The Great Performances

Acting is an art form, and behind every iconic character is an artist expressing themselves. The Great Performances is a recurring column in which Jacob Trussell explores the art behind some of cinema’s best roles.

If you are new to reading this column, we suggest starting with these entries:

Browse the archive for The Great Performances below

The Big Sick Cast

How the Ensemble Cast of ‘The Big Sick’ Subverted Rom-Com Expectations

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Kumail Nanjiani found ways to surface thoughtful humor in a moment of abject trauma in his and Emily V. Gordon’s Academy Award-winning twist on what we expect from a romantic comedy.

Chan Is Missing

Celebrating the Incredible Ensemble Cast of ‘Chan is Missing’

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Every performance is a great performance in Wayne Wang’s indie noir-comedy classic.

Sheryl Lee Laura Palmer Twin Peaks

Sheryl Lee Always Knew Laura Palmer Was More Than a MacGuffin

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At the center of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s timeless mystery Twin Peaks, Lee surfaced the nuances of a character who was so much more than a dead girl wrapped in plastic.

Willem Dafoe Green Goblin

Green Goblin is Willem Dafoe’s Tragic Movie Monster

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In the dual roles of Norman Osborn and his maniacal alter ego Green Goblin, Dafoe pulled from classic horror to sketch out his tragic movie monster in the hit Marvel franchise.

Anne Hathaway Colossal

Anne Hathaway Nails the Nuances of Sobriety in ‘Colossal’

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As a woman in recovery caught between inner demons and gigantic monsters, Hathaway captures the unique struggles of staying on the wagon when the world goes to pot in Nacho Vigalondo’s genre-defying cult hit.

Bill Paxton Frailty

‘Frailty’ is Bill Paxton’s Most Underrated Performance

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Part devoted dad, part contract killer for God, everyone’s favorite character actor found the perfect balance of heart and horror in the Southern Gothic cult classic.

Moonlight

Mahershala Ali Only Needed 20 Minutes to Win an Oscar for ‘Moonlight’

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Some actors need a whole movie to prove themselves Oscar worthy, but Ali did it in a fraction of the time with his deeply moving performance in Barry Jenkins’ modern classic.

Hereditary Toni Collette

Toni Collette Deserved an Oscar Nomination for ‘Hereditary’

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She may have been snubbed by the Academy, but Collette made a profound impact on audiences with her captivating performance in Ari Aster’s modern horror classic.

Get Out Commentary

Why Daniel Kaluuya is So Effective in ‘Get Out’

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Jordan Peele’s hit film was destined to become a new horror classic, but it’s narrative backbone is carried by Kaluuya’s magnetic performance as Chris Washington.