7 Most Outstanding Movie Actors Of 2014

Every year, a different batch of actors makes their mark on the movie world. They are nominated for a bunch of awards and are praised by critics; however, by the next year, they are pretty much forgotten. This year, there are a number of new names that are generating a lot of buzz, as well as some old, familiar ones. Awards season will be coming soon and it looks like it will be a tight race. The Academy hasn’t yet announced its nominations, but we have a pretty good idea who we expect to be nominated. Here is Fame10’s list of the 7 most outstanding movie actors of 2014!

7. Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke is an actor who has never really been interested in mainstream success. He sticks to theatre, novel writing, directing, screenplay writing and, when it comes to films, he mostly gets involved in Indie films. In spite of his obvious talents, he’s only been nominated for one Academy Award for his acting and that was for his supporting role in “Training Day.” He’s received two other Academy Award nominations for his screenplay writing.

Right now, there is a lot of buzz around Hawke and his performance in the technologically groundbreaking film “Boyhood.” So far, he has been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the charming but unreliable father in the film. Some predict that he will be a contender at the 2015 Academy Awards and they’re probably right. He gave a standout performance and is probably due for some recognition.

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6. Steve Carell

Steve Carell had established himself as a funny man through his roles in the television show “The Office” and the movie “The 40 Year Old Virgin;” however, his career has finally taken a rather interesting turn thanks to his role as John du Pont in “Foxcatcher.” So far Carell has been nominated for two Best Actor awards, one from the Screen Actors Guild and the other from the Golden Globe. Many think he will probably get a Best Actor nod from the Academy as well.

The critics have nothing but praise for his performance in “Foxcatcher.” Variety called it “transformative.” “Carell is barely recognizable in the part, wearing a prosthetic nose, false teeth and a receding hairline. It’s not just the physical transformation that’s so impressive. Carell inhabits the character from the inside. He interprets du Pont as a modern-day Norman Bates mixed with Jay Gatsby, and he prepared for the part by studying hours of footage of the real man,” Ramin Setoodeh wrote.

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5. Eddie Redmayne

Before he starred in “The Theory of Everything,” Eddie Redmayne was best known for his stage work. He’s actually quite an accomplished stage actor. He’s won an Oliver Award and a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the play “Red.” He’s also dabbled in television and started breaking into film several years back. 2014 has turned out to be his breakthrough year.

The critics are going crazy for Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything.” “Even without all the facial and bodily contortions that the character demands, Redmayne gives a thoroughly captivating performance; he presents Hawking, at all stages of his life, as the kind of person whose brain never stops working. Even when betrayed by his own body, Hawking’s mind races onward, and you can see it in the glint in Redmayne’s eyes,” Alonso Duralde of TheWrap wrote. So far, Redmayne has been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

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4. Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal’s career was on fire several years ago. His performance in “Brokeback Mountain” earned him critical acclaim, as well as an Academy Award and won a BAFTA Award. As a result, he was given a number of leading roles. Unfortunately, many of these films did not do well at the box office or failed to resonate with film critics. This year has been very good to Gyllenhaal. His once promising career is back on track thanks to his compelling performance in the crime thriller “Nightcrawler.”

Gyllenhaal has been earning rave reviews. According to Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian, he gives the “best performance of his career.” The National credits his “bold, committed performance” with making the film “one of the most entertaining movies of the year.” In addition to receiving great reviews, Gyllenhaal has also been nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe Award for his powerful performance.

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3. Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton’s heyday began in the late ‘70s and ended in the ‘90s. Although he has continued to act over the years, he has mostly been involved in television appearances and made for TV movies. The few mainstream films that he has been involved in over the last decade have mostly been questionable. Given his skillset, we don’t quite understand why he was in “First Daughter” or “Herbie: Fully Loaded.”

This year, things have really started to look up for the veteran actor. He got the lead role in “Birdman,” which also stars Emma Stone, Edward Norton and Naomi Watts. He plays a washed up actor who is trying to regain his former glory and his performance is brilliant. Critics are predicting that Keaton will be a frontrunner for an Academy Award for Best Actor and we think they might be right. He’s already received a Screen Actors Guild nod and a Golden Globe nomination.

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2. Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict has quite the acting resume. He’s been heavily involved in theatre, television and film. Over the last few years, he has been nominated for one Golden Globe Award; three Emmy Awards, winning one; four BAFTA Awards; and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Every year, he seems to receive more and more recognition for his acting abilities. This year has been the most exciting year yet for Cumberbatch. He’s received a Screen Actors Guild nomination, as well as a Golden Globe nod for his performance as the Nazi code-breaker, Alan Turing, in “The Imitation Game.”

Cumberbatch’s portrayal of Turing has been met with widespread acclaim. A.O Scott of The New York Times calls it “one of the year’s finest pieces of screen acting” while TIME chief film critic Richard Corliss wrote that Cumberbatch “doesn’t play Turing so much as inhabit him, bravely and sympathetically but without mediation.” It sounds like this one is a shoe-in for an Oscar nomination!

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1. Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo can always be depended on to bring in a solid performance; however, because he doesn’t consistently get involved in mainstream or big blockbuster films, he doesn’t have the kind of reputation that an actor of his caliber deserves. He has been nominated for one Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in “The Kids Are Alright” and he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for his role in the television movie “The Normal Heart,” he has yet to take home a big award for his acting.

This might change in 2015. Ruffalo’s performance in “Foxcatcher” has been generating a lot of buzz as of late. According to Justin Chang of Variety, he gives a “superb performance.” He’s already received a Screen Actors Guild nomination, as well as a Golden Globe nod for his portrayal of Dave Schulz, an Olympian gold medal-winning wrestler. Many think an Oscar nomination is inevitable.

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Cate has a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature and has been the Managing Editor of Fame10 for more than 6 years. Despite having a love for the works of Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy and Lord Byron, she also has an intense fascination with pop culture. When she isn’t writing for Fame10, she’s planning her next big adventure in Southeast Asia.