PG Cooper: Acting Awards (2010)

Posted: January 15, 2011 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

The final post before I move into my top ten films of 2010, the acting awards. I don’t think I need to go into a lot of depth setting these awards up, just honoring the best lead performances of the year.

Best Actress

Annette Benning, The Kids Are All RightThe Kids Are All Right featured two very strong female performances and I had a hard time picking just one. While I do love Julianne Moore, I ultimately decided Benning was just slightly more deserving. She has to balance playing a character who can seem mean and almost cruel, but also has to make us understand why her character is doing what she’s doing. Benning pulls this off perfectly, playing a character we like, but one we wished would stop acting the way she is.

Chloe Moretz, Let Me In – I sure have talked about Chloe a lot haven’t I. The difference here is all her other nominees were for her performance in Kick Ass. While she was marvelous in that film, I’d argue her work here is even better. In Let Me In, Moretz plays an intriguing character and someone the audience isn’t quite sure of. She manages to elicit several emotions from sadness to fear. She’s an interesting and tragic character, and no one could have done a better job than Moretz.

Natalie Portman, Black Swan – I’ve always liked Natalie Portman, but she pushed herself farther than I ever could have imagined for Black Swan. Portman plays the unbalanced dancer Nina, who is so determined to be perfect she’s willing to take a path that could destroy her. The emotional and physical extremes Portman brought to the screen is nothing short of incredible.

Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit – The breakthrough performance of the year is also one of the best performances by anybody all year. There isn’t much I can add-on to what I already said. Steinfeld is brilliant. She’s charismatic, intelligent, and charming. Great performance from an actress I hope to see more of in the future.

Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One – Of the main three characters of the series, Watson has easily been the most consistent performer. Deathly Hallows marks her best work with some emotional scenes like her torture and the confrontation with Ron in the tent. There is also some really nice subtle moments, such as when she erases her parents memories. A great performance in a series not really known for its acting.

And The Winner Is…





Natalie Portman, Black Swan

If you read my Black Swan review, then you already knew Portman would win Best Actress. In that review, a say Portman’s performance was the best by any performer, male or female, all year. Not to take away from the next award, but I stand by that statement. Portman really went further than anybody else this year to create a character and I can safely say this performance will stick with me for a long time.

Best Actor

Ben Affleck, The Town – Everybody praised Affleck’s direction of The Town, but it seemed no one noticed his great performance at the center of the film. My theory is so many had already wrote him off as an actor that they don’t want a good Affleck performance. Affleck leads well though with charm as the leader of a gang of bank robbers. His performance isn’t as showy as the other nominees, but it was just as effective all the same.

Casey Affleck, The Killer Inside Me – I already raved about how good Casey was when I gave him the award for Best Villain, but I suppose what I said is worth repeating. Casey is dark, sinister and scary, but also somewhat pathetic and someone we feel sorry for. It’s a really interesting character and is right up there with Casey’s performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

Jeff Bridges, True Grit – Playing the part another actor won an Oscar for can be quite a daunting task. Bridges handles it masterfully though with one of the most memorable characters of the year. His portrayal of Rooster Cogburn is excellent. He’s funny, he’s a scumbag, but he’s so very love-able. This performance isn’t great because of in-depth emotions or something like that. It’s just a fine example of character creation.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Inception – The one thing most people over look about Inception is the awesome performance from DiCaprio. DiCaprio brought a lot of pain and sadness to his character and created someone you were truly sorry for. I realize, this isn’t a big stretch for DiCaprio to play (his character in Shutter Island was very similar) but good acting is still good acting.

Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network – I never would have imagined the Zombieland kid would have such a great performance in The Social Network. But sure enough, he did. The success or failure of the film rested on Eisenberg’s performance and he delivered, playing one of the most likable jerks in recent memory. It is an awkward nerd character, but it’s very different from most awkward nerds you see, and I loved it.

And The Winner Is…





Casey Affleck, The Killer Inside Me

The Killer Inside Me is easily my least favourite film of the five so it’s a real testament to how good Affleck is that he won. Casey is so good in this film, it’s almost shame the rest of the movie can’t live up to his greatness. This is arguably Casey’s best work yet, and I’m very proud to give him this award.

Best Ensemble Cast

This one I guess deserves an explanation. This award is for the films that find the best balance of quality and quantity actors.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One – The Potter films have always had impressive casts, but the acting done here tops the others. For one thing, as far as our three main protagonists go, this is the best they’ve ever been. Rupert Grint especially surprised me as this is a significant step up from his work in the last few films. While actors like Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane aren’t featured as much as they were in previous entries, this is a film that manages to focus more on character than the others.

Inception – Nolan always gets great actors in his movies. With Inception, Nolan has crafted a team full of colorful and fun characters. I’ve already talked about DiCaprio and Cotilard, but you’ve also get great performances from Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Tom Hardy, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, and the late Pete Postlethwaite. Like in 2009’s Inglorious Basterds, the film is jam-packed of talented actors, but all are given something interesting to do.

The Social Network – My friend and I had a discussion about how this was one of the strangest movie casts. At the center of it you had the kid from Zombieland, the next Spider-Man, and Justin Timberlake. We’d laugh at the absurdity of it…and then the movie came out. After that, the laughter changed to awes of respect as the cast really delivered. The film really benefits from three stellar performances, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and especially surprisingly Justin Timberlake. There’s also some good smaller parts for actors like Armie Hammer and Rashida Jones. A very good, albeit very unconventional, cast.

Toy Story 3 – We all love the characters from the Toy Story films. For a lot of us, these are characters we grew up with and really love. We also see some new actors join the fray such as Ned Beatty and Michael Keaton in addition to the old favourites. With a lot of colorful voice acting, I loved every character.

True Grit – Every single character in I’m talking about those characters with so little lines and I attention they wouldn’t even qualify for cameos. Despite this, even these bit players are given their own character different from the others.

And The Winner Is…





Toy Story 3

It’s strange that the winner of this award is a film with no nominations in any of the major acting categories. But when it really comes down to it, Toy Story 3 is the only film that needs it’s characters. With lesser ones, the film would have been pointless and lacking in its emotional depth.

  1. ianthecool says:

    I’m pretty sure Natalie Portman will be winning the Oscar’s best actress award as well.

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