The Best Performances of 2014

TTOE_D17_ 05356.NEF

10. Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking could feel gimmicky, but it doesn’t because Redmayne avoids the temptation to overplay Hawking’s tics. Instead, he internalizes Hawking’s disabilities and plays him (especially in the early years) as a man fighting to break free of them. It’s just a shame the movie seems more interested in Hawking’s outer deterioration than his inner life. Whenever he’s allowed, Redmayne proves able to convey awe or shame or jealousy with just a blink of an eye.

Jenny Slate in Obvious Child

9. Jenny Slate in Obvious Child

Donna Stern was one of the year’s most engaging heroines, more likable than the girls of Girls but no less honest feeling. And Jenny Slate is the one who brought her to life, with her loosey-goosey charm and R-rated sense of humor.

Jack O'Connell in Starred Up

8. Jack O’Connell in Starred Up

Angry and violent and frustratingly impulsive, prisoner Eric Love is hard to like. The actor playing Eric, Jack O’Connell, is not. O’Connell is a firecracker from start to finish. It’s no surprise he commands the screen in his bigger moments, such as his memorable attack on one unfortunate security guard, but O’Connell burns just as brightly when Eric is simply sitting and thinking. On the rare occasions that O’Connell lets Eric’s armor slip, it feels completely earned.

Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer

7. Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer

Tilda Swinton had not one but four roles this year, and she looked completely unrecognizable in each one. Probably her most memorable performance, though, was in Snowpiercer. Mason is a grotesque human being, inside and out, but she’s the kind of grotesque you don’t ever want to look away from because she’s just so weird and hilarious. That classroom scene alone should be proof that Swinton needs to do more comedies, stat.

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

6. Patricia Arquette in Boyhood

Patricia Arquette’s performance in Boyhood almost doesn’t feel like a performance at all; it’s that delicate and naturalistic. But of course it is one, and a great performance at that. As Mason’s mother, Olivia is certainly a supporting character in Boyhood, but you wouldn’t know it from Arquette’s work. She breathes so much life into Olivia that the film feels like it could have conceivably been named Motherhood.

Find out our five favorite performances of 2014 on the next page.

Continue Reading The Best Performances of 2014 >>

Cool Posts From Around the Web: