By disappointment media Staff
Sean Boelman's Pick: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
In what is one of the most surprising turns of the year, Adam Sandler gives a career-best performance as jeweler and compulsive gambler Howard in the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems. Although the film as a whole is admittedly a bit rough around the edges, Sandler’s performance is the thing that makes the film work. This film went through multiple phases, many of which would have had someone other than Sandler in the lead role, and it is likely that the film wouldn’t have worked nearly as well. This role allows Sandler to have quite a bit of nuance, with some scenes tapping into his potential to be very subtle. However, for much of the film, it is Sandler’s charismatic (yet also anxiety-inducing) personality that comes through, causing the film to be the emotional rollercoaster that it is.
Camden Ferrell's Pick: Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Divorce is a topic that is explored often in film but rarely as captivating as 2019’s Marriage Story. This is mostly due to the phenomenal lead performance from Adam Driver. We see his character going through a strenuous and expensive divorce with his wife all while trying to juggle his job as a theater director and continue being a parent to his 8-year-old son. His role is a complicated role to nail, and he does it perfectly. He remarkably portrays the reality of divorce and the toll it takes on those involved. Despite the rather serious nature of the film, his performance is still filled with moments of laughter, awkwardness, and joy. He balances this with his painful scenes of frustration and vulnerability. He has fantastic chemistry with Scarlett Johansson, and it all feels extremely real. His performance is a resonant one that will speak to many people in a way only Driver could, and it’s the best leading performance by an actor of 2019.
Dan Skip Allen's Pick: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Joaquin Phoenix gives the performance of his career as a damaged and deranged man in this film. Arthur Fleck is made fun of, manipulated, and embarrassed throughout the film, leading him to become what we all fear, the worst part of who we are. Phoenix embodies the worst possible outcome of people who are broken inside. The emotion he brings to the forefront can be seen as real and legitimate. Phoenix deserves to win his first Academy Award for Best Actor. He's been overlooked in years past, but not this year. He clearly gives the best performance of the year as Arthur Fleck aka Joker.
What are your favorite performances of 2019? Let us know!
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