Question of the Week: Who gave your favorite performance(s) of 2013 so far?

Hello everyone! Well, April has been quite an eclectic movie watching month for me, as you’ll see in my monthly roundup is coming tomorrow. Since I’ve been working on a bunch of indie reviews lately, I feel like taking a bit of break today. Instead, I’d like to pick your brains a bit my fellow cinephiles and awesome movie bloggers. You’ve likely been watching a bunch of movies and/or TV shows the past four months, and for me, one of the highlights as a movie blogger is discovering ‘new’ talents or at least talents you haven’t seen before. In fact, it could also be actors you might have seen previously, but didn’t realize what they’re capable of until you see them in certain films.

For me, the two performances that stood out to me recently happen to be from films I saw at MSP Film Fest. Both performances are from non-Hollywood actors: Danish Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt (review coming later this week), and London-born (from Pakistani heritage) Riz Ahmed in The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

Mikkelsen_Ahmed_FavePerformances

Mads Mikkelsen and Riz Ahmed

Now, granted Mads has been in blockbuster films like Casino Royale (hello Le Chiffre!) and even the abominable Paul W.S. Anderson’s The Three Musketeers, but his indie cred is still very much intact, as he continues to mix things up with smaller projects like the taut Danish thriller The Hunt which was produced in his home country.

LakeBell_directingIn any case, I was muy impressed by these two actors, not only in their leading man charisma, but also in their ability to convey a layered emotional performance with their quiet, introspective sensibilities. It’s interesting that they’re both playing ‘regular guys’ who are unfairly judged in the court of public opinion.

I was also impressed by Lake Bell in her directorial debut of In A World (review also coming later this week), a comedy about the voice over industry. She turns out to be quite a triple threat as she wrote, directed and acted in her film (which was well-received at Sundance). Roadside Attraction has since acquired the film (per Deadline) so I’m hoping more of you would be able to see it. I sure hope she continues to act and direct, as we definitely need more good female filmmakers in Hollywood.


Now it’s your turn folks, in the spirit of sharing your recommendations, please share YOUR pick of excellent performances you’ve seen so far in 2013.

Feel free to leave links/clips, etc. in the comments. Thanks in advance and do spread the word :D

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71 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Who gave your favorite performance(s) of 2013 so far?

      • I have to agree with Anna, those are the best performances I’ve seen this so far this year. I really haven’t gotten to see many new releases though.

        • Yeah I guess it’s still early in the year. Actually the two performances I mentioned are films from 2012, but it’s not yet released in the theaters where I live yet.

  1. Sadly, I’ve seen nothing this year except for The Croods! Yes, I want to cry, but I usually play catch up from the year before until around June and then start picking up films from the current year.

    • The Croods! Hey I suppose voice performance does count :) Sorry to hear you haven’t been watching as many films as you’d like to Andrew, but hey, there’s 8 months still to catch up right? :D

  2. Geez, not sure. I dont think anyone up to this point has done anything that will be recalled come Oscar time, you know? I keep track of my bests and worsts as I go for the sake of my year end reviews, and so far the “bests”

    James Franco’s in Spring Breakers was the most unforgettable, can I just say that? LOL I suppose if its “Favorite” and not best, that can be my answer either way.

    • Ahah, I knew someone would mention Franco with his cornrows. It’s not a movie I’m inclined to see so I’d take your word for it Fogs :D

  3. Golly, I haven’t seen many new movies this year. A lot of movies I’ve seen are from last year. I loved Keira Knightley in Seeking A Friend for the End of the World – if that counts! :)

  4. This year has great early release movies, but not a lot of great performances. Some worth mentioning are Franco in Spring Breakers (I suppose there will be some rally FYC for him during awards season), Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode in Stoker, Rooney Mara in Side Effects (she’s not a fluke after all), and Rosario Dawson in Trance.

    I saw advance screenings of The Way, Way Back and Kill Your Darlings and Sam Rockwell and Dane DeHaan are particularly great respectively in those movies.

    • Wow another mention for Franco in Spring Breakers, he’s an actor i’m not usually impressed with actually. Sounds like that’s a bit of an unusual role for him in this one tho.

      • Spring Breakers was a wreck. I guess Franco did a good job with an unusual role, indeed. Being a Harmony Korine film, it’s probably worth seeing for a hardcore cinephile. However, I think Spring Breakers just really wasn’t that well thought-out. I think the subject matter is really fascinating, exploring the American escapist and hedonist fantasy of “spring break”. As a twentysomething American, I was at times nostalgic and at other times just disgusted. The “spring break” fantasy is great fodder for social commentary, but i just thought in the end that Spring Breakers just didn’t really have anything thoughtful to say.

        • Glad to hear your comments about Spring Breakers. I’ve never been fascinated nor intrigued by that lifestyle and definitely not something I’d be nostalgic about. Even just from the trailer/poster, etc. there’s absolutely nothing that made me want to see it. I mean if I’m super curious I’ll just see Franco’s performance in one of the clips on YouTube. It’s one of those movies I don’t feel like I’m going to miss out on if I don’t see it.

  5. This is kind of silly since I haven’t seen many 2013 films, so I have to go with Rooney Mara in Side Effects. She had the toughest part in the movie and made it the most interesting character.

  6. I haven’t seen many films this year yet so I couldn’t think of any performance that impressed me. But I was quite impressed with the new show Hannibal and its leading man Hugh Dancy, he’s British so you’ll like him Ruth. :) The ads made it look like the show was all about Dr. Lecter but it’s really about young Will Graham played by Dancy. The story took place a few years before the events of Red Dragon or Manhunter. It’s an excellent show, it has all the suspense and horror you’d expect from the previous films and books.

    • Oh I sure know who Hugh Dancy is and yes I’m a fan :D Mads play Hannibal right, what do you think of him?? I’m very intrigued by that show because of the cast, hopefully it’s not too gory though, as you know I can’t stand those.

      • Yeah, Mads is Hannibal and he’s good in the role. He’s not trying to imitate Hopkins’ version and made character more grounded and even creepier. The show does have some violent sequences in it but it’s not as graphic as the film version, it’s on NBC after all so they can’t show too much.

        • Oh good! I forgot it’s on network TV, not cable, so I think I can handle it :D Mads is a phenomenal actor, no I wouldn’t think he needs to imitate Hopkins. I’m reviewing The Hunt right now, I highly recommend that to you Ted, I know you like thrillers but this is a slow-burn one that’s very well-crafted, even better than Stoker I think.

  7. I’m always a bit behind the times in terms of new releases Ruth but the performance that stands out the most for me so far, would probably be Frank Langella in Robot & Frank. Such a subtle yet very powerful performance from that man.

  8. Hard to gather all my thoughts right now but one standout for me was Matthew McConaughey in “Mud”. I’m also a big fan of Olga Kurylenko’s work in “To the Wonder”.

    Love that you mentioned Mads Mikkelsen. I’m a HUGE fan of his ever since seeing his great work in the Danish WW2 picture “Flame and Citron”. He’s an amazing and expressive actor.

    • I knew you’d mention McConaughey and I probably would too if I had seen the darn thing. To The Wonder is apparently playing at a local theater, I might have to get my hubby or my girlfriend to see it.

      Oh man I still haven’t seen Flame & Citron but will have to do it soon. Mads is what you’d call a phenomenal actor :D

  9. Good question, but I can’t think of anyone that has stood out for me so far. I’m sure Ryan Gosling’s performance in The Place Beyond the Pines will be my first.

    • Ah yes, the ever so popular Mr. Gosling. I know I’m the only person who’s meh on him but I trust that he gave a good performance in that film, Chris.

      • I thought that Dane Dehaan and Bradley Cooper were great in The Place Beyond the Pines. I really love Ryan Gosling, but I don’t consider him a great actor. I just think he has incredible presence on the screen and that movie star “it” factor that makes it impossible to take your eyes off of him.

        • Oh I was impressed with Dane Dehaan in Chronicle, so not surprised he turns in another good performance. I’ll see ‘Pines’ eventually when it’s out on rental. It’s funny but I don’t find Gosling all that captivating, I’ve seen him in a couple of films so far and he was just ok. A lot more underrated actors are more charismatic, but that’s just me I guess.

    • Well guess what, I am reviewing The Hunt now and I’m even more impressed now that it’s sat on me for a few days. Superb thriller, definitely recommended!

  10. Right now, I will probably say Rosario Dawson in Trance. She definitely brought something that could’ve been a typical femme fatale character but made it far more engaging but also complex.

    • Oh cool! I saw her interview on Jimmy Kimmel where she was talking about her character. I really want to see that one as I like her and McAvoy. Good one!

    • What?? Well technically The Hunt is from 2012. It’s ok man, you can list any performance from films you saw this year but it doesn’t have to be released in 2013 :D

  11. Wow. I couldn’t think of any! So, I’m going with Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park 3D. A perfect film, one of the finest of the decade, and I loved Goldblum’s cynical, wise-cracking intellectual to balance out Neill and Dern. My kind of comic relief.

    • Oh cool you saw that on 3D! I just rewatched it on Blu-ray recently and was still impressed by that movie! Goldblum was great in it, very memorable indeed. I love the casting of the first film. I like Goldblum in ID4 too.

  12. I still haven’t seen The Hunt, The Place Beyond the Pines, Spring Breakers, Mud… basically any good drama Australia hasn’t received yet. My favourite performance so far would be Rosario Dawson in Trance. Not an actress I’ve ever liked which made her twisted and dark performance even more surprising. I’ve seen most of her work and would happily call this her best.

    • I was so bummed not being able to see Mud because of the snow storm, I guess that’s what you get for living in Minnesota!! That’s cool about Rosario, she’s not an actress I’m usually very impressed with either but sounds like this is a good role for her thanks to Danny Boyle.

    • Agreed about Mia, though like someone else previously said, I think Goode was even more impressive as I don’t associate him with such a dark role.

    • Aiyah, I feel bad every time someone mentions McConaghey as I REALLY wanted to see Mud but had to cancel because of the snow storm. I have to get on that when it’s out in theaters later this year.

  13. Hmmmm, tough one. Not seen a huge amount this year to be honest. Both McConaughey and Kidman were very good in The Paperboy though. Of stuff that I’ve watched but didn’t come out this year, McConaughey (again) in Killer Joe and Ezra Miller in We Need To Talk About Kevin were brilliant.

    • I think you know how I feel about The Paperboy Chris. But I still want to see ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ one day, been hearing nothing but good things about the performances.

  14. I’m with you Ruth, that Mads Mikkelsen in The Hunt is an excellent performance. Richard Gere in Arbitrage, and Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained are also worth a mention.

    • I still need to see Arbitrage and Django. Glad to see Gere in something meaty again, and Waltz is a phenomenal actor, so no surprise there. I should have my review of The Hunt posted soon. Mads is mighty impressive in it!

  15. In a World looks intriguing, and I can’t wait to see The Hunt.

    My favorite performances so far are Jude Law (Side Effects), Olga Kurylenko (To the Wonder), James Franco (Spring Breakers), and Ryan Gosling (The Place Beyond the Pines). I should see Mud later this week, so McConaughey might join the list very soon.

    • I think you’ll enjoy In A World Josh. It’s a great debut from Lake Bell, she’s quite hilarious. Sounds like those names you mention get a lot of love from other bloggers too.

  16. Pingback: Maniacs, Zombies & Billionaire Playboys | filmhipster

  17. Unlike Eric, I wasn’t bothered by Alec Guinness. Truly, he doesn’t make a very convincing Arab, but he does do a very good job of acting. But then there’s not a bad performance in the whole film. Anthony Quinn, Claude Rains and Arthur Kennedy are also quite good in their respective roles.

  18. I saw The Hunt last year but Mads definitely was my fave performance of the year! Emilie Dequenne in Our Children will take some beating so far this year.

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