Acting truly is one of the best art forms in the world. Actors go through intense work to build these characters and provide entertainment for us. I spend a lot of time watching movies and have witnessed some jaw-dropping performances and it makes me wonder what is the greatest I have ever seen? I was sitting around one night with this question in my head and with award season about to go into full swing, it seems fitting. I know movies are subjective and not everyone will agree, but hey I will allow you to challenge me on any of these. Let's do this.
1. Daniel Day- Lewis: My Left FootGiphy
This was the first performance that popped into my mind. Not only was My Left Foot an amazing film, but Daniel Day-Lewis took the role of Christy Brown to a whole new level. Lewis portrayed the artist and writer Christy Brown who had cerebral palsy. He truly looked as though he had the rare disease. Lewis would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Lewis would go on to prove that he is the best method actor in the game. Undoubtedly the best I have ever seen.
2. Robert De Niro: Raging BullGiphy
In a film which might be the finest by director Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro was absolutely brilliant playing middleweight champ, Jake LaMotta. De Niro got into great shape to take on the boxing aspect of the film and then put his body through a massive physical change to an overweight man in the later years. Everyone should see this film and if you are a boxing fan or movie fan in general, this is a masterpiece.
3. Marlon Brando: Godfather Part 1&2
I combined these two because they were both so great and iconic to it be insulting to say one was better than the other. Marlon Brando was amazing in the Godfather and if you have seen these two fine films you would agree. Some would call both of these films the best ever, but once again that is very subjective. Anyway, Brando was amazing and totally earned a slot right here for both performances.
4. Jack Nicholson: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's NestGiphy
To some, this may seem a little high, but I think Jack Nicholson was phenomenal. Playing the part of Randale McMurphy, Jack was amazing and this movie was selected for preservation at the National Library of Congress. Most reading this probably never knew this film existed, but go watch and see why it deserves to be within the top 5.
5. Daniel Day- Lewis: There Will Be Blood
Yes, I'm putting Daniel Day-Lewis in the top 5 twice, but because this performance was epic. There Will Be Blood is another film that is thought of as a masterpiece. Daniel Day-Lewis took on the role of playing a mad oil business man Daniel Plainview and he went full method into this role as well. Lewis captured another Oscar for this role.
6. Denzel Washington: Malcolm X
Denzel Washington's finest work and that is saying something considering some of the other films he has stared in. But, Malcolm X was great and this role took his career to new heights. Malcolm X was outspoken and Washington handles it with grace, could have put this in the top 5 but hey this field is loaded right now.
7. Russell Crowe: The Insider
Another film where most may or may not remember, but Russell Crowe put in his best work in this intelligent thriller. Crowe played Jeffrey Wigand a scientist who turned into a whistleblower to expose what the big tobacco companies would not tell the people. You gotta go and watch this one, it will leave you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.
8. Adrien Brody: The Pianist
I think this is one of the most under-appreciated performance of all time. Adrien Brody played Wladyslaw Szipilman a brilliant composer who escaped the hand of the Nazis in the Warsaw ghetto. Brody went under a dramatic transformation to play the part and learned the piano in order to play the part. Once again, this performance was amazing and I think under appreciated. He also took home an Oscar for this film.
9. Charlize Theron: MonsterGiphy
I'll say this another performance that some forget, but Charlize Theron was so epic and evil in this film to the point of greatness. She plays the serial killer Aileen Wuornes and she changed her body to fit this role and it was incredible. I truly praise this one and I think more people need to see this film.
10. Heath Ledger: The Dark Knight
I had a hard time finding where to rank this performance. Heath, hands down, was the best joker of all time and might be this version of the character might be the greatest villain in superhero movie history. Ledger went all out for this role, it is a shame that he never got the chance to see his performance on the big screen. As great as he was, I just couldn't put him ahead of some these fantastic actors.
This was truly a loaded field and all of these actors that made the list all won Oscars. What are some of your favorite acting performances? Maybe this list will get the thoughts going.