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The Best Performances of 2011

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No. 8. Jean Dujardin, The Artist

With a twinkle in his eye – and in his grin – Jean Dujardin sweeps up the audience with his rise and fall in the most unlikeliest of ways. With a silent film.

No. 7. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50 and Hesher

If Gordon-Levitt’s insanely good performance in Hesher was too much for you, the tragically ignored 50/50 still shows he has the chops. And is willing to shave his head to prove it.

No. 6. Mel Gibson, The Beaver

Audiences still haven’t forgiven Mel Gibson for his tirade. Oh, and his second tirade. And maybe they shouldn’t. But the man is a gifted actor, and The Beaver, about a man who has a psychotic break and decides to vent his true feelings through an animal hand puppet, features what could be the best performance of his career. Obviously.

No. 5. Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene

Everyone knows the Olsen twins, but did anyone know that Mary Kate and Ashley have a younger, sexier and more talented sister? Elizabeth Olsen turns in a stunning performance as a young woman who has escaped from a dangerous cult. Too bad she couldn’t escape a bad release schedule.

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By Erik Samdahl
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