25 December 2012 4:00 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

A great year in film means a great year in acting. We've celebrated our Top Ten Films of 2012, and now it's time to give thanks for some of the performances that moved us this year. From Jessica Chastain's high-profile performance as the woman who tracked down Osama bin Laden in Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" to Emilie Dequenne's little talked about turn in Joachim Lafosse's heart-wrenching "Our Children" (which is also Film Comment's #1 Undistributed film), it was a year of dynamic, strong women, as well as those that have been broken. Daniel Day-Lewis' masterful performance in "Lincoln" will not be soon forgotten, nor will Joaquin Phoenix's woebegone stray Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master." One of the most vividly disturbing performances comes from Australia's "The Snowtown Murders"; Daniel Henshall's portrait of real-life murderer John Bunting is »


- Sophia Savage

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