Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Top 10 Performances of 2012

It’s been a fun year at the theater.  From The Avengers uniting to a talking Ted and everything else in between, we have been treated to a wonderfully broad range of films.  From these films, a handful of memorable performances have emerged that remind us why we venture out to the cinema each weekend, visit the concession stand, and jockey for a good seat in front of the big screen.  With that in mind, here’s a look at my ten favorite performances of 2012.

Zero Dark Thirty
Jessica Chastain is starting to become synonymous with Oscar nominations and this year is no exception as her performance in Zero Dark Thirty is getting a lot of award season buzz.  The much-anticipated film detailing the demise of Osama Bin Laden promises to be a compelling film and much of its success rests of Chastain’s capable shoulders.  

Les Miserables, The Dark Knight Rises
As if delivering a standout performance in the third leg of Nolan’s Batman trilogy wasn’t enough, Hathaway follows it up with Les Miserables and a performance that undoubtedly showcases her impressive vocals.  If going from The Dark Knight Rises to Les Miserables doesn’t show range, then I don’t know what does.

End of Watch
I have never been a huge fan of Gyllenhaal, but I came away from End of Watch impressed by his commitment to the role.  Gyllenhaal disappears into his LAPD character and shares an authentic camaraderie with co-star Michael Pena, and it’s that chemistry that makes the film so great.

Silver Linings Playbook
Long story short, Lawrence’s work in Silver Linings Playbook made me enjoy a movie I was sure I was going to loathe.  She has expressive features and uses them well in portraying a character who is both emotionally abrasive yet utterly vulnerable.  That is no easy accomplishment, but she pulls it off with flying colors.

21 Jump Street
In 21 Jump Street, Tatum proves he is more than just broad shoulders and hip dance moves opposite Jonah Hill in the action comedy 21 Jump Street.  Not only does Tatum hold his own against his comedic co-star, he steals the show with a unique brand of physical comedy.

The Amazing Spider-Man
While fans may debate the merits of Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man in comparison to Tobey Maguire’s, there is near universal agreement that Stone’s smart witty portrayal of Gwen Stacy far eclipses the performances of other Peter Parker paramours (Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard).

I have said it numerous times on this blog, but Daniel Craig’s James Bond is the best cinematic version of 007.  While there have been numerous duds on Craig’s professional resume, he always seems to hit the mark when immersed in the world of Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

America loves a good come back and Ben Affleck is the ultimate come back kid.  While no one will ever confuse him for Dustin Hoffman, Affleck does a good job in front of the camera as the CIA operative protagonist in Argo.  And with his efforts behind the camera, Affleck proves once again that he is growing into one of most accomplished directors in the business.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a great movie, with a compelling story, and a dynamite soundtrack.  Still, the best part of the film hands down is Emma Watson who threw herself with reckless abandon into a role so different from the one (Hermione) for which she is known.  Hers is perhaps my favorite performance of the year.  

Looper, The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Lincoln
Did any actor have a bigger year than Gordon-Levitt?  You would be hard pressed to find one.  From a younger version of Bruce Willis to the heir apparent to a heroic legacy Levitt shows his incredible range as an actor and elevates himself to the cusp of the A-List.  


  1. EMMA WATSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. This is a good list but theres gotta be a spot for Daniel Day Lewis. Joaquin Phoenix too. Both will be nominated for an Oscar.

  3. Good list! I highly agree with JGL being the top performer of the year. Thanks for that stellar picture of him. Stealing it...=)

  4. i'd give Jennifer Lawrence the top spot. she rocked in hunger games too!

  5. Good list. Would love to see your "Worst of" list, as well. Adam Sandler... cast of Project X...?