I’m still working on compiling a list of my list of Favorite Films of 2009 but my favorite actor of the year is Michael Fassbender. I was originally impressed with his performance in director Steve McQueen’s deeply moving film Hunger (2008) and like many US film critics I didn’t have the opportunity to see Hunger until this year. Hunger has easily made it onto my list of Favorite Films of 2009 and it will probably end up on my list of Favorite Films of the Decade. Fassbender’s grueling and unforgettable role as Bobby Sands in Hunger is one of the films many high-points and remains the best performance from any actor that I’ve seen in 2009.
If Michael Fassbender’s role as Bobby Sands wasn’t enough to win me over, I recently watched Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) where Fassbender plays a British film critic turned solider. Fassbender’s Lt. Archie Hicox was easily my favorite character or “basterd” in the film and like many of his fellow bastereds I don’t think he got enough screen time. But Fassbender is terrific in his brief role and he’s also a lot of fun to look at. He’s got charm, charisma and classic movie star good looks which seem to be in short supply these days. He’s also one hell of an actor. I suspect Michael Fassbender’s name will become much more widely known and even celebrated in the next decade. For now Michael Fassbender wins my vote for best actor of 2009 and I look forward to seeing him in more films.
Update 02-25-10: Finally saw Fish Tank and loved it! That makes three great films and three terrific performances from Michael Fassbender in 2009. Since posting this it seems that critical interest in Fassbender has grown so I suspect we’ll be seeing lots more of him in 2010.