In the weeks leading up to this year's Academy Awards, I put the spotlight on each of the 10 performances nominated in the best-actor and best-actress categories in a series called "Oscar 2010: The Performances." My aim was not to predict who would win, or even to make pronouncements about whom I want to win (though reading between the lines is always encouraged). I wanted to spend a little time looking under the hood of each of those performances, to get a sense of what might be going on there. My methods were highly unscientific, my views wholly subjective. My hope was to get closer to the heart of what makes a good performance good or, when applicable, a bad one bad. At the very least, this series offered a few snapshot assessments of what it is about actors that keeps us going to the movies in the first place, a small window into the pleasure that actors, at their best, are capable of bringing us.
The following slide show offers excerpts of each essay, along with a link to the original.