The Ford On Film End Of Year Awards 2015: Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actor
Hello, and welcome to part 2 of the Ford On Film End of Year Awards 2015! Yesterday, I ranked my ten best films of the year, with Inside Out, Steve Jobs, and Sicario taking the top three positions, as well as World of Tomorrow taking the prize for Best Short Film.
Today, I’m counting down my choices for Best Supporting Actress and Best Supporting Actress. There have been some phenomenal supporting turns from this year, many of which are already tipped as awards favourites. First up, here are my picks for Best Supporting Actress:
Mya Taylor “Alexandra – Tangerine”
Rachel Weisz “Nosebleed Woman – The Lobster”
Suzanne Clement “Kyla – Mommy”
Marion Cotillard “Lady Macbeth – Macbeth”
Perhaps a controversial choice for Best Supporting, but Macbeth feels more like Michael Fassbender’s film than a joint lead. Despite struggling with her accent, Marion Cotillard gives an emotional performance as Lady Macbeth, convincing husband Fassbender to kill the King and take the crown as his own. Unlike previous adaptations, director Justin Kurzel portrays the Macbeths as grieving parents, and Cotillard’s performance reflects that, her church soliloquy absolutely devastating.
Olivia Cooke “Rachel Cushner – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”
I mostly hated Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Despite a game cast, plenty of nerdy film references and a lot of visual wit, it just never gelled or felt half-realistic. The only saving grace of the film was Olivia Cooke’s likable portrayal of Rachel, a teenage girl dying of cancer.
Unlike more shameless melodrama, Rachel’s cancer is never used for sentimentality; she’s cynical and stubborn for most of the runtime, only to have to face death in the final act. It says something about the strength of Cooke’s performance that I was incredibly moved by her character’s arc despite not being emotionally invested in anything else happening in the film.
Kate Winslet “Joanna Hoffman – Steve Jobs”
Providing a lot of the heart to an otherwise icy film, Kate Winslet has a great Polish accent and an even better moral compass as the titular character’s trusted advisor. Stuck in a love/hate relationship with her boss, she’s the only person capable of getting through to Jobs, and her sensitive treatment of Jobs’ five year old daughter is heart-warming. It’s not a hugely flashy role, and her sharp comebacks instead of weepy monologues may cost her an Oscar nomination.
Greta Gerwig “Brooke Cardinas – Mistress America”
It’s been a good year for Noah Baumbach, with two great films to boot in Mistress America and While We’re Young. While We’re Young was the better film, but Mistress America featured the best performance in Greta Gerwig’s live-wire Brooke, a woman with so much energy and sharp wit (“You are much more of an asshole than you initially appear”) she barely has time to notice her life is falling apart.
Initially taking main character Lola Kirke under her wing, Brooke soon comes to realise she’s nothing more than inspiration for a novel, and it’s moving when Brooke finally slows down and falls apart. I’ve not been a big fan of Gerwig and Baumbach’s hipster style before, but Mistress America was great fun, and that was nearly all down to Gerwig’s restless performance.
Alicia Vikander “Eva – Ex Machina”
Possibly the breakout performance of the year, Alicia Vikander keeps getting cast in bigger and bigger films on the back of her outstanding performance as Eva, the slightly-too-human android at the heart of Alex Garland’s dark sci-fi Ex Machina. Vikander is pretty note perfect, from her slow, stuttering walk and calm, eerie manner of speaking to the disturbing emotional side she shows to Domnhall Gleeson’s Caleb. It’s one of the most convincing cyborg performances ever, and one that somehow manages to be sympathetic and chilling at the same time. Gleeson and Oscar Isaac are both very good but Vikander is simply sublime, a wonderful performance that catapulted her into the mainstream and gains her a deserved Ford On Film award for Best Supporting Actress of 2015.
Congratulations to Alicia Vikander, and now let’s count down the Best Supporting Actors of 2015:
Jeff Daniels “John Sculley – Steve Jobs”
Ronald Zehrfeld “Johnny – Phoenix”
Sean Harris “Macduff – Macbeth”
Oscar Isaac “Nathan – Ex Machina”
Seth Rogen “Steve Wozniak – Steve Jobs”
Matt Smith “Bully – Lost River”
The year’s strangest performance. The former Doctor Who Matt Smith sheds his lovable image to portray the shaven headed monster and central antagonist in Ryan Gosling’s messy directorial debut, Lost River. Despite his ludicrous name and introduction (driving around town shouting gibberish into a megaphone), Bully is a terrifying screen monster, unnervingly unpredictable throughout. The scene in which he interrogates Saiorse Ronan’s Rat is among the most tense scenes of the year.
Idris Elba “Commandant – Beasts of No Nation”
I found Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation slightly disappointing overall. The early scenes were powerful, but the film slowly lost its way and felt rather aimless for most of its long run time. If there’s one reason to watch it, it’s Idris Elba, commanding the screen as the aptly named Commandant.
Elba has always been a great actor but this is perhaps his first great film role, and one that might just earn him an Oscar nomination. His war lord is chilling and chillingly human, leading a group of innocent boys astray and killing all in his way. It’s an excellent performance that carries the film through its slower moments and never lets up.
Josh Brolin “Matt Graver – Sicario”
With this, Inherent Vice, and the upcoming Hail, Caesar!, it’s fair to say Josh Brolin is on a roll. His Matt Graver, a CIA man kitted out in shorts and Hawaiian shirts, would be hilarious if he wasn’t so dangerous.
Turning from nice to nasty in the blink of an eye, he initially seems laidback but quickly lets us know he’s a piercingly intelligent man on a mission. I appreciated the unpredictable side of Graver, and Brolin is an actor who can back up his intense gaze with an imposing figure that makes him menacing even when he appears to be a good guy.
Michael Shannon “Rick Carver – 99 Homes”
Michael Shannon has long been of the world’s best and most interesting character actors. When he appears in a cast list, you know he’s going to give a great performance. 99 Homes is no exception. As Rick Carver, a thoroughly unpleasant real estate agent making millions off of the market crash, Shannon is on top villain form, spouting mocking speeches about making money off of people’s misery and vaping away.
Some think the character is too cartoony, and it’s fair to say Shannon is enjoying playing an ireedemable shit, but so what? Carver is a memorable character and another terrific role in Shannon’s arsenal.
Benicio Del Toro “Alejandro Gillick – Sicario”
Despite being an Oscar winner, I can’t help but feel like Benicio Del Toro is underrated by most. His name never gets mentioned as one of the great actors, yet he keeps giving absolutely stunning performances. As Alejandro, the intensely committed former DA out for grisly revenge, Del Toro gives one of the scariest but most sympathetic performances of his career.
Alejandro is more monster than man, fuelled entirely by hatred for the cartel, yet his backstory, teased out over the course of Sicario, makes him if not likable, at least understandable. Talking in slow whispers, quickly turning to physical violence when needed, Alejandro is easily the most enigmatic and interesting character of 2015, and Del Toro serves him well with a stunning performance.
Thanks for reading, and join me tomorrow where I give out awards Best Actress and Best Actor!
By Harry J. Ford
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- Posted in: End of Year Review ♦ Lists
- Tagged: 2015, 99 homes, alicia vikander, beasts of no nation, benicio del toro, best film, best films of the year, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, ex machina, greta gerwig, idris elba, jeff daniels, josh brolin, kate winslet, lost river, macbeth, marion cotillard, matt smith, me and earl and the dying girl, michael shannon, mistress america, mommy, oscar isaac, phoenix, rachel weisz, sean harris, seth rogen, sicario, steve jobs, tangerine, the lobster