Michael Ward on Wednesday, January 02
"I love the performance of a craft, whether it is modest or mean-spirited, yet I walk away when discussions of it begin - as if one should ask a gravedigger what brand of shovel he uses or whether he prefers to work at noon or in moonlight. I am interested only in the care taken, and those secret rehearsals behind it. Even if I do not understand fully what is taking place." - Michael Ondaatje
Another year in film, a great one at that, and here, as 2018 becomes 2019, I am again left to wonder what defines a great performance in the films I watch and review and discuss with friends, family, and colleagues.
Is it an actor who makes us express emotion? An actor who makes us laugh uproariously? Is it a persona or character we relate to? Is it a director, a screenwriter, a composer, and/or a technical crew who make the impossible possible, escapism a reality, possess the ability to place us in the lives of others and allow us to understand what it means to be different from ourselves?
I suppose the answer to all of those questions is; “Yes.” And that is what makes film, and art, such a powerful medium. We are able to project, internalize, and share our reflections and feelings and even, when reaching common ground, discover that those reactions remain singular and wholly our own.
No finished movie, screenplay, visual effect, image, shot, or performer can make us feel the exact same thing. And that's why, among all forms of art and expression, I love film so very, very much. Even when we agree, we agree differently.
So, let’s hope we can once again agree differently.
Without further adieu, these are 20 "performances" that left a resounding impression upon me in 2018, and will be moments and memories I carry forward for a long, long time. At one point, this list was nearly 50-60 items long. and painfully, I pared it down to a final 30.
The Top 20 (in alphabetical order) will be presented with the words of the the artists chosen, or those who had a hand in creating the stunning work they put out into the world. A slideshow will give you a glimpse at 10 more outstanding performances from 2018 that nearly made the cut.
Note: Hover over the image to see more information about this particular list.