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Film Bitch Awards: Actor & Supporting Actor

I haven't forgotten about The Film Bitch Awards, also known as "Nathaniel's Ballot" that once grand internet tradition (14 years now, Jesus!) that has been eroded by my time management problems. But no more. I'm turning over new leaves in 2014, you'll see, and so we begin now with the catch-ups.

And now 43 words it gives me great pleasure to type...

Elyes Aguis Kyle Chandler Bradley Cooper Chris Cooper Bruce Dern Leonardo DiCaprio Paul Eenhoorn Chiwetel Ejiofor Michael Fassbender James Franco James Gandolfini Jake Gyllenhaal Tom Hanks Sergio Hernandez Oscar Isaac Hugh Jackman Jared Leto Matthew McConaughey Mads Mikkelsen Tye Sheridan and Keith Stanfield 

And that's just the cream that rose to the top for yours truly when it came time to sort out my thoughts on the best performances by men this year at the cinema. Though supporting actor was lean, the leading men more than made up for it. It was such an unusually rich year that I, the internet's ringleader for actressexuality, am arguably or at least sometimes more excited about Best Actor than Best Actress. This has little precedence.

The whys and the whos on great work from 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, Spring Breakers, to Inside Llewyn Davis and beyond...
Three previously posted ballots: ANIMATED FEATURE, CASTING AND ENSEMBLE 

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Reader Comments (36)

Another year where your Best Actor ballot is almost identical to the probable line up of the Oscars.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

Very similar to my own! Great picks. I wonder, what is the record for how many of your Best Actor choices matched Oscar? This year may top it. What a great year for Best Actor, indeed, and awards shows are actually honoring the right actors!

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Great choices. Glad to see Oscar and Keith getting some love. And Hanks completely deserves it. Those last scenes with him are simply amazing acting. And yes, it is his best ever. 2013 was an incredible year for male performances.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

Would love this to be the Oscar lineup, though they'd never resist Leto--- I'd have him in for "Am I a disappointment?" as much as "loooone stahr" myself.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Hall

Great choices, but little pet peeve. I think Hanks' was excellent throughout Captain Phillips, not just the last scene. Yes, that last scene may have been what elevated it in the minds of many, but that scene would have meant nothing without everything that came before it, so I consider it an incredible performance through and through.

On another note, I recently watched Short Term 12 and absolutely loved it. The shout out to Keith Stanfeld is fantastic and I see you'll probably be giving your Best Actress award to Brie Larson (why not, she's excellent), though I hope you at least mention Kaitlin Dever in Best Supporting Actress. I found her particularly moving.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

4 out of 5 of my supporting picks match yours and I have not seen Short Term 12.

But with Best Actor it's messier as I only have Chiwetel and Isaac in my Top 5. DiCaprio, Simon Pegg, and Melvil Poupand (him or Israel Broussard) are my other picks.

January 13, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Excellent short write-ups, and all (the ones I've seen) also made my own ballots - but whither my personal #2s in each category, Joaquin Phoenix (who was downright lovable - something I would have thought completely beyond him - and so emotionally insightful in Her) and Barkhad Abdi?

I would have stumped for Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now over Kyle Chandler in Wolf of Wall Street, too.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

"I would have stumped for Kyle Chandler in The Spectacular Now over Kyle Chandler in Wolf of Wall Street, too."

Interesting. To me the former's case felt too much of the writers/director getting off too much of a 'ZOMG! WE GOT AN ACTOR WHO IS PLAYING AGAINST TYPE' and it never feels like a realized character on the page, then again I tune out 'sins of the father' narrative pretty quickly these days. Meanwhile the latter is, 'Of course you cast Kyle Chandler in that part. He is the perfect person for that role and the guy you would get behind'. Basically, I'm okay with Kyle Chandler playing Coach Taylor types for eternity.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Damn. Wish that were our supporting lineup on Thursday morning. We'll be lucky if we get a group half that exciting.

Bummed not to see John Gallagher, Jr. on your ballot, though. Was he in the mix for you? He and Brie made such a lovely pair.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Loving it! Bummed you couldn't see "Blue Caprice." I'm pretty sure you would have made room for Isaiah Washington.

Surprises: Leto didn't make your ballot, and you deemed Cooper supporting. I think American Hustle treats Cooper every bit the lead as it does Bale and Adams. Still, not kvetching at all.

My ballots:

Leading Actor
Cooper, American Hustle
Hanks, Captain Phillips
Jackman, Prisoners
McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Washington, Blue Caprice
Run-ins: Ejiofor, Isaac, Sheridan, Gyllenhaal, Teller, Dern

Supporting Actor
Baldwin, Blue Jasmine
Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Gandolfini, Enough Said
Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Mendelssohn, Place Beyond the Pines
Run-ins: Stanfield and Chandler

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

nice picks... my best actor lineup of the year would most definitely include isaac, dern and miles teller (for the spectacular now). the other 2 spots I'd have to think about and would probably not belong to american performances. strong year for male acting, which is quite refreshing since we all tend to (willfully) obsess so much about actresses.

btw, may I pick a bone with you? I know you hate category fraud as much as I do, but I don't really get why people insist in James Franco in supporting. As soon as his character is introduced in the movie it basically becomes his story, with the girls doing not much beyond purring and reenacting robberies... right?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVozone

Funny how right on these are with Oscar's trajectory. These aren't quite my ballots, but it really is so nice to be in a year where what's being nominated genuinely is the best of the year. If only the actress categories would follow suit...

My only disappointment is that John Gallagher Jr. didn't make your Best Actor accolades, since he was far and away the best part of Short Term 12 to me. I am pretty firmly in the Nick Davis camp on that film, but I think the choice to make it into a character study instead of an exploration of that world bothered me even more. By the end, I just felt like the kids had been used, that the film had regurgitated some sad stories in lieu of actually caring to explore the people in that facility. So I guess that's just a long way to say I don't get the love for Keith Stanfield's performance. Not that I think it's his fault, but I never felt like that character was anything more than a plot device. The only kid who I felt wrestled away some agency for their character as a person rather than as a tool for Grace's growth was Kevin Hernandez as Luis. Idk. Maybe it's because I've had family and friends in facilities like that, but the movie just felt like that moment where Nate calls the kids "underprivileged" but blown up to feature length and with no one calling it out for its stridency.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTB

I thought Leto would win your trophy.and that "lone star" line is very quotable.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

P.J. almost identical? hmmm, that would be a nice for a change. my ballot has only ever been identical in best actor once (2003) as far as i can recall but unlike this year that was an exceptionally unexciting best actor year in terms of the wider field ... though who would win did provide a bit of drama between Penn/Murray/Depp

CMG & Denny -- i loved Chandler in that one, too. but that was a cameo.. only one scene and i've got a category for that ;)

January 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Almost identical, but not exactly identical yet, as Oscar Isaac quite unlikely to show up come Thursday morning. The other four are very likely to. Didn't your last year's actor category match four of the eventual Oscar nominees too? I'll take that as a sign of there's still hope in AMPAS and they're still capable of nominating the right people? LOL.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

I sitll think George Clooney in GRAVITY could surprise with a Best Supporting Actor nom.
He was completely charming and gives some much needed laughs especially in his "return" scene.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Dave, please, let this NOT happen, by all that is holy!

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Love your lists but surprised to see that Michael B. Jordan doesn't even rate as a semi-finalist for Fruitvale Station.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

CMG: My reaction to Kyle Chandler in The Wolf of Wall Street is this: He does it very well...but that probably should have been Matthew "Ferris Bueller" Broderick. That ONE casting change would make The Wolf of Wall Street the most interesting possible The Wolf of Wall Street it could be.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia


lol, did I strike a nerve? haha
I'm just thinking how sometimes when they love a movie they tend to rope in all aspects of it so there might be a shot of that happening who knows?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Volvagia- Um, okay. Broderick is a total bore for me for the last decade so I personally think casting him in any film let alone a prestige picture is overly generous.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

CMG: It's because the movie tries to work in this "I almost became like you" subtext in that boat interrogation. But Kyle Chandler hasn't played a swaggering, arrogant, talks to the camera guy in a movie, as far as I know, so the subtext falls completely flat. Broderick HAS, as Ferris Bueller. THAT'S why I say it probably should have been him. Any other prestige picture, I'd laugh at you for thinking he'd be a good casting choice, but casting him IN THAT PART would legitimize the character's subtextual stuff, making the movie MORE INTERESTING. Also: Would Scorsese let ANYONE sleepwalk through one of his films?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

P.J. oh yeah, it did. Last year was really good in best actor too. WHAT IS HAPPENING?!

volvagia -- once you've explained it it makes sense but i highly doubt anyone would've drawn that connection... though i don't agree that that's the subtext the movie is going for exactly.

djdeeday - he's good in it sure. there's a handful of other guys just outside (including joaquin phoenix)

January 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

No gold, silver, or bronze rewarded like in previous years?

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

BTW, my current ballot:

Chiwitel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt
Joaquin Phoenix, Her

Still haven't seen Nebraska.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

PJ- I do remember everybody thinking John Hawkes was in. In addition to that rather mournful BFCA Awards on the Bigelow and Affleck 'snubs', everybody seemed disappointed about what happened with Hawkes. I keep on forgetting if the sentiment was if Joaquin Phoenix was questionable for a nomination but then again, it felt very surprising how well Silver Linings Playbook did and that Cooper was the shocker. DDL was a lock and I think Denzel and Jackman were despite passion for both films deflating in record time.

This year seems more open. I feel like everybody has a different opinion on the race's true front-runner.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

mda -- i dont do that until after i've announced all the nominations.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

A great year for supporting actors! My five would be (alphabetically);
GRIFFIN DUNNE "Dallas Buyers Club"
JOHN GALLAGHER JR. "Short Term 12"
CUBA GOODING JR. "Lee Daniels' The Butler"
JARED LETO "Dallas Buyers Club"

with a host of other performances that are most definitely award calibre:
Robert De Niro "American Hustle"
Michael Degen "Hannah Arendt"
Michael Fassbender "12 Years a Slave"
James Franco "Spring Breakers"
Jonah Hill "This is the End"
Danny McBride "This is the End"
David Oyelowo "Lee Daniels The Butler"
Jeremy Renner "American Hustle"
Craig Robinson "This is the End"
Keith Stanfield "Short Term 12"
Kiefer Sutherland "The Reluctant Fundamnetlaist"

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Sorry - something fundamentally wrong with fundamnetlaist.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKen

Nathan, great picks for Best Actor. I'm way behind in seeing the films, but having seen the performances of Ejiofor, Dern and McConaughey, I know they should all be here, with the first two my faves (I'm pulling for a tie for Best Actor for the first time since March and Beery! I think this calls for it absolutely!). I won't be able to see any films before Thursday. But I'm pulling for Leo and Redford. I hate sacrificing Hanks, but I really want Redford in (and Leo shouldn't be snubbed again). I love when old movie stars like Redford come back and really sell it. But what I've been reading about Isaac--sounds like he's a revelation.

What a great year for Best Actor! For me, the best since 1974--Pacino, Finney, Nicholson, Hoffman, Carney, Hackman, Caan, Falk

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Great list Nathaniel. My ballot
Best actor:
1. Hugh Jackman prisoners
2.John Gallagher Jr. Short Term 12
3. Tye Sheridan mud
4. Bruce Dern Nebraska
5. Connor Chapman The Selfish Giant
Alt: Dennis Quaid At Any Price
Supporting actor
1.James Franco Springbreakers
2. Keith Stanfield Short Term 12
3.Harrison Ford 42
4.Jake Gyllenhall Prisoners
5. Dwayne Johnson Pain&Gain
Alt:Sam Rockwell the way way back

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

Best Actor is cool. No Jared Leto makes your supporting actor ballot toothless.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie

I keep coming back to that final reel of Captain Phillips. I'm haunted by it.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

I was expecting at least an Ethan Hake mention. I thought he was superb in Before Midnight, the best he ever was. But good list, nonetheless.

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterremy

Nathaniel, did you ever post the gold, silver, and bronze medals for last year? I don't remember seeing all of them ;(

January 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I just saw Spring Breakers and watched it closely. And...How is James Franco "supporting", exactly? He gets most of the dialogue/narration after he bails the title characters out, he's usually centre frame after that point, the only other character with much in the way of discernible personality (Vanessa Hudgens Christian character named "Faith" (subtle)) is sent off pretty soon after the film bulks up his role and, once they bulk up his role, the hazy, hallucinatory and, most importantly, NON-NARRATIVE portions almost completely disappear to instead have a forty minute block of character study of A-lien. Ninety minutes of film, sixty minutes of narrative/character study, forty minutes of which is primarily focused on Franco. LEAD.

May 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

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