There are so few actors who shake us to our core -- Michelle Williams, Mads Mikkelsen, Niels Arestrup, Jessica Chastain, Isabelle Huppert, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Casey Affleck. If this were the 1970s, we'd be lining up around the block to watch these people. This doesn't happen today. Finding performances that resonate with me personally is both sublime and extremely rare.
To pick one, I recently re-watched Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," in which he played Ford, who worships Jesse [Brad Pitt] and eventually murders him. Ford is essentially this obsequious, diminutive rodent at the feet of the internationally famous outlaw. I felt that Casey did something deeply courageous with his work here. He embraced the task of playing an ostensibly loathsome creature with great dimension and empathy. He brought dignity to something most actors would have presented as a lowly caricature. He was heartbreaking, desolate, and lonely in a way I'd never seen. To me, it's one of the most remarkable performances of the last decade.