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Top 10 actors/actresses of 2009

How many blog comments, I wonder, have inspired whole posts?

I don’t have an answer to that question, but the ever-astute Encore Entertainment posed a difficult but interesting question: Who gave the best performances, the ones that would top my list of favorites for the year?

Now that’s a thinker … but one that only lasted about six minutes. Then in marched the answers, and I present them to you thusly:

The ladies

Mo'Nique's blistering turn in "Precious" deserves to be called the best of the year.

  1. Mo’Nique, “Precious”
  2. Abbie Cornish, “Bright Star”
  3. Gabourey Sidibe, “Precious”
  4. Melanie Laurent, “Inglourious Basterds” 
  5. Vera Farmiga, “Up in the Air”
  6. Melanie Lynskey, “The Informant!” 
  7. Isabella Rossellini, “Two Lovers”
  8. Vinessa Shaw, “Two Lovers”
  9. Charlyne Yi, “Paper Heart”
  10. Meryl Streep, “Julie & Julia”

The fellows

Christoph Waltz creates the perfect villain in "Inglourious Basterds."

  1. Christoph Waltz, “Inglourious Basterds”
  2. Adam Sandler, “Funny People”
  3. George Clooney, “Up in the Air”
  4. Matt Damon, “The Informant!”
  5. Tobey Maguire, “Brothers”
  6. Joaquin Phoenix, “Two Lovers”
  7. Paul Schneider, “Bright Star”
  8. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, “(500) Days of Summer”
  9. Mark Ruffalo, “The Brothers Bloom”
  10. Zachary Quinto, “Star Trek”

Readers, which actors and actresses delivered the year’s best performances? Let’s hear your picks.

21 Responses

  1. “How many blog comments, I wonder, have inspired whole posts?” At least two, I think I will have to do a top actor actress list for the year now! Seriously I have done a few blogs based on comments.

  2. Ha. Thanks for the plug. Good list, although as I’ve said before despite my slight apathy for IB [sorry] Kruger was the only one who matched Waltz for me.
    PS. Seeing Phoenix there really depresses me. I’m still pissed at him for that whole rap crap. Ugh.

    • Kruger was good, but I thought Laurent was better — a much more emotionally complex role. And though I’ve never been a huge fan of Brad Pitt, I’ve come to appreciate him in roles where his good looks are NOT the focus (i.e., “Burn After Reading,” “Twelve Monkeys”).

      • Diane Kruger was really good and who would have thought the first film I would hear her speak in her native German would be a Tarantino film. I actually but her on my list for a different film Anything for Her. A French film, do her talents ever end?

    • What IS the deal with that? One of the most talented actors out there and he’s just gone bonkers? Very depressing.

  3. […] 31, 2009 by fandangogroovers Inspired by a blog that was inspired by a comment on blog! Here are my top ten actors and actresses of […]

  4. Ladies:
    1. Sigourney in “Avatar” & “Prayers for Bobby” (you knew that was coming).
    2. Drew & Jessica in “Grey Gardens” (almost Meryl-ish with their uncanny voices).

    1. Sharlto Copley (Wikus) in “District 9”

  5. You have an impressive list. I root for the underdogs more than the stand-outs. I loved Rachel Weisz in “The Brothers Bloom”, Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie in “The Hurt Locker”, Sam Rockwell in “Moon”, Alfred Molina in “An Education”, Joaquin Phoenix in “Two Lovers”, Sharlto Copley in “District 9”.

  6. Is it me or does anybody find Christoph Waltz attractive?

    • He’s a looker to begin with, but when you add in that intellect and that insane ability to read people he’s Hotty McHotterson.

  7. I can’t disagree with Christoph Waltz at number 1.

    I’m not sure where I’d put him exactly but Robert Downey Jr. in Sherlock Holmes was phenomenal. It was barely a 2009 movie but I think I’d have him in my top 5.

    • For RDJ, the standard is “phenomenal.” He just keeps topping himself.

      • Yeah, if it wasn’t for him Sherlock Holmes would have been unbearable. I don’t understand how Ritchie was on-set with him watching RDJ work his magic and didn’t keep the whole movie centered on him at all times (which is what Jon Favreau did for Iron Man, and look how magnificently that turned out).

  8. Robert Downey Jr. pulls out the most consistently amazing performances of just about any actor out there and really nails roles that are memorable, not just for the year, but forever in film.

    However, I agree with Waltz as number one. I just noted on Fandango’s site that I feel his performance was probably one of the most noteworthy supporting male roles of all time. Everything about IB is great, but he is truly remarkable.

    • When the credits rolled on “Inglourious Basterds,” I turned to my friend Jason and said something like: “Where has this guy been all my life?” That stands true after viewing 2, 3 and the many ones that will come after. I hope this role wins him awards, and more than that I hope it wins him fame in the U.S.

      I hadn’t seen “Sherlock Holmes” at the time I wrote this, but his is great (has he ever been anything else, though?) as Holmes. Leonard Nimoy was impressive as well in “Star Trek.”

  9. Couldn’t agree more with your top two selections. Mo’Nique was just downright terrifying, and Waltz creates a villain that’s right up there with Ledger’s Joker. The ONLY female performance that I might argue is Tilda Swinton in “Julia”. The movie itself is a bit of a mess, which hurts her when it comes to awards, but she’s fantastic.

    Have you seen “An Education”? If you haven’t, I imagine a few of the actors/actresses would break this list, going off the rest of the movies that you’ve liked.

    • “An Education” never made it here, or I bet I’d have Carey Mulligan on this list. Everyone’s raving about her. I plan to see this once it’s on DVD so I can compare her to Mo’Nique. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m not sure anyone compares to Mo’Nique in terms of unexpected talent. That’s what she had going for her — the element of surprise. She snuck up on us and knocked us flat with that performance!

      And I confess I’m now just weensy bit in love with Christoph Waltz.

  10. You’ll love it. And either one of the supporting actors might break the list too. Somehow Alfread Molina has fallen out of all talk the past two months, but then again, so has anybody not named Waltz.

    And while Molina is the critical favorite, mine is Peter Sarsgaard…..but then again, that’s probably from the fact that I think I might have a wee bit of a man-crush on him…everybody is allowed those…right?

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