Full disclosure: I wasn’t allowed to use the entire cast of Everybody Wants Some.
We’re just over halfway through the year, which gives me (and seemingly every other movie blogger) the opportunity to wax lyrical about our favorite performances of 2016 so far. Come awards season, chances are everyone will have forgotten about these – so it seems like a nice idea to give them their moment in the spotlight. They may not receive the Academy’s seal of approval, but at least they’ll have mine. I know which one I’d prefer. (Not mine.)
It’s been a strange year. Naturally January was as horrendous as ever, but what followed was anything but. From mid-February onwards, audiences were treated to a slew of great movies – from critical darlings like The Witch, to box office juggernauts like Deadpool. Even with the summer movie season getting off to a pretty dire start, we’ve still been gifted with an uncharacteristically large amount of great performances from the first half of 2016…
5) Luke Evans, High-Rise
“Doesn’t it seem odd, that a man can fall from the 39th floor – and not one police car turn up?!“
Luke Evans has been milling around Hollywood for a little while now, popping in-and-out of franchises like Fast & Furious and The Hobbit, but never quite breaking out on his own. His turn in Ben Wheatley’s High-Rise is unlike anything we’ve seen him in before, showing off his dramatic side. Ferocious and unsettling, Evans’ rage-fueled Richard Wilder is captivating to watch – stealing the show as he catalyses the film’s descent towards a violent, chaotic finale.
4) Imogen Poots, Green Room
“Tell somebody who gives a shit.“
Violence is something Imogen Poots is no stranger to herself, following her commanding turn in Jeremy Saulnier’s excellent Green Room. We don’t actually meet Poots’ Amber until about a third of the way through the movie, but once she’s onscreen she never lets you go. Equally adept at building suspense as she is in a bloody shootout, part of Amber’s appeal is her mystique – you’re never quite sure whether you can trust her or not. She’s a lethal enigma.
3) Glen Powell, Everybody Wants Some
“Has he told you about his average cock?“
Richard Linklater is famed for his eccentric characters, and in Everybody Wants Some‘s Finnegan he’s crafted his most lovable one since Dewey Finn. Equal parts a lover and a philosopher, it’s easy to dismiss him as a wannabe Wooderson at first, but Glen Powell‘s delightful performance helps imbue the character with his own brand of charm. Blessed with a natural wit and a peculiar pick-up line, Powell is the heart & soul of the year’s most entertaining ensemble cast.
2) Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship
“Facts are horrid things.“
For years, Kate Beckinsale’s been typecast in sub-standard roles by directors who were often only concerned about her looks. Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship offered Beckinsale an escape from that monotony, and she embraced it with open arms. She delivers one of the year’s most compelling anti-heroes in Lady Susan, whose stubborn temperament is only matched by her devious cunning. It’s her finest performance – and one worthy of awards attention.
1) Jack Reynor, Sing Street
“Rock n Roll is a risk. You risk being ridiculed.“
Jack Reynor is a superstar, and it’s time we all admitted it. As the older brother and mentor to Sing Street‘s ambitious young hero, Reynor channels the aforementioned Dewey Finn’s passion for music – adding a little Irish charm for good measure. Brendan’s selfless devotion to his brother is both inspiring & heartbreaking to watch, as it’s clear he fosters regrets about his own life. It’s a scene-stealing supporting turn, and one that should put Reynor on the map for good.
Cutting both Mary Elizabeth Winstead & John Goodman was one of the hardest choices I had to make in assembling this list. The former gave 10 Cloverfield Lane an action heroine worthy of Ellen Ripley, while the latter delivered a performance that evoked as much sympathy as it did fear. Equally chilling was Olivia Colman‘s turn as the hotel manager in The Lobster, while Jake Gyllenhaal was as terrific as ever in the criminally underrated Demolition. Naturally he’ll be forgotten as always come Oscar season.
Elisabeth Moss (High-Rise) & J. Quinton Johnson (Everybody Wants Some) are two examples of some of the great supporting players who were only just overshadowed by their co-stars above. Ryan Gosling boasts the funniest performance of the year so far in The Nice Guys – narrowly pipping Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool. And finally, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t adore Jesse Eisenberg‘s maniacal Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman. Ding ding ding ding ding…