Well, well, well, it' the Oscar season once again and since it's my first time writing on a film blog, I want to take time to appreciate one aspect of film that have aided my love for movies: the acting. You see, for me, growing up there were some movies I just loved because of the director's ability to masterfully piece such a...er...masterpiece (remind me to use thesaurus next time). So movies, like Jurassic Park or Titanic was just so good because of its vision. But the bulk of the movies I really loved were because of its acting performances, whether or not they have now fallen off the map; Lindsay Lohan in Parent Trap, Emma Watson in Harry Potter (I'm pretty sure it's just cause she's really pretty), Jim Carrey in the Grinch, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in i, you get me. These were the actors who inspired me to stare in the mirror and practice my roles again, and again, and again.
yes, the first time I learned to master the art of being 'surprised' - Mr Radcliffe, you were my childhood standard.
There's something really magical to me about being able to embody another character and of late, I've seen many actors actually go through lengths just to win an Oscar. Sorry, I mean, to deliver a good performance (and then win an Oscar, if Meryl doesn't win lah). Daniel Day Lewis/Gary Oldman learning up their accents; Heath Ledger locking himself in a room for a month just to nail his character as Joker; Christian Bale losing 63 pounds in his role in Machinist and then GAINING 90 pounds for his role as Batman; and just take a look at the actresses who went through leaps and bounds in their appearances - Rooney Mara, Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway etc.
Alright, so where does that leave us with 2015 performances?
Well, like every year, we wait to see what Leonardo DiCaprio will act in and whether he'll finally win an Oscar and we also await Meryl Streep in her movies and see if she will not get an Oscar nom.
Jokes aside, 2015, like 2014, was a great year for actors and actresses; but I think more so for actresses. There were some amazing performances by the ladies in leading and supporting roles, and even for men acting as ladies. *man. This year I found the male characters to be more 'likable' and 'charming' than spectacular but... let's head right into it!
Here's my non-biased list (haha, who am I kidding?) of my favourite performances of 2015, whether they are Oscar-nom or not.
Let's start with....
[this category is for those whom I thought was more charming/likable than anything else & perhaps if given better roles one day, would really be remembered in history]
Tom Hardy as Max in Mad Max & as Fitzgerald in The Revenant
Oooh, what a good year for Mr Hardy eh? With BOTH movies he starred in last year, The Revenant and Mad Max being the highest Oscar nominated films.
But, let's talk about his performance shall we? I have yet to watch Legend, although I know THAT is the Hardy movie we should be raving about BUT - his performance in The Revenant garnered him as Oscar nom for Best Supporting Actor! Hardy is one of those actors that has VERY obvious potential but I feel like he's never really been given the proper direction. In The Revenant, the non stop closeup made his character a really 'over the top'-'big eyed'-character and I thought that didn't do him any justice. But again, I don't think that's his issue; he's a great actor and that's clearly seen in Batman. Truth be told, he MAY have been able to play Hugh Glass actually, and do it almost as good as Mr DiCaprio; again with the right direction. Maybe that's the difference though; DiCaprio is willing to push himself over the limits wherelse Hardy can hardly keep us wanting MORE of him, yaknow?
In Mad Max, his character is almost forgettable. And the only reason we would remember his acting is because of how good the FILM was. Somebody I could replace with any other action star...okay, maybe Im being too harsh...let's give him some credit, perhaps the role of Max wasn't intended as an Oscar-nominated character. He did good, but was just entertaining for me. He went through the desert in Mad Max and the snow in The Revenant, but there's just this 'wow' factor that's missing as compared to his character as Bane.
I don't know, I think Hardy just needs that extra push and he's right there. Maybe I need to watch Legend and stop talking now.
Taron Egerton as Eggsy in Kingsman
Yes, I don't know if it's just Eggsy that's so darn cool and lovable or if it's Taron Egerton, or maybe it's just the nature of how well Kingsman was as a spy movie, but I enjoyed this movie so much more because of this character. But hey, what a good way to propel a young English actor somewhere. It would be nice to see him in more stuff than Domnhall Gleeson. Just because. Plus, he's a young and fresh face, so I'm sure he has plenty of years ahead of him to sharpen his acting skills. He's already worked with the finest (Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Cain, Hugh Jackman), let's see where this career takes him shall we? Looking forward to watching him act in other movies too, and I really hope he isn't just a one trip pony (cause maybe he's only good as a badass spy...).
Oh well, surprise us Mr Egerton. Surprise us.
Chris Pratt as Owen in Jurassic World
Heh, are you surprised? I'm not. Well, of course, cause I'm writing this. Okay, anyway.
This guy. May be my favourite actor in the past 5 years with his leading role in good movies like Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy and now Jurassic World. Yes, yes all the Pratt fans are gonna be all "he was cool from Parks and Recre-blabla."
So let's talk about him in Jurassic World. So it wasn't the most spectacular movie (compared to the other JP series), but I want to be biased here. I like dinosaurs, and I like Pratt. There you go. His performance was comedic as usual and it's good to see him in the action genre, but let's see how he does with a romantic movie this year with J.Lawrence in Passengers. Hmm.
Also, can't wait to watch him in Guardians 2 and Jurassic World 2 too!
Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron in Star Wars: The Force Awakens & as Nathan from Ex Machina
So, you may have known Mr Isaac for his role in Inside Llewyn Davis...I don't, because I haven't watched it but it's definitely on my waiting list.
Here's something I'm guilty of - I was only interested in watching Ex Machina because I thought Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, was cool in Star Wars eventhough I knew Ex Machina was critically acclaimed. T_T I know, I'm a horrible film student.
Yeah, so Isaac has this really cool vibe to his acting as Poe Dameron (can't get any cooler than flying an x-wing now can it?) and beyond that, his charm at most off-stage interviews is a big plus point. I wish Poe had more screen time on Star Wars though, he's such a fun-loving character, but darn you Daisy Ridley and John Boyega! Jokes. They were good too.
If you've watched Ex Machina, you'll know that his character Nathan can be easily typecasted as 'evil villain' with a two dimensional personality but somehow Isaac gave depth into Nathan's character as a faulty and lonely person -- okay, so maybe I should thank the screenwriters for that, but I'm giving myself excuses to like Isaac more. Haha.
What's next? Mojave (2015) and X Men: Apocalypse (2016) of course! And I hope he doesn't fall off the radar and only play subpar characters after this cause judging by his performance in A Most Violent Year and Ex Machina, I just know he's capable of challenging roles ahead of him. One day, Mr Isaac, an 'Oscar' won't just be the name you carry. -- I had to.
Matt Damon as Mark Watney in The Martian
Okay, before the jokes all come out about having to rescue Matt Damon countless times...I'm glad the fella keeps getting lost, or else we wouldn't come up with some pretty spectacular movies: Interstellar (shh, all you who don't think it's a good movie!), Saving Private Ryan, Elysium and now this. Honestly, I think Matt Damon's a pretty darn good actor. Although his most famous series 'Bourne' didn't really show off his chops as an actor, I'm delighted to see him deliver some above-average-praise in Elysium, Invictus, The Departed, and now finally he's got the stage (or the planet) all to himself!
Initially my thoughts about The Martian was, "Why are we starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain in the same sci-fi movie, months after Interstellar....?!" There was talk about it potentially being a flop or a rip-off of Interstellar and I had my doubts because, how do you keep a movie so alive with just one actor on a planet? Unless you're Sandra Bullock or Tom Hanks....you've got no chance, so I thought.
To my surprise, I was pleasantly amused by Damon's overall performance! Yes, he was funny at many times and he didn't have to try very hard, also there were bits of the film where you see a slightly more tender side to him. Art direction and storyline aside, I think Damon did what he could and he kept the movie alive for me. I'm glad he got nominated, but Damon, you'll get your Oscar one day after Leo gets his - maybe if you do the saving one day instead of always being the victim ;)
Andy Serkis as Blue in Jurassic World
Stop making fun of Andy Serkis!!!
I know...I know.
But, don't you think he'd do well as a raptor?
Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper in Spy
Is that not enough to make you like her?
Okay, but really, I've never really been a big fan of slapstick actresses who just make fun of themselves/crude 24/7 like Amy Schuemer and I didn't think Melissa McCarthy would be any different. When I first saw her in The Heat, I thought, okay, this lady swears WAY too much for my liking and she was just seen as this unlikable character you know? Well, I was surprised that in Spy, she was both Rebel Wilson's sweet-funny and Amy Schuemer's crude-funny. McCarthy brought an element of likability underneath all of that harsh surface (...heh..heh), and there were moments I felt, hey, I could really like this actress. Maybe.
Oh well, typecast for comedic roles, I hope McCarthy either surprises us REALLY well in a good movie or stay in this genre, where she is such a natural and does attract audiences who are in for some laughs. Let's see how she does in Ghostbusters huh?
Okay, I'm going to stop here first because, I can't stand toooooo long posts. It's tiring for the eyes, so let's go with this first. Also, please forgive me, I'm still trying this writing thing out.
So, what did YOU think? Did I miss out on actors/actresses that were entertaining/charming? Or, do you agree with this list? Who was your favourite?
What was your favourite 'entertaining' performance of 2015?
For the next category of performances of 2015, "JustMesmerising", check out Part 2 of 'A Tribute to stars of 2015' (coming soon).