Movies: Best Performances of 2006

The level of acting in movies today is as high as it's ever been; the hard part about coming up with a "best" list is knowing where to stop. Even in terrible movies, the acting rarely sinks to the level of the writing and directing. These are the performances that made the most indelible impression in 2006.


Ryan Gosling, "Half Nelson"

Peter O'Toole, "Venus"

Forest Whitaker, "The Last King of Scotland"

Ray Winstone, "The Proposition"

Toby Jones, "Infamous"

Leonardo DiCaprio, "Blood Diamond," "The Departed"

Sacha Baron Cohen, "Borat"

Melvil Poupaud, "Time to Leave"

Patrick Wilson, "Little Children"

Christian Bale, "The Prestige"

Matt Dillon, "Factotum"

Daniel Craig, "Casino Royale"

Will Smith, "The Pursuit of Happyness"

Derek Luke, "Catch a Fire"

Greg Kinnear, "Little Miss Sunshine"

James McAvoy, "The Last King of Scotland"

Ken Watanabe, "Letters from Iwo Jima"


Helen Mirren, "The Queen"

Annette Bening, "Running with Scissors"

Meryl Streep, "The Devil Wears Prada"

Judi Dench, "Notes on a Scandal"

Penelope Cruz, "Volver"

Laura Dern, "Inland Empire"

Kate Winslet, "Little Children"

Cate Blanchett, "Notes on a Scandal"

Isabelle Huppert, "Gabrielle"

Julia Jentsch, "Sophia Schull"

Maggie Cheung, "Clean"

Maggie Gyllenhaal, "Sherrybaby"

Lily Taylor, "Factotum"

Catherine Deneuve, "Changing Times"

Catherine Keener, "Friends with Money"


Eddie Murphy, "Dreamgirls"

Robert Downey Jr., "A Scanner Darkly"

Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Steve Carell, "Little Miss Sunshine"

Michael Sheen, "The Queen"

Kazunari Ninomiya, "Letters from Iwo Jima"

Jackie Earl Haley, "Little Children"

Simon McBurney, "Friends with Money"

Leslie Phillips, "Venus"

Vincent Franklin, "Confetti"

Michael Caine, "Children of Men"

Stanley Tucci, "The Devil Wears Prada"

Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, "The Departed"

Ty Burrell, "Fur"

Anthony DeSando, "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"


Frances McDormand, "Friends with Money"

Jennifer Hudson, "Dreamgirls"

Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin, "Prairie Home Companion"

Luminita Gheorghiu, "The Death of Mr. Lazarescu"

Catherine O'Hara, "For Your Consideration"

Shareeka Epps, "Half Nelson"

Rinko Kikuchi, "Babel"

Abigail Breslin and Toni Colette, "Little Miss Sunshine"

Emily Blunt, "The Devil Wears Prada"

Vera Farmiga, "The Departed," "Breaking and Entering"

Carmen Maura and Lola Duenas, "Volver"

Helen McCrory, "The Queen"

Diane Lane, "Hollywoodland"

Adriana Barraza, "Babel"

Diane Weist and Melonie Diaz, "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints"

Frances de la Tour, "The History Boys"

Sandra Bullock, "Infamous"