Friday, December 14, 2012

Top Male/Female Performances of 2012

Rules: These performances have been selected from films I have seen for the first time in a cinema in 2012 - whether it was released theatrically or at a festival. If you're wondering where Elizabeth Olsen is for Martha Marcy May Marlene for example, I watched that film at the Sydney Film Festival last year even though it hit cinemas in February of this year. I would have included Leslie Mann in my Top 10 Female Performances (This is 40) but the film doesn't hit cinemas until January.

As I have seen 'almost' everything eligible for consideration, here's how my selections for Best Male and Female Performances of 2012 stand. Inspired by Simon Miraudo (Quickflix).


Male Performer of the Year
Honourable Mentions - Chris O'Dowd - The Sapphires, Scoot McNairy/Brad Pitt - Killing Them Softly, Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables, Sean Penn - This Must Be The Place, Joel Edgerton - Wish You Were Here, Mark Duplass - Your Sister's Sister, Logan Lerman/Ezra Miller - The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Matthias Schoenaerts - Rust and Bone, Frank Langella - Robot and Frank, Toby Jones - Berberian Sound Studio, George Clooney - The Descendants, Jean Dujardin - The Artist and Omar Sy - The Intouchables.

 10. Anders Danielsen Lie - Oslo, August 31st

9. Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

8. John Hawkes - The Sessions
7. Jack Black - Bernie
6. Mads Mikkelsen - The Hunt/A Royal Affair

5. Jean-Louis Trintignant - Amour

4. Matthew McConaughey - Killer Joe/Magic Mike/Bernie

=3. Philip Seymour Hoffman/Joaquin Phoenix - The Master

2. Denis Lavant - Holy Motors

1. Michael Fassbender - Shame/Prometheus


Female Performer of the Year
Honourable Mentions: Kirsten Dunst - Bachelorette, Kate Winslet - Carnage,  Saskia Rosendahl - Lore, Vanessa Paradis - Cafe De Flore, J. Smith Cameron - Margaret, Elizabeth Olsen - Liberal Arts, Michelle Williams - Take This Waltz, Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea, Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild, Rosemarie DeWitt - Your Sister's Sister and Jennifer Lawrence - The Hunger Games

10. Amy Adams - The Master

9. Rashida Jones - Celeste and Jesse Forever

8. Emily Blunt - Your Sister's Sister/Salmon Fishing In the Yemen/Looper

7. Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables/The Dark Knight Rises

6. Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Smashed

5. Charlize Theron - Young Adult

4. Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone

3. Rooney Mara - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

2. Anna Paquin - Margaret

1. Emmanuelle Riva - Amour


  1. No Bejo? Say it isn't so!? ;) (Dwayne).

    1. I kinda forgot all about Bejo, and though I thought she was fantastic when I saw the film I think that is a sign.

  2. Great stuff! Matty M (IDK why I've given him this nickname when I now know how to spell his name) is my favourite performer of the year. His performance in Killer Joe is my favourite of 2012 releases. However, if we were going by NZ 2012 releases, Michael Fassbender's performance in Shame is by far my favourite!

    1. Yeah I mixed in both 2011 US releases that hit cinemas here early in the year and festival films that have not even had a release. Quite a broad spectrum of films/performances. Loved MM this year. All three performances are perfect, but Phoenix, Hoffman, Lavant and Fassbender absolutely killed it in their roles too. As for female, if Emmanuelle Riva is not nominated for her role in Amour something is very wrong. And how wasn't Anna Paquin nominated last year. Makes me even more mad about Streep's win.

  3. Yayy for Winstead and Danielsen Lie.
    Terrific lists all around, though I never understand the concept of grouping performances together. Do you think McConaughey was equally good in all three roles or would he have been placed differently if you'd considered him for one of his films only? Not trying to be nitpicky, just curious, because I usually end up citing them for the one performance I like best.

    1. I think MM's best work is Killer Joe (#4) but his work in Magic Mike would have almost made my Top 10 too. Solidified his spot because he has delivered multiple performances of high quality. I understand your point, but there are a few actors who have appeared in multiple films and wanted to credit each of them. The second/third film had no bearing on their position.

  4. Great lists, Andy, I agree with most of them, especially Michael Fassbender in the first place. I really need to see Amour soon, and I will!

    1. You will be blown away by the performances in Amour. Trust me.

  5. Awesome list man. Love Fassy topping it. And Riva indeed was excellent. Anna Paquin!!
    Also the inclusion of people like Dunst and Miller :)

  6. So great to see Fassbender and McConaughey on your list!

  7. Totally in agreement about Emily Blunt as female performer of the year. No doubt about it. And thank you for shouting Kirsten Dunst's work in "Bachelorette." Deserves more attention.

    Here's a question, do you think McConaughey is going to cancel himself out in Oscar voting? Or do you think they'll align behind "Magic Mike"? I preferred him in "Bernie" myself.

    1. I thought you would appreciate Dunst's inclusion, Nick. She killed it. There is a definite possibility he will cancel himself out, but I think it is clear his support is coming for Magic Mike, so I hope he is at least recognised for that role. He is hilarious in Bernie. The Paperboy hits cinemas here in Feb. Another of his 2012 roles.

  8. Wonderful lists! Love that you have Denis Lavant and Anna Paquin so high.

  9. Two superb lists. Love seeing Lie, Trintignant, McConaughey, Lavant and escpeically Fassbender for the male picks.

    Winstead, Riva and Marion (whose performance in Rust in Bone is what Fassbender’s in Shame was for me last year).

    Love all your picks!

  10. I wasn't as impressed with Fassbender as most, but I'm happy to see Lavant up there, and I agree with you on Phoenix/PSH and both MM's. Actress wise, I also agree with your selection of Riva. Have you seen Beyond the Hills or Our Children yet?

    1. I have not yet seen BTH, but definitely one I won't forget about.

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