Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln
Dane DeHaan- Chronicle
Jean-Louis Trintignant - Amour
Tommy Lee Jones - Hope Springs
Channing Tatum - Magic Mike/21 Jump Street
Jean-Louis Trintignant is every bit Emmanuelle Riva's equal in terms of emotional honesty and devastation. He doesn't deteriorate physically ... and yet he DOES. Just look at him. Speaking of deteriorating physically ... no, that doesn't work. The opposite, really. Channing Tatum, you guys. He's not just a perfect body anymore. Well, he still is. But now with comic timing and a thread-the-needle self-aware-meat-slab screen persona.
As for Daniel Day-Lewis. He's Daniel Day-Lewis. You figure it out. I'm not even all that excited about the performance, but I'd feel like a fraud leaving him out for pretty much anyone else.
Runners Up: Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master); Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook); Jack Black (Bernie); John Hawkes (The Sessions); Garrett Hedlund (On the Road).
Emily Blunt - Your Sister's Sister
Emayatzy Corinealdi - Middle of Nowhere
Kirsten Dunst - Bachelorette
Keira Knightley - Anna Karenina
Emmanuelle Riva - Amour
The competition for that fifth slot was FIERCE, you guys. A big part of me really wanted to have Jennifer Lawrence in this five just to throw my support behind a performance too many people are slighting as shallow movie-starrness. First of all, pinpoint-focused charisma is a skill that many actresses lack, second of all ... no. I can't get bogged down in talking about the actresses who didn't make this list. That said, if I want to talk about the way channeled charisma can be award-worthy, Emily Blunt is a great start. I don't know how she works herself up to be so naturally delightful onscreen at all times, but she never makes a false move.
Can we also talk about Keira Knightley and how unforced and unavoidable she made Anna's despair seem? Or how Kirsten Dunst burrowed her way back into my heart with a performance that stubbornly refused to give up one inch of Regan's hard-won reputation. There was a degree of that in Riva's performance, too, that kind of self-aware desperation to hold on to some sense of the woman she worked very hard to become.
And then there's Emayatzy Corinealdi, playing just the most appealing sort of real person, full of contradictions and internal crises. So much of the movie is watching Ruby try to work her shit out without letting anybody see it. Corinealdi plays that so clearly but without putting a spotlight on it either. It's so exciting to watch someone new make her mark like this. She needs to be fielding dumptrucks full of offers.
Runners Up: Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Smashed); Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook); Ann Dowd (Compliance); Melanie Lynskey (Hello, I Must Be Going); Greta Gerwig (Damsels in Distress).