The Oscar Project
I love doing this post because I get to call out some great individual performances by actors, often in films that might not make it into my top ten of the year. Last year’s top performances included Lakeith Stanfield in Judas and the Black Messiah (affiliate link), Zendaya and John David Washington in Malcolm & Marie, and the wonderful Lauren Ridloff in Eternals (affiliate link).
Before I get to this year’s favorite performances, don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts in this series for 2022 linked below.
4: Viggo Mortensen, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton in Thirteen Lives
If you follow my posts and videos, you probably got sick of hearing me talk about Thirteen Lives (affiliate link) when it arrived in late summer. I absolutely loved the documentary The Rescue about the 13 boys trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand in 2018 and when I found out it was being made into a feature film with Viggo Mortenson, Colin Farrell, and Joel Edgerton as the three main divers, I was so excited. These three actors are among my favorites, and they nailed the people they were playing to perfection.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend that you check out The Rescue on Disney+, then immediately go over to Amazon Prime (affiliate link) and watch Thirteen Lives (affiliate link). You will be amazed at how well these three actors embody Richard Stanton (Mortensen), John Volanthen (Farrell), and Dr. Richard Harris (Edgerton).
3: Brad Pitt in The Lost City
If you read my Biggest Surprises post the other day, you already know that I loved the cameo swapping between The Lost City (affiliate link) and Bullet Train (affiliate link) that led to Pitt being in the Sandra Bullock/Channing Tatum action comedy. Pitt almost literally dropped into the movie to rescue Bullock’s Loretta Sage and while he only has about 5-10 minutes of screen time, it’s a perfect dose of Pitt to whet your whistle and prepare you for his all-out assault in Bullet Train.
2: Ana de Armas in The Grey Man
2022 has been a busy year for Ana de Armas, appearing in Deep Water with Ben Affleck, as Marilyn Monroe in Blonde, and in The Grey Man opposite Ryan Gosling. I choose this role because de Armas has been a rising star over the last several years, and finally got to be in the middle of the action. You may remember that she was in the latest bond film, No Time to Die (affiliate link), last but spent about as much time in the trailers and marketing materials as she did in the film itself.
The Grey Man gave her a chance to perform a bit more and gave her a character that was more than just something for the hero to ogle for one scene.
1: Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once
For those of you who don’t recognize the name or haven’t seen this film, Quan is the former child actor who played Short Round in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (affiliate link) and Data in The Goonies (affiliate link). He appeared in a number of other films throughout the 80s and 90s including Encino Man before taking a break from acting for 20 years. He has returned to appear in the Netflix film Finding ‘Ohana in 2021 and will appear in the upcoming season of the Disney+ series Loki.
But he’s at the top of this list because of what he did in Everything Everywhere All at Once (affiliate link). While the film centers primarily on Evelyn Wang, it doesn’t work without her husband Waymond to play off of. And the best part of Quan’s performance as Waymond is the range that he’s able to show across the various universes. He goes from devoted family man struggling with his marriage to debonair corporate CEO to the universe jumping rebel trying to save existence. Even just one of these is more character depth than he had with his roles as a child, and to see them all in one film from the same actor is a real treat.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?