Best Of 2016: Best Actor

The Best Actors Of 2016 are…

10) Paul Rudd (The Fundamentals Of Caring)
I think this is Paul Rudd’s best performance to date. It’s the kind of role he’s normally good at, with the added perks of being a guy taking care of a disabled youth, while also dealing with the loss of his own son. It’s a much deeper performance than you’d expect from Rudd.

9) Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
Just like with Emma Stone, I loved his performance, but it’s a lighter performance, and I tend to go with the more serious performances on these lists. The fact that he made the list this year, with as many amazing performances this year just shows how much I loved him in the role. On top of it, I’m sad that I couldn’t also include his performance in The Nice Guys in my top 10.

8) Mark Wahlberg (Patriots Day)
His best performance since The Fighter. Wahlberg does a great job as a cop thrown into the middle of a terrible day, trying desperately to do the right thing and catch the terrorists before they do more harm. Wahlberg does some of his best work under the direction of Peter Berg. He was good in Deepwater Horizon, but he was great in Patriots Day.

7) Andrew Garfield (Silence)
It is entirely possible that Garfield would have made my list twice this year had I seen Hacksaw Ridge. Garfield is so good in Silence, as he is slowly broken down an his faith challenged. He suffers in almost every scene, and it’s a long movie, so he suffers a lot. He’s definitely one of the more interesting new actors to come up in the past few years.

6) Jake Gyllenhaal (Demolition)
I’ve stood by this film despite the fact that I often feel like I’m the only one. I stood behind Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance in Southpaw, even after everyone forgot it, and I’m standing by his performance in Demolition. I thought he was great. He plays a man trying to cope with the loss of his wife, and unraveling the secrets of her life after her death.

5) Denzel Washington (Fences)
Denzel is always great, and there’s a lot of talk about whether or not this was his best performance. It’s a little like with Tom Hanks, is it even possible for him to have his best performance anymore? He’s responsible for so many iconic roles, it’s hard to look at a new one and put it above one of the older ones. I won’t know really how good this was until we’ve had some distance from it. But, for now, it’s definitely a great performance.

4) Sam Neill (Hunt For The Wilderpeople)
Now this one is a little easier to call. Neill is someone who I think faded a bit out of films, and hasn’t had a great performance in a while. It’s nice to see someone come back, and come back strong. This might actually be his best performance. He’s a gruff outdoorsy man tasked with keeping a child safe after his wife passes away, and he doesn’t even like the child that much. However, over the course of the movie, they both seem to change each other, eventually realizing that they need each other after all.

3) Viggo Mortensen (Captain Fantastic)
Viggo is such a consistent actor. He often plays really dark characters in films like Eastern Promises or History Of Violence, but here, a little bit of levity shows us a different side to Mortensen. Here, he’s a father that would do anything for his kids. He’s also grieving the loss of his wife. It’s a great role for him, somewhat different than we’ve seen him before. Who would have thought that the sexy hitman from A Perfect Murder would turn out to be such a fantastic actor.

2) Tom Hanks (Sully)
As I already said, it’s easy to look at Hanks and say “that was just Hanks being great as usual” and not appreciate how good he actually was. He’s known for playing performances with ticks, and being able to alter himself to fit the role, like Forrest Gump, but here he has none of that. He doesn’t have any big scenes where he’s dying, or crying over the dead body of a loved one. It’s such a simple story and a simple character, but he manages to handle the simplicity really exquisitely. I know he won’t get an Oscar nomination tomorrow morning, and that’s a shame. Another forgotten Hanks performance.

1) Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea)
Yeah, I’m buying into the hype. He just really is that good. I could try and be different and pick a different actor, but I would be lying to myself, and not giving Affleck his due. I didn’t see Affleck, I just saw a person. I saw a person struggling to pick up the pieces after his brother’s death, while struggling with some really deep demons from his past. It’s a tragic performance, and he absolutely deserves all the praise he’s been getting.

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