An actor acts, movie is compiled, promotions and finally, the fate is left in hands of the viewers. Movies come and they go but sometimes a good actor comes along and makes a mediocre script feel like a classic with his/her performance.
Why do you still remember Godfather? Because of the rugged, freely caged direction? Sure, but why do you really remember the movie? Two words – AL PACINO. Performance that defined a generation, creating an aura around the movie which is still intact; made the role his own and left all who watched the movie in utter joy. We pick some of the best performances of the last decade which are left with us even after years of shit-storm of movies.
Daniel Day Lewis
(Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood)
Daniel D. Lewis’ two notable performances from the last decade are back-to-back probably the most interesting performances of the decade. The two characters from Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood, respectively, have a couple things in common. They both are disconnected from other humans, they both are sinister and cool, and both men sport wicked mustaches. Hands down, no one rocks a mustache better than Daniel Day Lewis and ofcourse the ‘Performance’.
American Psycho is Christian Bale, end of the story. His performance has held up over time because it’s hilarious, a quality that people don’t give Bale enough credit for is his sense of humor when he’s called to do it, chilling as hell, psychotic and so much fun. To think this role almost went to a fresh-off-of-Titanic Leonardo DiCaprio seems ludicrous once we saw Bale in this role. Psycho also served as Bale’s perfect audition tape to play Bruce Wayne. Career changing performance is what Bale was handed when he was approached for the role.
Hands down one of the most memorable comedic performances of the decade came from Will Ferrell in Anchorman. His Burgundy was a character that everybody was quoting within days and is still quoted years later. Ferrell hit every note right as Burgundy, something he’s been struggling to do with all his original creations since (if we are comparing his every role after Anchorman). Ron Burgundy will be remembered two decades from now the same way we remember Lebowski and Ferris Bueller today. Ferrell has had some very funny performances this decade (Frank the Tank in Old School is almost as defining as Burgundy), but his performance, plus the fact that he helped create the character on paper, put Anchorman above anything else the comedian has done.
People will remember Meryl Streep as someone who plays ‘strong’ female characters but Ellen Page has relished in that role and makes it really difficult to ignore the charm with which she does that. Page walks the delicately fine line between pitiable pregnant teen and a plucky feminist in this film that manages to be both a cautionary tale and a story of love and compassion. Page displays intelligence and wit while clearly highlighting the moments of humiliation that come with being pregnant in high school, producing an utterly fresh, memorable character.
(The Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind)
Perhaps the best actress of her generation, Kate Winslet brought a stunning performance to every film she made, regardless of how inconsequential they may have been. No movie showcased her talents better than Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Reader which allowed her to bounce from serious to playful in a matter of moments. Kate Winslet kept on putting layers of sharp-edged unconventional acting in the role and those colored hair, who can forget those, right?
(The Devil Wears Prada)
This is the entry which completes every ‘Best Actor’, ‘Best Performance’ etc list ever. In other words, Meryl Streep is The Performer. Her best of a fourth decade of outstanding performances. No one’s better at giving proper justice to a good script and a strong cast. She falls completely over the bill when it comes to making a mediocre script carved in the minds of the viewers. People can’t forget her in Annie Hall where she had a 2 minute role and we are here talking about better of four flourishing decades.
Playing a man distraught over the murder of his daughter this is Penn at his emotional zenith, better than Milk, yes. Clint Eastwood made sure he squeezes out every last drop of the sea of acting talent Sean Penn possesses and then turn it into a sad, angry and will-go-to-any-limit role. Mystic River could be Penn’s best acting, although he won The Academy Award for Milk and Mystic River.
Cast Away isn’t exactly a great movie, although the ratings are good, but the fact that Tom Hanks absolutely crushes it coupled with it’s ALWAYS being on TV makes this a performance you can’t forget. Hanks is absolutely stellar in Cast Away, making a movie where he’s the only person on screen for over an hour a testament to how great he is. Hank is arguably the best performer of the generation but he stopped challenging himself, Cast Away could be a film which can be termed as the peak point of his acting prowess.
As director Terry George found from his own research, this story of the 1994 Rwandan genocide unfortunately wrote itself. On the other hand, Cheadle’s portrayal as its hero seemed to rise from a passion he held within himself, transforming the role into a career golden standard still relevant today. Cheadle kept us hooked to the screen throughout the run time of one gem of a movie Hotel Rwanda is. The actor is so underrated it’s criminal.
As far as females go, this is probably people’s favorite performance by an actress of the decade. Amelie is such a fun character and the film itself is so re-watchable and enchanting, and Tautou deserves all the credit for that. She seems to have the whole package for this movie. She’s funny, independent, has an untamable quality that only historically great actresses like Katherine Hepburn possess. (Too much? Well, she does make you smile). People will be watching Amelie for years and will fall head over heels for Tautou every time.