Five Under-Appreciated Performances From 2009

At this point we’re pretty much set with the performances that will get nominated for the Oscars. There might be one or two surprise nominees – think Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road last year – but other than that the nominees aren’t going to be much of a surprise.

I’d like to take a moment to discuss five performances that have been all but over looked this awards season. These are all performances that I loved instantly and are all featured in films I will probably return to again and again.

Amy Adams – Night at the Museum 2: Battle for the Smithsonian 

Yes, this was a family film. Yes it was kind of ridiculous and over the top. But Amy Adams was absolutely brilliant. She was the lifeline of this film and of the two Amelia’s to grace the screen in 2009, she’s the one people will remember.

Hugh Dancy – Adam

This film wasn’t seen by very many people upon its initial release, but now that it’s available on DVD, I hope that will change. The character of Adam is not an easy role to play, but Hugh Dancy takes on the challenge and excels. As the movie progresses, Adam matures and so does Dancy’s performance. He is both lovable and detached, yet even when Adam pushes everyone away from him in the film, Dancy pulls the audience in closer and never fully lets go.

Jackie Earle Haley – Watchmen

I loved everything about this film. I read the graphic novel just prior to seeing it and thought the casting was wonderful. What really struck me the most though, was how in the graphic novel I didn’t find myself particularly related to Rorschach, but Haley steals the film. When he’s on the screen it’s hard to look away; for such a small man, he has an enormous screen presence.  

Maya Rudolph – Away We Go

Rudolph gave my favorite performance of the year in this quirky and sweet look at adulthood. This film, like several others this year, takes on the subject of what happens when life doesn’t work out the way you thought it would or how you were always told it was supposed to be. She is subtle and luminous in this role – a stark contrast to the various comedic roles she’s played over the years on Saturday Night Live. I hope we see more feature films out of her in the future.

Sam Rockwell – Moon

You often hear from actors when they receive an award how they could never have done what they did with their role if it weren’t for their costars, that acting is re-acting. Well, what can Sam Rockwell do but thank himself? and maybe Kevin Spacey’s voice. In Moon, Rockwell plays astronaut Sam Bell – twice. At the same time. Each version of Sam Bell is a different aspect of Sam Bell’s personality and so it is almost as if Rockwell were playing different people. Yet, somehow, it is always clear that they are the same person, sort of. This is the best portrayal of dual roles I have ever seen. And if Nicholas Cage can get a nom’d for Adaptation, please oh please throw Sam Rockwell a bone and nominate this brilliant, brilliant performance.

About Marya E. Gates

Cinephile to the max.

Posted on January 17, 2010, in the Academy Awards, Top List and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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