This was a tough one. With a great year for film and television, including performances by many Men, it was that much more difficult to narrow this category down.
I was absolutely blown away by how fantastic Michael Keaton’s performance was in “Birdman.” Between his comedic timing and the whole life imitating art thing, I was totally into it. He should be on this list, but there were only so many spots. Full disclosure: I have yet to see “The Theory of Everything,” but have no doubt Eddie Redymayne is going to leave me breathless.
After thought and consideration, I narrowed it down. Something I really enjoyed about 2014 was that no matter the sex, the performances were amazing. Strong, smart, and slightly offbeat roles were offered to all. I hope this is a continuing trend in Hollywood.
Take a look, sound off below, and let me know what you think!
THE ACTOR- BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH
Our future Doctor Strange, AKA Benedict Cumberbatch, is beyond excellent. This may be a “duh” from anyone who is familiar with his body of work— “Sherlock,” “August: Osage County,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” etc.— because they already know he is amazing in everything. There really is no other actor like Mr.Cumberbatch. With his intense blue-green eyes, careful movements, and distinct voice he is truly an original.
Mr.Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing a brilliant mathematician who lacks social skills (he was believed to be on the Autism spectrum) and Gay man, at a time when Homosexuality was against the law. Alan leads a team of top secret code-breakers in England during World War II trying to end the war by cracking Nazi codes.
“The Imitation Game” might be my favorite movie this Awards season so far. The film is so well done. Each performance is even and unique, allowing more than just Mr.Cumberbatch to shine. Well paced and humorous when needed, the film leaves an overwhelming impact. Still in limited release, make sure you get yourself to the theater.
Something I took away from the film was his chemistry with Keira Knightley. Particularly heart warming, their relationship is what grounds the film. Both characters care for one another so deeply they are willing to make life altering sacrifices for one another. I couldn’t be happier that Ms.Knightley won Supporting Actress of the Year at the 2014 Hollywood Film awards and has been nominated for an Academy Award. She’s magnificent.
Mr.Cumberbatch has a unique talent in what he does. I cannot stress how much of an original he really is. He’s totally in his own league. To name a few, Mr.Cumberbatch has received Best Actor nominations from the Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Independent Spirit, SAG, and BAFTA awards. He also won the 2014 Hollywood Film Award’s Actor of the Year.
We are going to see a lot more of Mr.Cumberbatch in the years to come and I personally cannot wait. He’s also a total feminist which make me love him even more.
Top Photo and Feminists Photo Courtesy of Marc Hom for Elle UK
Cover Photo Courtesy of Samuel Bradley for OUT Magazine
THE ACTOR RUNNERS UP: OSCAR ISAAC AND JAKE GYLLENHAAL
The most snubbed performance of 2014 goes to Oscar Isaac for “A Most Violent Year.” Awards and nominations don’t mean everything, but, when someone is this good they should be recognized. While winning Best Actor at the National Board of Review Awards, tying with Michael Keaton (“Birdman”), he was also nominated for a Gotham Award but snubbed at the Golden Globes, Academy Awards, and every other major award show.
I’m not quite sure how this happened as Mr.Isaac gave an incredible performance, one we will look back on the same way as Robert De Niro’s “Godfather” or Al Pacino’s “Scarface.” The moral struggles his character Abel goes through are brought to life with Mr.Isaac’s mix of vulnerability and strength. He can also pull off the turtleneck cashmere coat combo like nobodies business. Mr.Isaac’s chemistry with co-star Jessica Chastain is electric, partly due to the fact they have been acting partners for years attending Juilliard together. Their relationship is authentic, giving the film a strong foundation.
Mr.Isaac will certainly have momentum in galaxy’s far far away landing the lead in the upcoming “Star Wars” installments. Let’s hope this more streamlined career choice will help Mr.Isaac achieve the acclaim he deserves.
Photo Courtesy of Brian Bowen Smith for M Magazine
Jake Gyllenhaal, yet again, proves he is one of our finest actors.
“Nightcrawler,” a thriller set in the L.A. evening news world, may not have been my favorite movie of 2014 but with excellent performances and an explosive 20 minute finale, it was worth sitting through the initial slow paced 97 minutes. As Lou Bloom Mr.Gyllenhaal is distant, compulsive, and while possibly on the spectrum wants nothing more to fit in and be respected at any cost. Playing off an excellent Rene Russo, he is completely transformed.
Noticeably frail, this isn’t why Mr.Gyllenhaal is completely unrecognizable. He’s thrown himself so far into his role you no longer see the handsome Hollywood actor but the twisted, lost, disturbed character he’s portraying.
“Nightcrawler” earned Mr.Gyllenhaal Best Actor nominations from the Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Independent Spirit, SAG, and BAFTA awards among several others. While his only film of 2014, he is currently starring in Broadway’s “Constellations” (which is at the top of my list to see) and has an onslaught of projects for 2015. More Gyllenhaal is fine by me.
Photo Courtesy of Man of the World Magazine
THE YOUNG ACTOR- ALEX SHARP
Alex Sharp gives a performance unlike any I have ever seen on both stage and screen— ever. While I enjoyed “Boyhood” (enough…), I wasn’t going to to give the Young Actor title to Ellar Coltrane. After seeing Mr.Sharp’s incredibly electric performance on stage, you’ll agree.
In the Broadway adaptation of Mark Haddon’s novel “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” Mr.Sharp plays Christopher, a 15 year old boy with Asperger’s trying to crack the case of who murdered his neighbors dog. Without giving too much of the plot away, it has to be one of the most inventive and interesting stories I have ever seen.
Mr.Sharp, who is making his Broadway debut, brings finesse and life to Christopher leaving you transfixed the entire show. His mix of wit, timing, and unfortunate anguish he makes Christopher genuine with an unmatched performance. The show is also a must see. The stage itself is incredible; Production Designer Bunny Christie created a beyond magnificent interactive experience.
I can only expect to see Mr.Sharp in a plethora of projects sooner rather than later. He truly is that talented.
Photo Courtesy of Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times
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