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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Best Female Performances

Best Female 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.

Julianne Moore
5. Julianne Moore
Still Alice
Alice Howland

I traded Julianne Moore to Clark for James McAvoy before this year’s draft. I won’t say it’s the worst decision I’ve ever made (I now have Professor X and Magneto on my team) but it certainly wasn’t the best. She is the closest thing we have to Meryl Streep which can be seen in Still Alice. She portrays a brilliant college professor going through various stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It is hard to watch. Good movie, but a great performance. – Anders Oster

Felicity Jones
4. Felicity Jones
The Theory of Everything
Jane Hawking

I know all the talk from the Theory of Everything was on Eddie Redmayne and his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, and that performance should, of course, be commended. However, this is really Jane Hawking’s story to tell, her book to adapt, her side of the struggle just as much as his, and Felicity Jones plays the part absolutely beautifully. She takes the feelings of love and fear and desperation that must come with seeing one’s significant other physically deteriorate and her portrayal of Jane is just as breathtaking as Redmayne’s; perhaps it went overlooked due to the subtle nature with which it’s performed, rather than the necessarily physical and spotlighted work that must be done for Stephen, but my eyes went to Jones just as much as they did to Redmayne to see her side of the story. – Jeff Pearson

Emma Stone
3. Emma Stone
Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Sam Thomson

In a film packed with superstars shining bright, Emma stands out. We all loved her before this movie, but here, she showed some true range and ability. It will be exciting to see what the future entails. – Jarryd Baxter

Marion Cotillard
2. Marion Cotillard
Two Days, One Night
Sandra

Essie Davis
1. Essie Davis
The Babadook
Amelia

The Babadook was a great film because Essie Davis played a troubled woman in such a refined way that even after multiple viewings her character still has more to reveal. – Clark Carmichael
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