The Movie Dude Performance Award. Nineteen stars that represent whatever you want them to because even I’m not sure what they stand for yet. It may not be the most coveted award, though I could easily lay claim to it being the least, but I’m sure if somebody out there were to tell these privileged few they now own the very first of these, well, I doubt they would really give a damn.
Best Ever Young Actor or Actress
St. Vincent is quirky tale about the life of a morally reprehensible man, but underneath his less-than-appealing outer exterior is a heart of gold, just buried under a ton of filth and debauchery. At the core of this golden heart is young boy played by Jaeden Lieberher.
From the moment Lieberher and Murray appear on screen together there’s this chemistry that helps their surrogate-father/son bond appear honest, and it’s the wisdom that Lieberher brings to the role that helps make it genuine. Furthermore, when Murray is not present the focus shifts to that of Lieberher and the kid steps up, taking centre stage and commanding presence. But it’s the two together that create a stronger whole and while it could be said that the veteran Murray brought about the best in Jaeden I think the young kid has demonstrated here that he does not need the leg-up.
Best Ever Supporting Actress
While a lot of Boyhood focusses on the life journey of a young son the film’s emotion comes from the mother, played by Patricia Arquette. Her win here in a supporting role is a representation of the supporting mother she plays.
I don’t know the first thing about raising children but to me parenthood, or motherhood, both of which are worthy film titles, is one big sacrifice as you play the villain, all so your offspring can have the best possible chance to succeed in life. Arquette’s performance here is all sacrifice, using twelve years to make this film. Her commitment to her craft cannot be ignored as she allowed herself to age on-screen while her body weight changed too, all in the name of authenticity. It’s a selfless performance that’s mirrored in the character she portrays; a struggling single mother bearing the burden to make the best of a kid experiencing life for the first time.
Best Ever Supporting Actor
Terence Fletcher abhors the concept of good work and offers no participation awards. This philosophy obviously had an effect on J.K Simmons because he wasn’t satisfied with merely doing a decent job. He went the whole hog and provided us with arguably the best performance of 2014.
It’s amazing how we can love this performance when the character has no redeeming value and in fact gives us more than one reason to hate him, even at the end. He also borders of frightening at times. When he repeatedly tells his new drummer ‘it’s ok’ I was on the edge of my seat waiting for it to happen. I could tell, from the stance to the look in the eye of Simmons, that everything was anything but ok.
What’s smart about Simmons performance is that while he could have been nothing more than a screaming drill sergeant in the wrong profession his mind-games, intimidation and serious anger issues have a point of origin. Referring to ownership of tempo it’s his love of music that has turned him into this horrible conductor. Simmons knew that this man had to appear human, and in his love of music his behaviour, while utterly inappropriate, has some justification.
Best Ever Actress
Sometimes the film just provides the platform while it’s the performance that gives us the insight we need. This is the case for Julianne Moore in Still Alice and why her showing as a woman with alzheimers is all the more poignant.
We witness her in every stage of her diagnosis, from the healthy woman she once was to the early on-set to her latter stages where she’s barely a remnant of what she used to be. Through each stage Moore measures her performance brilliantly, never putting in too much or too little in.
The cruel irony of Moore’s character being an intellectual who is involuntarily being robbed of her greatest attribute is not lost. It may seem a little rich at first but Moore’s performance keeps you firmly focussed on her journey and deterioration so much so you don’t take much notice of the great film going on around her.
Best Ever Actor
For me this was the pinnacle of cinema in the year 2014. There was no greater mountain than the challenge of playing Stephen Hawking and not only did Eddie Redmayne do it flawlessly in The Theory Of Everything he utterly smashed it out of the ballpark and into outer space.
The research that goes into any acting role steeped in history is plentiful. For this Eddie researched the man’s life from beginning to present, met Hawking himself and spent time with his family. That’s par for the course, but to play a man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and not only that but to do it well? At this point that ball was last seen entering a black hole.
When Redmayne met Hawking he noticed that the one attribute he still maintained was his wit and humour, and it shows on-screen. That’s endearing as he spends the majority of the film in a wheelchair, with limited movement and lines that must be delivered with near-incomprehensible speech. Later he loses the gift to speak and now has to convey all lines and emotions through facial gestures and a computerised voice. He did all of it convincingly without stumbling once. It may be a bit much but I’d go so far as to say this is one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.
Best Ever Cast
When was the last time you went to a film, watched characters grow together and suffer through trial and torment and really feel for them? Has it been a while? Go see Fury, the feeling will return.
I firmly believe the sum of the parts make the whole greater; that’s what a film cast is supposed to do. Individually they can only offer so much but to put them together, in this case for pretty much the entire film, is to the power of. The five crewmen are a band of brothers couped up together in the M4 Sherman tank they call home, and for the cast it truly was. For a period of time all of Pitt, Lerman, LaBeouf, Pena and Bernthal lived together in a tank, and when you see the end result on film it shows immensely.
This legitimacy works so well in the audiences investment in each of them, and in the final act I was hoping they’d all make it out alive while a theatre of movie-goers around me gasped and sighed with every close call. These five actors, with their camaraderie and performances, make these emotions come alive.
I’m saving what little I have left to harp on about until the final award. Just three more to go guys, I’ll be back soon! Stay tuned and enjoy!