Mr. Reed’s Metaphysical Neighborhood Presents the Best Film Acting of 2014

Here is my best attempt at selecting the most noteworthy film performances – or my “above-the-line” awards – for 2014. Two days ago, I published my list of best (and worst) films of the year, and you can assume that all actors in all of those films are ones whose work I admire. The same goes with directors. I see no need to publish a separate “best directors” list, since if the film is good, then I credit the director. I have never understood when films are nominated without their directors, or vice versa.

The actors and actresses listed, below – each with a clip of their performance (when available, and if none is available – or if the available clip is not very good – then I include the movie’s trailer, instead) – are the 5 per category (I am forcing myself to stick with just 5, which is very hard) whose work most stands out (for me) within the context of the film they’re in; those performances which most contribute to raising the quality of the movie. Some of my nominees are in movies that I did not include among my best of the year; I nevertheless find their performances extraordinary. All movie titles are hyperlinked to my review, and if you follow that link, you can learn more about the movie, itself, and my thoughts on what makes that actor’s performance so special in that movie.

It’s so difficult to choose, but here goes (in alphabetical order by last name within each category):

Best Actress:

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night (“Deux jours, une nuit“)

Scarlett Johansson – Under the Skin

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything – very difficult to pick Ms. Jones and not Eddie Redmayne for Best Actor, but her less showy performance is the heart of the movie.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Belle

Agata Trzebuchowska – Ida – Trzebuchowska plays Ida, the young nun.


Best Actor:

Chris Evans – Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Snowpiercer


Micheal Keaton – Birdman

David Oyelowo – Selma

Channing Tatum – Foxcatcher – so hard to choose between Ruffalo and Tatum, but I’m going with Tatum. Carell is terrible.

Miles Teller – Whiplash


Best Supporting Actress:

Scarlett Johansson – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Agata Kulesza – Ida – Kulesza plays Ida’s hard-bitten aunt

Evangeline Lilly – The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – there was no good clip available from this particular film, so I chose one from the second Hobbit movie.

Elena Lyadova – Leviathan (“Leviafan“)

Naomi Watts – Birdman & St. Vincent



Best Supporting Actor:

Michael Fassbender – Frank

Kristofer Hivju – Force Majeure (“Turist“)

Edward Norton – Birdman

Randall Park – The Interview

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.