Top Ten Acting Performances of 2012

Top Five Female Performances

Sally Field: hers is the best female performance of the year in my opinion. As Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln in Lincoln, she was vibrant, in a role marked by the loss of a child and the desperation to save another from the claws of war. The Mary Lincoln portrayed in the film was a steady supporter of her husband’s cause and, as many other politicians’ wives, an adviser and confidante.

Jennifer Lawrence: with two films among the best of the year, namely The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook, she is one young talent to watch as she grows more and more comfortable in her roles. The Hunger Games franchise proved that she has the dramatic power to carry a lead role that will cement her as a superstar among young fans.

Anne Hathaway: with two great movies under her belt and among the best of the year, this was possibly Anne Hathaway’s year. She almost stole the show as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises and sang the most spirited, well-known anthem of hope in Les Misérables (2012) “I Dreamed a Dream”. As Catwoman she showed grit and kicked more evil butt than it was femininely possible.

Emily Blunt: with several films in theaters this year, Emily Blunt showed that she is a versatile actress capable of taking on assorted roles. In 2012 we saw her in The Five-Year Engagement, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Looper and Your Sister’s Sister, of which Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Looper challenged her acting chops the most.

Charlize Theron: she stole the show as Queen Ravenna in Snow White and the Huntsman, the best performance of the movie as a young queen obsessed with beauty, power and immortality.

Top Five Male Performances

Daniel Day-Lewis: The resemblance of Daniel Day-Lewis to Lincoln is uncanny. Day-Lewis physical resemblance and demeanor make it appear as if he were possessed by Lincoln himself. His performance is nothing short of brilliant, Day-Lewis actually became Abraham Lincoln.

Denzel Washington: In my opinion, most of his performances are top-notch, award winning really, but honestly Flight takes the cake; this movie is a sundae with a cherry on top. Denzel’s performance as an alcoholic is so nuanced that the audience gets to watch a man who has gone to the Gates of Hell and has come back by sheer willpower and bad luck with a positive spin.

Ben Affleck: his performance in Argo is one for the ages: subdued emotions but bubbling lava under the surface as only he has been able to master. In another film, it would be considered a passive performance, but one can see reflected in his demeanor that he is as tense as a violin’s chords.

Bradley Cooper: in his second most serious role to date after Limitless, Bradley Cooper excels in the leading role as Patrick in Silver Linings Playbook, a man who is caring but must learn to cope with the bipolar disorder that has been afflicting him for years.

Hugh Jackman: delivered a very convincing, full of suffering Jean Valjean in the epic musical Les Misérables. His performance may be eclipsed by other male performances this year but is no doubt among the best.