Blythe Danner, I’ll See You in My Dreams
Some performers take command of the space around them; others simply open it up with light and warmth, a much quieter way of taking charge. Danner has always been the latter kind of actress, and in I’ll See You in My Dreams, as a seventysomething widower who learns that love isn’t through with her yet, she’s so breezily in tune with her surroundings—and with her fellow actors Martin Starr and Sam Elliott—that she makes it all look easy. This is a gossamer foxtrot of a performance. And her iridescent karaoke version of “Cry Me a River” will slay you.
How, really, do you play a journalist or, worse yet, an editor? It’s one thing to portray a reporter asking questions; it’s far more difficult to dramatize the act of processing information—especially when the details are as horrific as those of the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal dealt with in Spotlight. Yet, almost miraculously, the actors here—including Liev Schreiber, Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams—excel at capturing the complex interior dynamics of professional newsgatherers. These are people held together by anxiety, determination, maybe some caffeine—whatever it takes to get the story.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Walk
Some of us have been waiting years for Gordon-Levitt to star in a musical. For now, the actor’s gorgeously physical performance as wireworker extraordinaire Philippe Petit in The Walk is the next best thing. Re-creating Petit’s famous 1974 aerial stroll between the World Trade Center’s twin towers—traversing that impossibly narrow cable in soft, barely-there leather slippers —he’s a chassis of strength and confidence that’s as tensile as steel and as light as a whisper.