January 31, 2010

MOVIES: Best of 2009: Actor

The nominees:
  • Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart -- another case of an actor elevating a standard storyline. The washed-up, alcoholic musician (country division) is old hat, but Bridges makes Bad Blake so specific a character that the story feels fresh. And though he doesn't have the best voice in the world, he finds the right tattered, gravely quality to sell the songs.
  • Baard Owe, O'Horten -- forced retirement isn't an easy thing to cope with, and Owe finds just the right tone of detached bemusement as he watches the unfamiliar world away from his beloved railways, a world which gradually seems to get more and more surreal.
  • San Rockwell, Moon -- isolation isn't easy, and Rockwell captures all of the mental strain and frailties of a man living on a moon base with only his own company. The role calls for more variety and shading than we expect at first, and Rockwell brings all of Sam Bell's personality traits to vivid life.
  • Peter Sarsgaard, An Education -- yes, he's being campaigned for the supporting Oscar, but that's nonsense; this is clearly a leading role. David's breezy charm, and the underlying current of danger, are delightful to watch; he's one of the most lovable cads we've seen in years.

The winner:

  • Colin Firth, A Single Man -- George is a very tightly wound man, but Firth lets us see every bit of his pain and heartbreak. And since director Tom Ford seems far more interested in making the movie look good than in creating any sort of emotional response, all the more credit to Firth for a performance that has to fight its way out of Ford's overly art-directed world.

No comments: