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Best performance of the decade? Yikes...thats a tall order. I definitely like his TWBB performance better then his GONY performance, but I might not even say Daniel Plainview was the best of this decade...although I guess American Beauty was '99...Id have to think on that one.
Kevin Spacey? Great performance yes, but to think of it as one of the best acting performances you've ever seen? No titty farcking way.
Best Performance of the decade goes to...
This is not debatable.
DDL' two performances should be in the discussion, but, ultimately, he takes a back seat to Ledger.
A really underrated performance of a guy mentioned as an underrated actor would be Jake Gyllenhaal in Jarhead. One of the best war movies ever made, and probably the most accurate war movie ever made. I usually hate Gyllenhaal in just about everything he does (Kind of like Mark Ruffalo, but semi-talented), but he was amazing in Jarhead. I don't think I would call it top 10 of the decade or anything like that, but a lack of a nomination doesn't sit well me... if I cared enough to think about it.
And I'm adding this performance in just about anything regarding "best performances":
Bale (Bateman) made Norman Bates look like a fruit cake.
I also loved Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk The Line and Matt Damon in The Departed. Just two personal favorites that are a little underrated. I'd also add Sean Penn in The Assassination of Richard Nixon, which is the closest thing to De Niro in Taxi Driver. It might be better, actually.
There's so many great performances, and it's hard to say what's better than what, but Ledger was pretty much as good as it possibly gets. I'd put Mark Wahlberg's portrayal of Dirk Diggler/Eddie in Boogie Nights right along next to Ledger along with De Niro in Raging Bull and Al Pacino in Scarface and The Godfather as a Top 5 list. The aforementioned Christian Bale probably squeezes out one of the Pacino performances for top 5.
Right now I would probably go with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He is just so ******* phenomenal in everything he does and gets the edge over others because of the large number of roles that he completely ******* owns. Ed Norton is definitely a guy you can argue is the best though. My top 5 prominent actors working today off the top of my head would be PSH, DDL, Depp, Pitt, Oldman. Norton still would make my top 10 easily though. All time Norton would have a tough time cracking the top 25 for me.