Underrated Performances of 2011

DARKNITE shouts out to the under-appreciated!

It is award season once again, and we have to endure the boredom of the same nominees at the various award shows. We get another year of people nominated for playing famous people in biopics again and the usual gang of actors who always seem to be nominated out of tradition and as per usual there are a host of incredible performances that are not represented because either the film got overlooked or because the performers do not meet the status quo of popularity that nominees are supposed to meet. Because we love there work and think they deserve recognition here are the performances that while spectacular will sadly be overlooked.

Ewan McGregor-Beginners: True his co-star Christopher Plummer is gaining numerous nominations for this film, and deservedly so. But, McGregor turns in an equally good but far less flamboyant and noticeable performance as his son. He transforms from a dashing leading man into an understated everyman right before our eyes.

Haley Atwell-Captain America: To play a superheroes girlfriend is one thing, but to steal the show from the superhero is completely different. With a combination of gorgeous classic starlet looks and acting talent that blew everyone away, Atwell evolved past the typical damsel in distress and became a fiercely independent butt kicker in her own right when the time came to bash in some Nazi heads.

Bryan Cranston- Drive: In one of the most beloved movies of the year; he lacked Gosling’s quiet smoldering presence, he also did not have Albert Brooks calm scariness but Cranston as the tragic mechanic, Shannon threw himself into the role. From the way he moved to the way he looked Cranston became the character in a way that would make Gary Oldman jealous. While Brooks is getting the award nominations and Gosling is getting praise for his coolness, it would a crime to forget Cranston.

Michael Parks-Red State: While Kevin Smith’s grand experiment in filmmaking may have failed the acting was not what did it in. As the charismatic hate mongering preacher, Abin Cooper, Parks completely owned every scene he was in. I defy you not to watch him deliver his sermon and not be held at complete attention by Parks.

William Fichtner-Drive Angry: One of those faces you recognize in film as “oh that’s that guy from that one movie! I like him.” Drive Angry may have been a silly B-flick shot to make money off a 3D gimmick and give Nic Cage a paycheck while putting Amber Heard in short shorts, but Fichtner seems to have been the only one who got the point of the movie being fun. He was the biggest source of entertainment in every scene he was in, the filmmakers missed the mark by not making him and the cool character he plays the central focus of the flick.

Nicholas Hoult-X-Men: First Class: While Michael Fassebender had his big breakout from this film with his intense portrayal of Magneto; Hoult also put forth just as much effort in his performance as the Beast. Anybody who has seen Hoult in his earlier work such as the television series, Skins, knows he  is; dashing, charismatic, and quite capable of being the lead actor in a movie, yet in the latest installment of the X-Men franchise he transforms into an unassuming science geek that is a drastic departure from his usual role.

Nick Nolte-Warrior: A movie that did not receive the love it so richly deserved and though being an intense and emotional movie it seems like it will be ignored by the various award shows. One of the highlights of this movie is Nick Nolte who plays a failed father struggling to regain the trust of his sons. His trademark grizzled demeanor serves him well but it’s the genuine emotion that he brings to the role that makes him shine.

Mark Strong-Green Lantern: At this point I’m sure everyone has realized that this movie was simply a CGI blowout without much substance but it must be pointed out that if anyone could bring Green Lantern’s arch-nemesis it was going to be Mark Strong. Ask any comic fan they’ll tell you Strong played Sinestro perfectly. So let’s just hope that in the pending sequel he is finally made the villain he should have been.