Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 year in review: top male actors

Manly men, sensitive men, strong men, weak men, smart men, silly men, courageous men, dangerous men, broken men, rejuvenated men, loved men, hated men, here are the best male actors of the year that was 2011:

5-Kôji Yakusho in 13 Assassins
In our day and age of action movies it seems that the most lovable, popular heroes are deemed 'bad asses.' Yakusho most certainly falls in said category, but plays it with a sense of humility and strong leadership as well, not a loner bad ass, which makes even bigger bad ass.

4-Nathan Grubbs in Brawler
Naming Grubbs as the fourth best male performer of the year is kind of funny considering that a much higher profile MMA themed film came out this year too (Warrior). The star of Brawler is tremendous at showing signs of wear and tear after so many fights, but also hopefulness as his character tries to rebuild a new future. A very nuanced and charming performance from a great actor.

3-Gary Oldman in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
There can only be so much one can write about a performance in which the actor intentionally reveals as little as possible about his or character. Oldman, for the vast majority of this movie, betrays absolutely nothing to the audience or to his opposites in the film. Further proof that he is one of the greatest chameleon actors ever.

2-Lambert Wilson in Des hommes et des dieux/Of Gods and Men
Although it was tempting to give a spot to the legendary Michael Lonsdale, Wilson is at the heart of the story, playing the pseudo leader of the small band of Christian missionaries. The doubts, fears and the hesitation blend in effortlessly with warmth and friendliness. An exquisite performance.

1-Michael Fassbender in Shame
Prior to Shame's release, there could not have been much doubt remaining towards Fassbender's abilities as an actor. Here the actor's decidedly more vulnerable side is on display, yet he mixes that in with an uncanny sense of a bloodthirsty shark on the prowl for his latest fix. For 'shame' to those who still aren't convinced about the actor after seeing this movie.

Honourable mentions:
Daniel Craig in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 
Anders Danielsen Lie in Oslo, August 31st
Sean Bridgers in The Woman
A. J. Brown in A Horrible Way to Die
Joel Courtney in Super 8
Michael Lonsdale in Des hommes et des dieux/Of Gods and Men


Andrew DiDonato said...

I've yet to see 13 Assassins or Of Gods and Men, but Yakusho/Wilson/Lonsdale are actors who are very enjoyable to watch. I completely agree with having Oldman and Fassbender in the Top 5 and that Oldman's sterness and Fassbenders' vulnerability are very believable. Craig was also at his usual best.

Anonymous said...

Lambert was really great in Of Gods and Men, great pick!

I was also happy to see your love for Anders Danielsen Lie. I thought I was about the only one in the Filmspotting forum who had seen that movie.

I'd have Ryan Gosling on the list. The question is which one... I guess it would be Drive.

edgarchaput said...

@velvetcafe: I was lucky too see Oslo, August 31st. IT didn't even get a theatrical release. It was at a festival. I like that duo of actor Anders Danielsen Lie and director Joachiim Trier. Together they also made Reprise, another film I like a lot.

@Andrew: 13 Assassins shouldn't be too difficult to find., nor should Of Gods and Men. Two films I don't think you'll regret seeing.

Courtney Small said...

Good call on Kôji Yakusho! He was quite exceptional in that film. Heck the whole cast was outstanding.

Of Gods and Men is film that I really need to check out.