After showing he can bounce about in a drug-fueled haze during most of the film, Bale smoothly shifts gears when he confronts his brother’s girlfriend Charlene about the role he should play in his brother’s boxing career. The heated argument, in which Dicky cops to many of his failings, leaves the viewer believing that he’s turned his life around. The result not only offers essential character development but the moment is quite poignant.
Hawkes’ taut performance is best on display when he has a latenight encounter with the local sheriff. Throughout the scene, Hawkes is seated in a pickup, mainly viewed through a side mirror and forced to do most of his work through facial expressions. Yet, the actor doesn’t disappoint. When Hawkes does talk, asking the policeman whether this “is going to be our time?” it’s one of the movie’s most nerve-rattling moments. Jeremy Renner
Jem walks in on his best friend Doug on a date with Claire — a tryst with broad implications for all the characters. You can practically see Jem’s mind working as he sorts out the ramifications of the situation. Even better, Renner’s reactions are a right-on portrayal for anybody (even an unstable heavy like Jem) who is shocked by an unwanted discovery. Mark Ruffalo
“The Kids Are All Right”
Ruffalo’s ability to bring dimension to the laid-back Paul is in full effect when he goes to dinner at Nic and Jules’ home early in the film. Ruffalo combines the lack of self-awareness expected from his slacker character with moments of realization about the magnitude of the meeting. His efforts to claw his way back after asking some very personal questions turns what could be a cardboard portrayal into a more multifaceted performance. Geoffrey Rush
“The King’s Speech”
Each time Rush and Colin Firth share the screen the film sizzles, but it’s their very first session, in which Rush gets his royal student to recite Shakespeare while listening to a phonograph blaring in his headphones, that’s most memorable. Rush’s speechless expressions as Firth reads proves the spoken words can be overrated. Rush also establishes his character’s grace-under-fire persona with some fantastic banter.
Bardem’s Spanish tongue speaks to voters
Lead Actor | Lead Actress | Supporting Actor | Supporting Actress