With the Oscars coming up this Sunday, Best Sound Editing speculation has surely started running rampant among your group of friends.
Fassbender seemed omnipresent this year, appearing in films as diverse as Jane Eyre and X–Men: First Class. But it was his breakout part in the NC–17 sex addiction drama Shame that caught audiences’ attention. Fassbender was captivating in the stoic, chilly role, making us feel every hint of regret, hopelessness and doubt that flickered across his eyes. It was a performance that haunts me even now, long after I’ve left the theatre.
2. Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love.
No one had more of a moment this year than Ryan Gosling, who, after retreating into the indie–world for much of his career, seemed ready to make a bid for the mainstream. Although his roles in the George Clooney–directed political thriller The Ides of March and action flick Drive earned him some awards–season attention, it was his supporting turn as a slick womanizer in Crazy, Stupid, Love. that left me wanting more. This familiar archetype was new and intriguing in the hands of Gosling, playing against type. His technical skill allowed him to sidestep any overt caricaturization, while his natural, effervescent charm utterly seduced us.
3. Charlize Theron, Young Adult
Theron kept writer Diablo Cody’s unique wit firmly grounded with her honest portrayal of an overgrown woman–child in this dramedy. The beautiful actress showed us the ugly as she drove her character straight into trainwreck territory, but still somehow managed to remain funny and relatable (if difficult to watch at times). It was a tour de force performance to remind us just how good she is. We’ve missed you, Charlize.
4. Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
The Secret Life of the American Teenager may feature the most awkward, stilted acting on television, so color us shocked when we found this young actress to be the most consistently engaging part of an otherwise overrated film. Woodley deftly handled the film’s melodramatic contrivances, while at the same time bringing out a youthfulness in George Clooney’s sad sack dad that elevated both performances.
5. Alan Rickman, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2
Rickman devastated audiences in the Potter finale as we finally learned the reasons behind all of those menacing sneers and penetrating stares. Even without taking into account his consistently goose–pimple inducing work throughout the entire series, Rickman deserved a statuette for this film alone, in which he took one of the baddest baddies on one of the most believable, heart–wrenching redemptive arcs film has ever seen.