Now that I've discussed the ladies, it is time to compile my list of the best male performances of 2015. I'll start off with the guys who did more with less. Here is my list of the top 15 supporting male performances of 2015.
15. Kyle Chandler as Harge Aird in Carol: Kyle Chandler had the most difficult task. Harge could've VERY easily been played as a one-dimensional villain. But through small and somber facial expressions, Chandler is able to make him incredibly sympathetic. His Harge wants to keep his wife, but just to keep his family whole.
14. Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens: I loved seeing Harrison Ford bring Han Solo back to life. But he not only gives us the charming Han Solo we all know and love, but introduces newer layers to him. When you see the glimmer in his eyes and the gravitas in his voice when he says how the Force he has disbelief in for quite some time is actually real, you really felt it.
13. Samuel L. Jackson as Valentine in Kingsman: The Secret Service: In typical Jackson fashion, Samuel L. Jackson walks away with every scene he is in as the sinister billionaire with a colorful lisp. If you guys think he's some kind of Bond villain cutout, well...as Jackson himself says, this ain't that kind of movie.
12. Joel Edgerton as Gordy in The Gift: From his very first scene, Edgerton immediately sells the character's uneasiness. The way he seems a little too interested in the main couple also keeps you guessing, wondering whether someone like him could really be the main villain. The fact that we keep guessing is a testament to Edgerton's performance as well as how he wrote such an enigmatic character.
11. Mark Rylance as Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies: Even if Rylance's Abel is a man of few words, Rylance still walks away with the entire movie. Through how he remains calm and collected in the face of scrutiny with small layers of humor, Rylance makes you wish Abel had his own movie.
10. Nicholas Hoult as Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road: There is a lot to love and appreciate about Mad Max: Fury Road. One thing is watching Nux's swift journey from sickly and bloodthirsty war soldier to sympathetic hero. That journey is handled to perfection by Nicholas Hoult. I mean, that scene where he is comforted by one of the Five Wives on the top of the war rig was actually gut-wrenching to watch.
9. Sylvester Stallone as Rocky in Creed: Here we have another iconic figure in a beloved franchise. We all know Rocky as the charming underdog fighting his way to the ring. But while he doesn't fight in the ring this time around, we still see the same charmer we know and love. Yet when he says how he would give one day to be back with his Adrian had me wanting to pluck out a tissue.
8. Tom Noonan as various characters in Anomalisa: Having one actor voice EVERY secondary character to capture the mundane vanilla life surrounding the main characters? Pure genius.
7. Steve Carell as Mark Baum in The Big Short: Not only does Steve Carell prove that his Foxcatcher success wasn't just a one-off, but his work here, in my opinion, surpasses his Foxcatcher performance. It's not only a complete 180 from John Du Pont, but it's a tricky balance of both comic and rage that he would even pull off in just one scene.
6. Stanley Tucci as Mitchell in Spotlight: Despite not having as much screentime as his fellosw co-stars, Stanley Tucci manages to do more with literally less. The way he nervously looks around him says so much about his feeling of being watched. In fact, it feels as if his layers of anxiety are being peeled off in each passing scene.
5. Jason Statham as Rick Ford in Spy: Jason Statham has proven he can deliver a funny one liner or two. But I don't think we've ever seen him take on a full-on comedic role. To me, what Statham does is perhaps more difficult than the kind of dramatic performances that often win Oscars these days. He has to sell the action scenes and have comedic timing by showcasing Rick's thick-headedness. Both of which he nails.
4. Benicio Del Toro as Alejandro in Sicario: Alejandro is a walking enigma. As soon as we meet him, he is hunched down and literally hidden in the dark. Much like our main heroine, we're thinking "What's up with him? Where could his loyalties be?" It turns out he "goes wherever he's sent." But thanks to Del Toro's complex portrayal, we become weary of him yet still kind of want to follow him wherever he goes.
3. Oscar Isaac as Nathan in Ex Machina: What a year it was for Oscar Isaac! He won a Golden Globe for Show Me A Hero, starred in the biggest movie of all time, and gave a brilliant yet understated performance in indie sci-fi Ex Machina. Isaac plays sort of a modern day Frankenstein. But one who you could chill and have a drink with, but reluctantly. Also, bonus points for that killer dance scene.
2. Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald in The Revenant: As the main villain of the story, Tom Hardy doesn't just exude menace through his tough exterior and even his motor mouth. But also when he doesn't even speak. Even when he says he agrees to keep Hugh Glass alive, his cold eyes still tell us otherwise. It's hard to believe that Fitzgerald is played by the dog-loving Tom Hardy some of us know and love off screen.
1. Emory Cohen as Tony Fiorello in Brooklyn: As soon as I left the theater when Brooklyn was over, the very first person that I thought of was Emory Cohen as the Italian plumber with a heart of gold. Even if Tony isn't necessarily the smartest guy in the room, with the way he squints his eyes and sweeps the main character off our feet, it's hard not to fall in love with him. Not only do I hope that the future is bright for the main couple, but for Emory Cohen as well.
You can also check out my lists of the best female performances of the year here and here.