MY TOP 10 PERFORMANCES OF 2014
Since EVERYONE was waiting on the edge of their seats, I’ve decided to compile a list of my personal favourite performances of 2014 in the spirits of the Oscars. *spoilers for Gone Girl*
1. ROSAMUND PIKE, GONE GIRL
Rosamund Pike is a revelation. She gave a bold and downright terrifying performance as the intelligent psychopath Amy Dunne, who has plotted an insanely clever plan to make sure her husband pays for the crimes he’s committed against her. Fooling everyone with her sweet personality and sympathetic situation in the beginning, Rosamund Pike stuns the audience when the real Amy is revealed, a dangerous woman full of rage, one that builds and builds underneath the surface.
2. JAKE GYLLENHAAL, NIGHTCRAWLER
Jake Gyllenhaal’s career has really been on a roll recently. He has been giving consistently strong performances over the years, with Prisoners, Enemy, and now Nightcrawler. He is unrecognizable as Lou Bloom, an ambitious sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He is scary, manipulative, and calculative. With his pitch perfect portrayal, Jake Gyllenhaal completely transforms and disappears into his role, crafting an unforgettable character. It is a crime that he is not nominated for an Oscar this year.
3. ESSIE DAVIS, THE BABADOOK
By far, the best performance I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. Essie Davis plays a grieving mother who has to deal with her troubled son as well as keeping her sanity in check. There is full of sorrow, pain, and resentment in Amelia every time we see her, and Essie Davis pulls this off effortlessly and authentically, making us feel for her loss. It is a powerful and rich performance that is sadly ignored this award season.
4. JULIANNE MOORE, STILL ALICE
Tonight will finally be the night that Julianne Moore takes home her first Oscar (otherwise this sentence will look really stupid). She has been sweeping this award season with her tragic and haunting performance as Alice Howland, a woman struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s. Instead of going for a showier type of acting, Moore plays the role with nuance and quietness. Her depiction of a woman gradually losing herself is devastating and so real it hurts.
5. MICHAEL KEATON, BIRDMAN
I have never paid any attention to Michael Keaton as an actor, but he was simply riveting in Birdman. The casting of Keaton as a washed up actor trying to reclaim fame is brilliant as he injects so much depth into the bitter Riggan Thomson, pulling us into his journey to become relevant once again. Riggan is not the most likable man, but Keaton makes him sympathetic and give the audience a reason to care for him and his struggle.
6. REESE WITHERSPOON, WILD
One of the most surprising performance of the year for me. Before going in Wild, I expected Reese Witherspoon to give a typical showy kind of acting, but I was wrong. She was tortured, soulful, and touching. There was never a false note in her performance. Witherspoon digs deep into this woman’s soul and allows only hints of her pain to bubble up the surface, allowing the audience to be fully invested in her path to self-redemption and discovery.
7. TILDA SWINTON, SNOWPIERCER
One of the best supporting turn of the year. Tilda Swinton is hilarious as Minister Mason of the Snowpiercer train. She is arguably the MVP of the movie, a complete riot and steals every scene she is in. It’s a shame that she is not nominated for an Oscar (I’ll be saying this a lot), but at least she got one for a Critics’ Choice Award!
8. MARION COTILLARD, THE IMMIGRANT
As happy as I am that Marion Cotillard received an Oscar nom this year, I couldn’t help but think it was for the wrong performance. Not to say that she was bad in Two Days, One Night, I just thought she was vastly superior in The Immigrant as the unfortunate Ewa. Marion Cotillard is heartbreaking without going big and melodramatic; instead, her performance was full of subtleties, restraint, and complexities. Nevertheless, it is great to see her getting recognition throughout the awards season.
9. PEI-PEI CHENG, LILTING
Pei-pei Cheng plays a grieving mother in the touching gay-themed movie Lilting. It is beautiful subtle work. You can feel every bit of pain and sadness in her face, yet she never expresses it outright. On top of that, there is the inner strength which she carries and never loses despite her circumstances. A truly stunning performance that is overlooked.
10. J. K SIMMONS, WHIPLASH
The most intense performance you’ll see this year. J. K Simmons is relentless and menacing as a music professor who will do anything to push his student. This is an explosive performance that could have easily been over the top, but Simmons plays it so perfectly and naturally. He makes Fletcher a threatening presence, one that has you avoid eye contact and hope to God that he doesn’t call out your name.
LAURA DERN, WILD: Despite limited screentime, Laura Dern gives a deeply affecting and warm performance as Cheryl’s mother, a woman full of strength and love.
BILL HADER, THE SKELETON TWINS: Bill Hader wows the audience with his dramatic turn as a depressed gay man. He inserts layers into his character and makes Milo a complex and flawed human being.
KRISTEN WIIG, THE SKELETON TWINS: Kristen Wiig inhabits a harrowing sadness as Milo’s equally troubled twin sister, thus giving her finest performance to date.
JESSICA CHASTAIN, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY: Filled with melancholy and heartbreak, Jessica Chastain gives one of her best performances of the year
MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY, INTERSTELLAR: Another impressive and solid performance, one that triumphs his win for Dallas Buyers Club.
EMMA STONE, BIRDMAN: Emma Stone fills her character with fierceness, vulnerability, and charm as Riggan’s daughter who is a recovering addict.
JENNIFER ANISTON, CAKE: Giving her most dramatic and strongest work yet, Aniston plays a woman with chronic pain with realness and commitment.