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Some acting I really liked

Posted by Wesley Morris  December 28, 2007 02:17 PM

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Our big Best of ‘07 stories run Sunday, but because I’m such a smug gasbag there wasn’t enough room to bloviate about the acting I loved this year. And there was a lot to love - so much, apparently, that I actually forgot a few (thanks, Mark Feeney). Some of the parts were tiny in movies nobody saw. Some of them everybody did. Even if the film didn’t really work, the actor really did. And the distinction between a lead role and supporting one seems arbitrary to me. I know the difference when I see it. But it’s really a combination of a character’s narrative function and whatever the actor brings to the part. Javier Bardem, for instance, probably has less screen time in "No Country for Old Men" than Josh Brolin and Tommy Lee Jones, but, to my mind, his character fuels the chase. Plus, he’s just so good – not to mention, with that haircut, so ready to paint my bathroom.

Big Parts
Amy Adams in “Enchanted
Norma Aleandro and Norma Argentina in “Live-in Maid
Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones in “No Country for Old Men
Juliet Binoche in “Breaking and Entering
Dan Castellaneta for "The Simpsons Movie"
Michael Cera in "Superbad"
Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose
Matt Damon in “The Bourne Ultimatum
Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood
Johnny Depp in “Sweeney Todd
Anna Faris in “Smiley Face
Richard Gere in “The Hoax
Greta Gerwig in “Hannah Takes the Stairs
Ryan Gosling in “Lars and the Real Girl
Jake Gyllenhaal in “Zodiac
Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci in “Black Snake Moan
Tommy Lee Jones in “In the Valley of Elah
Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon in “Bug
Song Kang-ho in “The Host
Nina Kervel-Bey in “Blame it on Fidel
Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Savages
Anamaria Marinca in “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts in “Eastern Promises
Joaquin Phoenix in “We Own the Night
John C. Reilly in “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
Molly Shannon in “Year of the Dog
Will Smith in “I Am Legend
Amber Tamblyn in “Stephanie Daley
Luisa Williams in “Day Night Day Night
Slavoj Zizek in “The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema


Smaller Parts
Casey Affleck and Paul Schneider in the “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Ko Ah-sung, Byeon Hie-bong, Park Hae-il, and Bae Du-na in “The Host
David Banner in "Black Snake Moan"
Zoe Bell, Tracie Thoms, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, and Kurt Russell in “Death Proof
Patricia Clarkson in “Lars and the Real Girl
Matt Damon in “Ocean’s Thirteen
Paul Dano and Dillon Freasier in “There Will Be Blood
Ben Foster in “Alpha Dog” and “3:10 to Yuma
Taraji P. Henson, Martin Sheen, and Vondie Curtis-Hall in “Talk to Me
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Charlie Wilson’s War
Kene Holliday in “Great World of Sound
Vlad Ivanov and Laura Vasiliu in “4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Anna Kendrick in “Rocket Science
Kelly MacDonald, Woody Harrelson, and Garret Dillahunt in “No Country for Old Men
Leslie Mann in “Knocked Up
James Marsden in “Enchanted
Margo Martindale in “Paris Je T’aime
Christopher Mintz-Plasse in “Superbad
Alfred Molina in “The Hoax
Yigal Naor and Meryl Streep in “Rendition
Paula Newsome in “Reign Over Me
Michelle Pfeiffer in “Hairspray
Aurora Quattrocchi in “Golden Door
Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Brian Cox, and John Carroll Lynch in”Zodiac
Amy Ryan in “Gone Baby Gone
Peter Sarsgaard in “Year of the Dog
Jurnee Smollett in “The Great Debaters
Barbara Sukowa and Kate Winslet in “Romance & Cigarettes
Marisa Tomei in “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
Tom Wilkinson in “Michael Clayton
Robin Wright Penn in “Breaking and Entering

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About Movie Nation

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.

Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.

Katie McLeod is's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at

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