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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Franco, Williams give top individual performances in '10

Thursday, December 23, 2010

(Photo)
James Franco in "127 Hours".
By CAINE GARDNER

Film Critic

Best Actor: Without a doubt the best performance of the year came from James Franco in Danny Boyle's "127 Hours." Powerful, raw and unnerving, Franco captures the essence of hiker and canyoneer Aron Ralston to give one of the most powerful performances in recent memory.

(Photo)
Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine".
Franco is easily one of the most -- if not the most -- gifted actor we have today. Nothing is beyond him, and more importantly, nothing is beneath him. If he truly believes something will expand his art and awareness, he delves into his reckless abandon.

Perhaps the best complement you can pay Franco is accept him for what he is -- a faithfully honest actor. Never failing and always playing peek-a-boo with the edge of creativity to bring to life characters we would soon forget.

Best Supporting Actor: As with Franco, the moment you see Christian Bale's twitchy, skeletal portrayal of Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter," the case is essentially closed on Best Supporting Actor.

An actor who is as often overlooked as he is praised, Bale is a no-nonsense actor who isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves and get into the dirt of what makes a character believable.

In "The Fighter," Bale lost a ton of weight, thinned his hair and along the way made us feel what hopelessness most certainly feels like.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman is getting rave reviews for "Black Swan," but I found two other actresses who gave her a run for her money. In fact, Portman didn't take the top spot for me. The performance that stood out and stayed with me was Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine."

Another in a series of raw performances in 2010, Williams' take as a young wife who has found the love she had for her husband wane as his alcohol intake increases and his ambition diminishes is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Williams mixes emotionally charged scenes with understated eye movements and gestures that actually speak louder than any words.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld goes toe-to-toe with Oscar winner Jeff Bridges in "True Grit" and more than holds her own. Actually, it was difficult for me to decide whether to put her in my Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress category.

It could be argued that she should be up for lead actress because of her time spent on screen and the fact the movie is told from her point of view. Either way, it's undeniable Steinfeld gives one of the best performances this year.

What's even more amazing is this is Steinfeld's feature film debut. Her performance is filled with sass and spunk, but she's able to revert back to young girl's naiveté on a dime.

Truly one of the best performances of the year.

Best Director: This is a tough one. So many directors gave us amazing films this year, but if you look at scope and the amount to which Christopher Nolan had to keep "Inception" in line, he's the hands-down choice.

Nolan had to harness a film that spirals into multiple levels of dreams all the while making sure we know what is and isn't reality. The good news for Nolan is after getting stiffed in 2009, Nolan should hear his named called when the Oscar nominations are announced.

Best Song: Normally not a category I delve into, two songs stuck with me this year and I thought it would be nice to give them some recognition.

"I See The Light" from "Tangled" is receiving a ton of buzz plus a Golden Globe nomination, but for me, "I Have A Dream" is the song I loved the most. Upbeat and hilarious, "Dream" will have you tapping your toes and laughing out loud.

That being said, it still isn't my favorite song of the 2010 season. That honor belongs to "We Are Sex Bob-Omb" from Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World." From the opening count-off, the gritty "White Stripes" style tune sets the tone for the film.

The year in movies wasn't one to blow your hair back, but with strong additions at the end of the year, 2010 proved to have its fair share of amazing films.

The Best of the Rest:

Best Picture: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Social Network, Ghost Writer, Shutter Island, The Tillman Story

Best Actor: Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine), Kevin Spacy (Casino Jack), Leonardo Dicaprio (Inception), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter)

Best Supporting Actor: John Hawkes (Winter's Bone), Andrew Garfield (The Social Network), Geoffrey Rush (The King's Speech)

Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone)

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo (The Fighter), Amy Adams (The Fighter), Barbara Hersey (Black Swan), Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech)

Best Director: Danny Boyle (127 Hours), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), David Fincher (The Social Network), Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World)