The Best Performances of 2014

The awards season culminated with the Academy Awards but the list of memorable performances does not end with those that have achieved recognition alone. IBC 13's Kayo Jolongbayan lists down for us some of the best and most memorable performances of 2014. Check out this must-see list and who knows, you may get an idea as to what to download purchase next as an addition to your movie collection.

The Best Performances of 2014
by Kayo Jolongbayan

2014 is not only a year of versatile and diverse filmmaking; it’s also a year of adaptable performances by actors and actresses. Some have surprised us, some gave their career best performances, and some proved to their haters that they can act.

From romantic comedies, to bitey satires down to sweet little independent films, these actors and actresses breathed life into their respective characters, making this year a great one for acting. It is very hard to narrow these lists into 10 performances each, but here we go! 

The Ladies:

10. Andrea Riseborough, "Birdman" - Underrated. Riseborough managed to make an impression despite having great actors giving great performances around her. She's a nice comic relief, and she imbued her character with vividness and humour.

9. Naomi Watts, "Birdman" - Hilarious and heart-breaking at the same time, Watts gave us a tremendous performance of a dedicated struggling actress. One may find the character too close to her breakout role in Mulholland Drive, but it's just one of the wonders of Alejandro Gonzales Innaritu's film; Watts uses the same territory and injected some more ideas to create a beautiful, fully lived performance.

8. Kangana Ranaut, "Queen" - A bit under the radar because it's a little-seen Indian film, but Ranaut's charming and likable creation of Rani is a joy to watch. Her performance radiates both Bollywood movie star charisma and a more grounded, soulful human being. She made us see the transition of her character from a shy, Indian girl who wants to move on from her heartbreak, to a more edgy and stronger independent woman.

7. Julianne Moore, "Maps to the Stars" - Much better than her other 2014 performances, Moore wears vanity and conceit then peels them all off on-screen. Havana Segrand is showy and almost a caricature, but not in Moore’s talented hands. She's darkly delicious and weirdly funny to watch.

6. Angelica Panganiban, "That Thing Called Tadhana" – Portraying one of the best written female roles of 2014, Panganiban gave us one of the most relatable performance that is so charming and natural on-screen. She spits Antoinette Jadaone's hugot lines with ease, coming directly from her heart and full of passion. We laugh when she laughs, and we feel bad whenever she feels bad. Panganiban knows what heartbreak and moving on is; assuring her audience that she feels what we feel.

5. Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night" - Raw, natural and very intense; You'll find yourself captivated on Sandra's journey, as if you've become a supportive co-worker, hoping for her to succeed until the end. Cotillard easily disappears on-screen and became an ordinary human facing struggles and prejudice of life.

4. Kristen Stewart, "Clouds of Sils Maria" - Strangely alluring and mysterious. Stewart handles this difficult character and dialogue with sensuality and awkwardness that makes her interesting to watch. She held her own game when she's pitted against acting Goddess Juliette Binoche without overpowering or chewing the scenery. The Twilight belle had a great year, and her Cesar award is well deserved.

3. Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl" - I don't think any other actresses could pull this off. No other actress can plaster a smile that is so charming and creepy at the same time. Only one actress can nail the sexiness and the slyness of this vixen, and her calculating coldness. Pike breathes into this daring and meaty character of Amy Dunne in a classy, iconic way. She is indeed, amazing.

2. Shailene Woodley, "The Fault in Our Stars" - HATERS TO THE LEFT! Well, I understand the criticisms against the film being melodramatic and manipulative (which I don't agree, but hey, it's cooler to bash YA adaptations!), but Woodley is an exemption. As Hazel Grace, she gave us a fully lived character full of warmth, hope and love that is meant to be shared to anyone. She completely nailed the sense of humour, wit and tenderness of Hazel Grace and carried the whole film in her shoulders. And when the heavy parts of the film arrived, Woodley is in full force, tearing our hearts into shreds.

1. Tilda Swinton, "Snowpiercer" – She’s a bizarre and strange caricature but never phony or rankling. Swinton took this cartoon character out of the script and breathes life into Mason and made her into an annoying stuttering right hand of evil. She might look like a loser outside, but she's really evil and cunning inside. Swinton has never been so animated, so over the top yet so fascinating to watch. She perfectly fits into Bong Joon-Ho's apocalyptic fantasy world, owning every scene she's in. A riot.

The Gents:

10. Rafa Siguion-Reyna, "Hari ng Tondo" – Even though the film is heavily flawed, the ensemble of Hari ng Tondo is pretty brilliant. The strongest thespian though is Rafa Siguion-Reyna who gave an effective and heartfelt performance of a young man full of dreams and frustrations. It's a combination of charm and talent that makes him one of this year's best.

9. JM De Guzman, "That Thing Called Tadhana" - Nuanced, charming and extremely likable, De Guzman's Anthony is not the typical boy-next-door; instead, we got a flawed but simple and genuinely nice person who just want to help Mace (portrayed by Angelica Panganiban) as she moves on from her past. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Anthony?

8. Channing Tatum, "Foxcatcher" - Contrary to what other people say, I believe Tatum is the real driving force of Foxcatcher. It’s riveting to see how Tatum slowly unfolds Mark Schultz up until he reaches his boiling point. His emotion is like the sea waiting for a destructive storm; so subtle yet very intense. 

7. Fabio Audi, "The Way He Looks" - In the cream of the crop of 2014's manic pixie dream boys, Fabio Audi's Gabriel is probably the most perfect dream guy. He is oozing with charisma on-screen that'll make you realize why Leonardo, despite the fact that he can't see, fell in love with him. It's a sweet, effortless performance that'll make you sigh and wonder when you will meet your very own Gabriel.

6. Robert Pattinson, "The Rover" - I admire Pattinson as an actor when he's not playing a sparkling vampire and this performance is a proof that this guy's more than just a pretty face. In this apocalyptic thriller, Pattinson delivered a vehement, heart-breaking performance that elevated the quality of the whole film.

5. Edward Norton, "Birdman" - Norton makes fun with his real-life persona in this energetic, sexy and hilarious performance. It’s extremely showy and comic that he almost steals the show from its star, Michael Keaton. It's some of the most fearless and bold characterization I've seen in years. Welcome back, Mr. Norton.

4. Miles Teller, "Whiplash" - An almost flawless depiction of perseverance and desperation. Teller gave us a no holds barred performance that is exhilarating and astonishing to watch. His chemistry with JK Simmons is remarkable, as he is the ying to Fletcher's yang. Watching him with Simmons is like watching David fight against Goliath. A thrilling and jolty ride of performance that will send shivers down to your spine up to the last frame.

3. Jake Gyllenhaal, "Nightcrawler" – The Brokeback Mountain gave us two excellent performances last year, one being from the Jose Saramago adaptation thriller Enemy portraying two different personas, and the other as the astonishing, eerie and diabolical Lou Bloom in Dan Gilroy’s yellow journalism satire Nightcrawler. In this film, Gyllenhaal sinks his teeth into this creep and turn him into a complete reincarnation of evil. There's nothing likable about Lou Bloom, but Gyllenhaal's performance makes him even more fascinating to watch. 

2. Michael Keaton, "Birdman" - Vulnerable yet vain, egoistic yet humane; Keaton perfectly showed us the highs and lows of his character, highlighting both the flaws and strengths of Riggan without making it muddling or disjointed. The Batman star got the role of his life and he is not afraid to make fun of himself just to play the role to its fullest. It's typecasting that rarely works, and definitely the most well-accomplished leading actor performance of the year.

1. JK Simmons, "Whiplash" - Fear takes a human form in Simmons' Terence Fletcher; from the way he looks at you, you'll feel scared and challenged at the same time. And when he opens his mouth, you'll find yourself covered with electricity and passion to be better. JK Simmons propels this larger than life character with perfect amount of adrenaline and gravitas, resorting into a showy but not over the top performance. He tricks you with his calmness and subtlety, and then pins you down with his fierceness. Fletcher challenges and commands Andrew as well as the audience, translating fear beyond the screen. He is a dragon, a titan and a Goliath in tight black shirt.

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