This year movies had some brilliant performances done by very talented actors. There are even some actors who are beginning a resurgence in their career, or are finally starting to get noticed for their work, or further proves their abilities as actors. This list is not comprehensive, as I have yet to see a lot more movies released nor there are specific rankings, but here are my favorite performances from the pool of movies I've seen for 2014.
When Michael Fassbender’s asset is hidden behind a mask, the movie becomes reliant on his bodily expressions and comedic timing to make Frank a quirky hit. He does a tremendous job with his character that I still can’t believe that he was the man under the mask.
Rosamund Pike brings in the cool girl factor in her chilling performance as Amy Elliot Dunne in this year’s Gone Girl. She really played the character so well that it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the character. It wasn’t difficult to be engrossed with her performance - amazing stuff from an actress that should have had big recognition a long time ago.
Another kick-ass lady who triumphs the screen this year is Emily Blunt’s Angel of Verdun in the still underrated Edge of Tomorrow. While she already had a bit of prior experience, it was in this movie that Blunt proves that she can most definitely move from genre to genre and excel in all of them. She, like some actresses mentioned in this list deserves her big break.
Julianne Moore is getting noticed for her performance in Still Alice, but this performance of hers was overlooked. Moore plays an aging actress who gets a chance to play a role that her deceased mother has played before. It doesn’t matter that the film was horrible, but it was a role her mother was famous for, and she is an actress who has been living on her mother’s shadow. She was fantastic in the role - it was a performance of hers I haven’t seen before, like she has unleashed a crazy side of hers on screen.
Jenny Slate is a comedian who had a stint at SNL, but the only work of hers I’ve seen (besides this, that is) is her guest stint in NBC’s Parks and Recreation, where she played the sister of Jean Ralphio. It seemed like she was born to play the role. She did it in a captivating manner that the movie wouldn’t have clicked if another person would have played her role.
Despite the movie being the tear-jerker that it is (and basically launched Ansel Elgort), the actress who stole every scene she was in was Laura Dern. She might have played a minor role, but damn if you’re not caught watching her turmoil as she played the mother to Hazel’s recovering teen. Watching her daughter’s life shift from happiness to despair must have been devastating, and you can see those emotional shifts from her performance.
Ralph Fiennes is one of the best things in Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. He has a knack for dark comedy roles, and he nailed this one perfectly. He seemed to have an easier time settling to the role, and had fun with it.