Well, today is Michael Fassbender’s birthday! The man is now 36. Fassbender has pretty rapidly become one of my favorite actors working today and is probably the best actor of his generation. There are very few actors who have been able to come on the scene and show such depth and range in such a short period of time. Thinking of the fact that Fassbender’s career didn’t even really take hold until 2008, it’s pretty crazy how much his star has risen.
2011 alone was a huge year for the star. He was inducted in a really successful franchise (X-Men), worked with a respected auteur (Cronenberg) and dropped two astonishingly good performances in two vastly different films (‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Shame’), winning the Volpi Cup for his devastating work in ‘Shame’ and then going on to generate a ton of awards talk, racking up nominations from BAFTA, BFCA and The Golden Globes. Sure, Oscar still snubbed him, but they have a tendency of passing over truly deserving performances in less accessible films.
He’s worked with a slew of important directors, from Tarantino to Scott to Soderbergh (not to mention helping Steve McQueen make a serious name for himself) and he continues to challenge himself in roles that are completely different from his previous efforts and that not only emotionally but physically push him to be better than he’s ever been before.
His performance in Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ last year was astonishing; so complex and visceral. He understood not only the inner workings of David, but he was able to put forth a technically astounding portrayal of a robot with a soul (or at least a purpose). I’m not finished with my viewings for 2012, but as of now he’s on my Supporting Actor ballot.
Coming up in 2013, we have even more coming from this man. He’ll be playing an evil slave owner in McQueen’s highly anticipated ‘Twelve Years aSlave’ and will be reteaming with Ridley Scott as the lead in his film ‘The Counselor’, based on a screenplay written by Cormac McCarthy. He also has a film with Terrence Malick scheduled for this year, which co-stars Ryan Gosling, Natalie Portman and Christian Bale (we’ll see if this actually happens this year) and he’s got the comedy ‘Frank’, which at least sounds interesting. In other words, I don’t see Fassbender going anywhere for quite a while. Hopefully he’s not peeking too soon, but with the amount of talent this man possesses, I don’t see that being the case. No, I see a very long and prosperous career in front of this man. He just keeps getting better and better.
I’ve personally seen eleven of his films. I’ll rank his performances below, extracting ‘300’ from the mix (let’s face it, that wasn’t about acting) to make it a top ten.
|10. 'Steve' in Eden Lake|
|09. 'Carl Jung' in A Dangerous Method|
|08. 'Paul' in Haywire|
|07. 'Magneto' in X-Men: First Class|
|06. 'Lt. Archie Hicox' in Inglourious Basterds (Fisti Top Dozen)|
|05. 'Rochester' in Jane Eyre|
|04. 'Connor' in Fish Tank (Fisti Award Nominee)|
|03. 'Bobby Sands' in Hunger (Fisti Top Dozen)|
|02. 'David' in Prometheus (Fisti Award Nominee?)|
|01. 'Brandon' in Shame (Fisti Award Winner)|
So what about you? What do you think of Fassbender's career? What would your top ten performances look like? Is he a personal winner for you? Do you nominate him in your personal awards? Which of his 2013 releases is your most anticipated?