BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
7. Saoirse Ronan for Hanna: She gave her breakout performance as the bitch in 'Atonement'. Now, here is her most star-making role as young, merciless killer, Hanna.
6. Viola Davis for The Help: A well-restrained, perfectly acted performance.
5. Kirsten Dunst for Melancholia: Dunst is shattering here. Just study her expressions during the most concentrated of scenes. How often do you see a performance so controlled?
4. Juliette Binoche for Certified Copy: A funny but heartbreaking performance. She is one of the great actresses of our time, and this is one of her finest achievement.
3. Felicity Jones for Like Crazy: You can't shake the image of her crying, smiling, or being happy. Her performance in this film won her a Sundance award, and she was most deserving for it. One of the most unforgettable aspects of the great film is her expressions.
2. Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn: Williams is a great force in this film. She captured me so much that I can't seem to forget this film. I loved every second of her on screen.
1. And the winner is.... Rooney Mara for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo!
This was a brave, outstanding performance. One of the most unforgettable I have ever seen, the best part of Fincher's film is Mara; who took so many risks, climbed through many hoops, and perfectly embodied one of the most recognized characters of our generation. This is one of the best performances of our generation...
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
7. Brendan Gleeson in The Guard: Gleeson is funny, sad, and wise in his role as a crooked yet lovable cop who has to work with Don Cheadle to hunt down dangerous drug dealers. Gleeson gets every note right.
6. Andy Serkis in Rise of the Planet of the Apes: An unforgettable film, character, and performance. I hope to see Serkis get more recognition during the award season.
5. Leonardo Dicaprio in J Edgar: A rather disappointing film made remarkable by Dicaprio's finest performance to date.
4. Ryan Gosling in Drive: A very restrained, brilliant performance by Gosling who can convey the most complex of emotions just with his stare.
3. George Clooney in The Descendants: And here is George Clooney's finest performance, topping his brilliant work in 'Up In The Air'. And this is also the best performance Payne has produced. Clooney has such a saddening expression, and a relieving presence at other times. It is the perfect mix of professionalism and comic. Heartbreak and happiness.
2. Jean Dejuardin in The Artist: A magnificent, worldwide crowd-pleasing performance. If he doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't want to know you.
1. And the winner is.... Michael Shannon in Take Shelter!
The best part about Jeff Nichols' great film is Shannon. His expressions carry such weight, and moments with him just staring at disaster are of masterful precision and restraint. It is somewhat heartbreaking to see his life crumble, because we genuinely respect this character. Shannon earns my love and respect. A masterful performance and near-perfect filmmaking by Jeff Nichols.