I’m not going to waste to much time writing an intro for this or the other acting awards; there aren’t any special concerns about this category… actually it probably does have special concerns. You are reading this right, I haven’t nominated Jeff Bridges. This decision was not made lightly because his work was certainly worthy of award consideration even if I wasn’t as head over heels about it as some. This category was especially competitive this year he just didn’t make the cut, for what it’s worth, he was a close sixth place. Jeremy Renner might have also found his way in if the competition was less fierce.
- Matt Damon- The Informant!: Playing a businessman who more closely resembles Ned Flanders than Gordon Gecko, Matt Damon unleashes his inner dork in Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! What’s especially interesting about this character is that he isn’t a straight up lunatic but he does seem a little off for the whole movie, and I suspect that playing someone who’s only acutely mental is a lot harder.
- Sam Rockwell- Moon: I guess this is a bit of a spoiler, but in Moon Sam Rockwell plays a double role, portraying both a worn out clone and his fresh faced counterpart. The two versions of the same character basically look the same but they behave quite differently, perhaps a bit too differently. Regardless, between the two Sams, Rockwell must display a really wide range of emotions. Needless to say, he’s the favorite 2009 actor of the internet.
- Viggo Mortensen- The Road: Mortensen is a favorite actor of mine and when I heard he’d be starring in this anticipated Cormac McCarthy adaptation I knew he wouldn’t let me down. Sure enough, Mortensen gives yet another terrific performance here. Displaying all the anguish of life in a world that’s dying while simultaneously showing a father’s love of his son is not an easy task, but Mortensen pulls it off.
- Michael Stuhlbarg- A Serious Man: Ever the spotters of untapped talent, the Coen brothers fearlessly cast this mostly unknown stage actor as the lead of their latest film. Here he gives a performance that can perhaps only be given in a movie directed by the Coens, a performance of increasing desperation which is affecting while still existing under a healthy lair of quirk and cynicism, while still seeming fairly realistic.
- Colin Firth- A Single Man: Here’s a lesson in not underestimating an actor. I’ve never been a Firth fan, in fact I’ve barely ever seen any of his movies, but he really impressed me with his work in this film. A Single Man is based on one of those novels where all the action happens in the protagonists head and that places a huge burden on the shoulders of the lead actor, and Firth rises to the occasion. A masterclass in the portrayal of repressed emotions.