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    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    The five best supporting performances of the 21st century

    5) Steve Buscemi in Ghost World - It's common knowledge that Buscemi's always been an actor to watch, with a roster ranging from the tough (Mr. Pink) to the pathetic (Donny Kerabatsos) to a mix of the two (Tony Blundetto). He didn't demonstrate his full abilities though until he took on Ghost World's Seymour, a scared soul hiding behind misanthropy and vintage vinyl.

    4) Maribel Verdú in Y Tu Mamá También - If you bring up Y Tu Mamá También to my friend Jason, he will immediately rail against the moment where a dancing Luisa locks eyes with the camera, because it breaks the fourth wall. And I will immediately counter that it is perhaps the most stunning moment in a film already overloaded with stunning and it's just Verdú rightfully acknowledging that she owns that scene and maybe even the film.

    3) Chris Cooper in Adaptation - Make this convincing: a mostly toothless orchid smuggler in backwoods Florida seduces Meryl Streep. With all of Adaptation's Moebius turns, the movie would've fallen apart without Cooper's strange, honest and utterly convincing charisma as an anchor. It wouldn't have been half as fun either.

    2) Sophie Okonedo in Hotel Rwanda - I put off watching Hotel Rwanda for a long time, because I'm not often in the mood to watch a film about a subject as difficult as genocide. But I was grateful when I finally saw it, in no small part due to Okonedo. Her masterful rendition of a mother and wife on the wrong side of an ethnic divide provided the soul to Don Cheadle's strength.

    1) Brian Cox in L.I.E. - Even I'm surprised that this is my number one pick. It's a performance that skirts the line between supporting and lead, and it's quiet enough that it doesn't cry out for superlatives like this. But the fact remains that Cox is indelible here, playing such a complex role so well that I can't imagine anyone else even coming close.

    * The five best lead performances of the 21st century

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