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For Your Consideration: The 2015 Chainsaw Award Nominees for Best Actor!

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With the Chainsaw Award voting still in session, FANGORIA believes that every nominee deserves a fair shot at the award in question. Yet when it comes to performances, the objective nature of cinema really takes a hold of the voter: fans of one kind of particular horror may disregard a contender altogether if they believe their project to be not their “type of horror.” Nevertheless, FANGORIA wants to shine a light on these nominees to give voters a better understanding of what makes their performances stand out within the genre this year.

Of course, this batch of actors was not an easy one to narrow down, especially considering FANGO’s own discussion over to what qualified as horror in 2014. Had the films been considered outright horror by the makers and distributors, Pat Healy and Dan Stevens would have absolutely made this list for their performances in CHEAP THRILLS and THE GUEST, respectively. Furthermore, the ensemble cast of BIG BAD WOLVES and THE QUIET ONES caused discussion among the staff as which cast member counted as the legitimate lead of the film as well. Otherwise, ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE’s Tom Hiddleston, WOLF CREEK 2’s John Jarrattt, and THE PURGE: ANARCHY’s Frank Grillo all were actively in contention at one point or another, but unfortunately did not make the cut.

So without further ado, here are your FANGORIA Chainsaw Award Nominees for Best Actor…

Lior Ashkenazi, BIG BAD WOLVES

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The dark horse of this year’s nominees, there are few performances that were as versatile and compelling as Ashkenazi’s in BIG BAD WOLVES, the only foreign language performance of the Best Actor contenders. Playing a hardass corrupt cop with a sense of humanity who finds himself in a moral grey area, Ashkenazi is a marvel in BIG BAD WOLVES, adding a sense of complexity and vulnerability that’s often missing in procedural-genre mash-ups. And considering his arc in the film, it’s wonderful how well Ashkenazi can sway between charm, anger, humor and fear with the slightest of ease.

 

Nick Damici, LATE PHASES

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A tour de force performance if there ever was one, Nick Damici commands every moment of LATE PHASES. An emotional performance yet one that is true to the essence of the actor, Damici plays both badass and elderly with equal gusto and does not disappoint. And Damici truly offers a wealth of gravitas in his performance in LATE PHASES, making the quiet conversations feel as authentic as much as his war zone attitude when he’s pit against rabid werewolves.


Jake Gyllenhaal, ENEMY

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An incredible, fully realized performance in a film that demands much from him, Gyllenhaal examines every part of his own psyche in the creepy, Lynchian ENEMY. Playing both the depressed, nuanced Adam and the assertive, manipulative Anthony, Gyllenhaal plays two unpredictable sides of the same dangerous coin, and his work is utterly mesmerizing from start to finish. A performance that’s both creepy and engaging, ENEMY is a film you can’t shake easily, and wouldn’t nearly resonate as deeply without Gyllenhaal’s incredible performance to anchor the project.

 

Jared Harris, THE QUIET ONES

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Intellectual yet ultimately deceptive, Jared Harris delivers his all to THE QUIET ONES in a role that could have easily been slept through. However, Harris’ mechanical way of operating, as well as his psychologically and physically distressing storyline through the movie, offers a Victor Frankenstein by the way of Sigmund Freud, and is completely entrancing from start to finish. And Harris’ performance even elevates that of the cast around him, offering a springboard for the younger performers to leap off of, and in doing so, makes his character’s duplicitous nature all the more believable.

 

Daniel Radcliffe, HORNS

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Proving he can deliver outside of Hogwarts and THE WOMAN IN BLACK, Radcliffe’s turn as Ig Perrish is oddly his most human and, subsequently, his most fascinating to date. Offering raw emotion and a believable sense of cosmic indifference, Radcliffe brings his A-game to every scene and sells his descent into darkness with a severe sense of satisfaction. Yet even during the most restrained scenes, Radcliffe’s sense of humanity is what makes the character one to root for, even when he’s done the despicable and depraved with the littlest of care given. It’s a bold performance for Radcliffe, yet one not soon to be forgotten.

 

If you would like to vote for any of these nominees for Best Actor, check out the full ballot here and send your completed ballot to chainsaw@fangoria.com.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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