John Goodman – “10 Cloverfield Lane”
I felt John Goodman set the tone for what was a very suspenseful and well done movie. I felt the movie fell off at the end, but Goodman was incredible, and was a huge part of the conflicting thoughts I was having while watching this movie.
Colin Farrell – “The Lobster”
“The Lobster” was a very weird movie with very weird characters. Colin Farrell played his role perfectly, and just expanded his already impressive range of acting.
Russell Crowe – “The Nice Guys”
I loved Ryan Gosling in “The Nice Guys” as well, but I felt Crowe was the better of the two in this very fun duo. Crowe made me believe their chemistry, and I loved the movie because of these two together.
Jake Gyllenhaal – “Nocturnal Animals”
I am a HUGE fan of Jake Gyllenhaal. I thought his performance in “Nightcrawler” (that he was not even nominated for) was one of the best I’ve seen. So it pains me that he did not make my list. Gyllenhaal was incredible, once again. But there were 10 other performances I thought were just a little more incredible.
Top 10 Performances
10.) Lucas Hedges – “Manchester By The Sea”
I had Hedges nudging out one of my favorite actors working today. This shows how much I loved his performance in a fantastic movie, and especially considering he was alongside an excellent Casey Affleck performance. I felt Hedges did exactly what he needed to do, even if he was helped by some genius writing. His performance was stellar, and was one of the best breakthroughs of the year.
9.) Emma Stone – “La La Land”
Emma Stone has not impressed me as much as she has impressed others over the years, but I was all in on her performance in “La La Land”. She was fantastic, and you can tell that her experience with Ryan Gosling in other films carried over to this one, because their chemistry was so believable, largely because of the incredible performance she gave.
8.) Amy Adams – “Arrival”
Amy Adams’ character in “Arrival” was exactly what I wanted it to be, and it was played perfectly. She was subdued, but still aggressive, passionate, and incredibly smart. I loved how her character was written, and Adams was the perfect choice for this role. She did not disappoint, and I expect her to be nominated for the Oscar for the Best Actress in a Leading Role.
7.) Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
The only reason Mahershala Ali is only #7 on my list is because he was not in the movie very long at all. Still, he made such a big of an impact on me that I felt he had to be on this list. As a stranger, but eventual father figure to our main character, Shairon, he helps him discover things about himself at a young age, and it is clear how pivotal he is to our main character’s survival in such an adverse environment. I loved Ali in “Moonlight”, I just wish I got to see him more.
6.) Joseph Gordon-Levitt – “Snowden”
This is a choice that I do not think a lot of people are making, or will approve of. I think Gordon-Levitt is one of those actors who is a master of their craft. One of those actors who will study their character endlessly until they become them, instead of just playing them. If you watch this movie, and then watch clips of Edward Snowden in interviews, you will see unbelievable similarities. His voice matches Snowden’s perfectly, his mannerisms, his thoughts, everything matched incredibly. I do not think Gordon-Levitt is, or will be getting enough credit for this performance, but I think that this was easily one of the best of the year.
5.) Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
I think director Damien Chazelle wrote Ryan Gosling’s character as himself. I think this because you could tell that there was so much passion for jazz and opinions on the music industry and Hollywood, and plenty of other things in his character. And wow, did Ryan Gosling knock it out of the park. I felt every single thing he said, along with the connection between him and Emma Stone as I spoke about above. Not to mention, he sung and danced excellently, which is just an added bonus. Oh, and he also played the majority of the piano in this movie, which is incredible because he learned just before filming. I would be very surprised if Mr. Gosling did not receive a nomination for this tremendous performance.
4.) Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
Jeff Bridges played the Sheriff in this movie, and while all the performances around him (Chris Pine, Ben Foster) were also stellar, Bridges by far was the stand out. This was another great casting choice, and Bridges did not disappoint. He was perfect for the role of the Sheriff trying to put a few bank robbers behind bars in his final stint before retirement. I loved this movie, and especially loved the performance by Jeff Bridges.
3.) Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
Naomie Harris, who played as the mother in “Moonlight”, was part of some of the most powerful scenes I have seen all year. Her character was so emotional, and so powerful, that I think this is one of the most obvious choices of the year. Everything she did was so intense and I felt so much, not to mention she filmed all her scenes in THREE DAYS. That is an absolute achievement, and is even more impressive considering the power of her performance.
2.) Michael Shannon – “Nocturnal Animals”
Jeff Bridges as the Sheriff in “Hell or High Water” was very good, but there was one Sheriff who was better: Michael Shannon. Shannon is good in mostly everything he does, but this performance was something else. His constant interrogation of Aaron Taylor-Johnson (who I also thought was very good in this movie), was so fun. Unfortunately, I don’t think Shannon is a lock for a nomination, but I believe he should be, as he gives the second best performance of 2016, in my opinion.
1.) Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
Casey Affleck… Wow. I knew this would be one of the best performances of the year after the first 20 minutes, and especially after the first 45 minutes (people who saw this will know what I mean by that). His character was so subdued and unfriendly, and we did not know why. And then we found out why, and we totally understood him. His character was so frustrating because I so badly wanted him to just break down and tell us everything he was feeling, because it was so obvious that there were so many feelings just weighing down on him so heavily, but he wouldn’t except for some small lash outs here and there. His character was my favorite character of 2016, and Casey Affleck was my #1 performance of 2016.
Do you agree? Disagree? What was the best performance you saw in 2016? Comment below with your thoughts.