PGCMAs: Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Cast (2013)

Posted: February 5, 2014 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson PGCMA 2013*The above image represents 2012’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.

Best Actress

Amy Adams, American HustleIn a few short years, Amy Adams has quietly risen to become on the best working actresses in the industry. She has tremendous range, range which she puts to great use in American Hustle. This is a character that needs to be ruthless and cunning while still likable. In many ways, she’s the emotional core of the film and she does a great job.

Cate Blanchett, Blue JasmineCate Blanchett is a lot like Meryl Streep in that no matter what she’s in, you know she’ll give an interesting performance. Her work in Blue Jasmine is among her most interesting. Blanchett takes a character which could have easily turned out horrible in the wrong hands and makes her feel real. She hits Jasmine’s emotional beats perfectly and really builds a three-dimensional person.

Sandra Bullock, GravityNot only does Sandra Bullock have the challenge of essentially being on her own for large chunks of the movie and not only does she have to react to the heavy circumstances her character faces, but she also needs to create a character and give her a complete arc with minimal dialogue. That’s not easy to do, especially in a film which is driven by spectacle.

Julie Delpy, Before MidnightIt might be easy to take Delpy’s work for granted given it’s her third time playing Celine, but that’s not far. This is a challenging role. Not only does she need to have a wide range of emotions which often come to play in the same scene, but Delpy also needs to make it all feel completely natural and real, even more so than most performances. If nothing else, the fact that Delpy is able to draw something new from this character after all this time is impressive.

Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest ColorLike Delpy, Adèle Exarchopoulos needs to feel 100% authentic and real, otherwise the film would fall apart. Exarchopoulos excels in this regard while also delivering an interesting and emotional performance. Watching the character change over the film is the highlight of Blue is the Warmest Color, and Exarchopoulos’ performance is largely why.

And The Winner Is…

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Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

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Throughout the awards season, the one given is that Blanchett almost always won Best Actress. I hate to be a follower but she really does deserve it. Her performance in Blue Jasmine is one of the most interesting this year across all categories

Best Actor

I just want to make a quick note and say I had a really hard time narrowing this down to five nominees. I could have just easily filled these slots with the next five best and been satisfied. So if your favourite isn’t here, that’s likely why.

Christian Bale, American HustleGaining weight and rocking an elaborate comb over, Christian Bale looks physically ridiculous in American Hustle. And yet how interesting is it that his performance is one of restraint. It’s a very engaging performance and one of Bale’s best.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall StreetThe fact that Leonardo DiCaprio can act isn’t a surprise, but what is surprising is how adept he is at comedy. As it turns out, the man has great comedic timing and he also brings a lot of energy to the role. Beyond that, DiCaprio is able to inject a degree of humanity to Jordan Belfort that keeps him real and even likable.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a SlaveI’ve always liked Chiwetel Ejiofor, but I had no idea he was capable of what he pulled off in 12 Years a Slave. Ejiofor hits the heavy emotional beats flawlessly, but he is also able to build a character out of Solomon through subtle means. It’s an honest portrayal and Ejiofor delivers some fantastic scenes as well.

Tom Hanks, Captain PhillipsEveryone loves Tom Hanks, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen him really knock it out of the park. With Captain Phillips, Hanks returns with a vengeance. Perfectly cast as the everyman ship captain, Hanks delivers a very strong and nuanced performance which really builds.

Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn DavisThe titular character is selfish, arrogant, rude, and proud to a fault. Not flattering characteristics, but Oscar Isaac dives in and fully embodies himself in the role. What really puts his work over the top though is that he takes this theoretically unlikable person and actually makes him somewhat sympathetic. That’s no small feat.

And The Winner Is…

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Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

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There were a lot of great performances among the nominees, but I don’t think any actor embodied their character quite like Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup. His performance is extremely powerful, emotional, and raw. Everything about his work is impressive, from the emotional beats he hits to subtle details like how he carries himself though the film. It’s masterful performance which will stick with me for a long time.

Best Cast

This is the award where I look at the cast as a whole. Having a lot of great performances is important, but so is how the various cast members interact with each other.

12 Years a SlaveSo far, 12 Years a Slave has already won four out of five PGCMAs for acting. And of course that doesn’t include the great work from performers like Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Paul Dano, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Adepero Oduye, among others. So yeah, it’s a pretty good cast.

American HustleWatching everyone in American Hustle play off each other is a real treat. The way all of the relationships become intertwined and collide over the course of the film is a highlight and each of the principals give an interesting performance. There’s some good supporting turns too, notably Louis C.K. and a fun cameo from Robert De Niro.

Inside Llewyn DavisThe Coens are known to have a group of actors they frequently work with, but outside of John Goodman, the major players of Inside Llewyn Davis have never worked with the Coens previously. Oscar Isaac gives his best turn yet and Carrey Mulligan shows a new side of herself. Additionally, the bit parts like the couple whom Llewyn crashes with are interesting in and of themselves.

The Wolf of Wall StreetScorsese might be the only director on Earth that could put together a cast like this. I say this because he’s one of the few directors that everybody wants to work with and it shows here. In addition to the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio, the film benefits from veterans like Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Matthew McConaughey, contemporary stars like Jonah Hill and Jean Dujardin, and the revelation of new comer Margot Robbie. Every actor gives a great performance and half the fun of the film is wondering how might pop up next.

The World’s EndDespite the science-fiction elements, the core of The World’s End is about a group of friends returning to their hometown. As such, the friends need to carry a sense of comradery which thankfully they do. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are blast as always and Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsen fit in nicely. There are also some fun appearances by David Bradley and Bill Nighy. It’s also worth noting this might be Pegg’s best performance.

And The Winner Is…

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The Wolf of Wall Street

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This came down to a tough call between Wolf and American Hustle. However I give the edge to the Scorsese film for two main reasons. One, the actors don’t hijack The Wolf of Wall Street the same way they do in American Hustle. Two, the casting decisions made by Scorsese are just interesting to me. The film has such a wide range of faces that you wouldn’t expect to see in a film together, and yet every actor fits perfectly.

Comments
  1. I agree with everything except best actor. I just have a hunch it’s Leo’s turn to win. :)

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