We’ve become ever-so nostalgic here at Third Act. Looking back at the year 2014 we would like to share with you our top 5 performances.

Our Top 5 Performances of 2014

Todd James

  1. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
  2. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
  3. Evan Peters – X-Men: Days of Future Past
  4. Chris Pratt – The LEGO Movie
  5. Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

The reason I’ve chosen Rosamund Pike and Jake Gyllenhaal as my top two picks is that they’re the two actors that transformed the most into their roles. I had no idea either of them could be THAT creepy, but after watching their respective films that’s all I can picture them as.

Evan Peters and Chris Pratt might have had less ‘challenging’ roles, but I can’t imagine anybody else stepping into those roles and doing anywhere near as well as they did. Ralph Fiennes is somewhere between those two, having both a serious role but also making me laugh a lot. I also want to mention Tilda Swinton in Snowpiercer. The only reason she didn’t make my list is that even though it came out this year in America (and it’s yet to get a UK release), Snowpiercer is technically a 2013 film.

Our Top 5 Performances of 2014

Chris Elliott

  1. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
  2. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
  3. Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
  4. Emily Blunt – Edge of Tomorrow
  5. Scarlett Johansson – Her

I feel a little sorry for Jake Gyllenhaal. Nightcrawler was an excellent little film and passed completely under the radar for most people. He achieved a transformation as Louis Bloom so complete that, at times, you can’t even recognise him. It is an acting tour de force but unfortunately for him, it won’t end up in a deserved Oscar for two reasons. One is how packed the award for Best Actor is this year and the other is Gone Girl.

Quite often, women don’t get the opportunity for the really meaty roles in Hollywood. As a result, the award for Best Actress is usually much easier to judge and far less packed than Best Actor. Rosamund Pike is usually a solid actress, good but not exceptional. Here, like with Gyllenhaal, she transformed herself and did it so well that, frankly, she overshadowed him (no mean feat with an actor of that calibre). Pike was not just good but superb and quite honestly, her performance was so chilling that I’m worried I may never be able to see her act in anything else again without hiding under the seat.

Cumberbatch deserves a mention for, I thought, elevating a film by performance alone. The Imitation Game was a decent film that he made Oscar worthy. While other performances in the film are indeed quite good, they bounce off of him to get there.

Emily Blunt single-handedly paves the way for women in, well, any damn role they please. One of the biggest complaints in action films that star women, is seeing some eighty pound girl throwing around hulking great blokes like they’re made of polystyrene. Here, Blunt was forceful, commanding and most importantly, convincing.

Lastly, Scarlett Johansson shows what a talented performer can bring to a film when they aren’t even there. She plays depth, emotion and love by voice alone and made me examine what it means to perform in a film. This is a question regularly being asked about motion capture as well and I believe performances like this will change how we judge them in the future.

Our Top 5 Performances of 2014

James Forbes

  1. Emily Blunt – Edge of Tomorrow
  2. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
  3. Brad Pitt – Fury
  4. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
  5. Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

I simply can’t look at Rosamund Pike the same way ever again after her stellar performance in Gone Girl. Which ever film she appears in next, I simply will never trust her again.

Being a Marvel nerd, Emily Blunt role in Edge of Tomorrow opened my eyes to her possibly appearing in the Marvel world. If she simply played the exact character she did in Edge of Tomorrow, that would be awesome to see beside Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man.

Jared Leto is the man of the moment in my eyes. He won the Oscar for best actor in a supporting role and he will be playing the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad film. It is deservedly so and I am excited for whatever role this man decides to do.

Our Top 5 Performances of 2014

Matt Dennis

  1. Andy Serkis  – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  2. Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Matthew McConaughey – Interstellar
  4. Tom Hardy – Locke
  5. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill – 22 Jump Street

The fact that the Academy still refuses to acknowledge the work of motion-capture performances, particular those of Mr. Andy Serkis, is a crime! Caesar and Gollum may simply exist as a collection of pixels in a computer, but it takes a bloody fine actor to imbue said-pixels with character, spirit and emotion. Andy Serkis IS that bloody fine actor! Give the man an award please, somebody!

I’ve already droned on about Ralph Fiennes’ wonderfully eccentric, campy turn in The Grand Budapest Hotel elsewhere, but my god, it really is something amazing. Likewise, the wonderful comedic chemistry of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum in the hilarious 22 Jump Street ensures them a place on my list – a brilliant comic double act who complement each other perfectly, making for plenty of laughs. And if you haven’t checked it out yet, then make sure you watch Tom Hardy in Locke, a wonderful drama which boasts one of Hardy’s most intimate performances to date!

He may have won the Oscar for Best Actor at this year’s awards, but Matthew McConaughey has refused to rest on his laurels, delivering a smashing and emotionally honest performance in sci-fi epic Interstellar. McConaughey’s performance is superb from the off, keeping everything nicely grounded in reality. A lesser actor in a sci-fi movie would undoubtedly throw in some ham! To do such a thing is clearly beneath McConaughey.

Our Top 5 Performances of 2014

Amy Biss

  1. Andy Serkis – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  2. Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
  3. Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
  5. Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Even though it is motion capture you can just see how much of an amazing actor Andy Serkis is. It is a great performance full of emotion that wouldn’t have been accomplished without the use of this medium.

Jared Leto showed me just what an amazing actor he truly is with his role in Dallas Buyers Club. I hadn’t really seen him in anything before and had only known him from his music. I was extremely surprised at how good he was, and I am looking forward to his future projects.


That’s it for this year. Make sure you check out our other end of year articles:

What were your favourite performances of 2014? Please share in the comments.