The performances of the actors here run the full gamut. True American heroes and truly vile villains. Fathers and sons. Those seeking redemption and those seeking to do the unforgivable.
The following Top 5 list was compiled by Dylan Blight and Ashley Hobley.
After winning his Oscar finally in 2015 for The Revenant and going through hell to film the movie DiCaprio took a well-deserved break and has slowed down his film output. Once Upon a Time In… Hollywood was his first movie four years and he didn’t disappoint with his return to director Quentin Tarantino’s side after Django Unchained.
As a fading TV star trying to make it in the movie industry as an event that will ripple Hollywood forever is on the horizon, our time with Rick Dalton is one of laughs, terror and shocking surprise. DiCaprio brings something special to Dalton including character nuance like his stutter when not acting in the movie and seeing him mess-up lines onset alongside Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy was one of my favourite performances of the year.
– Dylan Blight
In Avengers: Endgame, Chris Evans played the role of Steve Rogers / Captain America for the final time. It proves a fitting swansong for his time as Captain America as he showcased his never quit attitude to save the day once more and proved himself worthy of fan’s admiration and other things.
In Knives Out, Chris Evans got to release himself from his hero shackles as the black sheep of the Thrombey family, Ransom Drysdale (or Hugh to the help). Evans looked like he was having a ball playing the multi-faced, spoiled playboy as he told people to “eat shit”, laughed at their misery and generally acted like a jerk. He also helped to create a high uptick in the sale of white knitted sweaters. It’s true. Google it.
– Ashley Hobley
After several years of hit and miss roles, it appears that Brad Pitt is back with two standout roles in two standouts 2019 films.
Returning to work with Quentin Tarantino, Pitt played an out-of-work stuntman in Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood. It’s a role Tarantino has stated he originally had in mind for a more gruff-looking actor but now couldn’t picture it with anyone else other than Brad Pitt – and I agree. It’s a reserved role that explodes at the end leaving you with many questions about Cliff Booth.
In James Gray’s space-drama Ad Astra, Pitt plays a reserved and emotionally-stilted astronaut Roy McBride. It’s an often silent and measured performance from Pitt that makes Ad Astra pay-off, especially in its beautiful and emotional final act that fulfils the films dramatic elements with a standout performance from Pitt.
– Dylan Blight
Whatever your feelings on Joker, there is little doubt that Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Arthur Fleck is the primary reason the film is in awards contention. Performing a role that has been played amazing several times before by the likes of Heath Ledger, Jack Nicholson and Mark Hamill, Phoenix created a version of the Joker all his own.
An unsettling performance with his gaunt figure and unique laugh, it was hard to look away as Arthur’s world slowly comes apart and he goes from social outcast to a true villain. His talk show appearance was an amazing caper to a performance worthy of more from the film around it.
– Ashley Hobley
I remember when they cast Adam Driver in Star Wars: The Force Awakens I was really happy because I was a huge fan of the TV series Girls on HBO, now five years later his career has only grown length by length, and he’s one of the best actors working today.
This year Adam appeared in the finale of the ‘Skywalker Saga’ where he gave his best performance as Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and elevated an underwhelming finale. In The Report, he played the real-life senate staffer tasked with investigating the post 9/11 Interrogation Program and in The Dead Don’t Die he fights off the undead besides Bill Murray in a horror/comedy.
Adam Driver’s standout performance this year is for the Noah Baumbach written and directed drama, Marriage Story where he stars alongside Scarlett Johansson as Charlie, a theatre director and man going through a divorce. Adam brings a duality to the role that is necessary when telling a realistic story like Marriage Story. It’s one of the standout performances of his career and one of the best of the year.
– Dylan Blight