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Naomi Watts21 Grams reading out the Doctor who told her to relax after he informs her of the deaths in her family. Her acting is so powerful the camera man becomes so terrified he has trouble holding the camera on Naomi. It’s my favorite moment but I couldn’t find a clip.

Naomi Watts –  Mulholland Drive,

Mulholland Drive - Betty's Audition

the audition to play the role of victim of a sexual predator who is also her father’s best friend.

Tina FeySaturday Night Live, as Sara Palin

as US Vice Presidential candidate and almost every episode of 30 Rock.

Sara Palin2008 Presidential Campaign,

as candidate for Vice-President of the United States, where a totally out of the blue hillbilly personality is thrust into campaigning for the vice-presidency and charms/horrifies many people. Also, as Governor of Alaska where a seemingly sweet and innocent girl muscles the entrenched political establishment.

Alec Baldwin30 Rock,

A young Alec Baldwin gives a salesman motivational speech which we all should listen to until we understand the message about our lives.
video

Baldwin helps a therapist and plays many extremely varied roles in succession in a very short time.

Jack Nicholson – Most anything, for example even a phony prank phone call.

Olivia WildeHouseLast Resort Season 5, Episode 8,

“I don’t want to die!” This is very short scene by an almost unknown actor but for those of us who experienced Dr. Paul Ekman’s book Emotions Revealed, which is based on careful research on human emotions, this was a very painful scene for the actor, and for an emotionally sensitive viewer. Wilde has done a fair amount of acting and this is the only scene I remember her in, but I thought it was very compelling.

Stephen ColbertThe Colbert Report

satirical comedic monologues and crazy interviews with important people are always lively, and way over the top of raspiness. Colbert often has a word for the day and some of his neologisms become household words such as “truthiness”. This Bush roast wasn’t his best work but it is available and that’s worth something.

Robert KnepperPrison BreakT-Bag (Theodore Bagwell)

a charming psychopath who can “work” his way out of serious problems, like in Otis Season 2-2 getting his amputated hand reattached by a veterinarian because the cops are watching the hospitals, (his real father was a veterinarian) and The Legend Season 4-10, in which he comes into a top level conference, and is accused of just about everything, but comes out showing the qualities of a top salesman. He is so believable in these roles. T-Bag is the most believable of the TV psychopaths because his motivations are so animal and clear.

Brian CranstonBreaking Bad

There are so many scenes in this show that Cranston does so well and so believably—but what do you do when an ill prepared human body drops through the ceiling?

Ricky Gervais – Creationism –

video

He made it all up. And he did it in the dark.

Other sources of great viewing stuff.

Top 100 Highest Rated: All Genres TV shows. for TV.com

There are many great movies and TV shows, but what I was looking for was a minute or two of recent knock your socks off performance. There has to be lots of things out there which I either haven’t seen, don’t remember or couldn’t find in just an evening’s blogging. Please comment and send suggestions of really terrific minutes of extraordinary real acting ability.