Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2007 Diva Cup Awards: Best Actor

And the nominees are...

Casey Affleck as Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Have you ever sat down and watched a film (or a TV show or read a book), with a subject as far away from your normal life as possible, and then recognized yourself in one of the performances? If you have, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. I've only done it a few times (Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain, Bree Van de Kamp on Desperate Housewives and Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye) but as soon as I finished watching The Assassination of Jesse James..., I immediately recognized a kindred spirit in Affleck's Robert Ford. What makes this performance even more remarkable is that in the first scene, with Affleck constantly muttering in that squeeky voice, you think it's going to be a looooong film, but after a minute or two, you start to understand what he is doing and it ultimately works.
Key Scene: Acting as Jesse's escort around town, picking up his gestures and the way he carries himself

Don Cheadle as Petey Greene in Talk to Me
Cheadle rises above biopic cliches, focusing more on Petey's relationships with Dewey and Vernell than on his drug problem. Add motormouth to Cheadle's already long list of talents.
Key Scene: The James Brown concert

Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood
A total badass from start to finish. Day-Lewis has proved before he can transform into practically anyone, and this time was no exception. A touch over the top, but it suits the over the top-ness of the film; a subtler performance wouldn't have fit here.
Key Scene: The baptism

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Dewey Hughes in Talk to Me
Some people consider this a supporting performance, but watch Talk to Me closely and you'll see that the film is just as concerned with Hughes and his drive to achieve fame as it is with Greene. The role, as written, seems to be nothing more than the "black man who conformed," but Ejiofor stands up for Hughes and makes us realize he's just as "black" as Greene.
Key Scene: Making it to The Tonight Show

Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai in Eastern Promises
Another badass, this time from Mortensen as a Russian mobster. The beauty of this performance is that in the context of one character, Mortensen is playing three roles (the hard-ass gangster, the romantic lead and, possibly, the good guy) and it's nearly impossible to figure Nikolai out.
Key Scene: Kissing both Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassell by the water

If Only There Were Six: Russell Crowe, 3:10 to Yuma
Crowe's finest performance, in my opinion. He's really more believable as the bad guy.

Rest of the Top 10:
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street...James McAvoy, Atonement...Josh Brolin, No Country For Old Men...Simon Pegg, Hot Fuzz

Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Viggo Mortensen, Eastern Promises

Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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