Gosh, this was tough. I kept rearranging and rearranging - needless to say it was a good year. My honorable mentions might have found their way into my top 5 on any other day, it was just so competitive.
5. Andrew Garfield - "The Social Network"
As the heart of the film, Garfield is a revelation. He gives Eduardo so much charisma and heart, but he's not afraid to bring out the flaws in his character as well. He's sympathetic but not pathetic, and that's Garfield's greatest achievement.
4. John Hawkes - "Winter's Bone"
Hawkes is frighteningly good as Teardrop in "Winter's Bone". There is no Hawkes, there is only Teardrop and he is a force of nature without ever stealing the spotlight from Jennifer Lawrence. The amount of expression in his eyes is breathtaking.
3. Won Bin - "Mother"
As Mother's criminally accused son, Won Bin is perfect at being slightly off, yet still so sympathetic. Do-Joon is definitely hiding something but Bin keeps us guessing until the very end. A surprising and memorable performance.
2. Mark Ruffalo - "The Kids Are All Right"
It's really quite remarkable, what Mark Ruffalo did in "Kids". Ruffalo effortlessly turns Paul into such a complex character - he's the definition of a man child, and yet he's not immature. His arc is absolutely perfect and his chemistry with every member of the cast is such a joy to watch.
1. Geoffrey Rush - "The King's Speech"
I was truly awed by Rush's fantastic work in "Speech". Rush is usually known for being crazily over the top but as Lionel Logue, he's remarkably subtle. His audition scene near the beginning of the movie is simply brilliant and it defines his character - a man who has to help others in order to help himself. Remarkable.
Oh, how it kills me to not be able to mention these guys! Kieran Culkin is hilarious and yet, so sensitive in "Scott Pilgrim"; Samuel L. Jackson gives an uncharacteristically emotive and human performance in "Mother and Child"; Matt Damon is so funny, but also so endearing in "True Grit"; Michael Shannon is so full of sleazy, over-the-top goodness in "The Runaways".
Just Missed It:
Mark Webber in "Scott Pilgrim", Vincent Cassell in "Black Swan", Luke Ford in "Animal Kingdom"
What are your thoughts on this category? It was a fantastic year for supporting men, eh? Comments are welcome as always! :)