Adam Brody – Some Girl(s)
An oblivious, selfish, and pretentious character you can’t take your eyes off of. Adam Brody gives a magnetic performance in Some Girl(s), a Neil LaBute played adapted by LaBute himself. When we see the Man (Adam Brody) talking to his exes, you can understand the harm he caused them. There’s always something sinister going on underneath Brody’s performance, and that is fully expressed best by Brody in the film’s final shot.
Jeremy Renner – American Hustle
Most of American Hustle‘s cast has been lauded for stunning work. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, and Amy Adams all found humanity underneath their characters’s eccentricities. They have the showiest roles, so obviously they’re going to see the spotlight.
That’s a bit of a shame because Jeremy Renner plays an awfully compelling straight man. Whenever an actor is surrounded by high energy performances like Bale or Cooper’s, it’s easy to get overshadowed, but that’s not the case for Renner here. Some of the film’s best drama is when Renner is onscreen, playing a nice guy in the wrong situation.
Carey Mulligan – Inside Llewyn Davis
Jean (Carey Mulligan) is a terrifically unlikable female character. She’s a total jerk, and yet, kind of the film’s moral compass. Whenever Jean appears, she’s there to put Llewyn in his place. There’s more to her than her coldness, though. She’s later revealed to have more going on than her disdain for Llewyn, and while credit goes to the Coen Brothers’ incredible script, Mulligan sells it. By the end, you love and hate Jean. Mostly hate.
Max Casella – Inside Llewyn Davis and Blue Jasmine
A character actor we must keep an eye on. Blue Jasmine and Inside Llewyn Davis are packed with laughs, but Max Casella gets the biggest laughs in both films. Whether he’s trying to woo Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) or is talking about Jean’s allure, Casella nails every beat and punch line for Woody Allen and The Coens. Casella had done good work over the years, but 2013 is the year of Casella.