Best Actor 2013

Which Oscar nominee is your pick for Best Actor of 2013?

Christian Bale- American Hustle
Bruce Dern - Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
Total votes: 31

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby The Original BJ » Wed May 28, 2014 3:11 pm

A superb year for leading men. I'd probably tout Oscar Isaac and Joaquin Phoenix highest of the omitted candidates, though Tom Hanks would have been perfectly worthy as well. And I don't think any of the men nominated were undeserving either, making this one a tough call.

Like most, I'd eliminate Christian Bale first, but more because the competition is so strong than out of antipathy for his performance. I thought he was quite funny in American Hustle, but in a manner that wasn't just lightweight either -- there's dramatic heft (to go along with the physical heft) to his performance too. Not a dominant enough performance to win, but in many other years, he'd be at least a must-have nominee.

I don't rank Leonardo DiCaprio's Wolf of Wall Street work quite as high as his performances in The Departed and Revolutionary Road -- for me the two adult performances in which he showed the most control. (I know, I know, detractors will immediately scoff at anyone referring to a DiCaprio performance as "controlled.") But DiCaprio's pretty good at playing unhinged characters, and with Jordan Belfort he gets a character who's completely reckless, and the actor relishes every minute of it. He gives a very entertaining, intense performance, and he's definitely someone I'm rooting for (especially given that he's a big star so committed to working with exciting directors time and time again). But I found his competitors delivered more emotionally resonant work.

Matthew McConaughey wasn't an actor I found all that interesting before the so-called McConaissance. That changed with Magic Mike -- I definitely wanted him to get a nomination for that -- but even there I felt like it was more of a case of the right actor in a great part rather than a performance from someone with a ton of range. But by the time we got to Dallas Buyers Club, I completely put aside any doubts I had about his abilities. I think he's pretty wonderful here, creating a character who is deeply human but also a pretty big jerk, and he doesn't soften Ron Woodruf's edges or reach for sympathy at any point. This, in turn, makes his most emotionally affecting moments even more heartfelt, because it feels like they're stemming from a very real, human place. Very fine work, though perhaps not worthy of the awards-season landslide he earned.

Based on what I've seen of his work, Bruce Dern's performance in Nebraska pretty clearly outclasses anything else he's done as an actor. Throughout his career, he's tended to be a rather blunt actor -- not a bad one, but someone who usually layered on the intensity pretty thickly. I don't think he's ever been as delicate or sensitive as he is here, playing a character who is often stubborn, but who is deeply good at heart: a curmudgeonly optimist, if you will. He's touching and funny, often in the same moment, and does very fine scene work with both Forte and Squibb -- you really get a sense of the familial history in these relationships. He'd have been a perfectly deserving winner.

But I cast my vote for Chiwetel Ejiofor, who gives the most emotionally wrenching work of the bunch. I guess at some point this is just debating semantics, but I don't view this as a terribly passive role in the way some have -- it seems to me that Solomon is the type of character who is constantly wanting to take action and express his outrage over the indignity of his situation, yet he knows that in order to survive he must keep as much of this bottled up as possible. I think what makes the actor's work so impressive is the way he exemplifies this tension, so that we see the rage simmering beneath the surface he desperately tries to keep complacent. It's a close call -- truly, these performances are all very strong -- but Ejiofor, like Nyong'o, pulls ahead in my book based on the sheer dramatic power of his work.

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby dws1982 » Sat May 03, 2014 10:53 am

I would've voted for Oscar Isaac or Tom Hanks over any of these guys if either had been nominated. (If both had been nominated, I would've gone with Isaac.) Out of these five, it's a pretty easy vote for Ejiofor, though.

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby Reza » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:37 pm

Voted for Dern.

My picks for 2013:

Phoenix, Dern, Isaacs, Bale & Ejiofer.

The 6th spot: McConaughey.

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby FilmFan720 » Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:15 pm

There are still some films I have not yet caught up with, but to me 2013 stands as one of the best years in my memory for leading actors. The depth is so broad and diverse that while I don't have much fault with any of these nominees, I begrudge so many people who fell to the wayside: Michael B. Jordan, Mads Mikkelsen, Tye Sheridan, Ethan Hawke, Toni Servillo, Robert Redford, Miles Teller, Tom Hanks, even some who got moved to Supporting consideration: James Gandolfini, Will Forte and Matthew McConaughey in Mud. And I haven't yet seen Inside Llewyn Davis, her or The Grandmaster.

I think the winner here is actually the weakest of the nominees. I have liked a lot of the McConaissence, but I think this is actually his weakest performance of the past few years. Part of this is that he doesn't have the great material that some of the other films have given him, but he also seemed uncomfortable in his skin, which is not something you expect from McConaughey. He does fine work, and I'm happy he got recognized for a remarkable streak he has been on, but I wouldn't consider voting him here.

Leonardo DiCaprio is an actor I like a lot, but I think he does his weakest work with Scorsese. Scorsese is a director who likes his actor to really act, and who doesn't care if we see the theatricality of what they are doing, and I never feel like DiCaprio is really up for that challenge. I much prefer his more relaxed work other directors give him.

I almost voted for Christian Bale here, even if I think other choices are better, if only because I think he has become criminally underrated in this role. Bale is an actor I have never really liked before, who always seems to be so emotionally distant from the characters he is playing, but here captures the essence of American Hustle perfectly: he is funny, warm, and under all the layers of character has a charisma that I haven't seen from Bale before. It was the first time I felt him giving a real movie star performance, and he surprisingly became the highlight of the movie for me. I love that he managed a nomination, but I won't vote for him here.

I agree with everything people say about Chiwetel Ejiofor: he is passive and reactive for most of the film, but he still brings a gravitas and power to the role and handles it masterfully.

My vote though goes to Bruce Dern. He gets the best material of anyone on this list, and handles it like a master. I don't know how much Dern really has left in him, and I don't know how much he was able to rely on his own persona for this role, but he is funny, heartbreaking and technically perfect through the role.
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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Apr 27, 2014 8:28 pm

The wildly split results of this poll make it all the more puzzling that the Oscar race seemingly so quickly narrowed to Matthew McConaughey and a phantom challenger. Like in 2005, this should have been a terrifically exciting contest, but the blogosphere hive mind took all the fun out of it.

And of course there were others who might have been included: Oscar Isaac and Joaquin Phoenix most prominently, for me, but, even among those more commonly discussed, Tom Hanks' startling closing moments made him more than a routine nominee.

Christian Bale, like much of the American Hustle cast, did terrific work within the ensemble -- the cast as a whole would have won my prize easily -- but didn't sine enough individually to get a vote.

I've long admired Chiewetel Ejiofor and I liked his work in 12 Years enough I don't object to the nomination...but I ever saw the transcendence so many claimed to observe. For me, it was a passive role where less was less. As I say, decent, but not in contention in such a prime year.

I think Matthew McConaughey will far more deserve an Emmy for True Detective than he did the Oscar for Dallas Buyer's Club (and I think having Detective running throughout the voting period likely helped him a bit). He was perfectly solid in Dallas, but nothing out of the norm -- it was Matthew McConaughey doing his thing, only now with AIDS. I thought his performance paled next to Leto's alongside him, and the fact that both won gives me the feeling the subject matter was paramount in voters' consideration.

I could pretty much vote for either Dern or DiCaprio without problem. Their performances could hardly be more different: DiCaprio strutting like a showman throughout, Dern trusting the audience to wait out his recessiveness. In the end, I'm choosing Dern, because his work was so singular. He made us wonder throughout just how aware he was of what was going on...seeming at moments truly out of it, then pulling pranks like "They're not my teeth", indicating far greater grasp of the situation than anyone had imagined. It's a risky performance, and the distancing quality of it may have worked against him with voters. It's a near thing, but he gets my vote.

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby mojoe92 » Mon Apr 21, 2014 9:40 am

2013 lacked something, and that was worthy lead actors for any nominations. I have gone over this category a lot since November and other than McConaghey I have yet to find worthy performances for myself who should be considered. Even in the 2013 Oscar shouldabeen page everyone but McConaghey was a filler. So I am going to try to fully get a worthy line up with this.

Bale is like all of his other AH actors a joke in the movie and a waste of nomination space

I am NOT a Leonardo fan, there has only been one time he has ever truly moved me and that was in Django, a role he really should have won an Oscar for. Let's be honest he will NEVER win a competitive Oscar, ever. The only way he will get one is going the Peter O'Toole and Kirk Douglas route

Chiweitel I never connected with until the very last scene when he is reunited with his family, so I cannot give him recognition on one 20 second scene

Bruce- Nebraska, the second worst picture behind Hustle last year nominated for anything. Dern is also a member of the category fraud club, much like his fellow members like Tatum O'Neal, Hailee Steinfeld, Louise Fletcher, and Timothy Hutton to name a few I refuse to vote for them due to category fraud ( although out of the ones I mentioned O'Neal is the only win worthy) Dern is the Supporting actor next to Forte. Either way, Dern's nomination was a career sympathy nomination. Pass.

McConaghey- He did everything right. The transformation of not only his personal life but his on-screen transformation from bully to victim is what stole the show for me.

My personal line up

Matthew McConaghey- Dallas Buyers Club
....yeah I can't. there were no other oscar worthy of award worthy performances in the lead actor category of 2013...I refuse to ride the train of popularity for true talent...

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby SalantBeau » Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:09 pm

This was a fantastic year for this category. Very good lineup, and you could make an equally good lineup from many of the snubbed contenders.

I've seen every nominated film at least twice (many more than twice) so I'm basing my analysis off of both initial and repeat viewings.

I thought Bruce Dern was brilliant in my first viewing of Nebraska but upon second viewing the performance lost everything that I thought was great about it. I don't know if it was because my first viewing was on the big screen and my second on a screener, but all of the magic seemed absolutely lost. This didn't happen with June Squibb (brilliant both times around) and Will Forte (who was marvelous, especially on the second viewing). Dern was let down by the film's screenplay: he was incredibly passive, was not memorable and did no acting of note in my opinion. I felt no empathy for Woody. In fact, I only felt empathy for myself and the other people in the film who had to put up with him. Like I said, it was the writing that let Dern down and it was no fault of his own. Any actor would have had the same problems.

I actually quite liked Bale in American Hustle (a film I'm not crazy about) the first time around, but the second time around was when I realized that he was the glue that ultimately held the film together. For a while, it's Amy Adams, but she is not used enough in the film's final act, and Cooper and Lawrence are far too inconsistent throughout the film. Bale doesn't sing a false note anywhere in the film, and even if he is channeling Robert De Niro, I thought he did the best he could playing the intelligent conman who despises what's going on around him but does it anyway to save his ass. We genuinely believe that he wants what's best for both his lover and his family, and we can empathize with and root for him in that sense. He doesn't make my personal lineup but it's a worthy performance. I know that Bale was not a talked-about contender before the nominees were announced, so I believe this nomination shows that the Academy really likes him. With the projects he has lined up, he could become the Academy's new Jack Nicholson.

The high point of McConaughey's career renaissance so far is Dallas Buyers Club, a very good film that went much farther than many people expected it to with the Academy. McConaughey gives the ultimate "transformation" performance and gets to show off his admittedly incredible range in this role. It's not only a "transformation" performance physically but also internally as we watch Ron Woodroof turn from homophobic asshole to caring medicine-mongerer. He gets fight scenes, sex scenes, crying scenes and even begging scenes. He really nails every nuance of this character and makes the transformation entirely believable. Terrific performance.

Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a wonderfully subdued and layered performance in 12 Years a Slave and was a performance that, for months, I thought would be impossible to top a la Blanchett in Blue Jasmine (until I saw the performance I ranked first). Ejiofor's performance is pitch-perfect, with kudos to Steve McQueen for pulling all of the gravitas to the surface and allowing Ejiofor to ride the waterfall of emotion. He gives the best performance in a film full of terrific performances and his portrayal never seems unbelievable or outlandish. It's great to see that the exposure he got for this performance is helping to get him roles in upcoming films like Triple Nine and the new Bond film that he may not have gotten before. We may have a new Denzel Washington on our hands.

But The Wolf of Wall Street is Leo's best work to date. This is a chaotic performance that is subsequently grounded by reality. DiCaprio gives the acting equivalent of a rock concert and is a huge reason (for me) that the film works. There are few other actors that I could see pulling this off. You could tell that he had an equal amount of admiration and disdain for the character and that he was 100% committed to the film. The ludes scene is one of the greatest moments of his career and demonstrated both his physical and comedic ability, something we don't usually get to see from him. Not to mention how he expertly delivered his monologues (especially the first one in the penny-stock office and the "Pick up the phone and start dialing" speech) and the phenomenally acted boat scene with Kyle Chandler. This should have brought him his long-awaited Oscar.

Shout-outs to the unnominated:
-Joaquin Phoenix for channeling loneliness, heartbreak, true love and making us believe a relationship with a phone in Her.
-Oscar Isaac for creating an incredibly douchey loser that we still want to root for and see succeed in Inside Llewyn Davis.

Of the nominees:
1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
3. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
4. Christian Bale, American Hustle
5. Bruce Dern, Nebraska

Personal lineup:
1. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
2. Joaquin Phoenix, Her
3. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
4. Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
5. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby Sabin » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:06 pm

First off is Bale, whose nomination certainly isn't coattail. The Academy liked what they saw and it makes sense for the actor to get at least one more nomination for his career. He's one of the more overrated actors of our time and he's doing something more fun than usual. But despite how much fun he's having, he's all wrong for the role. This is the kind of role that needed a more lunatic romanticism like what Bradley Cooper demonstrates in the film. You never really understand what Amy Adams sees in him. For me, next off would be Matthew McConaughey. His performance in Dallas Buyers Club fits into nicely his recent idiosyncratic character actor renaissance and he certainly transcends the film's limitations but just not enough for me. Leonardo DiCaprio is very entertaining in The Wolf of Wall Street but it's not really deep stuff.

I'm pretty torn between Bruce Dern and Chiwetel Ejiofer, but I think I'm siding with Ejiofer for how hard he works to keep Solomon from becoming a passive character.
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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby mlrg » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:09 am

Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club

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Re: Best Actor 2013

Postby ksrymy » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:23 pm

Bale is the weakest part of Hustle. He kind of just lulls his way through the film with all his co-stars getting the big, scenery-chewing bits. He was simply swept up with the Russell completists.

Ejiofor is one of the few decent things about Slave. He's great at delivering monologues, and his expressions are pretty well done.

McConaughey is good, and I cannot begrudge him his Oscar. For me at least, we forgot that it's Matthew up there and really become invested in Woodroof's character. He's funny, charismatic, and heartbreaking.

The only two in the lineup I'd nominate are Leo and Bruce.

This is easily Leo's best performance to date. It's a balls-to-the-wall, rock-out-with-your-cock-out performance that he absolutely nails. He knows how to work with Scorsese, and Scorsese knows how to make Leo work. It's a brassy performance that was one of the biggest treats the movie had to offer.

But Nebraska was the best film of last year, and Bruce Dern was a huge reason why. His performance as Woody Grant is extremely (EXTREMELY) naturalistic. He's subdued in his speaking and mannerisms which is something Judi Dench failed at royally for her nomination this year. Dern is balances hilarity and heartbreak very skillfully, and, for that, he easily receives my vote here.

Best Actor
01. Joaquin Phoenix, Her
02. Bruce Dern, Nebraska
03. Will Forte, Nebraska
04. Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
05. Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt

06. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
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Best Actor 2013

Postby Big Magilla » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:04 pm

Let's get on with 2013 starting with Best Actor, a category for which most in the U.S. anyway have had an opportunity to see all the nominees either in theatres or on home video.

First to go is Christian Bale - he mumbles like early Brando (think The Wild One) but acts like middle-aged overweight Brando (think Superman. It's just another case of rewarding an actor for the physical abuse he put his body through to prepare for a role. It would be a travesty in any year, but especially in one where the non-nominated include such treasures as Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis; Joaquin Phoenix in Her and Robert Redford in All Is Lost.

Next to go is Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street. Dicaprio has been giving wonderful performances since This Boy's Life and What's Eating Gilbert Grape over twenty years ago. A win for this soulless film wouldn't have meant the end of civilization as we know it, but it wouldn't have been one of Oscar's shining moments either.

The other three were all worthy contenders.

Bruce Dern gives the performance of his career as the tired, confused but not as dumb as he looks old coot in Nebraska.

Matthew McConaughey caps his two year return to eminence as the real life Ron Woodruff in Dallas Buyers Club. It's a terrific performance.

Best, albeit not as celebrated as either Dern or McConaughey, is Chiwetel Ejiofor's subdued performance as the real life Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave.
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