Friday, June 23, 2006

Top 25 Male Performances 2000-2004

"Oh good grief!" You are likely throwing up your hands by now and asking why I would add my voice to the multitude of acting list countdowns happening right now. Glenn just wrapped up his take on the best 100 performances so far this decade, while both Javier and Nathaniel are in the midst of their Top 25 Female Performances 2000-2004 and Actors of the Aughts lists respectively. Well, in a conversation with Javier, he generously offered to help me out with my creative blog-related dry spell by planning a countown of the best female performances (00-04) concurrently. While it would have been fun to compare notes, I was wishwashy on the idea and reluctant to invest myself in such a demanding project. But as the weeks passed by, I decided that it was necessary to keep myself occupied with such an ambitious task. But instead of totally stealing his idea, I wondered a similarly-structured list would fare with male actors. Frankly, it was not as exciting compiling this list as it was for these actors' female counterparts; while I could come up with more than eighty commendable performances by actresses easily, it took me hours to even hit the fifty mark with the boys. Why that is, I cannot say, although this does not take away from the fantastic performances featured on my roster.

Initially, it was difficult not to credit some of the performances on display from last year (Heath Ledger would have easily broken the top ten, if not the top five), until I realized that it was only because those efforts were fresher in my mind. To ready myself for the list, I opened up some DVDs to browse through some titles to see whether these performances were as good (or as awful) as I remembered them being. Indeed, some of my early favourites have fallen from grace (I'm not sure I even like some of them anymore, let alone love) while others that I took for granted or overlooked before now just play better with the passing of time. It will be interesting to revisit all these roles through this list, and explain why I feel that they deserve placement in such a competitive, limited lineup. I know there will be a lot of opposition to some of my choices, especially in comparison to who I left out, but arguing is half the fun I suppose. I look forward to all your thoughts, and feel free to call me crazy for my choices (although back up your opinions!).

As for the schedule, I am sad to say that the list might not be completed by the time I leave for Dubai (July 4th), although I will try my best. I would continue the list from there, but my cousin's parents do not use the internet, and I'd have to visit internet caf├ęs regularly. And seeing as I'm on vacation, sitting in front of a computer would probably be a waste considering the sight-seeing I could be doing. Not that I do not cherish all of you, the few readers that find my blog halfway interesting... but... really now.

The "Rules":
1. Actors are limited to only one spot each on the list; for example, do not expect to see Jude Law and Jim Broadbent mentioned more than once, despite them having performed brilliantly in multiple films since 2000. I feel this is only fair to the other actors who, for various reasons, have not been working as often or are not particularly high-profile talents in their industries.
2. No ties are allowed (unfortunately - you know how fond I am of using them). I have to restrict myself this time around lest things get out of hand. 25 Performances = 25 Performances. EDIT: (December 31st: My apologies, but I've had to let this rule go. Damn my poor planning!)
3. I will go by IMDB release dates to save myself distribution confusion; so even though a film may have released internationally in 2005, it still might have premiered at a festival or opened in the country of production in 2004.
4. Even though this is a list of fifty performances, I will only be writing capsules on the first twenty-five selections. Do you want this list to go on until November? I didn't think so.
5. Obviously, the list is not set in stone, and the hierarchy is not meant to be taken very seriously; the difference in my regard for one performance listed at #6 and one at #29 is miniscule. Rankings after, say, the first ten are pretty arbitrary (then again, isn't this whole list?).

1-25: [subject to tinkering]

1. Haley Joel Osment, A.I. Artificial Intelligence
2. Tom Wilkinson, In the Bedroom
3. Dan Futterman, Urbania
4a. Ralph Fiennes, Spider
4b. Ed Harris, Pollock
5. Mark Ruffalo, You Can Count on Me
6. John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch
7. Gael Garcia Bernal, Bad Education
8. Ryan Gosling, The Believer
9. Jude Law, I Heart Huckabees
10. Naseeruddin Shah, Monsoon Wedding
11. Paul Giamatti, Sideways
12. Adrien Brody, The Pianist
13. Jim Broadbent, Iris
14. Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge!
15. Ethan Hawke, Before Sunset
16. Scott Mechlowicz, Mean Creek
17. Campbell Scott, Roger Dodger
18. Benicio Del Toro, 21 Grams
19. Jack Black, The School of Rock
20. Kevin Bacon, Mystic River
21. Ian McKellen, The Fellowship of the Ring
22. Nick Stahl, Twist
23. Colin Farrell, A Home at the End of the World
24. Don Cheadle, Hotel Rwanda
25. Mathieu Amalric, Kings and Queen


RC said...

interesting choice on a few, like wahlburg and church.

really glad to see guy pierce, paddy c., and chris cooper make the list.

--RC of

Ali said...

It killed me not to include those last three you mentioned - Pearce, Considine and Cooper. In fact, the whole process of whittling all these performances down to twenty-five was a horrible experience.

Anyways, thank you for your interest on the list! I hope you are more satisfied as it goes on.

jesse said...

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Though I can tell you now Tony Leung in ITMFL would have had my number one spot...

JavierAG said...

YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! So happy you've started this list, and there are already so many interesting choices from #26-50. Now I feel kinda bad I didn't post my runner-ups, but hey, there's always time.

ps: My rules are exactly the same as yours, except my actresses are allowed more than one spot (this only happened twice though, so it's sort of a moot point).

Nick M. said...

Ambition: this is what I like to see!

I have a few issues with some of your choices, but I'm already giddy that you noted the brilliance of Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Peter Sarsgaard, Tony Leung and Paul Bettany (who I dislike in everything else).

Ali said...

Jesse - That's the thing about list-making; you always regret the placement, no matter what. Again, the difference in my esteem for a performance at #48 and #28 is very little.

Javier - You can always name your runner-ups at the end. Actually, it's better that way, because you leave more room for suspense and detective work.

Nick - Let me guess, you had a problem with the inclusion of Terrence Howard for Crash, right?

Nick M. said...

Well, Howard was better in Hustle and Flow.

Actually, my least favorite performance on the list may be Thomas Haden Church's.

Ali said...

That's quite the surprise to me, considering your love for Sideways.

As for Howard, you are correct, but Hustle & Flow is 2005. Also, I felt he was the best thing about Crash and certainly worthy of a mention.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Bale at #50? You speak lies. LIES.

The inclusion of Cannivale and Ejiofor were inspired and I love many of those perfs so.... yay.