this film - and his character changes completely in three scenes. T.J. Mackey is a grotesque, chauvinistic pig… but then you find out he’s just a boy that never grew up out of his teenage years.

50 Favorite Character Performances of My Life Time