With 'Venus in Fur' on the way, which actors have excelled under his direction?
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10. Adrien Brody, "The Pianist"
Honors: Academy Award, National Society of Film Critics Award, Cesar Award, Boston Society of Critics Award (Best Actor)
One that I imagine will be a bit higher up a lot of people's lists, Brody's soulful, subtly intuitive turn as Polish Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman has grown on me in the years since its surprise Oscar win. It's a performance of immense physicality, but not ostentatiously so, his gangly frame and pen-and-wash features tilting, sagging and contorting with each new trial Szpilman must endure -- suggesting a hollowed spirit, but never a defeated one. It seems unimaginable now that Joseph Fiennes was Polanski's first choice for the role.