The Best Film Performances of 2016

SO many good ones.
  1. 22 - Chris Pine (Hell or High Water)
    He got the least attention on the awards circuit for this movie, but I felt his thoughtful, pensive acting was the most impactful of the film that also featured Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges.
  2. 21 - Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)
    I had no idea that Hedges had this kind of magic within him. I'm excited for his future.
  3. 20 - Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)
    Easily the best part of the movie and I was pleasantly surprised when he was nominated for an Oscar for this.
  4. 19 - Ellen DeGeneres (Finding Dory)
    I firmly believe that there should be a Best Voice Acting Oscar category and Ellen should win it twice.
  5. 18 - Ryan Gosling (The Nice Guys)
    A perfect role for Gosling to show he had range and comedy chops.
  6. 17 - Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
    The most important role in the movie, made even more impressive when it's learned that she filmed her scenes in just three days.
  7. 16 - Tom Holland (Captain America: Civil War)
    There were a lot of great turns in this movie, but Holland actually managed to do the impossible: bring Spider-Man back.
  8. 15 - Michael Keaton (The Founder)
    He always does a good job.
  9. 14 - Michael Shannon (Elvis and Nixon)
    An actor so nice he made the list twice. He doesn't at all look the part, but he crushes it nonetheless.
  10. 13 - Molly Shannon (Other People)
    The collective nation was absolutely rooting for her in this role.
  11. 12 - Sunny Pawar (Lion)
    Definitely this year's Tremblay. He is unbelievable in the first hour of this movie. Like off the charts good. But I think Dev has him beat and I'll explain why later.
  12. 11 - Ruth Negga (Loving)
    This could've been so over the top and schmaltzy, but she's understated and quiet and it means so much more that way.
  13. 10 - Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
    She has a very small amount of screen time, but pound for pound, her performance is an all-timer.
  14. 9 - Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
    No other actor could've played this role. I haven't a single doubt.
  15. 8 - Amy Adams (Arrival)
    The most egregious snub of the Oscar season. She was wholly deserving.
  16. 7 - Denzel Washington (Fences)
    A powerful punch of a performance. As always.
  17. 6 - Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
    He's so good in the first act that his subsequent absence actually comes as a bit of a disappointment for the rest of the film.
  18. 5 - Viola Davis (Fences)
    As good as Denzel is (and it's probably "his" movie), Viola is the best actor in Fences.
  19. 4 - Natalie Portman (Jackie)
    An all-timer. She's absolutely flawless as Jackie Kennedy and this performance cements Natalie as one of the best ever.
  20. 3 - Dev Patel (Lion)
    So, Sunny is great. There's no denying that. But I always struggle with time jumps and new actors playing the main role because I feel like the emotional weight is just gone when that happens. But Dev not only manages to make his half of Lion really powerful, he anchors the most tear-inducing part of the whole thing. That's impressive to me.
  21. 2 - Emma Stone (La La Land)
    Gosling is phenomenal, but Stone really delivers something superhuman throughout this movie.
  22. 1 - Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
    I really just don't think anyone else is on the same tier with this performance. It's one of the first Oscar movies I saw this year and no subsequent actor came close to touching Casey. His acting redefines nuance and pain and just a genius level of skill. He's one of the best we have.