Oscar Week: Best Supporting Actor

The Academy Awards are approaching at the end of this week, so I present to you Oscar Week! These are my own movie awards from 2014, celebrating my favorite performances and scenes of the year.

The Best Supporting Actor category is a top-heavy one and four of the five Oscar nominees I concur with being among the best (The Judge? Really?). The rest are mostly really fun performances and one surprising one that though it may be ridiculous had to be on here.

My top ten supporting actors of 2014:

10. Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice

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Brolin is riotous as the police officer/frenemy of Doc Sportello.

9. Kristopher Hinvju, Force Majeure

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Hinvju comes into Force Majeure seemingly as a voice of wisdom between the two fighting couples, but he too proves to be a sort of bumbling fool when it comes to dealing with his own masculinity.

8. Luke Wilson, The Skeleton Twins

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Seemingly too perfect as a sort of country nice guy, but throughout The Skeleton Twins Wilson shows himself as truly sincere and loving, especially in the face of the manic-depressive insecurities of Hader and Wiig’s characters.

7. Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

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Carrell has gotten a lot of flack for being overrated at this point that I believe that he is actually quite underrated now. Technically he has been nominated in the best actor category, but that really belongs to Channing Tatum. Carrell is good playing out of type as the somewhat creepy, somewhat sad John du Pont.

6. Tony Revolori, Grand Budapest Hotel

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How else would we know what a lobby boy was without the shining example of Tony Revolori in Grand Budapest Hotel. He brings all the necessary charm and quirk needed in an Anderson role and is an exciting actor to watch.

5. Bradley Cooper, Guardians of the Galaxy

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My favorite character in Guardians of the Galaxy and my favorite Cooper performance of the year come in the form of a CGI raccoon. Cooper absolutely nails it, adding a truly unbelievable amount of charisma and charm to, again, a raccoon.

4. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood

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Every time Ethan Hawke comes on-screen in Boyhood he drives the movie forward in such wonderful ways. He may have the easier job, as a dad who drops into his kids’ lives in order to take them out to fun things, compared with Arquette who must be steady, and Coltrane who has the whole film based around him, but sometimes the fun dad is so much fun it doesn’t matter.

3. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher

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I don’t really know what it is about Ruffalo in Foxcatcher, his character isn’t flashy at all, but is based in steadiness and having a true love and commitment toward his family. For me he and Tatum’s scenes together really were the best part of the movie and much of that was thanks to the gruff kindness and devotion exhibited here by Ruffalo.

2. Edward Norton, Birdman

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Ed Norton is always good. In Birdman, playing a sort of version of himself (as most of the film’s characters do), he’s on fire. While Ruffalo was so good because he wasn’t flashy, Norton gives a passionate performance, using all the flashiness to his advantage.

1. JK Simmons, Whiplash

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Simmons is the favorite here and he is is absolutely deserving of it. Playing a fierce, quasi-abusive, and manipulative drum teacher Simmons escalates and deescalates with ease, driving Teller’s character above (and beyond?). I get a form of PTSD just looking at that picture above, but I also–you know–feel like giving my all.

Best Supporting Performances of 2012

Best Supporting Actress

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5. Amy Adams in The Master-Simultaneously being the sweet innocent Adams we’ve come to know and a strong woman who has the ability to manipulate and gain power, Adams certainly played it up perfectly in Anderson’s The Master.

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4. Rosemary Dewitt in Your Sister’s Sister-In a film that is essentially people talking for an hour and a half, Dewitt puts forth a wonderful performance.

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3. Anne Hathaway in The Dark Knight Rises-There is a moment early on in The Dark Knight Rises where Hathaway changes from innocent girl to the sly troublemaking cat that she is that was absolutely fantastic. I was worried about her as Catwoman, but she really was the best part of the film.

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2. Emily Blunt in Looper-Blunt’s character enters the film as a change of pace (and place) and nails it as a broken, optimistic woman who believes that she can be the difference.

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1. Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables-The popular pick and she really did put up a tour-de-force performance even if it was for only like 15 minutes. The film died once she did and really I am a sucker for “I Dreamed a Dream”.

Honorable mention: Judy Dench in Skyfall

Best Supporting Actor

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5. Jason Clarke in Zero Dark Thirty-Clarke puts forth a great performance as someone complacent in torture, making you like him, while also despising him.

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4. Michael Pena in End of Watch-Jake Gyllenhaal and Pena absolutely make End of Watch a film worth watching, with their interactions as partners in the LAPD. They care for each other, their work, yet are certainly not perfect.

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3. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master-Barely a supporting actor, but since everyone else has been putting him here, I will too. Hoffman basically does what he always does when he gets a role where he must be a powerful brute. Transitioning from gentle to charismatic to outrageous, he is great, as always.

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2. Javier Bardem in Skyfall-Heath Ledger started something great with the work he put in for The Dark Knight, he began a trend of great character actors getting placed into big blockbuster franchise roles, elevating each film’s capability (as we saw with Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers and later this year Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek). Bardem may pull a lot of tricks out of Ledger’s bag as the creepy, crazy, intelligent villain, but he does it in a powerful way, becoming almost sympathetic at times.

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1. Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained-DiCaprio turned a new leaf in his career here as a Southern plantation owner. Talk about charismatic and creepy, DiCaprio nails them both with full force. He enters Tarantino’s cartoonish villain with all he has, making him the most terrifying, memorable supporting performance of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, Bruce Willis in Moonrise Kingdom, Tom Hiddleston in Deep Blue Sea, Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained, Mark Duplass in Your Sister’s Sister