Hello everyone! And welcome to Enter the Movies FIRST ANNUAL AWESOME ACTOR AWARDS! WOOOO! Cue the cheering! AND THE CROWD GOES WILD! This will become a yearly tradition that will seek to highlight the actors and actresses who had the best performances of the past year. After highlighting our top 10 best single performances of the year, we will proceed to give out INDIVIDUAL AWARDS to the actors and actresses who had the best (and worst) overall year in 2014. Additionally, we will also give out awards for the best breakout stars of the year, the comeback kid, and who to watch out for in 2015! Ok, so are you ready? LET'S GO!
First off, I wanted to highlight a few honorable mentions from the past year in terms of single performances. This list is such a coveted list (obviously) that everyone tries to get on it, so it's really difficult for me to try to select 10 most worthy choices. (The Academy has nothing on Enter the Movies Awesome Annual Actor Awards of course) So, the honorable mentions are.....
Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, 22 Jump Street
These two are like peanut butter and jelly. I can't help but love 'em. This movie was as funny as it was simply because of these two hilarious actors and their bro-like chemistry. You gotta love it.
Laura Dern, Wild
Not to be lost in this movie of acting greatness is Laura Dern. She doesn't have a whole lot of scenes in this film, but she's asked to do sooooo much in her limited screen time as Witherspoon's mother. And this classic 80s and 90s actress reminds us in a great way that she's still got it 2014.
Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
One of the more overlooked performances of 2014 was Ralph Fiennes in Grand Budapest Hotel. The movie is known for its cinematographical symmetries (that's a thing now) and its incredible set design, but we forget that Ralph Fiennes reminded us just how good he is as an actor. This performance also showed us a side of Fiennes we haven't really seen before: this man's comedic timing is fantastic. The dude is HILARIOUS in this film. A great departure from the previous excellent but serious films he's done.
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Easily the most overlooked performance for a female this year by the Academy, Jennifer Aniston dropped a phenomenal performance in the movie Cake. Any movie that has Jennifer Aniston crying in it is well worth the watch. Additionally, it's worth noting that this performance is quantifiable acting, as Aniston gained a ton of weight for the role. I only mention this because the Academy LOVES quantifiable acting, so it makes me even more confused as to why she was overlooked for Best Actress. Oh well....go see this for her!
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
This performance just BARELY missed my top 10. It was a great one, for sure, but at the end of the day it's quantifiable acting at its finest. I don't have anything against that by any means, but that's pretty much all this role brings to the table. I really felt that emotionally Eddie Redmayne pretty much just hit one note throughout the entire film, and his chemistry with Felicity Jones could have been better. This is why this performance misses my top 10. That said, this performance is the best quantifiable performance of the year. But don't worry! If you thought this was the best overall performance of 2014 I have a feeling the Academy is going to agree with you!
Alright! Y'all ready for my top 10? Here we go!
10) Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
God I love this movie. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain are incredibly talented stars in Hollywood, and have a knack for always putting in some of the best acting I see in films nowadays. So, what happens when you put these two great stars together? Pure greatness. Both Isaac and Chastain shine in A Most Violent Year, and not only that, but their chemistry together is so human and real. The little itty bits of romance that are sprinkled in this movie between the two characters are significantly better than a whole host of romance flicks out there right now, which is why I said in my review that this movie would make for a fantastic adult date flick. Their chemistry is definitely better than Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan! C'mon, moviegoers! Go out and see real films with a real relationship like A Most Violent Year! Not the crazy fantasy of 50 Shades!
9) Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. My undeniable bromance in Hollywood, I am 100% biased when it comes to this man, so take everything I say about him with a grain of salt. But I'd like to think placing him here and not higher is a rather objective placement of his performance on the list. He's great as the lead in this movie, putting in the best performance of his movie career. Personally I'll still take him in Sherlock any day of the week, but let's be real: it's pretty hard to top Sherlock. That said, he does deliver a very human and grounded performance in The Imitation Game, and he really hits it out of the park as he deals with the lack of acceptance in Britain for his sexuality. I can't wait to see what he does next!
8) Julianne Moore, Still Alice
So I had my quirks about this movie and the total lack of production value, but I cannot deny the fact that Julianne Moore delivers a harrowing and downright heart-wrenching performance as Alice. Once again quite a bit of quantifiable acting, watching Alice's battle against Alzheimer's, and the performance Julianne Moore provides in order to convey this, is easily worth the price of admission alone. Even if this is the only thing this movie has to offer. The heavy HEAVY favorite to win Best Actress at the Oscars (going at 1-80 currently in Vegas) this performance easily qualifies for this list, even though personally I do not think it was the best performance by a female in 2014. We'll get there.
7) Bill Hader, The Skeleton Twins
I freaking love Bill Hader. He and Kristen Wiig have now performed in several movies since they performed together all the time on SNL, (remember their debut in Knocked Up?) and their chemistry has only gotten better in the years since. However, I'm just giving this spot solely to Hader because of how good he as his character, a homosexual with a dark past. Not only that, but his scenes with Ty Burrell are some of the best scenes of the entire movie. With the help of some fantastic writing, the scenes between Burrell and Hader were heartbreaking and incredibly real, drawing a bit of moist to my eye more than once. If the fantastic lip sync scene between Hader and Wiig isn't enough to get you to watch this movie, then maybe the scenes between Hader and Burrell will!
6) Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone, Birdman
Basically the entire cast of this movie makes the list. While the story was a bit too out there for me at times, the performances in this movie more than make up for it. However, I'll narrow it down to three from this movie in Keaton, Norton, and Stone. More specifically, Keaton and Norton's interactions together coupled with Norton and Stone's interactions together. So, Michael Keaton has been dormant for a few years, as everyone knows. However, he has come storming back in this film, delivering a performance that is both powerful, hilarious, and satiristic in nature. Seriously. The dude is basically playing a parody of himself. And his undeniable chemistry with Edward Norton is also incredible. But then to depart from the over-the-top nature of Michael Keaton, you have an incredibly grounded performance from Emma Stone. I have loved this girl ever since her role in Zombieland, and she is only getting better with time. She, too, has outstanding chemistry with Edward Norton. And then there's Edward Norton as an individual! Oy vey, so many great performances in this movie! But Edward Norton is also over-the-top and hilarious here, following up his rather limited but excellent performance in The Grand Budapest Hotel with an even better, crazier, and more unpredictable performance here in Birdman. 2014 was a damn good year for Edward Norton!
Ok, so everyone before these last five performances were great, but the top 5 were in a league of their own in 2014. It was very difficult to decide which performances to put where, but I think I did it right!
5) David Oyelowo, Selma
Ok. Do me a favor. Go watch Interstellar and observe Oyelowo's performance in that, and then go watch his performance as MLK in Selma. You. Cannot. Recognize. Him. Oyelowo's performance in Selma raises the bar for what I expect out of a lead in a biopic. It's tough, really, for a recognizable actor to be completely absorbed into a performance. For you to no longer see the actor, but rather see the character he is playing. And Oyelowo accomplishes this and makes it look easy in the process while playing the late Reverend. It really devastates me that on MLK weekend everyone saw American Sniper and not Selma. I had faith in America before that, but the fact that our society wanted to watch another "America: f*ck ya!" movie over a movie that legitimately makes you uncomfortable while simultaneously pulling on your heartstrings with the performance of its lead. This movie was going to live or die based on Oyelowo's performance. And the movie easily made it into my top 10. You do the math. Please. Please. Please go see this movie.
4) Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
The Amazing Amy. Boy, did Rosamund Pike deliver the definition of an unforgettable performance in this movie. She is haunting, mysterious, and full of intrigue as she flawlessly executes a brilliantly written character in the Amazing Amy. While sadly Ben Affleck was not the best as the lead here, and Neal Patrick Harris, while great, was sort of misplaced, Rosamund Pike more than made up for it. This is absolutely a career-defining performance from one of the best British actresses in Hollywood right now. This performance has stood out in my mind through countless other movies, and still has made it into my top five when it was all said and done. Return to Sender is another mysterious and intriguing movie that's forthcoming from her, and I seriously can't wait to see this. Say what you want about this movie, but you cannot deny the greatness of Pike's performance.
3) J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
The best supporting performance I've seen from an actor in a loooooooooong time. I really could just leave it at that. His performance in Whiplash is terrifying, unpredictable, unforgettable, and diverse. J.K. Simmons has been on a bit of a downslope the last few years, but if his performance here doesn't bring him right back into the forefront of the business, I don't know what will. With Whiplash, Simmons reminded us in spectacular fashion why he is one of the best character actors of the last two decades.
2) Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Easily the best performance from a female in 2014, Reese Witherspoon blew me away in Wild. She is indescribable as the lead, holding this movie up with her bare hands and never letting go from start to finish. For most of the movie, she's by herself in this survival tale, much like Sandra Bullock was in Gravity, but Witherspoon simply blows the role out of the water. She bares all, and spares no expense in really putting herself and her dignity on the line in this movie. And she nails it. She absolutely nails it. Before this movie, I had always thought of Witherspoon as a great actress to star in rom-coms. Someone who seemed to act like she was above the rest of the crowd. So I was very skeptical that she could deliver going into this movie. After all this role required such a human and grounded performance from its lead. Boy did she prove me wrong. I know I've been saying this a lot, but this movie is worth seeing just for her performance alone. It takes about 30 seconds of film to see it, and she doesn't let go until the credits roll. I wish the Academy would not hold her 2013 over her head and give her a very deserving Best Actress award at the Oscars, but it seems like it will take more than one unforgettable performance to change their minds. Oh well....
And the Best performance of 2014 was...
1) Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
I don't even know where to begin with this performance. So Jake Gyllenhaal has a knack for taking on out-of-this world, Johnny-Depp like characters and making them feel human, real, and simultaneously heinous and unnatural. Honestly, he does it better than Johnny Depp does nowadays. But it's been a while since Gyllenhaal has really embraced a character like he does in Nightcrawler. And when Jake Gyllenhaal embraces a character.....you know you're watching greatness unfold in front of you. And that's exactly what you get here. Hands-down the best performance of 2014, Jake Gyllenhaal's performance in Nightcrawler was criminally overlooked by the Academy this year. Why? Well, probably because the movie came out waaaaaaaaay back on October 31. Gyllenhaal is asked to convey just about every emotion imaginable, all while displaying an uncanny and brutally realistic lack of caring for human life. A performance that I will not be forgetting anytime soon, Jake Gyllenhaal's role in Nightcrawler was easily the best of 2014.
So, there's my top 10 best performances of the year! Now that Jake Gyllenhaal is holding his coveted award for Nightcrawler, let's hand out a few more individual awards, ya?
The Breakout Actress of 2014 was...
Emily Blunt! Come on down! First, you outperformed Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow, despite fairly limited screen time and a great performance from arguably the biggest action star on the planet. Then, you outperformed one of Hollywood's best in the form of Meryl Streep in Into the Woods! With this role and the huge amount of diversity you have displayed on the screen in 2014, you have broken out squarely into the mainstream and are now among Hollywood's elite. Even though you weren't given a Best Supporting Actress nomination, (Meryl Streep was nominated on her name alone, as well as so the Academy could, you know, nominate her again and not give her another Oscar....again) we all know you deserved it over Streep. For years, you took whatever you were offered while displaying a huge amount of diversity with your talent, but now you can finally pick and chooser your roles. The sky's the limit, Emily Blunt. I can't wait to see what you do next.
The Breakout Actor of 2014 was...
This was a very close one, as both Miles Teller and Chadwick Boseman had fantastic 2014s. However, I'm givin' this award to Teller. Teller had a phenomenal 2014, and a very busy one too. You started the year with Whiplash. While we will remember J.K. Simmons performance, his chemistry with you made him as great as he was. And we can't forget the fact that you did all the drumming in that film yourself! This is impressive in and of itself. Then you went on and embraced your bro persona in That Awkward Moment. While that film was torpedoed by a terrible performance from Zac Efron, as well as a poor script and not-the-best directing, you were easily the best part of the film. But you weren't done. Then you continued the bro persona in Two Night Stand, a totally overlooked but oddly decent romance film from the later half of the year. You made audiences everywhere hate you in Divergent, but only because you were once again so good! However now the bar has been set. You have been asked to lead the remake of The Fantastic Four, (playing Mr. Fantastic) and I look forward to seeing you shine once again there and in Insurgent as well. You broke out for me in 2014 in your follow-ups to The Spectacular Now, but these two upcoming performances in 2015 are what's going to make him a household name. Just you wait.
The Feel-Good Comeback Story of 2014 was...
How could Reese Witherspoon not win this award? You came back in a big way in 2014. After having major troubles with the law in 2013, to me it appeared that you were all but done in Hollywood. But then, you were offered a role in the little indie film Wild, and you put your heart and sole into the performance. This definitely reminded us all just how great an actress you really are, while simultaneously putting in the best performance of any actress in 2014 with it. Zero to hero in no time flat, as some might say. But you weren't done. You quickly followed that up with a phenomenal performance in another great and overlooked indie film, The Good Lie. And then you showed up in the latest from Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice, cause why not? But it's her work in Wild that got her this award. She's in good company too. Last year the award went to Matthew McConaughey, who proceeded to win an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, and the year before that it was won by Ben Affleck, who proceeded to win an Oscar for Best Picture in Argo, a movie which he directed and starred in. So, not saying this trend is going to continue with you on Oscar night, but if you don't win then you will at least have this award, right? And Enter the Movies is cooler than the Oscars anyway!
The Actress with the worst 2014 was...
No. Bad Cameron Diaz. You come up here. Look down at the floor in shame. You were once my favorite actress in Hollywood. I loved you in films like Being John Malkovich, Gangs of New York, Shrek, and Knight and Day. (That last movie was seriously freaking fun) Heck, I even defended you in Bad Teacher! But then you showed up in a very cash-grabby role in The Counselor. I summed it up to the fact that Ridley Scott is easily the most overrated director in Hollywood. But then....but then 2014 came around and you showed up in The Other Woman, Sex Tape, and Annie. Three of the worst films of the year. YOU CAN'T EVEN SING! WHY ARE YOU IN A MUSICAL WHEN YOU CAN'T SING? Look, Cameron. Real talk for a second. I'm worried about you. I look at your upcoming films, and right now I only see a sequel to Bad Teacher for you. That's it. You were once great, Cameron Diaz. You can be again. You just have to remember what made you great! I believe in you, gurl. You can do this! Now get back out there, and remind us just how great you are!
The Actor with the Worst 2014 was...
Oh no, Mark Wahlberg. You didn't think you were gonna get away without a scratch, did you? Oh no. I've got some words for you. You know you are the poster child for a man who can turn his life around, right? Because that's exactly what you did. The early 2000s were rough on you, but in recent years you were really turning it around! Films like The Fighter and The Lone Survivor were outstanding action films because of you. Heck even Contraband was a heck of a lot better than it would have been because of your performance. Not only that, you showed us that you also have unbelievable comedic timing in Seth MacFarlane's Ted, and then you combined your humor and wit with your action side in a great film from 2013 in 2 Guns. And then 2014 happened. And then you cash-grabbed. Sure there were only two performances in the year, but both of these films are finding their way into my bottom 10 worst movies of the year in Transformers 4 and The Gambler. And you're in both of them for one reason and one reason only: money. No. You are too good for that, Mark. You are too young and too much of a bright symbol amongst us moviegoers to cash-grab. Please, for the good of moviegoers everywhere, stop. Continue your meteoric rise that you were on in 2013. You're better than this, Mark. Shame on you.
The Best Actress of 2014 was...
Jessica Chastain! Boy was 2014 good to you. You had been flirting with greatness for years, putting in great performances in movies like Zero Dark Thirty and Lawless. But, you were still waiting on that break you deserved. Well, I think it's safe to say you got it in 2014. Easily stealing the show in everything you did, you shined in Miss Julie, Interstellar, and A Most Violent Year. With the help of Oscar Isaac, you found your way into my top ten performances of the year earlier on this list for your work in the last film I mentioned. Rapidly setting yourself up to be the next Julia Roberts, you have more greatness coming your way in 2015 as you work with the great director Guillermo Del Toro in the mysterious Crimson Peak, as well as The Martian. Despite the fact that the later there is directed by Ridley Scott, if there's someone out there who can draw the last bit of greatness out of this director, it's you. Even though you were criminally overlooked by the Academy this year, you are not being overlooked by Enter the Movies. Keep being you, Jessica Chastain. You are destined for great things.
The Best Actor of 2014 was...
Chris Pratt! I mean, how could it not be Chris Pratt right? You might not be nominated for anything, but then again who needs an Oscar nomination to suddenly find yourself in basically every top grossing film of the next 20 years? I still remember the days when you were in incredibly limited supporting roles in movies like 2013's Her, or 2011's Moneyball, or 2008's Wanted. (Remember his incredibly limited role in that? Check it out for the lols) You even took a role that was doomed to fail in 2013 showing up in Vince Vaughn's disastrous film Delivery Man. But then, it was as if a switch turned on in your head, and you decided that you were going to go from little supporting role actor with a small following from your time on TV show Parks and Recreation to one of Hollywood's elite seemingly overnight. You started this trend by leading an incredible cast in The Lego Movie. You nailed that. Then, you followed that up with a charismatic and hilarious performance as Starlord in Guardians of the Galaxy, a performance which just barely missed my list from earlier. Now, you are signed up to be the lead in Jurassic World, and you're the heavy favorite to be the next Indiana Jones, as well as leading the remake of The Magnificent Seven. 30 years from now, after you have long since made himself the new Harrison Ford, we'll look to 2014 as the year you began your dominance in Hollywood. Oh what the future has in store for you, my friend.
The Actress to watch out for in 2015 is...
Shailene Woodley had just as good a year as Emily Blunt did in 2014. The only reason she's down here and Blunt is up there is because Woodley's upcoming schedule looks a bit more appealing at the moment than Blunt's. As I said before, Blunt is finally to the point where she can pick and choose her roles, whereas Woodley is still taking anything that's offered to her. Anyway, where was I? Right. Shailene, you broke out in a big way in 2014 with your work on Divergent, which, combined with your work in 2013's The Spectacular Now, has most certainly put you in the mainstream amongst a younger generation of moviegoers. While currently the only thing on the upcoming list for 2015 is the sequel to Divergent, you are definitely someone I'm gonna keep an eye on to lead other great films. Watch out for Shailene Woodley, everyone. She is damn good at what she does.
The Actor to Watch out for in 2015 is...
You heard it here first today, folks. Watch out for Oscar Isaac in 2015. This man has been showing greatness for years with movies like Drive, Won't Back Down, Inside Llewyn Davis, and A Most Violent Year. However, a criminally large amount of the population is still unaware of your greatness. Well, this won't last much longer. You are the lead in what is far and away 2015's most anticipated movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and, as if that was not enough, you were recently announced as the man who will play Apocalypse in one of 2016's most anticipated films, X-Men: Apocalypse. If you bring the same talent you have been bringing to your films in these upcoming two movies, you will blow audiences everywhere away. And you're playing everything right, too. These are the only two films upcoming on your list right now. You are devoting every ounce of yourself to these roles. You are setting yourself up for success, my friend. Look out, folks. By the end of this year Oscar Isaac will be a household name.
Well, there you have it! With all the awards given, I am officially declaring Enter the Movies First Annual Awesome Actor's Awards for 2015 an unparalleled success! Congratulations to all actors and actresses who walked away with awards, including the not-so-nice ones. (Let that be a wakeup call for you) I hope you, the audience, has been entertained throughout the awards show, and thanks for reading! I'll see ya next time with my Worst Movies of 2014 list! DEUCES!
Hey how are you doing? Fantastic. So when you get done here you should go over to Facebook and "Like" Enter the Movies for the latest and greatest on all things movies. If you don't, Puss In Boots will be sad. We wouldn't want that now would we?
I believe you've gotta have fun in everything you do. Otherwise, what's the point?