It’s that time of year again. Where I compile all of my favorite performances from the past year and, here, I am going to start with the male performances that affected me most. These range from dramatic turns to the comedic to the downright absurd, even with one non-fiction appearance thrown in. The following roles are presented in no particular order and if there is anyone missing it is probably because I did not see it.
I mean, this is an easy one.
JESSE PLEMONS in John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein’s Game Night
Perhaps the funniest performance in the film mainly because Plemons plays it such an antiseptic tilt that makes him bizarrely fascinating to watch.
ADRIANO TARDIOLO in Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro
Perhaps, the best performance of 2018; mainly because I don’t think this film would work without it. A simplistic embodiment of purity and altruism achieved mainly by an attentive and caring face.
Many praise Brady Jandreau’s performance (and rightfully so) but Brady’s father, Tim, handles himself just as well.
MIGUEL MOREIRA in João Miller Guerra & Filipa Reis’s Djon África
Moreira’s distraction routine at the clothing shop alone is one of the year’s best scenes but the entirety of his performance is the film’s heart.
Shouldn’t have to explain this one.
RYÛHEI MATSUDA in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish
The way in which he captures an alien being devoid of any understanding of human concepts really sells the film’s premise.
MCCAUL LOMBARDI in Matthew Porterfield’s Sollers Point
A performance steeped in middle-class realism that greatly complements the film’s aim.
LAKEITH STANFIELD in Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You
Stanfield provides a great mix of comedy, energy, and bewilderment to a ridiculous film.
ALEX LONG in Marilyn Ness’s Charm City
Not necessarily a performance, per se, but you could center an entire documentary around this man.
NICOLAS CAGE in Brian Taylor’s Mom and Dad
Cage chases his children while barking like a rabid dog. Who else fully commits themselves to something like that?
DANIEL KALUUYA in Steve McQueen’s Widows
Kaluuya gives the best villain performance of the year (definitely the coldest).
LILY FRANKY in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters
A great, endearing silly-dad portrayal.
Obviously, this is Hawke’s film but Cedric the Entertainer shines when given the opportunity.
ANDREW GILLIS in Ashley McKenzie’s Werewolf
As far as realist performance go, Gillis gives one of the best of the year. One that is difficult to watch at times.
JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON in Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman
Provides the perfect balance of drama and corniness.
SIMON RUSSELL BEALE in Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin
There were a number of solid, comedic performances in The Death of Stalin but Beale’s was far more multi-dimensional than the rest.