One of my favorite things to do in January is to look back at the performances from the year before. The Golden Globes are approaching. The Oscars are right around the corner. This is my chance to share the actresses and actors who I thought were the best in their respected categories. So without delay its time for the men to get some attention. These are my favorite performances by actors in supporting roles. It’s been a rich year filled with strong performances and these fellows have stood out to me.
#5 – Tyler Perry (“Gone Girl”)
No one is more surprised than me to see Tyler Perry on a list celebrating great performances. I’ve never been impressed with Perry as as actor, but director David Fincher certainly knew what he was doing. Perry plays Ben Affleck’s sharp Johnny Cochran-styled attorney who is tasked with defending the most reviled man in the country. There is something about Perry’s performance that exudes self-confidence and sophistication – two traits that are essential to the character. Perry really surprised me.
#4 – Gary Poulter (“Joe”)
The sad circumstances surrounding Gary Poulter certainly dampen the conversation, but it doesn’t take away from what was a stunning performance in “Joe”. Poulter wasn’t a professional actor. In fact he was homeless and without a job yet director David Gordon Green hired him. It was a great move. Poulter gives a raw and disturbing portrayal of an abusive alcoholic father. What he managed to convey without no training or experience is bewildering. Sadly he would be found dead a short time before the film was set to premiere.
#3 – Jonathan Pryce (“Listen Up Philip”)
Jonathan Pryce’s Ike Zimmerman from the acidic “Listen Up Philip” may not the vilest character in the film but he sure is close. The 67-year old Pryce has had a long and diverse career and I loved seeing him sink his teeth in this meaty role. He plays a snarky and miserable writer living in arrogant isolation and thanks to Pryce’s brilliant work you never doubt the character you’re seeing. It’s a dark and scalding performance in a smaller film that many people may have missed.
#2 – Robert Pattinson (“The Rover”)
It wasn’t long ago that I doubted Robert Pattinson would ever make a list like this. His surprising performance in David Michod’s “The Rover” has certainly changed my perspective. In the film he plays a pivotal role, perhaps the only truly innocent person in the story. He’s simple, probably mentally challenged, and Pattinson captures him with an authenticity that I didn’t know he possessed. I’ve heard criticism over Pattinson’s delivery, but I think he brings so much to his role and he is a perfect compliment to Guy Pearce’s cold, violent lead character.
#1 – Ethan Hawke – (“Boyhood”)
When I started putting together this list there was one single performance that I knew would be at the top. It’s Ethan Hawke’s energetic and wide-ranging performance in Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age gem “Boyhood”. Like his fellow cast members, Hawke shot his part over a 12-year span and as the story progresses Hawke brings us several different sides to his character. In a film filled with great moments, some of my favorites are when Hawke is on the screen. Much like Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke is a vital component to “Boyhood’s” success.