Although this was not an epic year for great movies, there were many outstanding acting performances from men in leading and supporting roles. However, no performance compares to Heath Ledger's purely evil characterization of The Joker. Ledger's villain dominated The Dark Knight like few characters have in the history of film. For his performance, and those of other great actors, Reel Life recognizes the following men for their outstanding performances in 2008.
1) Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight - You can't take your eyes off the screen
watching Ledger's complete personification of evil gone wild.
2) Sean Penn in Milk - The character Harvey Milk is so real, you need to remind
yourself of Penn's other film roles to remember he is actually acting.
3) Eddie Marsan in Happy-Go-Lucky - Seething rage bubbles just beneath
the frail facade of Marsan's energy-sucking embittered driving instructor.
4) Colin Farrell in In Bruges - Incredible comic timing and a deep understanding
of unresolved guilt make Farrell's hitman a rough-edged criminal we care for.
5) Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man - Billionaire Tony Stark is everyman thanks to
Downey Jr's irreverent treatment of Iron Man's secret identity.
6) Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon - Audiences otherwise disposed find Nixon
sympathetic thanks to Langella's kind characterization of the former President.
7) Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler - Rourke's wrestler is a truly tragic figure
trapped by a history of scripted success in the fake world of pro wrestling.
8) Brendan Gleeson in In Bruges - Somehow, amidst criminals, tourists, and
dwarfs in Belgium, we can relate to Gleeson's gay hitman with a heart.
9) Michael Shannon in Revolutionary Road - Shannon's over-the-top mental
patient says the truth in keep-up-with-the-neighbors middle class suburbia.
10) Jared Harris in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Playing a tugboat
captain with family issues, Harris brings Button and us all into the realities of life.