- Ryan Gosling (3)- I’ll take Gosling’s 1-2 punch in La La Land and Blade Runner 2049 over any actor’s 1-2 punch in the last five years. Take a look—but nobody had given performances on that level in great films like Gosling has. I think he’s the first actor besides Dicaprio to hold the top slot in quite some time (I think as far back as 2011).
- Leonardo Dicaprio (1)- The Revenant may be his best work, and god I love Dicaprio, but he’s taken a few years off now- so all we have in the last 5 years is Wolf of Wall Street (now 5 years in the rear view) and The Revenant. Nothing in 2016 or 2017… I hate to say it but from a prolific standpoint he’s starting to remind me of…
- Daniel Day-Lewis (new)- DDL is the master and proved it once again with his phenomenal work in Phantom Thread. He just works so infrequently that—he’s— well basically impossible for this list since this is all he’s done in the last 5 years and has 1 film that has made my year-end top 10 in the last 10 years. Still, he’s one of the greatest of all-time and his work here in 2017 is on his mount rushmore.
- Adam Driver (new)- This sort of surprised me but Driver has been in 9 archiveable films since 2013 (last five years) and his work in Paterson carries him past so many others on this list. He’s also excellent in Return of the Jedi.
- Tom Hardy (5)- Hardy stays in his spot from last year. He’s very solid in the best film of the year (Dunkirk) but it’s not enough of a performance to put him past the four guys above him. I need a juicer role in a top 5 film of the year- he’s been in 4 masterpieces this decade (inception, mad max, revenant and now Dunkirk) but hasn’t given us his Gosling in La la or even a Driver in Paterson yet.
- Christian Bale (2) We’re a few years removed now from both American Hustle (2013) and The Big Short (2015)
- Oscar Isaac (HM)- Revisiting Llewyn Davis from 2013 recently is hard to ignore. He’s added two films in the last year (Annihilation and Last Jedi) and he has a total now of 6 archiveable films in the last 5 years including three substantial roles/performances (Llewyn, Ex Machina, A Most Violent Year)
- Michael Fassbender (4)- Fassbender had an awful year. Blockbuster failures and poor reviews. I didn’t see any of it (but probably will at home at some point). His haunting turn in 12 Years a Slave is now 5 years old so without something big in 2018 he’ll be off this list
- Ralph Fiennes (6)- still running on the fumes from Budapest Hotel in 2014 and A Bigger Splash in 2015
- Michael Jordan (new)- I’m fresh off his scene-stealing performance (the entire damn thing) in Black Panther and Creed is a big performance in a great film from not that long ago (2015).
- Joaquin Phoenix- nothing now in the archives for 2015, 2016 and now 2017. He’s supposed to be magnificent in You Were Never Really Here (best actor at cannes in 2017) but it isn’t out here yet
- Daniel Kaluuya– his work in Black Panther and Sicario round out his resume but he’s here for one reason: his fantastic work in Get Out
- Matthew McConaughey – when he falls he falls hard. He was man of the hour in 2014 with True Detective and Interstellar and now nothing of merit in three straight years
- Ethan Hawke- similar story to Phoenix and MM- big years in 2013 and 2014 with fantastic work in back to back years with Linklater masterpieces and little since
- Michael Stuhlbarg- when I can I try to reward character actors or ensemble actors and Stuhlbarg had an incredible year with showing up in The Post and then more sizable work in Call Me By Your Name and The Shape of Water
*****fell off last year’s list
- Brad Pitt (HM)
- Tom Hanks (HM)
- Michael Keaton (HM)
- Michael Shannon (HM)
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