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W Magazine Picks This Year’s Top Male Performances

Posted Tuesday January 29, 2013 2:00 PM GMT

Looking over the last year of theatrical releases, W magazine has selected the hottest actors in the game. And there are plenty of deserving gentlemen that made the cut.

Obviously no list would be complete without Matthew McConaughey, whose films “Killer Joe” and “Magic Mike” were both impressive.

He told W, “In Hud, Paul Newman is a real bastard, but how can you not like this despicable guy? I love seeing someone in a movie who can walk that line: no wrong, no right, no regret, no guilt. I know some people like that, and although I don’t trust them, I respect them. They have the courage and the personal politics to walk through life and say, ‘I am an island. Deal with that.’ There’s a clarity that is attractive.”

“On the Road” hunk Garrett Hedlund also snagged an honorable mention. “I had been signed on to On the Road since 2007 or so. I knew I had to audition for the director, Walter Salles. I was waiting for the call, and nothing was really going on in L.A., so I flew to Minnesota, where I’m from, to help my dad on the farm. As soon as I landed, they called and said they wanted to see me in L.A. I flew straight back. That was March ’07. I found out in September, on my birthday, that I’d gotten the part. I was flying from New York, and I landed in Chicago for a layover. My dad called and sang ‘Happy Birthday,’ and I received an e-mail from Salles saying, ‘I have great news for you.’ When I finally landed in L.A., I got a call from Minnesota that my father had had a heart attack after he got off the phone with me. I called him up in the hospital and said, ‘You can’t do this! It’s my birthday! And I just got On the Road!’ As it turned out, he was okay, but it was a weird balance. When there’s a great amount of good, it can be evened out by a great amount of bad.”

The much-lauded Ben Affleck scored high marks for “Argo.” “I had been a child actor in a PBS series, and that launched me into trying to be an actor in the real world. Matt [Damon] and I auditioned for The Mickey Mouse Club. We auditioned for the part of Robin in the first Batman. We went up to New York and auditioned in situations that were a little sketchy and shady. A guy would say, ‘We’re not sure what we’re calling the movie yet. Why don’t you lie down?’ We were naive and young and left saying, ‘He seemed like a nice guy. I wonder if we’ll get it. I think my hand job was pretty good.’ ”

Additionally, Bradley Cooper nabbed a home run with “Silver Linings Playbook.” “The movie that influenced me the most when I was a kid was The Elephant Man. I saw it when I was 12, and it had a huge impact on me. I watched it again and again, and I got addicted to that feeling. Based on the sadness that the movie evoked, I said, ‘That’s what I want to do with my life—make people feel sad.’ ”

And Tom Cruise’s “Jack Reacher” and “Rock of Ages” kept him in the headlines. “I was 19 when I made Taps, and my character loved weapons. In one scene, I was firing a machine gun out a window, and I looked down and there was a guy shooting back at me. This was my first experience with stunts—and an expert marksman was aiming at me! I didn’t want to look like I was dumb, but between takes I pulled the guy aside and said, ‘Have you done this before? You’re not going to shoot me, are you?’ I was terrified that my first big part would be my last.”

Photo Credit: Juergen Teller for W Magazine