Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Denny Awards - Pt 2 - Most Compelling Performances (Male)

Part 2/4 of my Annual "Denny Awards" ;-)
(Other Years' Awards)

Part I - Best Films
Part II - Most Compelling Performances / Character Roles (Male)
Part III - Most Compelling Performances / Character Roles (Female)
Part IV - "The Pale Dennys" - Films about Hist Events Generally NOT taught in School

CHILD (male)
    Most Compelling:

              Patrick Lorenczat and Levin Liam as 14-year old Fritchen and 9-year old Hans in Wolfschildren (orig. Wolfskinder) [2013] who behind Red Army lines, in former East Prussia, one year after WW II are told by their dying mother to leave her behind and instead walk on their own 100 miles East to also Soviet occupied Lithuania to a family that she hoped would take care of them.  Talk about growing-up fast ...
    Honorable Mentions:
              Bill Hader voicing Flint Lockwood in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 [2013], okay he was kinda a nerd but WOW was he creative!      

TEEN (male)
    Most Compelling:
               Jacob Latimore as Langston in Black Nativity [2013] a struggling teenager with a lot of questions about his and his family's past, living in a single-parent household and at least initially no one wants to tell him anything.
    Honorable Mentions:
               Miles Teller as Sutter in the Spectacular Now [2013] the most popular kid in his high school, despite having problems of his own (growing-up in a single parent home where arguably he's the parent much of the time, plus having an obvious emerging drinking problem of his own). Still despite his difficulties at home and his status in school, he chooses to use his popularity / social gifts to help the quieter folk in his school.  What a guy ;-)
                Luis Omar O'Farrill as Carlos in The Gold Brooch (orig. El Broche d'Oro) [2013] the teenage son of a moderately successful businessman in Puerto Rico.  Dad scored a better job stateside in Orlando but Carlos already has his life and friends in PR.  What to do?
                Liam James as Duncan in The Way, Way Back [2013] the utterly basket-case of a child-of-divorce having (one hopes) the worst summer of his life.  What do you do when your dad ran away with some other woman and your mom is also finding it really next to impossible to cope?
                Celso Franco as Victor in 7 Boxes (orig. 7 Cajas) [2012] a teenager in Asuncíon, Paraguay with a job of taxiing stuff bought and sold at the city's Central Market.  Now he's given a job of transporting 7 boxes from one end of the market to the other and if he completes the gig, he'll be given enough money to buy a smartphone.  But what could possibly be in those boxes that he'd be paid so much to deliver them? 

     Most Compelling:

                Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby [2013], from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, born literally dirt poor somewhere in Minnesota, changed his life completely becoming spectacularly rich all to try to impress a young woman from far wealthier beginnings.  Tragically, he's still "doomed" but boy did he give it a shot at improving himself and his life. 
     Honorable Mentions:
                Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund as Sal Paradise and Neal Cassady in On the Road [2012] playing the characters from Jack Kerouac's iconic "Beat Generation" novel.
                Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis in Inside Llewyn Davis [2013] terribly suffering folksinger in this Coen Brothers' piece, in a role that a lot of musicians / artist types would probably appreciate.
                James Franco as "Alien" in Spring Breakers [2013] "towny" gangster who in good part just wants to be "noticed" / "taken seriously" by the wild college kids who come to his town each Spring Break (and then left again ...)
                Dźmitry Vinsent Papko as Miron in Viva Belarus! [2013] a fictionalized (but based on true events) young Belarussian musician / human rights activist.  What would you do, if even in this internet age, you got drafted and then sent TO CHERNOBYL for "re-education" because the "Powers that Be" thought your music was "too radical?" 
                Lisandro Rodríguez as Liso in La Paz [2013], a psychologically troubled Argentinian young adult from an upper-middle class family who doesn't find peace until he leaves everything behind and goes to Bolivia to teach poor school kids there.

ADULT (male)
    Most Compelling:

                 Ernie Hudson as Marcus Wells in The Man in the Silo [2012], a previously successful, college educated African American businessman who finds himself left to take care of his aging, increasingly senile, white racist mother-in-law after his beautiful white "farmers' daughter" wife and their mixed race son die tragically in a car accident.
    Honorable Mentions:
                 Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup in 12 Years a Slave [2013] who lived the story of The Count of Monte Cristo for real:  African-American though born and having lived all his life in the North, he was nonetheless drugged and kidnapped while on a trip to Washington D.C. and then trafficked South where he was sold as a slave.  It took him 12 years to get free again.           
                Will Forte as the younger but adult son David in Nebraska [2013], yes, he knew that his aging,  "old drunk," never much of a dad was now borderline nuts but he chose to take pity on him anyway. 
                 Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [2013] who spent most of his adult life as a "squirrel" of a man buried in the photo-archives of "Life Magazine" only when "Life Magazine" was being restructured was he forced and with some help of a high-flying/"eagle eyed" photographer to leave his shell.
                 Nicholas Cage voicing Grug in The Croods [2013], as a Cave Man, yes, he was "limited" in his knowledge/education but BOY was he BRAVE and willing to sacrifice himself for his family.
                 Ethan Hawke as Jesse in Before Midnight [2013] now paying in good part for the decisions he made in the previous parts of the story which now spans almost 2 decades (Before Sunrise [1995], Before Sunset [2004]).  Nevertheless he knows he's made choices, he knows he's paying for the choices he's made and is trying to do the best with the cards that he has left.
                 Steve Coogan as journalist Martin Sixsmith in Philomena [2013], boy did he thank his "lucky stars" that he "Stooped to Conquer" to take the "little human interest story" involving Philomena looking to find out what happened to her son after she was forced to give him up for adoption through a group of nuns back in Ireland in the 1950s-60s.

ELDER (male)
    Most Compelling:
                 Jacobo Morales as Rafael in The Gold Brooch (orig. El Broche d'Oro) [2013] the now wiser/mellowed "abuelo" (grandpa) who his now successful middle-aged son was going to leave in an old folks' home in Puerto Rico when he got a "step-up" job in stateside in Orlando.
    Honorable Mentions:
                  Geoffrey Rush as the older adoptive father Hans in The Book Thief [2013], set in Nazi Germany, he tries to help his young apporaching teenage-hood adoptive daughter make sense of the War / Repression that was going on around them.
                   Robert Redford in All is Lost [2013] - A film almost without any dialogue, no matter, Redford proves that he can act.
                   Forest Whitaker as Rev. Cornell Cobbs in Black Nativity [2013] basically a good man but put principles over mercy and paid dearly for it.
                   Bruce Dern as Woody Grant in Nebraska [2013], after growing-up in rural Nebraska, he went to War in Korea and never really came back.  Spending most of his adult life as a drunk and a disappointment to all those around him.  Now he's living in Billings, Montana, almost certainly completely senile and yet he's convinced that he has a Million Dollar Check waiting for him back in Nebraska from one of those Publisher's Sweepstakes.  If you were from his family what would you do?
                   Harrison Ford as Col. Graff in Ender's Game [2013], aging veteran of a desperate war that saved the world from alien invasion, now responsible for training _kids_ to fight-off the anticipated next invasion attempt.  What do you teach them? How hard to you push them?  Are you now even the best teacher to begin with?  And yet the stakes are _so high_.
                  Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline in Last Vegas [2013].  A great ensemble piece and great to see four great older actors both clearly enjoying themselves as they play their parts and willing to acknowledge some of the more problematic aspects of their own life-experiences.                  
    Most Compelling:

                    Idris Elba as Nelson Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom [2013] and Robert Więckiewicz as Lech Wałęsa in Walesa: Man of Hope (orig. Wałęsa. Człowiek z nadziei) [2013]. Need one say more?
                    Tom Hiddleston as Loki in Thor: The Dark World [2013], Evil, utterly untrustworthy but becoming more interesting with every Thor film.
    Honorable Mentions:
                     Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northrup in 12 Years a Slave [2013] what he had to go through
                     Dźmitry Vinsent Papko as Miron in Viva Belarus! [2013] again what one still has to go through in some parts of the world.
                     Javier Bardem as Reiner in The Counselor [2013], one crazy-looking Evil (hedonistic) guy
                     James Franco as "Alien" in Spring Breakers [2013], another crazy-looking Evil (gangster wannabe) guy

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