Posted by: ckckred | January 28, 2013

The 10 Best Performances of 2012

Okay, Daniel Day-Lewis' inclusion is obvious, but completely deserved

Okay, Daniel Day-Lewis’ inclusion is obvious, but completely deserved

I wrote my top 10 list a while ago, but I thought I’d make my own list for the best performances of the year.  This isn’t ranked and plus I’m pretty loose about the criteria for a spot, but whatever.  I can’t say I saw every And here they are:

Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Yes, this is the most obvious inclusion on the list, but I’m going to have to say it again.  Daniel Day-Lewis was incredible as Lincoln and gave one of the most powerful performances in his great career.

Jessica ChastainZero Dark Thirty

Chastian has really emerged as an actress in 2011 in films such as The Tree of Life and Take Shelter.  In Zero Dark Thirty, she plays Maya, a cold, ruthless CIA agent determined to find Bin Laden.  Chastain is simply stunning in her role.

Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

One could arguably say Phoenix’s performance wasn’t too different from his role in I’m Still Here.  Whatever the case, Phoenix was fantastic as WWII veteran Freddy Quell, who gets lost in a cult.  Phoenix may also be in director Paul Thomas Anderson’s next film, which I’m eager to see.

Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, Amour

Amour is such a beautiful film, and both Trintignant and Riva were at the film’s core.  The two veteran actors gave emotionally powerful performances in Michael Haneke’s masterpiece.

Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Wallis gives a committed and stunning performance as Hushpuppy.  Her performance was so strong it’s hard to believe this was her first time acting.

Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

While Lawrence turned into a teen idol for her role in The Hunger Games, her best performance of the year was in director David O. Russell’s new comedy.  Lawrence was funny and dry as Tina in the film and deserves much praise in her role.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained

While Christoph Waltz was the one who took the Oscar nod, DiCaprio has the strongest performance in the film in my opinion.  As the vile plantation owner Calvin Candie, DiCaprio is quite frightening on the screen and chews up every scene in the movie.

Edward Norton, Moonrise Kingdom

There were plenty of great performances in Moonrise Kingdom, but my favorite undoubtedly is Norton’s.  As Khaki Scout Master Randy Ward, Norton is hilarious and plays the role perfectly.

Richard Parker, Life of Pi

Am I giving a performance nod to a CGI tiger?  Yes.  But let me just say that director Ang Lee brings the special effects to life, making the tiger look not only realistic but making its actions believable.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Hoffman is one of the greatest actors of today’s generation and he brings life into cult leader Lancaster Dodd.  He is domineering and demanding in his role, and gives a powerful performance.

Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

As abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, Jones is fantastic.  He convincingly plays the character and does an amazing job.

And now for some honorable mentions.

Jared Gilman and Kara Heyword, Moonrise Kingdom

Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Amy Adams, The Master

Bruce Willis, Moonrise Kingdom

Sally Field, Lincoln

Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook

Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Alan Arkin, Argo

Javier Bardem, Skyfall


  1. Yes to Richard Parker! I genuinely cared what happened to him by the end of the film, excellent choice. I also have to agree with you on Daniel Day-Lewis, it’s an obvious choice, but it’s obvious for a reason, he really was that good.

    • Glad you agree with Richard Parker. I would say it was one of the best performances I’ve seen this year, even though it was just CGI. DDL was pretty incredible. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Great list of performances! So many of my favorites are sprinkled throughout your post. Edward Norton? Yes sir!!!

    • Glad you agree with Edward Norton. I thought he should have gotten an Oscar nomination.

      • My favorite supporting performance in Moonrise was from Willis but Norton was right behind. Dude, he had me laughing every time I saw him. Great performance!!

  3. Awesome to see Leonardo here! Norton’s performance was one of the few things I liked in Moonrise Kingdom, he really impressed me in this movie.

    • DiCaprio was great in Django and he was robbed by the Oscars. Norton was fantastic as well. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Great post! My number one would have to be Emmanuelle Riva in Amour, such a brave and moving performance.

    • Riva was fantastic in Amour. I would love to see her or Jessica Chastain take the Oscar. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Great list. Pretty solid, I cant find anything to quibble with, really. 😉

  6. Thats a great list…. I still need to see the Master. DDL was spectacular in Lincoln, which I saw this weekend. However, I was not that impressed with the film as a whole.

    • Thanks! The Master is a great film. Sorry you didn’t love Lincoln, but DDL was fantastic.

      • He’s great in everything

  7. Cool list, although Marion Cotillard needs to be on here! 😀

    • Thanks! Unfortunately, I haven’t seen Rust and Bone yet (I also still need to see Holy Motors and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia).

      • Ah well hopefully you will enjoy it, it may be my favorite of last year’s films. It’s in the top 5 for sure.

  8. Can’t argue with any here. The fact that they make it on your list (placing in top 10 or in H.M.) speaks volumes and I agree with your choices.

    my addition: Samantha Barks (Les Mis), Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Ezra Miller (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), and Naomi Watts (The Impossible)

    • Oh, I meant to add Michael Fassbender onto my list of honorable mentions but forgot to do so. I haven’t seen The Perks of Being A Wallflower or The Impossible yet unfortunately. Thanks for commenting.

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