Forget Oscar, these were the year's most fun and lively performances - the ones we actually can't wait to watch again. Please, no costumes, no accents.
1. Pierce Brosnan, "The Matador." As hit man Julian Noble, Brosnan sheds the 007 tux for some stubble and a Speedo as the most hysterically unlikeable character of the year. Brosnan is clearly having fun as he explains his "gotta pee" theory of assassination: Nab 'em at the little boys room.
2. Oliver Platt, "The Ice Harvest." Platt is a pure injection of life into this dark John Cusack comedy. Impressively, he is falling-down drunk the entire movie.
3. The Penguins, "Madagascar." A team of four waddling, conspiring penguins plot their zoo escape and take over an ocean liner with relative ease. Led by "Skippa," the well-coordinated, gangster-birds hide their true nature: "Remember, cute and cuddly, boys." Honorable mention to the bunnies in "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit."
4. Val Kilmer, "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang." In a film that upended most film noir conventions, Kilmer's gay private eye (actually named Gay Perry) stood out. The key, though, is that Kilmer doesn't alter his terse, masculine style - making the jokes all the better. Alongside Robert Downey, Jr., he announces a new shakedown routine: "This isn't good cop, bad cop. This is fag and New Yorker."
5. Vince Vaughn, "Wedding Crashers." 2005 was Vince Vaughn's year. Not only did he steal "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" from Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (a pair that is somewhat watchable), but he ruled the year's hit comedy. Vaughn has perfected a character who is lurid-but-moral ("Grab that net and catch that beautiful butterfly") and supportive-but-honest ("Please don't take a turn for negative town"). This year, Vaughn lived by Rule 76 of wedding crashing: "No excuses. Play like a champion."
6. Gilbert Gottfried, "The Aristocrats." Who knew the high-pitched, squints-so-much-you-wonder-how-he-can-see Gottfried might be the funniest man on the planet? Comedians view his telling of the Aristocrats joke just weeks after 9-11 as a watershed moment in comedy. As always, it's all in the timing.
7. Larenz Tate, "Crash." Paul Haggis' ensemble cast drew rave reviews - especially for Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard. But Tate, who plays Don Cheadle's wayward brother, had some of the film's best moments. In the otherwise somber rumination on racism, Tate played off racial stereotypes for comedy. He incredulously deadpans: "I love hockey."
8. Joan Allen, "The Upside of Anger." There's no reason Allen shouldn't be nominated for an Oscar (she has been three times before) except that "Upside of Anger" came out in the spring - not December. In one of the year's most underrated movies, Allen, whose husband has disappeared, oozes resentment for anyone she comes across: her daughters, the courting ex-ballplayer (Kevin Costner) and especially the cradle-robbing radio producer (Mike Binder).
9. Nathan Fillion, "Serenity." Like Harrison Ford did three decades ago, Fillion plays a bemused, roll-with-the-punches spaceship captain. There aren't awards for such performances, but they help remind us that sci-fi and action movies can actually be good.
10. Gerry Bednob & Shelley Malil, "40 Year-Old Virgin." The ratio of belly laughs to lines of dialogue for this pair, playing Steve Carell's Pakistani co-workers, may have set a record. Most notable might be Bednob's disgusting laundry list of what love is NOT. But, ultimately, you love them for their frequent suggestions to, well, enjoy the company of a goat.