January 29, 2013

MOVIES: Best of 2012 - Supporting Actor

This was a category with an unusually large amount of good comic work this year. Comic performances never get the recognition they deserve.

The runners-up:
  • Armie Hammer, Mirror Mirror
  • Tom Holland, The Impossible
  • Fran Kranz, The Cabin in the Woods
  • Scoot McNairy, Argo
  • Michael Shannon, Premium Rush
The nominees:
  • Jim Broadbent, Cloud Atlas -- Whether he's playing the comedy of the nursing home story or the vicious cruelty of the composer story, he's always riveting and always entertaining.
  • Tom Cruise, Rock of Ages -- Playing a man clinging desperately to his own celebrity, Cruise gives a limber performance of surprising grace and wit.
  • Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln -- It's very hard to play this sort of moral fortitude in our age of cynical snark, but Jones's righteous determination always feels sincere and justified.
  • Christopher Walken, Seven Psychopaths -- Walken as the sanest person in the movie isn't something you expect, but it works. Whether he's stubbornly refusing to indulge his grief, or wandering the desert on a peyote trip, Walken gets every conceivable laugh from his material.
And the winner:
  • Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained -- Jackson's performance would be admirable if only for his ferocious commitment to such a loathesome character. But Jackson also makes clear the vicious self-loathing that's tearing at him with every obsequious laugh, and the razor-sharp intelligence he's never been allowed to show. It's spectuacularly good work.

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