The year 2013 has been good to several actors. A number of Hollywood’s best and brightest have had big roles in at least two films, some of these turns much more impressive than others. For each actor, we pit these roles against one another, and after much discussion, and break-room fisticuffs, we decided a winner. So which roles came out on top?
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) vs. Rosalyn Rosenfeld (American Hustle)
Katniss is a fierce competitor and is tasked to be the symbol of a burgening revolution, but Rosalyn is a gale force wind of pure charisma, and she could have the entire world wrapped around her little finger if she wanted. We get the feeling she could topple dictatorships and fell regimes without needing a bow and arrow. Plus, using weapons would totally mess up her clear coat and she can’t have that. She just can’t.
Winner: Rosalyn Rosenfeld
Barbara Sugarman (Don Jon) vs. Samantha (Her)
Barbara is a no-nonsense Jersey girl with strong opinions about how her man should conduct herself, but Johansson really flexes her acting muscles when she’s limited to a voice-only role as Samantha in Her. In Spike Jonze’s latest, she perfectly captures what it’s like to be a person trapped in circuitry, yet yearning for real, tangible love.
Jordan Belfort (The Wolf of Wall Street) vs. Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
Both Belfort and Gatsby only saw the color green, but while Jay built his wealth in the pursuit for Daisy from accross the bay, Belfort wallowed in the depravity of extreme greed for the relentless hunt for the almighty dollar, preaching his sermon of wealth to his baptized followers. Gatsby was lavish for sure, but Belfort made being despicable look like a hell of a lot of fun before it all came crashing down around his ears.
Winner: Jordan Belfort
Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (The Heat) vs. Dr. Ryan Stone (Gravity)
Agent Ashburn was the kind of straight-laced stick in the mud that everyone loves the hate until Det. Shannon Mullins teaches her to stop being such a “Naach” and loosen up a little, but Ryan Stone’s journey from depressed scientist to fierce survivor was probably the most life-affirming thing at the movies this year.
Winner: Dr. Ryan Stone
Russell Baze (Out of the Furnace) vs. Irving Rosenfeld (American Hustle)
Russell Baze is a blue collar working stiff who goes up against a terrifyingly evil version of Woody Harrelson, but there’s something electric in Bale’s performance as Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle. Irving might have gotten the short shrift in terms of ’70s hairdos in the movie, but he works that wispy comb-over of his like nobody’s business.
Winner: Irving Rosenfeld
Ron Woodroof (Dallas Buyers Club) vs. Mark Hanna (The Wolf of Wall Street) vs. Mud (Mud)
Matthew McConaughey is fun as Mark Hanna, an experienced stock broker who teaches Leo’s Jordan Belfort the basic philosiphies of scheming suckers and taking barells of illicit substances in The Wolf of Wall Street. He’s also hits the mark as island hobo (don’t call him a bum) in the adventure story Mud. But the actor really shines as the emaciated cowboy who starts an HIV drug trafficking ring in Dallas Buyers Club.
Winner: Ron Woodroof
FBI agent Richard DiMaso (American Hustle) vs. Phil Wenneck (The Hangover Part III) vs. Avery Cross (The Place Beyond the Pines)
We’ve seen Cooper play the straght man opposite The Hangover’s gaggle of weirdos in two movies already, so he’s wasn’t really breaking new ground as Phil Wenneck in the last film. In Place Beyond the Pines, Cooper is outshined by the far more charismatic Handsome Luke character, played by Ryan Gosling. But the actor is truly exciting as the manic and ambitious FBI agent Richard DiMaso, who seeks to create the bust of the century by recruiting some cornered con men.
Winner: Richard DiMaso