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Tue, Sep 12, 2017 6:42 AM

Live Poll: Best Musical Performance by an Actor in a Film

You may have seen the musical performances in the films below, but did you know that the actors were actually singing and playing instruments themselves? Some already had some musical chops and got to show them off onscreen; other actors actually learned their musical skills in a relatively short time for a particular film. Of the actors below, which do you think gave the best musical performance onscreen?

LIST: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls063308612/

POLL: http://www.imdb.com/poll/N6YGKpyKZHg/

(Note: Because so many actors either sing or play an instrument in a movie, only actors who both sing and play an instrument are included in this poll)

Suggestions welcome. I am not including those actors who are primarily musical artists or primarily known as musical artists, such as Justin Timberlake or Adam Levine.

Responses

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3 years ago

(A poll about musical performances by actors in TV series will follow shortly.)

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3 years ago

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart.

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Hey Dibby,

I accidentally posted my list at #25. Would you mind replacing the link above in my original post with this link?
http://www.imdb.com/list/ls063308612/#1
(or http://www.imdb.com/list/ls063308612/ )

Thank you so much!

And thanks for the vote, too. : )

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Suzy,

Though I am a IMDb Champion, still I don't have the right to edit someone's post.

From our poll board, only Dan and Pibby have that right.

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Oh, I thought it was any Get Satisfaction. I'll ask them.  Champ. Hey, thanks, Dibby

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I meant I thought it was any GS Champ. I'm not sure how that got separated. My laptop's auto-correct likes to sabotage things, lol. 

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3 years ago

Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line (guitar, vocals) - I was really impressed when I read that Joaquin Phoenix performed all the songs in the movie himself.

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Indeed. : )

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3 years ago

Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis (guitar, vocals) 

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3 years ago

Movies where the actors learned enough to actually play and record the songs:
Green Room
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Almost Famous
What We Do Is Secret
Spinal Tap
The Blues Brothers (though most of the backing band were pros)

I haven't seen La La Land but is Gosling's performance in it more interesting/integral/something to the plot than Blue Valentine?

FYC:
Sissy Spacek and Beverly D'Angelo - Coal Miner's Daughter
Jeremy Northam - Gosford Park
John Cameron Mitchell - Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Nearly everyone in duets (except for Andre Braugher) but they are only singing, not playing too
Most of the songs were written and performed by the actors in Nashville

Jennifer Jason Leigh also performed in Georgia - it was a major component of the movie, that she could never live up to her sister.

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3 years ago

Thanks a lot, Jen. 

I haven't seen all of the first six movies that you mention or haven't seen them in a long time so I can't remember: you said the actors recorded the songs but do they also perform onscreen? I know they do in Spinal Tap but I either don't know or can't remember about the other films. And I know Crudup learned to play the guitar for Almost Famous but I can't remember if he also sang.

I haven't seen La La Land but thanks for the reminder. I'll look on you tube to make sure he sang as well as played and, if he does, I'll add that performance as well as Blue Valentine.

I'm not sure what movie(s) you're referring to when you said "Nearly everyone in duets (except for Andre Braugher) but they are only singing, not playing too
Most of the songs were written and performed by the actors in Nashville."

Re: Sissy Spacek: I thought Loretta Lyn just sang; did she play an instrument, as well? I saw the film, too, but I can't remember.
Re: Jennifer Jason Leigh in Georgia: I thought Leigh only sang in that film, whereas Winningham played the guitar and sang? But it's been a while since I saw the film so if you know, that'd be great because I can't remember.

Thanks again! I'll definitely add most, if not all, of the actors that sang and played an instrument, as well. I decided on that parameter because too many actors have either just sung or just played an instrument in a film. 

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Yes, they all performed onscreen as well as recorded the songs and, in some cases, even played gigs afterwards.

Loretta and Sissy played guitar.
Image result for sissy spacek coal miners daughter guitar
The movie Duets starring Gwyneth Paltrow.

And the movie Nashville starring Keith Carradine. In Nashville they all sang and performed their songs and, in many cases, wrote the songs as well. Carradine won an Oscar for "I'm Easy".
I guess Blakely just sang in Nashville:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSEP9oeUvJ8
But Carradine played guitar and sang:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KZ8PRWChb8

Crudup wasn't the singer in Almost Famous, Jason Lee was.

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Added Carradine and Sissy so far, although I'm waiting for a photo of Carradine that crops (the one IMDb has cuts him out), but his place is already saved on the list with the bad photo.

Am I remembering correctly that Northam played the piano in Gosford Park? I think I remember him singing, too, and playing the piano, but I couldn't confirm that so I thought I should check with you because I'm not sure. 

I only remember John Cameron Mitchell singing in Hedwig and can't find a photo of him playing an instrument - do you remember what instrument he played? (I've listed the instrument for everyone else.)

Thanks Jen,  so much.

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I just found out that it was not actually Jeremy Northam playing the piano in Gosford Park. It was his brother who is a classically trained pianist. 

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3 years ago

Antonio Banderas sang and played the guitar in Desperado and sang and played trumpet in The Mambo Kings.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e-0nikgtGg

In The Thing Called Love, River Phoenix played and performed all his numbers. He also wrote one of the songs.

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Wow, I can't remember I didn't think of River Phoenix. Thanks for the suggestions. I think I might make a part two after this one.

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Also, Val Kilmer sang so perfectly in The Doors that most viewers didn't know it was him singing and not a recording of Jim Morrison.

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3 years ago

Keith Carradine is a tricky one, he wrote and composed the song himself and won the Oscar for Best Original Song that year, so he's as much a talented singer as an actor. It's not quite as if he had to "play" or pretend to be a singer for the role.

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3 years ago

bump: list is complete / no longer under construction (although there is one spot left so suggestions still welcome)

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Sorry if you already had this comment, but Val Kilmer sounded so perfect in The Doors that it was difficult to tell it wasn't Jim Morrison.

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Also, Gerard Butler was PHENOMENAL as the Phantom of the Opera in the movie, Hugh Jackman was great in Les Miserables, and Johnny Depp and others were great in Sweeney Todd.... (but I'm not sure you wanted to include movies of Musicals)

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3 years ago