A few days ago I gave my Top 5 performances by a supporting actress from the 2013 movie year. Now it’s time for the guys. The Best Supporting Actor category was extremely difficult to narrow down. 2013 was full of great supporting work from a host of great actors. There were some really great performances worthy of this list that I hated to leave off, but such is the nature of these goofy lists. So lets get to my five favorite performances by an actor in a supporting role:
#5 – Andrew Dice Clay – “Blue Jasmine“
When most of us hear the name Andrew Dice Clay we think loud, obnoxious, and brash. This one time successful standup comic was armed with an off-colored gimmick and a bad attitude. But that’s no where to be found in what I think is the most suprising performance of 2013. Dice Clay has a small role in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” but he is amazing as a humble, blue-collar guy who you can’t help but like. There is such a grounded and natural feel to his portrayal and it’s such a departure from his past work. Even with his limited screen time I thought Dice Clay was a real highlight of the film.
#4 – Geoffrey Rush – “The Book Thief“
As I’ve mentioned before, “The Book Thief” is a moving film anchored by some great performances. Of the great work showcased in the movie it’s Geoffrey Rush who swept me away. His foster-father character was the antithesis to Emily Watson’s stern, abrasive foster-mother. He is meek, gentle, and sympathetic. Rush captures all of this through a subtle and grounded performance that injects a lot of heart into the movie’s grim surroundings. Rush has always been a top-notch actor which is why his fine performance here didn’t surprise me at all.
#3 – Sam Rockwell – “The Way, Way Back“
One the biggest surprises of 2013 in terms of performances came from Sam Rockwell in “The Way, Way Back“. I’ve always thought Rockwell was a pretty good actor but the quick wit and amazing comedic timing in this performance blew me away. He had me laughing during every scene yet he brought more to the character than just humor. It’s also worth noting that in a film featuring so many great performances he steals ever scene he is in. I perked up every time he showed up with his slouchy attire and goofy strut. Rockwell was always an actor I could take or leave. Well now I’m sold. This performance really won me over.
#2 – Michael Fassbender – “12 Years a Slave“
In a movie loaded with some of the best performances of 2013, the best may be Michael Fassbender’s turn as a brutal, maniacal slave owner in Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave“. Fassbender has established himself as one of the more versatile actors in the business and he has taken on a variety of different and demanding roles. I am a huge fan of most of his work but this would rank near the very top. Fassbender goes all in as one of the most vile and detestable screen “villains” I’ve ever seen. He never makes it a caricature. It’s a believable portrayal that makes it all the more uncomfortable. It’s such a committed performance from a great actor.
#1 – Matthew McConaughey – “Mud“
Matthew McConaughey may have gotten top billing in Jeff Nichols’ deep south thriller “Mud“, but by description he is really a supporting character. The McConaughey renaissance continued in 2013 and his work as a mysterious stranger living on a river island was a highlight of the year. He is perfectly cast and he creates one of the most captivating characters of the year. The southern drawl, the gritty look, the air of mystery – McConaughey brings it all. His performance is a vital ingredient to the film’s success and it’s an undeniable reminder that McConaughey is an incredible actor when he picks good material.
So what do you think? These are my favorite supporting actor performances. Now I would like to hear yours. Please take time to share them in the comments section below. And remember, next week we look at lead actresses!