- Ryan Gosling (1)- Gosling’s addition of First Man is enough to keep him here. It’s not one of the best performances of the year—but it’s solid, and the other heavy-hitters, DiCaprio, DDL can’t overtake him as they didn’t work. Even Bale’s achievement in Vice, though it’s superior to Goslings, isn’t in a great film either.
- Daniel Day-Lews (3)- DDL did nothing to surpass Dicaprio in 2018 (they both took another year off) but Phantom Thread is two years more recent than The Revenant.
- Leonardo Dicaprio (2)- I want to move other actors past him but it was such a weak year for male actor leads.
- Adam Driver (4)- 12 archiveable films since 2012 (granted with a few very small parts in there) but still. His work in 2018’s Blackkklansman is enough to praise and hold serve from last year’s #4 slot
- Christian Bale (6)- This decade Bale has now had two tremendous collaborations with David O. Russell (The Fighter, American Hustle) and Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice).
- Joaquin Phoenix (HM)- Getting to star as a center entity in one of Lynn Ramsay’s works was the perfect opportunity for Phoenix to rebound from a couple of down years. He’s very good in The Sisters Brothers as well but it’s You Were Never Really Here that leaps Phoenix from the honorable mention list last year to the top 6.
- Ethan Hawke (HM)- Hawke’s First Reformed performance was so important for his career and resume. It gives him range- he’s no longer exclusively the free-spirit Gen-X’er. It also gives him some variation like working with Pawlikowski did earlier in the decade—another great film where he’s not the male-muse or Linklater surrogate.
- Daniel Kaluuya (HM)- Get Out and Widows in back to back years as real candidates for the best male acting performance of the year in both years. His 10 minutes in Widows is worth more than the 2 hours of Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody or Christian Bale in Vice.
- Michael Jordan (10)- Being a weak year for male acting performances here the work 12 months ago in Black Panther is enough to move him up a slot even. I’m nervous though- three films in the archives since 2013- Fruitvale Station, Creed and Black Panther. He’s superb in all of them—all of them with Ryan Coogler.
- Oscar Isaac (7)- He’s good in Annihilation so he holds onto a slot in the top 10 here but we’re getting pretty far in the distance from his astonishing 2013-2014 with Inside Llewyn Davis, Ex Machina, A Most Violent Year.
- Colin Farrell- He’s about the fifth best performance in Widows but his recent resume is substantial with The Beguiled in 2017 and two collaborations with Yorgos Lanthimos in Sacred Deer (2017) and especially his career-best work in The Lobster (2015)
- Tom Hardy– I’m ready for a top 10 of the year film where Tom Hardy gives the best performance– it’s never happened—perhaps that’s not in the cards and he’s not that type of actor?
- Ralph Fiennes – another year removed from Grand Budapest, A Bigger Splash and the best scene in Hail Caesar!
- Stephan James- James had a breakout 2018 with both If Beale Street Could Talk and Homecoming.
- Jake Gyllenhaal- He continues to do interesting work and added Velvet Buzzsaw and The Sister Brothers to his archiveable resume in the last 12 months and his last five years resume still includes Nightcrawler
*****fell off last year’s list
- Michael Fassbender (8)
- Matthew McConaughey (HM)
- Michael Stuhlbarg (HM)
“ DDL did nothing to surpass Dicaprio in 2018 (they both took another year off)” they did not take a year off just because they didn’t star in a film in 2018, they were most certainly working on upcoming projects like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Leonardo Dicaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie, directed by Quinton Tarantino.
@Evan– thanks for visiting the site and the comment. yes- i don’t mean they sat around literally doing nothing. i mean they did not add to their resume in 2018– regardless of the reason.
In my opinion Ben Affleck deserves at least spot 100 in top actors. Being alright in Batman v superman and plain bad in gigli among other films doesn’t erase performances like the town and good will hunting. Obviously not filled with range, but a true talent, and as a director as well
@Chris — thanks again for the comment and for visiting the site. So you think Ben Affleck is a top 100 actor of all-time (that list is here http://thecinemaarchives.com/2018/07/19/the-top-100-male-actors-of-all-time/) or a top 10-15 actor currently? Or both. I think he’s great in “The Town”, “Gone Girl” and a few others but have to admit i don’t think he’s quite in the class of the actors on either list. I do not count his work as a director (though he’s a fine director with 3 archiveable films there) as I think that’s separate. who on this list or the top 100 all-time do you think he’s better than?
Just browsing your site Drake I got to tell you this is like porn for movie lovers. You really build a great site here just looking at this part of it, at some point the movie Gone girl was mentioned I’m a big fincher fan, but he has his misses, and for me the first time I saw this it was a miss. Recently rewatched it. It played very differently for me the second time. Finish line such a good film. I agree that Affleck is not one of the hundred best actors of all time. I truly think he’s a better director than actor. Although he’s given some good performances. One that often gets overlooked is changing lanes. So good in that film as is Samuel Jackson
Kalluya is absolutely amazing in
widows.He should have won the academy award for best supporting actor though I really like Mahershala Ali in Green Book.But I have to say I’m disappointed with Widows.The execution of his death was not good.Michelle Rodriguez felt like a weakness.I don’t know what the hell happened to Colin Farell and that big fat black guy.It went unexplained.The thought to merge the escape after the robbery and Neeson’s relationship with Viola Davis at the beginning is inspired.But Neeson kissing an ugly Viola Davis is just horrible.makes me vomit.Widows is no more than an HR for me.
Do you agree?
@Janith- I do not agree
So do you think the film started great by having Neeson kiss an ugly Viola Davis?Do you think Michelle Rodriguez was great.I do not think so.A lot of her scenes fell flat.What happened to Colin Farell’s character.Certainly a must see film can’t have that many plot holes.That 6.9 on IMDb is absolutely justified.A lot of ambition but not an incredibly engaging film.Certainly doesn’t land in my top ten of 2018.And lastly Kalluya deserved a far far better death.He was great.
@Janith- I disagree with your comments on Widows.
Is Viola Davis particularly ugly? That’s never been my impression. And even if it were, how does that impact the quality of the film in any way?
Also, that “big fat black guy” is Brian Tyree Henry, one of the most exciting up and coming actors on the planet. Perhaps you’ve seen him setting the screen on fire in Atlanta, or in the best scene from If Beele Street Could Talk.
Colin Farrell’s character won his reelection because of a surge of sympathy owing to his father’s murder. Brian Tyree Henry’s character lost for the same reason. It’s all pretty clearly communicated in the film (which I’ve only seen once when it was in theaters).
I can take or leave Michelle Rodriguez generally, but she didn’t detract from the film.
Exactly what I was composing – I don’t see how a person’s aesthetic look affects an entire film’s quality.
I saw him in If Beale Street could talk but I didn’t remember the name that’s why I said big fat black guy.I don’t know Liam Neeson is an actor that I usually like but I didn’t like him in Widows(That opening scene of him kissing Davies makes me vomit)Michelle Rodriguez was certainly a weakness.Do you think Kalluya’s character was killed off brilliantly.Certainly I don’t think so.The main reason I am saying Widows is an HR is that I don’t found it incredibly engaging.Yep Viola Davis kissing Liam Neeson at the beginning is a weak scene(Can’t they at least have them kiss standing like in Beale Street)and a weak scene at the beginning sets a wrong impression on the viewer.
Did you see Capone(2020)?Very popularizing.Is it good or is it even worse than J.Edgar?
@Hashan– have not had the chance to see Capone (2020) yet
Great performances that didn’t get nominated for the academy award for best actor.1)John Wayne-Stagecoach(1939)2)Humphrey Bogart-Maltese Falcon(1941)-(He or Orson Welles should have won) 3)Humphrey Bogart-To have and have not(1944) 4)Humphrey Bogart-The Big Sleep(1946) 5)Cary Grant-Notorious(1946) 6)Henry Fonda-My Darling Clementine(1946) 7)John Wayne-Red River(1948) 8)Humphrey Bogart-Trasure of the Sierra Madre(1948) 9)Humphrey Bogart-In a lonely place(1950)10)Gene Kelly-Singing in The Rain(1952) 11)Takashi Shimura-Ikiru(1952)12)Jimmy Stewart-Rear Window(1954) 13)John Wayne-The Searchers(1956)-(Should have won) 14)Henry Fonda-12 Angry Men(1957)15)Jimmy Stewart-Vertigo(1958)-(should have won)16)Cary Grant-North by Northwest(1959) 17)Steve Mcqueen-Bullitt(1968)18)Paul Newman-Butch Casidy and The Sundance Kid(1969)19)William Holden-Wild Bunch(1969)20)Dustin Hoffman-Little Big Man(1970)21)Malcolm Macdowell-A Clockwork Orange(1971)-(Worthy winner even though Hackman is a worthy winner too) 22)Warren Beatty-Mccabe and Mrs.Miller(1971)23)Harvey Keitel-Mean Streets(1973) 24)Gene Hackman-The Conversation(1974)-A worthy winner in most years 25)Martin Sheen-Apocalypse Now(1979)-(should have won) 26)Jack Nicholson-The Shining(1980) 27)James Caan-Thief(1981)28)Robert De Niro-The King of Comedy(1982) 29)Al Pacino-Scarface(1983) 30)Tom Cruise-Risky Business(1983) 31)Robert De Niro-Once Upon a Time In America(1984) 32)Jeremy Irons-Dead Ringers(1988)-(should have won) 33)Ray Liotta-Goodfellas(1990)-(should have won) 34)Johnny Depp-Edward Scissorhands(1990) 35)Jeff Bridges-Fisher King(1991) 36)Daniel Day Lewis-Last of the Mohicans(1992)37)Harvey Keitel-Bad Lieutenant(1992) 38)Bill Murray-Groundhog Day(1993) 39)Johnny Depp-Ed Wood(1994) 40)Robert De Niro-Casino/Heat(1995) 41)Johnny Depp-Dead Man(1995) 42)Mark Wahlberg-Boogie Nights(1997)43)Jeff Bridges-The Big Lebowski(1998)-(He or Norton should have won)44)Brad Pitt-Fight Club(1999) 45)Edward Norton-Fight Club(1999)46)Matt Damon-Talented Mr.Ripley(1999)47)Christian Bale-American Psycho(2000)-(Should have won) 48)Gene Hackman-Royal Tenenbaums(2001)-(should have won) 49)Leornado Dicaprio-Catch Me If You Can(2002)-(Probably his career best) 50)Adam Sandler-Punch Drunk Love(2002) 51)Edward Norton-25th Hour(2002)52)Russell Crowe-Master and Commander(2003) 53)Brad Pitt-The Assasination of Jesse James(2007) 54)Leornado Dicaprio-Shutter Island/Inception(2010) 55)Ryan Gosling-Blue Valentine(2010) 56)Ryan Gosling-Drive(2011) 57)Oscar Isaac-Inside Llewn Davis(2013)-(Should have won) 58)Tom Hanks-Captain Phillips(2013) 59)Joaquin Phoenix-Her(2013)60)Ralph Fiennes-Grand Budapest Hotel(2014)-(He or Keaton should have won) 61)Jake Gyllenhaal-Nightcrawler(2014) 62)Miles Teller-Whiplash(2014) 63)Adam Driver-Paterson(2016) 64)Ryan Gosling-Blade Runner 2049(2017)65)Adam Sandler-Uncut Gems(2019)-(How did Jonathan Pryce get nominated over this guy) So many great performances got overlooked by the academy.These guys are supposed to know what they are doing.Any disagreements with the above list?
I forgot to mention 4 of them.They are 66)Michael Fassbender-Shame(2011) 67)Michael Shannon-Take Shelter(2011) 68)Colin Farell-Lobster(2015) 69)Jim Carrey-Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind(2004).Do you think any of the above guys don’t deserve to be nominated?