Top Ten 2005

1. Brokeback Mountain
2. Cache
3. Why We Fight
4. Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room
5. Grizzly Man
6. The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada
7. C.R.A.Z.Y.
8. Match Point
9. Paradise Now
10. The Squid and the Whale


It’s as much about what you don’t show as what you obviously emote, and the two men whose relationship makes up the core of Ang Lee’s heartbreaking Brokeback Mountain are perfect opposites.  Heath Ledger plays emotionally stunted with fierce intensity in the best role of his sadly short career, as the family man who can’t help but escape into the mountains a few days a year to spend some alone time with his loving buddy Jake Gyllenhaal. His reserve threatens to break as the years pass and the tragedy mounts towards the conclusion, but Lee’s intelligent guidance and Ledger’s own sharp instincts keep it all in line, making the emotional piercing that much harder to take.

Honour Roll: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kinky Boots; Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote; Terrence Howard, Hustle And Flow; David Strathairn, Good Night, and Good Luck


The most impressive performance of the year, one that makes you want to be a better person and not just a better actor, was the stunning work by Felicity Huffman in what was already a strong and enjoyable road movie, Transamerica. Huffman said she had to learn “femininity as a foreign language” to play a man achieving the final stages of transition into the female sex, and despite clever makeup, hair and teeth effects, the character is achieved all in the brilliant insecurity she puts into her sassy delivery and unsure posture. Her comedic lines are spot-on (“My parents’ house comes with my parents”) but when it comes time for her to feel the pain, she does it with enormous depth.

Honour Roll: Helena Bonham Carter, Conversations With Other Women; Isabelle Huppert, Gabrielle; Charlize Theron, North Country; Reese Witherspoon, Walk The Line


Everywhere that Ledger’s stoicism provides the film’s emotional difficulty, Jake Gyllenhaal gives Brokeback Mountain its passion and warmth. An actor who is generally colourless in other films gets the full makeover treatment by Ang Lee, inspired to portray enormous levels of depth and tenderness as the member of the two-man crew who can never get enough love. Gyllenhaal’s desperation to make something legitimate out of his relationship with Ledger is all in the pain emanating from his giant eyes, and makes the film’s conclusion that much harder to take.

Honour Roll: George Clooney, Syriana; Michel Cote, C.R.A.Z.Y.; Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man; Barry Pepper, The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada


“Actually, I was born in Japan,” Embeth Davidtz says to her new in-laws in the strange but delightful Junebug. Wide-eyed and fascinated, Amy Adams responds, “You were not!” A charming supporting player in forgettable roles up until that point became something of a sensation who has since gone to rack up multiple Oscar nominations in a surprisingly short period of time. The best of them is this irresistible characterization of a heavily pregnant, painfully optimistic chatterbox who sees the best in everyone…which in this family is quite the accomplishment. Adams has the ability to present a relentless chipperness which never grows tiresome and makes a sunny disposition somehow compelling.

Honour Roll: Maria Bello, A History Of Violence; Catherine Keener, Capote; Laura Linney, The Squid And The Whale; Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain


Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain

Honour Roll: Woody Allen, Match Point; David Cronenberg, A History Of Violence; Michael Haneke, Cache; Tommy Lee Jones,The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada