A great list of choices! Suraj Sharma would be probably get my vote as the
most impressive breakthrough of the year (though I haven't seen Beasts of the Southern Wild yet). To know that he had absolutely zilch acting experience beforehand and yet was able to pull off such a sublime performance (while acting by himself and in front of a blue screen for 90% of the time, no less) was truly astonishing.
Also, a shout-out to another impressive performance:
Logan Lerman - The Perks of Being a Wallflower
- While Lerman had already broken through into the mainstream with roles in films like Percy Jackson, 3:10 to Yuma, and last year's Three Musketeers, it wasn't until I saw him this year as the introverted, emotionally complex Charlie that I really acknowledged the amount of talent this kid truly has. He carried the film beautifully and there's a blistering honesty to his performance that, had it not been genuine, would have ruined the entire movie. It was a tricky role to pull off, and Lerman brilliantly delivered a subtle, nuanced and restrained performance that peeled off the character one layer at time up until those last 20 minutes of the film, where everything is let loose and the actor becomes raw and riveting. Expecting great things to come from him and his equally impressive co-stars, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.
Originally Posted by DaMovieMan
Spot on with Scoot McNairy, Dwight Henry and Ben Whishaw.
Agreed. Whishaw was actually my favorite of the performers in Cloud Atlas...definitely the performance that stuck with me the most.