Upon the idea of doing my "most hardworking" handpick it is hard to imagine any one worthy of this title other than this English actor. In spite not being a fan of his, it is indisputable that the guy has been working nonstop for years and he's been - for quite sometime - in everyone's radar. 2013 is a good year for Cumberbatch. He appeared in 5 full-length films, 1 short-film, a documentary narration, including a lead role in the critically acclaimed HBO TV series "Parade's End". Phew!
Runner up: Matthew McConaughey
I'm giving this one to Tom Hanks not because he is one of my favorite actors (I love Leo Di Caprio, too) but his performance for Captain Phillips moves me like an earthquake. We are used to seeing him in dramatic roles or characters in "survival-of-the-fittest" mode, but this time around, this guy with the 2 OSCAR's under his belt got pushed and shoved around by two Somalis and played as the helpless victim. He didn't even need to put on a prosthetic to prove himself. As the movie progresses his acting just got better and better, even to the very end.
Runner up: Leonardo Di Caprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
So it all comes down into a tie. It is hard to choose between these two completely different performances and if I did it would feel like cheating. I haven't seen the full length film of Dallas Buyers Club but by the looks of it Jared Leto's take on a transgender, his transformation and weight loss, is already a winner in itself. And let's not forget the Somali in Captain Phillips. Barkhad Abdi's performance there is as memorable as Hanks and he was able to hold his own, he is the mean guy and yet he was also able to capture our sympathies. Whoever wins between the two of them would be good news for me.
Wasikowska is the go-to actress for everything. For sure, she gets offered all the plum roles first before it lands on another actress' backyard. She may not enjoy the same fame as Jennifer Lawrence, but her acting is far more wiser than anybody else her age. Two of her films this year were screened at the TIFF, making her a true festival sweetheart. She played the role of an emerging psychopath for the English language directorial debut of Park Chan-wook, trekked across the Australian desert, acted alongside Tilda Swinton, and tried her hand on comedy co-starring Jesse Eisenberg. If that's not enough, she also did her first foray as a director for a segment in the movie The Turning.
Runner up: Rooney Mara
If there is a more deserving actress to win this year's honors I am going all the way for Cate Blanchett. Her role in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine is a stretch from most of the female characters from last year's array of films. She is a woman so used to the extravagant life that when the shit rains on her parade her only option to survive is to live a life of pretense and lie. The way she falls apart and try to keep a straight face is polarizing. Either you'll feel sorry or annoyed by the way she continuously act high and mighty to those around her even though she has got nobody and nothing.
Runner up: Adele Exarchopolous (Blue is the Warmest Colour)
This is like a hands-down - no questions asked - choice for me, right on the get go after seeing this movie. I am rooting for Lupita both on-screen and off-screen. I think she is a true revelation. Every time the whip hits her back, I bleed for her. And when she tries to convince Solomon to kill her, I feel for her. This is pure acting, no smokes and mirrors, no flashy performances for grandiosity. She is the best among the bunch.
Runner up: Lea Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour)