During this week's At the Movies, film critic Michael Phillips not only chose There Will be Blood as his favorite film of the decade, but he also called Daniel Day-Lewis' Daniel Plainview the performance of the new century. This, then, led me to think about the single best performances of the decade -- a list I haven't really seen too many people drawing up in these last moments of the year (partly because it's such a huge undertaking and partly because such a list should and could include well over a hundred different performances).
So I began combing over the films and performances that stood out for me over the past decade, and I, like Phillips, kept coming back to Daniel Plainview. Not only is Day-Lewis' performance stunning, scary and scandalous in every conceivable way, but Plainview -- and his greedy, conniving plans to strike it rich at the expense of the small town working class -- eerily mirrors the moronic actions of those who helped sink our country into a horrible recession, which, unfortunately, was probably the series of events that most impacted us over these past 10 years.
In one character, Plainview represents everything we hate about people, and yet in Day-Lewis' performance we're able to taste everything we love about going to the movies. It's an unbelievable performance that's shocking and sensational, and if it's the best performance of the decade, then I'd rest his portrayal of William "Bill the Butcher" Cutting in 2002's Gangs of New York right alongside it in the number two spot.
But that's my opinion, and I'll stop here in order to carry this conversation over into the comments section. Take a minute to let the question breathe (while watching the clip after the jump), and then let us know your pick for performance of the decade and why ...