Ford On Film

Chronicles of a silver screen addict

The Ford On Film End Of Year Awards 2014: Best Supporting Actor

Honourable Mentions:
Scoot McNairy ‘Frank
Riz Ahmed ‘Nightcrawler
David Koechner ‘Cheap Thrills
Jake Lacy ‘Obvious Child
Rupert Friend ‘Starred Up’

Jamie Bell ‘Nymphomaniac: Volume II

NymphomaniacThe second half of Lars Von Trier’s sex addiction odyssey, Nymphomaniac: Volume II was a disappointment, lacking the focus and intrigue of the first half. One of its few redeeming features was Jamie Bell, who sheds any trace of his former roles as Billy Elliot and Tintin to absolutely convince as an intense sadist. It’s a small role, barely more than a cameo, but he brings a real energy to the screen, and the film suffers once he departs.

Chris O’Dowd ‘Calvary

Calvary 2
Hands up: Who thought Chris O’Dowd could pull off a scene as dramatic and raw as the ‘beach confrontation’ in Calvary? Primarily a comedy actor, O’Dowd was magnificent in John Michael McDonagh’s sublime Catholic guilt drama. Coming across as a goofy simpleton for much of the film’s running time, it’s only in the final ten minutes of the film we get to see dramatic actor Chris O’Dowd, and it is as emotional and disturbing a performance as I saw all year.

Noah Wiseman ‘The Babadook

The babadookFor every prodigious child actor who waltzes into the film industry and steals the show, there are a dozen more who bring down the film’s quality and burn out quickly. Luckily for Jennifer Kent, she found an absolute star in Noah Wiseman. At only 7 years old, he gives a more emotional performance than actors with decades more experience. It’s a testament to his performance that he can spend the first half of the film being as loud and antisocial as possible, and still gain your sympathy before the end.

Ethan Hawke ‘Boyhood

Ethan Hawke is one of my favourite actors, primarily because of Richard Linklater’s excellent ‘Before…’ trilogy. After seeing Linklater’s magnum opus Boyhood, it’s clear that the director brings out the best in Hawke because he gives a stellar performance as the distant Dad of protagonist Mason. It’s a realistic, grounded performance, but Hawke really nails every aspect of the divorced Dad who rarely sees his kids; trying to gain more insight into their lives, spouting vague philosophies and generally selling yourself as cool despite being disappointed in the way your life is going. It’s subtle and beautifully restrained; underplayed performances like this rarely get recognised, but I have no problem calling it one of the best performances of the year.

Michael Fassbender ‘Frank

Frank 3
It seems odd to say that the titular character in a film is a supporting one, but ultimately Lenny Abrahamson’s film is about Frank from the perspective of Domnhall Gleeson’s Jon, making Michael Fassbender a supporting actor, and the best one of the year at that. Michael Fassbender is one of the greatest actors of his generation (unbelievably, he’s only been acting for seven years), and his performance in Frank is one of the most daring I’ve ever seen. Hidden under a giant prosthetic head for much of the film, Fassbender gets to show off unseen physical comedy talents, unheard vocal talent and some very touching, subtle emotional beats. The film really takes Fassbender on a ride and his nervous, physical performance keeps up all the way through, and it’s his sheer energy and devotion to the role that makes him the clear winner for Best Supporting Actor of 2014.

By Harry Ford




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