I've already posted them on the 2010's Fisti Page, but let's take a few minutes to talk about my personal picks for the best of the best in the Lead Acting categories. This year was so rich in these categories that it became really hard to narrow these down, but at the end of the day, I'm really happy with these ballots and these wins. Of Oscar's nominated ten, I've seen all but three (Dern, Dench, Streep) and I personally nominate four (two in each category).
Defining Lead can be full of gray areas, sure, and some will balk at my Lead Actor win because he was considered Supporting all year long by so many, but I never bought it. It is also one of those rare times when a truly romantic/comedic performance takes the gold from some much heavier roles.
Maybe there is some bias there, but whatever.
Let's just look at the ballot!
I have to say, I really responded to the looseness of some of these heavier hitters this year. I mean, on average DiCaprio and Phoenix are always so serious (sometimes to great effect) and yet both of these performances feel so much looser and fluid. Sure, they have some heavy themes, but they are so naturally defined. Gandolfini, my Fisti Winner, is obviously the lightest performance here, but he is also the most natural, charming and likable. He wins you over from the very first frame, and never loses you.
And while Hanks has 3/4 of a performance that rests on solid (very solid, but merely solid), his twenty closing minutes are the best acting I've seen from anyone all year.
And now, we move on to the women:
Oscar made a really good move, giving Blanchett her Oscar. It was a tough call for me for that third spot between her and Bullock, two vastly different performances, but Blanchett was just a notch above.
But as wonderful as they both were, there are two names that should have been mentioned above them, FAR above them.
Yes, both Clement and Exarchopoulos give the single best performances of the entire year (with the glorious Seydoux coming in third). Clement delivers the best performance I've seen in this category, or any other, in possibly the past decade. So organic, so natural, so BURSTING with substance and context and life. You literally ACHE for her. Exarchopoulos hands over the greatest 'star is born' performance I've ever seen, period. For an eighteen year old, that is some really heavy stuff, and she makes it feel so natural. It felt like her life.
So what do you think? Who did I snub? Who do you love? Who do you hate? I'll finish up the techs next week. Until them, comment away!