January 22, 2012

MOVIES: Best of 2011 -- Actor

The runners-up:
  • Tom Cullen, Weekend
  • Paul Giamatti, Win/Win
  • Brendan Gleeson, The Guard
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50
  • William Shimell, Certified Copy
The nominees:
  • Demian Bichir, A Better Life -- one man, quietly struggling for an honorable way to survive; a performance that never pushes too hard for effect.
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist -- a superb physical performance that reaches the heights of joy and the depths of despair, and is never anything but utterly convincing.
  • Peyman Maadi, A Separation -- from the first scene, Nader is terrified that his life is about to collapse in front of him; everything that follows is rooted in that panic and desperation
  • Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris -- the best use that's ever been made of Wilson's inherent sadness
The winner:
  • Michael Shannon, Take Shelter -- a performance largely of gestures; Shannon says more with a raised eyebrow or a shrug than other actors say in a three-minute speech. Which is more terrifying: the possibility that his apocalyptic visions are real, or the possibility that he's simply going mad?

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