10/11) Ben Affleck (Gone Girl)/Brendan Gleeson (Calvary)
I realized I couldn’t drop either actor out of my Top 10. Both deserve to be recognized this year, so I have a Top 11 instead. The role in Gone Girl was tailor made for Ben Affleck, and so was the role in Calvary for Gleeson.
9) Billy Crudup (Rudderless)
I’ve never been a huge fan of Billy Crudup, but his role in Rudderless changed all that. Please, watch Rudderless. I don’t know how many times I can type that.
8) Jack O’Connell (Starred Up)
For me, this was the breakthrough from O’Connell. He plays a tough kid in prison, and the system failed him. So did the Oscar system.
7) David Oyelowo (Selma)
Playing Martin Luther King Jr can be a daunting task. Hell, playing any historical figure is daunting. Oyelowo finally earned my respect as an actor (like Crudup).
6) Miles Teller (Whiplash)
This was a tough year for Best Actor performances, and I think that’s why Teller was left out of the Oscar nominations, and why I can’t even put him in my own Top 5. In a different year, he’d be at the top. It was an award worthy performance.
5) Bill Hader (The Skeleton Twins)
Just an absolutely transformative performance. If you didn’t know Bill Hader’s potential before, you will now.
4) Michael Keaton (Birdman)
It’s the performance of his career, and he deserves an Oscar… if he wasn’t nominated against Cumberbatch or Redmayne.
3) Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game)
He just lost himself in the role. He really is a great actor. I’m glad he’s getting all the praise he so rightly deserves.
2) Bill Murray (St Vincent)
I’m so sad that he wasn’t nominated for St Vincent. It’s his best performance since Lost In Translation.
1) Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything)
In some scenes, Redmayne has to act with the smallest uptick in his lip, and a twitch of his cheek. To have that kind of control over your facial expressions, and know that the smallest movement can make an impact. It’s just a performance that’s on a completely different level. It’s the best performance of the year, by anyone.