2015 Performances Overview – Male (Lead/Supporting)

Now it’s time to cover the best of the best in terms of male performances from this year.

I hate to keep piling it on when it comes to discussing the male performers this year, but I couldn’t help but notice the difficulty I experienced while compiling this list. Sure, there were a number of standouts but compared to their female counterparts the list of exceptional male performances were a bit lacking, in comparison.

In no particular order:

Macbeth

MICHAEL FASSBENDER in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth

A masterclass in embodying mental and emotional turmoil. When Fassbender delivers the line “O, full of scorpions is my mind”, I fully and unequivocally  believed his statement.

Sabbatical

ROBERT LONGSTREET in Brandon Colvin’s Sabbatical

Perhaps the divergent of Fassbender’s mental turmoil embodiment, Longstreet ably captures some of the same characteristics albeit in far more subdued manner, communicating through body language and uneasy silences.

Faults

LELAND ORSER in Riley Stearns’ Faults

Orser captures the pathetic/end-of-his-rope personality with ease and because of this, Faults benefits greatly. Taking what is a rather simple psychological tug of war and multiplying the compelling factor considerably.

52 Tuesdays

DEL HERBERT-JANE in Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays

It was a helluva year for first-timers and Herbert-Jane is another performance to add to the list. A deeply moving turn that conveys a multitude of emotions rendering every scene with him an affecting experience.

Five Star

JAMES ‘PRIMO’ GRANT in Keith Miller’s Five Star

Another first-timer and another great performance. Grant is absolutely compelling playing a real-life version of himself – a five star general in the Bloods – painting a portrait of a complex man in gang life, one rarely presented on-screen.

Mommy

ANTOINE-OLIVIER PILON in Xavier Dolan’s Mommy

An exemplary turn from Pilon as a brash, obnoxious yet vulnerable young man. So full of energy, appealing and repellent all at once.

TWTS3

AHMAD CHAHROUR in Christopher Jason Bell’s  The Winds That Scatter

Yet another first-timer and this time around I’m not even sure if Chahrour was acting. Considering my difficulty in determining so, Chahrour’s earnest depiction of a Syrian refugee looking for work in America might be one of the year’s best.

Buzzard

JOSHUA BURGE in Joel Potrykus’ Buzzard

The main reason to experience Potrykus’ Buzzard would be to get yourself acquainted with Burge’s apathetic slacker persona.

The Mend

JOSH LUCAS in John Magary’s The Mend

Again, the main reason to seek out Magary’s feature debut would be to witness Lucas rambling about the space, free-forming gruffed masculinity.

Beasts of No Nation

ABRAHAM ATTAH in Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation

Realizing a solid trend here, another first-timer. Attah modestly paints a portrait through quiet confidence, an unassuming portrayal of emotional nakedness.

BT_100114_RAW-1011.CR2

RICHARD JENKINS in S. Craig Zahler’s Bone Tomahawk

A humorous mix of genteel simple-mindedness and heroism, Jenkins steals the show every time he opens his mouth. I would love to hear his character’s thoughts on just about anything.

Christmas, Again

KENTUCKER AUDLEY in Charles Poekel’s Christmas, Again

Audley’s portrayal of a man engulfed in grief is something to behold, full of nuance, he delivers a muted performance wherein a prequel of Christmas, Again plays out in his pained facial expressions. No exposition needed as everything is written on his face.

James White

CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT in Josh Mond’s James White

Abbott shines, elevating Mond’s feature debut, as the insufferably selfish man-child grappling with grief, anger and helplessness, seemingly unaware of affects or at least willfully ignorant.

Chi-Raq

NICK CANNON in Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq

Perhaps the biggest surprise of this year, if you were to tell me that I would be including Nick Cannon on my year-end list highlighting great performances I would have dismissed you politely. But, here we are.

What We Do in the Shadows

CORI GONZALEZ-MACUER in Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s What We Do in the Shadows

This may seem like an odd choice, but I find it rather remarkable that Gonzalez-Macuer is able to inject a genuine sense of emotional weight – while, simultaneously being hilarious – into a mockumentary involving vampires.

Wild Canaries

LAWRENCE MICHAEL LEVINE in Lawrence Michael Levine’s Wild Canaries

Levine’s physical comedy gets a lot of mileage out of a neck brace and I, for one, am pleased by this.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

JAMES LANDRY HÉBERT in Alex R. Johnson’s Two Step

CALEB LANDRY JONES in the Safdie Brothers’ Heaven Knows What

PATRICK FUGIT in Alex Ross Perry’s Queen of Earth

GREGG TURKINGTON in Rick Alverson’s Entertainment

KEVIN CORRIGAN in Andrew Bujalski’s Results

BENICIO DEL TORO in Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario

 

PREVIOUS MALE PERFORMANCE OVERVIEWS:    2014  | |  2013

AND FOR THE WOMEN:   2015  | |   2014  | |   2013

  • Another great lineup! I thought Oscar Isaac was pretty great in Ex Machina as well, just to add to it.

    • Rakestraw

      Thanks! Oh yeah Oscar Isaac, there’s always going to regrets Adam. An endless flood of regrets. I should’ve gone with Buddy Duress, too, for Heaven Knows What.