Best Male Performances | The Best of 2014

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Since we just missed the cutoff of launching the Bit Players at the end of last year, we wanted to post what we considered to be our year-end roundup of 2014 in film. There were tons of amazing films and performances to choose from, and it was hard to narrow down to a consensus, but we managed to do that by the end. Inside you will find the best films, best male performances, best female performances, best directors, most overrated films, most underrated films, worst films, and the best scenes of the year, as well as our individual ballots if you want to see where all of these selections came from. Enjoy, and we look forward to a great year of watching film together along with you in 2015.

Jake Gyllenhaal
5. Jake Gyllenhaal
Nightcrawler
Louis Bloom

The audience cringes in fear for each action taken by this mentally unstable character. J Gyll nails both his subtle and overt mania. In a year with several stand-out male performances, this is my favorite. – Jarryd Baxter

J.K. Simmons
4. J.K. Simmons
Whiplash
Terence Fletcher

The best movie of the year features the best performance of the year. Simmons was given the role he was born to play and that is always when great becomes iconic. – Clark Carmichael

Ralph Fiennes
3. Ralph Fiennes
The Grand Budapest Hotel
M. Gustave

Ralph Fiennes has to have given one of the most underrated performances of the year, if only for the character’s uncanny ability to constantly walk this line between propriety and absolute vulgarity, often with bits of himself on each side of the line at once. It’s a brilliant and delightful character whom I could never imagine played by anyone other than Fiennes. Just like the balance between the proper and vulgar, M. Gustave is a character both tragic and comic, and to pull that off has to be difficult for an actor. Almost everything he says makes me laugh, but there is a deep and dark well of loneliness beneath the character that makes you want to be his friend for all different reasons. – Jeff Pearson

Michael Keaton
2. Michael Keaton
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Riggan Thomson

Eddie Redmayne
1. Eddie Redmayne
The Theory of Everything
Stephen Hawking

This is one of the best performances I have ever seen, but not because of his charisma, enthusiasm, or unique delivery of lines. This is one of the best physical performances I have ever seen, and I was very impressed watching him transform throughout the movie from a fully healthy man to a man in the late stages of ALS. This is also one of those roles where I would imagine the actor is nothing much at all like the character he is playing. He made a great Stephen Hawking. I was never impressed with Eddie Redmayne before this movie but now I am excited to see what he does next, despite the fact that he’s not on my Oscar Fantasy League team. – Anders Oster

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