Tuesday Top Ten – My Favourite Bruce Willis Films

This Sunday just gone, it was Bruce Willis’ birthday, so what better time for me to take a look back on some of my favourite films of his? It was tough narrowing this list down if I’m honest – I’ve seen a few too many Bruce Willis films in the last few years. Trimming the shortlist from 25 to 10 was hard, but I got there eventually.
10. Split


Fair enough, this maybe wouldn’t be considered a Willis film by most, but the way I see it is he appeared in it, so it counts. So far this year, this has probably been my favourite mainstream film to come out, however because it’s not really a Willis film, I couldn’t put it any higher.

9. The Jackal


This film is a guilty pleasure of mine, and it is one of my favourites by Brucie. For me, there’s a few plus points with The Jackal, not least Richard Gere’s god-awful Irish accent – I think he would have given Brad Pitt a run for his money in Snatch. I find it to be a fun watch, even if it is considered to be rather terrible my a lot of people.

8. Over The Hedge


This Dreamworks animation is one I always enjoy watching. Willis plays RJ, and isn’t exactly a good guy, but isn’t quite a supervillain either. While they’re never equal to the quality of Pixar’s early years, I do like Dreamworks films for the fact that they push their innuendos and disguised adult humour a bit further than most kids’ films.

7. Twelve Monkeys


This was a film that I really enjoyed for the first half, maybe even the first three quarters of it’s runtime, however it was after this point that it lost me entirely. Willis may have been the lead in the film, but it was Brad Pitt who was terrific here, and he was the reason I stuck with the whole thing to the end.

6. Die Hard With A Vengeance


This third instalment in the franchise is my favourite after the original. I loved the partnership between Willis and Samuel L. Jackson, which is a pairing that will feature more than once on this list. There are a number of scenes in this film that really make me laugh, but also there was plenty of action to go with them.

5. Lucky Number Slevin


I liked this film, but it was nothing special. I watched Tarantino-esque Lucky Number Slevin a few years ago and just thought it tried a bit too hard to be something it wasn’t. Nonetheless, it was a bit of fun and I’m glad I watched it.

4. Sin City


Sin City was a film that I also watched a few years ago and enjoyed, although to this day I’m still not entirely sure what actually went on throughout the story. Willis played a key character here in the form of Hartigan and was his usual wonderful self as a grizzled law enforcer. The man knows what he’s good at, and he’s reasonably good at sticking to it.

3. Unbreakable


I remember when I first watched Unbreakable, I don’t think I was overly impressed by it – I enjoyed it, but was singing from the rooftops about it. Looking back however, I can appreciate it far more. It is a brilliant film that I am planning to revisit very soon, and was also part of the reason why I enjoyed Split so much.

2. Pulp Fiction


Of course Tarantino’s best known film had to feature here somewhere. Willis’ role as Butch Coolidge here was brilliant, and in a line up of some really great characters, he completely held his own.

1. Die Hard


It would have been sacrilege to not put Die Hard at number one in a list of my favourite Bruce Willis films. This will always be known as the film that made him into a huge action star, and also the film that raised the bar for the action genre. 

So that’s all ten of my favourite Bruce Willis films. I enjoyed each and every one of them for different reasons, as I also did with many of the films that didn’t make the list. What would you include that I didn’t? Let me know via the comments below.  

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Tuesday Top Ten – My Favourite Irish Actors & Their Best Work

 This Friday is the 17th March, and anyone with even a trace of green blood flowing through their veins know that it is a big day on the Irish calendar. Yes, lovely readers, it is indeed St. Patrick’s Day, and seeing as I’m more or less a Paddy who was just born in the wrong country, I’ve decided to celebrate with this week’s Top Ten. Here is my countdown of my favourite Irish actors, along with what I think is their best work to date.
10. Aidan Gillen – The Wire


 Aidan Gillen is a familiar face for many people, having appeared in Game Of Thrones and a number of feature films. For me, my favourite appearance of his was in The Wire as Tommy Carcetti. I know I’ve said that when it came out his turn in the show, I found it all got a bit too political for my liking, but Gillen played a great character, I can appreciate that.

9. David Caves – Silent Witness


Someone who I think is an emerging face from the Emerald Isle is David Caves. The only thing I’ve really seen him in is Silent Witness, and I have to be honest, he’s kind of the reason I’m such a big fan of the show. I would definitely say watch this space for him showing up in a few bigger projects in future – he’s already made a brief appearance in Oscar-nominated Jackie, and the only way is up I’d say.

8. Gabriel Byrne – The Usual Suspects


I’ve not seen loads of Gabriel Byrne’s work, but of what I have seen, The Usual Suspects has been my favourite. He played a great role as Keaton himself, but the whole film was wonderful if you ask me. It’s been a while since I last saw it, so maybe I should get round to it again soon.

7. Robert Sheehan – Fortitude


He has taken on one of the main roles in the second season of Fortitude, and despite only being on my radar for a few weeks, I am already quite a fan of Robert Sheehan. He’s been in a few TV series and perhaps the odd film here and there, although I’ve not seen him in anything else besides what he’s currently starring in. Of course, now that I have discovered him, I shall be making it my mission in life to find other works of his.

6. Liam Neeson – Michael Collins


Now, you cannot have a list on Irish thespians without mentioning the actor who portrayed the man who played such a huge part in the independence movement that eventually led to the formation of the Irish Free State. Liam Neeson took on the role of Michael Collins in the film of the same name, and did a wonderful job. For anyone wanting to get a feel for the history that has ran between Ireland and Britain in the last century or so, this film is a great starting point, and one that I would absolutely recommend.

5. James Nesbitt – The Missing


This man is everywhere you look on British TV – you can’t seem to avoid him, even if you try! Thankfully though, James Nesbitt is a very good actor, and had been in some terrific shows over the years. One of my favourites has to have been The Missing, although I have to be honest, Nesbitt made his appearance in the pilot season, which wasn’t quite as wonderful as season two.

4. Colm Meaney – The Commitments


I’ve seen a lot of films with Colm Meaney in, but my favourite by a long way is The Commitments. He was so good as Jimmy’s dad in this film, and reminded me a lot of my dad when I watched him. He has a great deal of very funny one liners and off-the-cuff comments in the film, with a few rather brilliant words about U2 being amongst many that have stuck in my head since watching it.

3. Brendan Gleeson – The Guard


This. Man. Is. A. God. I will never tire of watch Brendan Gleeson with his dry sense of humour and dead pan face in any film, not least in The Guard. This film… I laugh every single time I watch it. I also really liked him in In Bruges with fellow countryman Colin Farrell, but The Guard still has the top spot in my book.

2. Michael Fassbender – Slow West


An actor who just seems to be going places is Michael Fassbender. He’s done everything – a western, a Nazi war film, a video game adaptation – you name it, Fassbender has probably done it. The last I heard he was in the running to be the next James Bond, so who knows where his career could take him next? For now though, my favourite film he’s been in is Slow West, for so many reasons.

1. Cillian Murphy – The Wind That Shakes The Barley


Another very good film that takes a look at Irish history and the journey towards independence is The Wind That Shakes The Barley. Cillian Murphy takes the lead here and since watching the film for the first time a few years ago, I’ve become a huge fan of his work. Murphy has taken roles in some awesome films, but is also the main character in BBC’s Peaky Blinders. He is a tremendous actor and certainly a fine talent to have come out of Ireland.

So there you have it –  my favourite Irish actors, all in time for St. Paddy’s day at the end of the week. They are a wonderful bunch, and I would urge that you check out their work if you haven’t already, especially those that I have mentioned on this list because I’m hoping that if I enjoyed them, I can share those with you as well. Until next time, erin go bragh!

Tuesday Top Ten – My Favourite Blockbusters

The end of awards season marks the beginning of the run up to summer blockbuster releases, so this week I have complied for you a list of my favourite highest-grossing box office hits. The films featured on this list all came from filmsite.org’s 100 All-Time Box Office Top 100. I was quite surprised to see that from the worldwide list, upon which my own list is based, that the majority of films came from this side of the year 2000. Anyway, that’s enough of me yabbering on, here’s my selection.
10. Avatar


It’s been an absolute age since I watched Avatar, but one thing I remember about the film is I enjoyed it watching it. Quite unsurprisingly, this film is the highest-grossing film of all-time according to website I looked at for help with this list. I can recall the hype surrounding the film when it came out – there was an awful lot of excitement about it, so the fact that it majorly cleaned up whilst in cinemas is no big shock for me.

9. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol


Another film that I have gone a long, long, long time without seeing is this instalment in the Mission Impossible franchise. It was the big return of Ethan Hunt and was good fun when I watched it one Friday night many years ago. Not being the greatest fan of Tom Cruise, it is no mystery to me as to why it has been so long since I saw the film, but evidently this was not something that put the masses off of flocking to see the film when it was released as it comfortably made filmsite.org’s top 100.

8. Avengers Assemble


Marvel films are always a fun affair, aren’t they? Alongside this, they are always guaranteed to take in astronomical figures at the box office. Avengers Assemble was a huge project that did very well with audiences everywhere, and when I eventually hopped on the bandwagon, I thoroughly enjoyed it as well.

7. The Hunger Games


Most franchises that start life as a series of books tend to be a sure fire hit provided the film adaptation of the first instalment is well received. The Hunger Games franchise was something that seemed to do better and better as each film hit cinemas. At this moment in time, I’ve only seen the first in the series, but I found it to be a much better film than I had anticipated, which is never a bad things.

6. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them


As anyone who read my review of this film will know, I was very, very pleasantly surprise by how wonderful I found this film to be. Fantastic Beasts had big boots to fill, and I would say it did a damn good job of doing that. This was mainly down to the casting of Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander in my opinion – I think that was the best casting choice in a long time. Fantastic Beasts could be the next big franchise for kids, and I wouldn’t be sorry if that was the case. I’m glad it was a huge success.

5. The Lion King


It will come as no surprise to anyone that The Lion King is one of the highest grossing films of all time. I think you will struggle to come across anyone who hasn’t seen it. It was a staple film of my childhood so I couldn’t not include it here. The music is wonderful and the story is one that never seems to get old. If we’re being realistic, it could only make money.

4. Up


This was a fantastic movie, and in my eyes it was the last great film that Pixar made. I can remember it being all over the news for how it had been such a hit with audiences, and when I finally got to see it for my birthday that year, I really enjoyed it. It is in my DVD collection and is a film I’m always happy to revisit.

3. Finding Nemo


Another tremendous film from my childhood was Finding Nemo. This film will always be untouchable, and is one of the early reasons why you don’t mess with Pixar films. Ever.

2. Skyfall


I am a huge fan of this instalment in the James Bond franchise. It has so much going for it, not least Javier Bardem as Bond villain Raoul Silva. This was another birthday cinema treat, and is a film I continue to enjoy every time I watch it. It also had quite a bit of pressure to do well at the box office as it was the most expensive Bond film ever made. It absolutely brought home the bacon.

1. Forrest Gump


One of only two films on this list that is from outside the 2000s & 2010s is Forrest Gump. It made a huge amount of money when it was on cinema release, but was a film I only just saw a couple of years ago. I sat through it from beginning to end with a huge great smile on my face, and I can tell you now that if it ever gets re-released in cinemas I will have no qualms with spending my money on the best seats.

There you have it – a run-down of my favourite blockbuster films. I think this is a fair mix of genres that touches on films that reach out to all audiences. If ever you’re stuck for some easy watching, these films are just a few of the options available to you to make for a nice night in in front of the TV with your choice of snacks and favourite pyjamas on.

Tuesday Top Ten – Actors & Actresses Still To Win An Oscar

My final Oscars-themed list is taking a look at those actors and actresses who have not yet won an Oscar, despite them having work that could very well be deemed Oscar-worthy. I mentioned on Twitter that I was surprised to discover some of these people had not won an Academy Award – there are certainly some shocks to come!
10. Johnny Depp


The man is a chameleon, and he has played some iconic characters over the years. There is no doubt over his capabilities as an actor, so he doesn’t need an Oscar to his name to remind us of how great he can be. A good job too, as despite three nominations for the prestigious awards over the years, he is yet to win anything.

9. Amy Adams


I’ll keep it brief, but Amy Adams has only gotten better as she has progressed throughout her career. The fact that she has not yet won an Oscar is beyond me, and what baffles me more is the fact that she wasn’t even nominated for her role in Arrival. The process undertaken by the people in charge of the Oscars baffles me sometimes, this being a prime example of that.

8. Matt Damon


Of all the people on this list, Matt Damon was the biggest surprise to me. Technically he has won an Oscar, but I’m talking about acting gongs here so his writing award doesn’t count. Out of his three nominations, I wish he would have won for his role as François Pienaar in Invictus – I really enjoyed that film and thought he did a terrific job as the South African rugby captain.

7. Mark Ruffalo


Another person I was a tad bitter about recently was Mark Ruffalo when he didn’t win for his role as Mike Rezendes in Spotlight. He may have been part of an ensemble in that film, but he is the person who stands out in my mind as being truly fantastic in what was a very affecting piece of cinema.

6.Samuel L. Jackson


Samuel L. Jackson is a name everybody knows. Something we’re not all that familiar with, however, is the fact that he is yet to win an Oscar. In fact, the only nomination he has ever received was for his role as Jules Winnifield in Pulp Fiction. He may be an internationally recognised actor, but not one whose work has been honoured by the Academy just yet.

5. Edward Norton


I mentioned last week that Edward Norton is someone who should’ve won an Oscar for his role in American History X. Little did I know that to this day, he is still only a nominee and not a winner of any Oscars. He is a very talented actor, and one who seems to be extremely underrated when it comes to these famous awards.

4. Jessica Chastain


She is one of my favourite actresses as she has brought to the screen a number of brilliant characters, but Jessica Chastain hasn’t won an Oscar yet either. Of the two roles she has been nominated for, I think she definitely deserved to win for her portrayal of Maya in Zero Dark Thirty, but she was equally as wonderful as Celia Foote, a very different character, in The Help too.

3. Sigourney Weaver


Sigourney Weaver was another shock for me here, because she hasn’t won an Oscar, nor has she really received that many nominations either. I was very surprised to discover that she has only ever been a nominee three times throughout her career. I’ve only seen her in one of her Oscar-nominated roles, but am in no doubt about what a significant figure she is, so this did nothing to lessen the blow.

2. Harrison Ford


He is the highest-grossing actor of all-time, and he has taken on some iconic roles in a career that only started properly in his thirties, but Harrison Ford is another well known actor that makes this list. And, much like Sigourney Weaver, he has had far less nominations than you may initially think. One nomination. That is all this man has had. Major bloody surprise if you ask me.

1. Brad Pitt


Finally we move onto Brad Pitt. Over the years he has been in some cracking films, and for his performances, he has received three nominations for. Of course, he’s never actually won for his acting. I think he was very good as Jeffrey Goines in Twelve Monkeys, and he perhaps should have won for that role.

That marks the end of this list, but also the end of this little series that took a look back at the Oscars over the years. There have been plenty of great performances and good films discussed during the course of these lists, and I’ve also been able to have bit of a moan about a few injustices that have also occurred at the different ceremonies that have taken place.

Tuesday Top Ten – Films That Should’ve Won These Oscars, But Didn’t

We’re now two weeks away from the big night, and this week I’m looking at films that should have won an award (or awards), but didn’t. This did start off as a ‘biggest Oscar snubs’ list, but I guess a lot of these wouldn’t count as out-and-out snubs, so I’ve kind of put my own twist on things. In no particular order…
10. Interstellar – Best Director


I was quite surprised to discover Interstellar only won one of the more minor awards at the 2015 Oscars ceremony. Christopher Nolan, despite how mind-blowingly complex his film concepts can be, is a fantastic director who has been incredibly diverse with the projects he has produced. With how well received Interstellar seemed to be, I am surprised he didn’t receive more recognition for his direction on the project. That being said, I’ve not seen Birdman, so couldn’t say 100% whether Nolan should’ve won, but I have a feeling I might be right.

9. American History X – Best Actor


This was an interesting one because I’ve seen who won the award for this year, and if you’ve seen this and Life Is Beautiful, or at least know what they’re about, you too will know why this was an interesting contest. I’ll stick with my guns though. Edward Norton was terrific as Derek Vinyard, and I was gutted after watching the film to learn that his reward for the role only went as far as his nomination. The whole film has such an impact on me, but I do think this was largely because of Norton’s performance.

8. Nightcrawler – Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay


Jake Gyllenhaal was an absolute animal when it came to his performance here. The fact he didn’t even get nominated for Best Actor here does a bit more than irritate me. Nightcrawler did get a mention for Best Original Screenplay, but did not win (hence why I’m bringing it up on this list). Please tell me the last time you saw a film with a story about the video crews for news stations, because I don’t see how the writing could have been anymore original.

7. Boyz n the Hood – Best Director


Now, I guess considering this was the first year an African-American director ever got a nomination for his work, it was a bit too much to expect him to win as well. It also didn’t help that John Singleton was pitched against The Silence Of The Lambs which swept up the Big Five that year either. The odds were certainly stacked against him. It’s a shame it was up against the films it was because Boyz n the Hood is such a hard-hitting, important film that it really did deserve to win something.

6. Sicario – Best Actress, Best Director


I thought this was one of the best films of 2015, so for it to get more or less completely snubbed for an Oscar was a shock for me, and I’ve spoken before about a couple of other awards it should’ve been in contention for. I loved Emily Blunt as Kate Macer – she was such a great character, especially in such a male-dominated cast. As for director Denis Villeneuve, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed much of his other work such as Prisoners, Enemy, and now Arrival (which he has been nominated for). I do think he should have had a nomination for his work here, but once again, that is now how things worked out.

5. Selma – Best Actor, Best Director


When this film failed to receive any of the major nominations besides Best Picture in 2015, outraged was sparked. David Oyelowo was actually amazing as Martin Luther King Jr. – if you were to only be listening to some of the speeches he made in the film, you could have mistaken him for the man himself. Ava DuVernay did a wonderful job directing this film as well, and for her to get ignored for her contribution was a travesty if you ask me.

4. 10 Cloverfield Lane – Best Actor


One person I feel was hard done by this year’s nominations was John Goodman. His portrayal of Howard in this film was not your typical John Goodman role, and part of me thinks this is why the film made such an impact on me. I’m a huge advocate for the film as it seemed to come out of nowhere, and I was always vouching for Goodman to gain some sort of recognition when it came to this time of year, but it seems that it just was not to be.

3. The Help – Best Actress, Best Picture


The Help is a film very close to my heart. It is an uplifting tale about what can be achieved when a group of people decide to join together and try to change things. Octavia Spencer was the only winner from this film, but Viola Davis was up for Best Actress and didn’t win, and the film lost out on Best Picture as well. It’s good that the nominations were there, but I wish it could have won. Also, a little side note on this film – I much preferred Emma Stone as Skeeter Phelan here as opposed to Mia in La La Land. For her not to be nominated for her work here and to very likely win the Oscar for Best Actress this year is a tad non-sensical to me.

2. Jackie Brown – Best Actress


Ermmmm, where was Pam Grier’s nomination for her acting in Jackie Brown? She was fabulous as the struggling air hostess/drug smuggler/police informant. I loved her performance, but the awards people didn’t apparently. She was such a good character and an icon for women in film if you think about it. What didn’t she do that Robert Forster did to earn his nomination for his work in the film?

1. Every Quentin Tarantino film ever (besides The Hateful Eight) – Best Director


I’ll keep this one short and sweet – Quentin Tarantino, much like Christopher Nolan, should’ve won a Best Director gong long before now. How it hasn’t happened yet is beyond me. I’ve always loved his films, and can think of at least two films were he definitely should have won the award. Keep on going Quentin, your day will come eventually!

There you have it, and with just one more week until the Oscar winners are announces, there is just one more of these Oscars-themed lists to go. Next week, I’m going to be looking at actors and actresses who have never won an Oscar – could be another interesting one!

Tuesday Top Ten – My All-Time Favourite Oscar Winning Performances

Another week has passed and we are one week closer to finding out the 2017 Oscars. To maintain this bit of Oscar buzz that I have going on here, this week i am taking a look back at some of my all-time favourite Oscar-winning performances. This list is a countdown, and doesn’t feature any performances from the 00’s as they were covered last week.

10. Nicolas Cage (Ben Sanderson, Leaving Las Vegas)


Perhaps Nicolas Cage’s best performance to date (and with what he has produced of late, maybe the best we’ll ever see of him) is his portrayal of Ben Sanderson, an ex-screenwriter who has lost everything and finds solace only at the bottom of the bottle. The film follows Ben as he slowly drinks himself to death. By no means is this an easy watch, but Cage makes it so that you cannot bring yourself to turn it off and escape what is a truly Oscar-worthy performance that takes a very long time to leave you once it’s finished.

9. Joe Pesci (Tommy DeVito, Goodfellas)


Arguably the greatest thing about this film is Joe Pesci’s critically-acclaimed performance as gangster Tommy DeVito. I will never forget watching the film for the first time during the school holidays a couple of summers ago. When it came to the infamous ‘Do you think I’m funny’ scene, I had the windows wide open and Pesci’s character was going hell for leather for the whole street to hear. Not only is it a tremendous performance, but it has fond memories for me of the time the postman got an insight into how I spend my days home alone.

8. Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling, The Silence Of The Lambs)


To have picked Anthony Hopkins here would have been predictable, so I’m actually going to sing the praises of Jodie Foster’s performance instead. She was wonderful as Clarice, the young FBI go-getter who gets assigned a really tough case. She was a joy to watch here, and was every bit the ideal match for Hopkins’ Hannibal – no mean feat, you could say.

7. Christoph Waltz (Dr. King Schultz, Django Unchained)


I stated that I wished I could have included this performance on my last list, but as Django Unchained came out in 2012, it was too little, too late. However, now that we’re onto all-time favourites, there’s nothing to stop me talking about Christoph Waltz’s turn as Dr. King Schultz – the bounty hunter with extreme class in Tarantino’s superb western. Every time I see Waltz’s name, I immediately pay attention because, as someone who wants to be an actress, there is always something to be learnt from him. Here I learnt that it wasn’t a fluke that he won his award for Inglorious Basterds. He is simply masterful.

6. Robert De Niro (Vito Corleone, The Godfather Part II)


I have so much admiration for Robert De Niro in this role because he took on someone who had been made famous by Marlon Brando in a previous film and then had to learn roughly half his dialogue in another language. You can’t say he didn’t earn his Oscar here. However, De Niro also managed to further remind audiences of the main theme from The Godfather – family. There are many tender moments we share with him during the film that make this and the whole trilogy so special.

5. Robin Williams (Sean Maguire, Good Will Hunting)


One of the best things about this film, and there are many to choose from, is Robin Williams’ life-affirming performance as therapist Dr. Sean Maguire. Williams was so good that you just wanted to spill your guts to him after watching the film. It was a serious role, no doubt about it, but he managed to give it his own special touch that made it feel so personal.  

4. Octavia Spencer (Minny Jackson, The Help)


If you were to ask me how I would describe this performance, the word I would use would be iconic. I watched part of the film before reading the book, and when I finally read the book, all I could hear as I was working my way through the chapters was Octavia Spencer’s voice as she took on Minny echoing in my head. She was fierce as the sassy little maid, and brought a lot of humour to a film that actually covered something very serious indeed, without causing you to forget what the main point of the film was in the first place. The only shameful thing about it is that she was the only cast member to win the award she was nominated for.

3. Jared Leto (Rayon, Dallas Buyers Club)


Jared Leto has been acting for a long time, and has starred in some very heavy-going films (need I mention Requiem For A Dream?). It is with his turn as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club however that he proved to the world what a serious and capable actor he truly is. It is a very moving performance that he provide us with here, and after undergoing such an immense physical transformation as well, he is well deserving of his win.

2 Al Pacino (Frank Slade, Scent Of A Woman)


It would have been so wrong of me not to include good old Al on this list now that I finally had the opportunity. Personally, I would have thought that he would have won more that his single Oscar for his role as Frank Slade, especially after Serpico. Alas, this remains his only win, but it is an award he won for what is perhaps my favourite role of his outside the obvious Michael Corleone. Pacino did a marvellous job playing the blind ex-army serviceman, and that speech at the end must surely have been what swung it for the board that year.

1. Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump)


Forrest Gump is a film that runs for nearly two and a half hours, and that is roughly the time I spent smiling when I watched it for the first time years ago. This was solely because of Tom Hanks’ wonderful performance as the big-hearted man who had led a life to look back on and marvel at. After seeing much of his other work, I still say that this is my favourite performance by Hanks, and one that was very worthy of the Oscar it won. 

That wraps up my all-time favourite Oscar-winning performances. Maybe there have been a couple of surprises for you there, but I know for sure that those of you familiar with this site by now will know there were names mentioned there that were certain to make an appearance. Who would you include amongst your favourites? Let me know – we might just get ourselves a little discussion going!

Tuesday Top Ten – Best Oscar Winning Performances Of The 00’s

Last week, we received the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards, and I think it’s fair to say there were some shocks and surprises hidden amongst them. However, I also thought that the release of the nominees up for Oscars in 2017 has created the perfect opportunity for me to have my own little awards season celebrations. To start off, I’ve compiled a collection of my favourite Oscar winning performances of the noughties. I’ve chickened out a bit as they’re in no particular order, but these are ten of the most memorable performances of the most recent decade.
10. Hilary Swank (Maggie Fitzgerald, Million Dollar Baby)


Million Dollar Baby did so well at the Oscars in the year 2000 by winning four awards including Best Picture, but I think what makes this film so memorable for me two years after first watching it is Hilary Swank’s performance as the lead character, Maggie Fitzgerald – a young woman who dreams of becoming a boxer despite the many hardships she’s faced in life. It was such a moving performance in a film that certainly isn’t one you’d watch if you needed your mood lifting, but the fact that I can remember so many different parts of her performance after all this time says something, hence why I’ve included her here.

9. Forest Whitaker (Idi Amin, The Last King Of Scotland)


To watch Forest Whitaker become this Ugandan dictator, you wouldn’t believe that he was portraying a real person. Idi Amin was a very charismatic leader that hid his agenda behind charm and magnetism, and Whitaker captured these characteristics wonderfully with this Oscar-winning performance. It was chilling to watch his transformation from the start of the film right to the end. It showed just what this Whitaker’s capabilities are as an actor, and is, again, a performance that hasn’t completely left me behind just yet.

8. Russell Crowe (Maximus, Gladiator) 


I may have chosen this performance purely because I loved the film so much, but it cannot be denied that Russell Crowe was on form as Maximus in this epic tale of revenge in Ancient Rome. It is yet another performance that I haven’t seen in some time so it is a bit fuzzy, but I do remember revelling in every moment of the film, and every second of Crowe’s performance. It is absolutely appropriate to say that this is a creation of epic proportions, with terrific contributions from everyone involved.

7. Christian Bale (Dicky Eklund, The Fighter)


I have to be honest, this list is dredging up some right blasts from the past. I think it was 2013 when I saw The Fighter, the story of Micky Ward and his rise through the ranks with the help of his brother, Dicky Eklund, played by the ever-brilliant Christian Bale. Bale finally got the recognition for his skill set that he had been deserving for at last five years before that with his Oscar win for the role. It was another performance that saw Bale undergo a significant physical transformation, although his acting alone would have been enough here.

6. Sean Penn (Harvey Milk, Milk)


When I was working through the contenders for this list, two performances from Sean Penn were in contention – his turn as Jimmy Markum in Mystic River, and this performance as Harvey Milk, America’s first openly gay politician. I loved this very insightful biopic about Harvey’s political career, and so much of this was down to Penn’s unbelievably moving performance as the title character. I have told so many people about this film since seeing it last year as I think it is a story that more need to know about, and Penn makes the telling of it so much more impactful as well.

5. Denzel Washington (Alfonso Harris, Training Day)


It would be wrong of me not to include Denzel Washington in this list. He was another charismatic character as the dodgy detective, and what I think is so great about his performance is that you never really know what side of the law this guy is really on. Despite this though, the way Washington portrayed Harris made it hard for me to dislike him. Was he an anti-hero? Or was he the real villain? I’m not entirely sure, and I keep going back to the each time hoping to find answers to those questions, but because of how Washington plays it, I’m never quite sure.

4. Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, Erin Brockovich)


My favourite performance by Julia Roberts was her turn as Erin Brockovich. I was forced to see the film by my mum who is a hardcore fan of the actress, and I’m so glad she made me see it. She showed every bit of determination that seeped out of every part of the real Erin Brockovich’s being and really was a joy to watch as she took on the water companies and won. For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, I would highly recommend it – it is a fascinating watch made all the more so by Roberts’ tour-de-force performance.

3. Christoph Waltz (Hans Landa, Inglorious Basterds)


A character that many have argued to be the best ever created by Quentin Tarantino is Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds. Christoph Waltz is someone I will always happily watch purely because of his performances in both the Tarantino films he has starred in, although I couldn’t pick Django Unchained over this as it was made in 2012. This was a performance with which you could just soak up every ounce of evil that radiated from the character, and I doubt many other people could tell me an actor who could have played it better.

2. Daniel Day-Lewis (Daniel Plainview, There Will Be Blood)


The final two films on this list went head to head in the same year. Winning Best Actor in 2008 was Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of greedy oil prospector Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Day-Lewis is always memorable no matter what role he takes on. It is in epics like this film that I believe he is often at his best. The story that unfolded surrounding Plainview’s life would not have been anywhere near as riveting if it wasn’t for the show put on by Day-Lewis – it is a film that I think is elevated so far solely because of his work.

1. Javier Bardem (Anton Chigurh, No Country For Old Men)


Quite possibly one of my favourite performances ever in one of my all-time favourite films was given to us by Javier Bardem – one of my favourite actors (as you can see, he made bit of an impact here). No Country For Old Men won a number of Oscars in 2008, and was often pitted against the previous film I spoke about. As Anton Chigurh, super villain extraordinaire, Bardem was spectacular. His performance was talked about for months after in my house, and is still referenced at some points now. It was an award that Bardem deserved every part of, and if I had to name my number one favourite Oscar-winning performance from the noughties, this would be it.

It’s fair to say that sometimes in the past, the Academy have gotten it wrong, and I’m sure they will continue to have some outrageous slip-ups in future. I hope you will agree with me, however, that they got things right with this lot. As always, let me know what your thoughts are, and stay tuned for another Oscars run-down next Tuesday!