Screen Trade: Standout perfs for a young decade

Let’s start with a movie I know you never saw.

Why am I so smart? Because no one on this or any planet saw “Veronica Guerin,” and that is on your head, because in it, Cate Blanchett gives one of the major performances of the decade so far.

There have been a shocking number of sensational performances this year, which is the subject under discussion today (only up to the end of October, please).

And there have been not one but two remarkable comedy jobs which will not be noted by the Academy voters because they suffer from the lunatic assumption that comedy is easy. (Ye gods.)

Not only did Eugene Levy co-write — or whatever it is he and Christopher Guest do on their nights out — “A Mighty Wind,” but the role he played, the nut romantic from long ago, somehow touched the heart. (If you weren’t moved when he gives Catherine O’Hara the rose, you’re wrong.)

But how about Mr. Depp? And in a pirate movie? Has there been a more valuable performance within memory? I thought he was brilliant, and I couldn’t stop smiling at the thought of all the studio suits who must have gone just nuts during dailies about Johnny being so over the top getting on their cell phones in mild hysteria, bombarding the set with pleas to please bring it down!

Blessings to both these guys.

I have gushed more than usual here; forgive me, but I ain’t done yet. I want to talk about a new subject for me and it is this: Which man and which woman will be the stars of the next decade?

The past ten-spot is pretty easy to decide now: Julia has been our queen and just pick one of the Toms for top guy.

But this is looking into the future. Who will we be most in love with from now until 2013?

OK, before you get my choices, take a second and think for yourself.

Got your lady? You sure?

My girl is Keira Knightley.

She may be all of 18, so I realize what an amazingly stupid prediction I have just made, but in “Bend It Like Beckham” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” she came closer than anyone yet to being the new Audrey Hepburn.

I wish someone would remake “Roman Holiday” so you’d see how right I am. (And don’t you wish the idiots who remade “Sabrina” — no names please — had just held off until now?)

This is a teenager with genuine performing talent and an all but illegal beauty — let’s see what she does with them.

OK. For my male star, I jump mediums and 3,000 miles.

I have gone to the theater for 60-some years. And yes, I was there for Brando in ’47 in “Streetcar.” I was there for Merman in the legendary gypsy run-through of “Gypsy.” But nothing prepared me for Hugh Jackman.

“The Boy From Oz” — about songwriter and singer Peter Allen — is not close to being a wonderful musical. It’s not even all that good. But it mattereth not, because Jackman is visible pretty much all the time. And what a blessing that he chose at this point in his movie career to come back to the stage. And please let him do it again.

For now what we must all do is get our asses to the Imperial Theater on West 45th Street — there, now you know everything — and just watch him.

What Jackman does inside that structure is only this: He can sing with anyone you ever heard on the legitimate stage, he can hoof like crazy, he is funny and most surprising of all, maybe, is that he is vulnerable and sad. Plus courteous, kind, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Star of the next decade?

Not even close.

Movies and theater?

Let us pray…