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C O N S I D E R - Favorite Actors of 2017, 3rd Qtr

With only three months of the year to go - eep! -- it's time to look back on the past three months for movies we saw from July through September (excluding films with firm release dates in the next three months). Herewith Nathaniel's 17 favorite male performances from the year's third quarter (plus first week of October to keep us up-to-date), divvied up into three categories.  (Movies with asterisks have not yet been released.)

Did these men speak to you with their turns? 


Daniel Gimenez Cacho as "Don Diego de Zama" in Zama*
One of my favorite Mexican actors. Though I found the film impenetrable, he's always strong.

Harris Dickinson as "Frankie" in Beach Rats
Here's to debuts that reveal both fully-formed star charisma and film-carrying craft

Ryan Gosling as "K" in Blade Runner 2049
Maybe people think this type of opaque minimalist performance is easy and maybe people think Gosling has done it too many times (see also Drive and Only God Forgives) but those people are not me. He's always riveting.

Jake Gyllenhaal as "Jeff Bauman" in Stronger
Oscar nomination #2 here he comes. (Finally)

Josh O'Connor as "Johnny" in God's Own Country*
Alec Secereanu as "Gheorghe" in God's Own Country*
Can't wait for more people to see this romantic drama which is superbly acted by its central quartet (these two and the grandparents of "Johnny"). Comparisons to Brokeback Mountain are abundant out there but quite surfacey. Yes, the lovers meet doing rural work in a country setting, and one protagonist is inarticulate and closeted while the other is more honest... but they don't have much else in common.

Jeremy Renner as "Cory" in Wind River 
Whenever he does straight drama I curse Hollywood's obsession with sticking him in action franchises for which his particular gifts are not all that well suited.

Previous Best ofs... 1st Qtr and 2nd Qtr Lists Combined

  • Jon Bernthal as "Sam" in Sweet Virginia*
  • Ansel Elgort as "Baby" in Baby Driver
  • Sam Elliott as "Lee Hayden" in Hero
  • Michael Fassbender as "Walter/David" in Alien Covenant
  • Paul Hamy as "Fernando/Antonio" in The Ornithologist
  • Hugh Jackman as "Logan" in Logan
  • Daniel Kaaluya as "Chris Washington" in Get Out
  • Tracy Letts as ""Michael" in The Lovers
  • Menashe Lustig as "Menashe" in Menashe*
  • James McAvoy as "The Horde" in Split
  • Roland Møller as "Sgt Rasmussen" in Land of Mine
  • Pierre Niney as "Adrien Rivoire" in Frantz



Gil Birmingham as "Martin" in Wind River
The MVP of this sleeper hit as a grieving father

Willem Dafoe as "Bobby" in The Florida Project
He's wonderfully warm (despite zero sentiment) as the overworked hotel manager trying to reign over transient chaos

Ian Hart as "Martin" in God's Own Country*
Takes the potentially cliche role of the disapproving cold father-figure and breathes wonderful nuance into it.

Cillian Murphy as "Shivering Soldier" in Dunkirk
Mark Rylance as "Mr Dawson" in Dunkirk

Austin Stowell as "Larry King" in Battle of the Sexes
This type of role is thankless for male actors (though female actors are often prized for doing great variations on the forgotten / discarded spouse) but he gives wonderful reaction shots and displays nuanced finesse and backstory within the limitations.

1st Qtr and 2nd Qtr Lists Combined

  • Joel Basman as "Helmut Morbach" in Land of Mine
  • Lars Eidinger as "Ingo" in Personal Shopper
  • Jamie Foxx as "Bats" in Baby Driver
  • Jon Hamm as "Buddy" in Baby Driver
  • Louis Hoffman as "Sebastian Schumann" in Land of Mine
  • LilRel Howery as "Rod" in Get Out
  • Angus MacFayden as "Murray" in The Lost City of Z
  • John C Reilly as "Hank Marlow" in Kong: Skull Island
  • Pavel Nový as "Brona" in Ice Mother*
  • Taisto Oksanen as "Alijoki" in Tom of Finland*
  • Robert Pattinson as "Henry Costin" in The Lost City of Z
  • Nick Offerman as "Jeremy Frost" in Hero
  • Ray Romano as "Terry" in The Big Sick
  • Andrew Scott as "Mr Sherry" in Handsome Devil
  • Patrick Stewart as "Professor Xavier" in Logan
  • Ernst Stötzner as "Doktor Hoffmeister" in Frantz
  • Amos Tamam as "Shimi" in The Wedding Plan



Dave Bautista as "Sapper Morton" in Blade Runner 2049

Jason Mitchell as "Carl" in Detroit

Carlos Sanz as "Carlos" in Stronger

Steve Zahn (mo-cap) as "Bad Ape" in War for the Planet of the Apes

1st Qtr and 2nd Qtr Lists Combined

  • Joe Alwyn as "Adrian" in The Sense of an Ending
  • Arnošt Goldflam as "Dr. Janusz Korczak" in The Zookeeper's Wife
  • Laith Nakhi as "Juba" in The Wall
  • Lakeith Stanfield as "Andrew King" in Get Out
  • Udi Persi as "'Blind' Date" in The Wedding Plan



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Reader Comments (19)

+1 Saw all of these films except "Zama". Carlos Sanz in Stronger is a nice citation. Thought their moments together were very effective.

I also really loved Tom Holland in Spider-Man : Homecoming from this quarter.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

I wish Algee Smith from Detroit would get some more buzz for Best Supporting Actor. Damn, he really got to me.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Gosling is almost always BAD! But apart from him - it's good list so... yeah!

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSomeone

Sorry to be completely off topic, but any comments on the following article?

I get giddy at any article mentioning Sigourney Weaver and Toni Collette.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMikey C

It's kind of hip to hate on Gosling these days. But he was really great in Blade Runner. Almost a perfect role for him.

And finally Jake will probably get nominated again. The field is quite weak.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterguest

Gosling is so uncompelling to watch in Blade Runner - so boring!
He's so good when he turns on his megawatt charm, like in La La Land and The Nice Guys -
or when he's dramatic, like in Half Nelson, The Believer, Blue Valentine -
or when he's a smart ass, like in Fracture, Murder By Numbers

But he does not do brooding well - Only God Forgives and Blade Runner being the worst example of that. He fares better with that in Drive.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUlrich

My favorite Renner performance. So good here.

Hurt Locker, the Town and American Hustle come next after Wind River IMO

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterHuh

Thank you for including Austin Stowell! My heart went out to him the entire time.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Harris Dickinson is really impressive in Beach Rats. Yeah, it's a movie we've all kind of seen before. But he really elevated the slightly rote material with an awkward fragile machismo that we have not seen before.

Gil Birmingham was my favorite thing about Hell or High Water and was my favorite thing about Wind River. He's just wonderful.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharlieG

Very solid list. My favorite from Dunkirk was actually Fionn Whitehead, but I'm OK with all of them missing. Glad you included Renner, who was so much better than everything else in Wind River (though Birmingham was also good).

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

YESSSSSS at Austin Stowell. He was my MVP of the film, and such a surprise (especially given the type of role he had). A perfect compliment to Emma Stone's most mature performance to me yet.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

I saw Blade Runner yesterday and I thought Ryan Gosling was mesmerizing. Definitely one of my favorite lead performances this year so far.

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergoodbar


I agree. I think the film's biggest weakness is that it doesn't quite delve as deeply into all the nuances that his character/story has

October 6, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

Jemma Jones and Ian Hart don't play Johnny's parents in God's Own Country but his grandmother and father. His mother left when he was a child. This particular familial structure is rather crucial to fully get the motivations of the characters here.

October 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterUA

UA -- you're right. I'd forgotten. I saw the film 3 months ago.

Brookesboy & Arkaan -- that was a problem for me too. I liked most of the performances in that movie -- his was my favorite outside of Mitchell cited here. I know people complained that the movie wasn't expansive enough for a citywide event and I both agree and disagree. Maybe it shouldhave been more expansive but since it chose such a zeroed in story within a larger story that's what we have to engage with. And, given the small reach it's odd that the characters never seemed to full come alive as if there were too many characters. We talked a little about that on the podcast but there was way too little interiority in that movie.

eurocheese -- i thought he was super solid too but consider him a lead.

October 7, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Just saw Battle of the Sexes last night and thank you for singling out Austin Stowell. He really shone in a (literally) thankless role; in fact, I found him more compelling than Andrea Riseborough's character, which I was *not* expecting.

And YES to Renner and Birmingham - they were so, so good in Wind River and should be getting Oscar attention (though they probably won't).

October 7, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

I know you didn't see Logan Lucky, but I would include Channing Tatum and Adam Driver (and Riley Keough, who someone mentioned already in the Actress thread). They were surprisingly believable as siblings and had a nice relaxed humor about them.

October 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Gosling was so moving in Blade Runner .... His character arc is heartbraking and he acted the best out of it.

The way he makes you feel all these emotions, while his face never expresses anything, is really what makes a great actor to me. I would totally give him a nomination for this performance, while i didn't quite think he deserved one for La La Land (especially when Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver were snubbed)

October 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterClement_Paris

@Clement_Paris: just saw Blade Runner, and yes, heart breaking is the word for it all right.

October 7, 2017 | Unregistered Commenteradri

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