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Entries in Best Actor (150)


Beauty vs Beast: Gyllenhaal x 3

Who is with me in missing Jason's Beauty vs. Beast column? He's been offline a lot this month. So here's a Beauty vs Beast in his honor, training our eyes on the one and only Jake Gyllenhaal. Or, rather, the Jake Gyllenhaals as he's versatile.

Therein lies the twist. It's All-Beautiful Jake (Brokeback Mountain & Love & Other Drugs) versus Beautiful & Beastly Jake (Donnie Darko & Jarhead) versus All-Beastly Jake (Southpaw & Nightcrawler). Who gets your vote? Ready? You're always ready for Jake. So go... Vote and Comment. Pound your keyboard so hard that you wake Jason up and he returns to us next week to resume his series.


Beautiful Jake
Beauty *and* Beast Jake
Beastly Jake
Poll Maker


Previously on Beauty vs Beast...

Janet Leigh's Marion Crane beat Anthony Perkin's Norman Bates by a slim but still surprising 55% of your votes. Your love blindsided us. Jason and I both thought it would turn out differently given that Norma Bates is an immortal villain and Marion Crane is well, dead and buried (or, rather, submerged) but y'all are so predictable when there's an actress involved. Hence this week's all male challenge. There's no actress to win your automatic vote. However will it turn out? 


Halfway: Best Leading Performances of 2015 Thus Far

½way mark - part 2 of ? You can't see everything but you should see as much as possible if you're in the awardage business, or business of watching awardage, or business of watching awardage watchers and... well you get the picture. SEE MORE MOVIES. I know I need to and I see plenty.

Let's take stock of what's come out in theaters thus far (Jan 1st - Jul 1st for our purposes here). Even if conversations suggest otherwise in November through January each year we always pray that Academy members are regular moviegoers and don't just wait until their screeners arrive.

10 best lead performances from the year's first half...

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1948: The Incredible Introduction of Montgomery Clift

The Smackdown may have ended but here's one last 1948 piece from abstew on TFE's favorite classic dramatic actor to close out the year of the month. - Editor

Before there was Brando and James Dean there was Montgomery Clift. And while those actors are often credited for bringing a new type of leading man to the big screen, through a mix of masculine machismo with feminine vulnerability, without Clift paving the way, the future of acting might have looked far different. The country was just emerging from the hardships of WWII. After seeing the travesties of war firsthand, they were ready for something more realistic and Clift was the answer to the change they were seeking. Having worked as a stage actor for over 10 years (where he made his Broadway debut at age 15 in the Pulitzer Prize-winning There Shall Be No Night), Clift was a serious actor that had honed his craft and emerged fully-formed in Hollywood with his first two films, both released in 1948, the western Red River and the post-war drama The Search

Having caught Clift in a production of the Tennessee Williams play You Touched Me!, director Howard Hawks convinced the young actor to bring his unique set of skills to his western. John Wayne, an actor so synonymous with the genre that he was practically its patron saint, was already headlining and Hawks felt that Clift, who didn't even know how to ride a horse, would bring a different energy and dynamic to the stoic western figure. Wayne needed some convincing and laughed at the thought of the slender Clift being able to hold his own in the film's final throw down confrontation against him. But Clift, ever the professional, worked tirelessly to master the demands of the role and gives a performance that pays homage to cowboys past but is entirely its own creation. [More...]

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FYC: Jon Hamm for Best Lead Actor in a Drama

Team Experience share their personal Emmy dream picks daily at Noon. Here's Deborah on everyone's favorite ad man...

Emmy voters, you assholes, now is your chance to make it right! 

You have nominated Jon Hamm seven times for his work on Mad Men. Seven times. It’s like you’ve got the hiccups and then, when the actual award-giving comes around, you’re all holding your breath. Stop it!

Okay, so, irritation out of the way, let’s talk about the work this extraordinary actor has done on this show. 

First of all, Mad Men is not an ensemble show. There’s an amazing cast doing supporting work, yes. Kiernan Shipka, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery, and especially Elisabeth Moss all deserve acknowledgement. Nonetheless, its Hamm’s Don Draper who carries the show, and the nuance of his performance is what delivers the show to greatness, matching the lofty ambitions of its writing with flawless execution. 

There are moments when the writers of Mad Men have simply stripped out the dialogue, and allowed Hamm’s face to do all the heavy lifting—to go from serene to angry to defeated in a few seconds. To break down and then build back up. There are times when no words are spoken, because words are for lesser actors. (That's especially true in the series' finale which should be fresh in your memory.)

Now, listen, Emmys. You’ve denied Hamm the award when he delivered the Season 3's The Gypsy and the Hobo, the complete breakdown of his façade, as Betty Draper confronted her husband with the evidence that he was another man. You’ve denied it to him when he delivered The Suitcase, the season 4 episode widely considered Mad Men’s finest hour, a two-hander in which Don falls apart, bit-by-bit, as he and Peggy Olson (Moss) tear apart their complex relationship in one long, grueling, drunken night. 

But how about now? How about an award for the series finale, Person to Person, when he learns that Betty has cancer, and silently, eloquently, lets her know he loves her? How about an award for Field Trip, as Don waits to hear about getting his job back, starting with absolute confidence, believing he is already hired, and bit-by-bit, hour by hour, becomes more nervous and more humble, all without any dialogue directly addressing the fact. Or just, you know, give it to him for kissing Peggy on top of her head as they dance in Season The Strategy.

There are many great actors on television today. I’m not saying other people aren’t worthy. I’m saying no one can do what Jon Hamm does. No one is more complex, more plastic, more impressive. Maybe someone out there is equally good, but no one is better, and seven years is too damn long to wait.


Yes No Maybe So: Johnny Depp and Yet Another Hairpiece in 'Black Mass'

Margaret here... Johnny Depp is struggling -- as much as anyone who commands a ten-figure salary and goes home to a private island can be said to be struggling. His last real hit was the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie in 2011, and it's been even longer since critics have had much nice to say about one of his performances. He's looking for a comeback, and it looks like he may have one in Scott Cooper's Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass, due later this year.

Warner Brothers recently debuted footage of Black Mass at CinemaCon, and the buzz was very positive. The first official trailer was released not long after, which means we can now weigh in on whether the people who are starting to throw the O-word around are on to something, or just experiencing the power of low expectations.

trailer and YNMS breakdown after the jump 

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Best Actor. April Foolish Predictions

It's that time of year. But judging on your semi-quiet response maybe you weren't quite ready for it yet? Anyway. Light a fire. Whoohoo. It's time to pull out the crystal balls and make stupidly early Oscar predictions.

There are so very many questions to ask about the forthcoming Best Actor race. These are just 8 of them:

• Can Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) be the first back-to-back acting winner in 21 years?
• Will Tom Hiddleston (I Saw the Light) & Don Cheadle (Miles Ahead) do their musician legend biopics proud?
• Will Michael Fassbender prove Michael Fassbender's undoing (5 leading roles this year)?
• Same question for Jake Gyllenhaal (3 leading roles this year)?
• Perennial Write-In Question from Leo "when will it finally be my turn?" 
• Can money-grubbers Will Smith (Concussion) & Johnny Depp (Black Mass) find artistic redemption and thus Oscar favor?
• Can Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) triple-crown by February next year? He's already got the Tony & the Emmy 
• Will any of the old guard (Warren Beatty, Tom Courtenay, Sir Ian McKellen) rise up?
• Will Beasts of No Nation sort out its theater vs online situation so that Idris Elba has a shot?



Yes No Maybe So: Southpaw

If this post were a sportsmovie, it would be like the first hint of a redemption arc to come after a downward spiral. Yes, I'm (gasp) over 48 hours late saying "yes" to Jake Gyllenhaal.

It's always "yes" so what's the rush?

The occasion is the first trailer to Southpaw, Jakey's new boxing movie from director of dark violent machismo programmers Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus has Fallen, The Equalizer). In other words, we'd have no interest at all if it didn't star actors we obsess over. But we're already jumping into the Yes No Maybe So breakdown so let's just get the eternal "yes" that is Jake Gyllenhaal and our Gyllenhaalism out of the way first.

The only thing that could make slo mo and fetishisizing body shots of Jake Gyllenhaal's physique better is if his tattoos were more relatable, like...

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