In Contention's Top 10 Performances in Steven Soderbergh Films
With 'Magic Mike' on the way, a look at the actors who excelled in the director's work
3. Benicio Del Toro in "Traffic" (2000)
A second entry in the list for Del Toro, and it's for what remains the most finely calibrated and richly rewarded work of a strong career. As Javier, a weary police officer whose infiltration into a high-stakes drugs bust uncovers irreparable levels of corruption, he has what could be the dully earnest assignment of playing both the audience's eyes and the film's conscience, but Del Toro is too gracefully critical an actor to play it that simply, as Javier vacillates between anger, moral curiosity and self-protective indifference to his circumstances. It's a performance that won him nearly every Best Supporting Actor gong going, including the Oscar, but the Screen Actors' Guild, who handed him their Best Actor prize instead, might have had the right idea.