Lynn Hirschberg in the New York Times Magazine:
It was not a standout year for filmmaking, but the acting in 2006 was consistently intriguing and often thrilling. In our annual photographic portfolio, the magazine has never tried to guess which actors will win awards but rather to praise performances that moved, distressed, enlivened and, finally, amazed us. We are saluting 22 of those remarkable characters: from Helen Mirren, whose subtly layered portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II both humanized a seemingly cold matriarch and revealed the complicated nature of duty in shifting times, to Sacha Baron Cohen, whose brilliant, seamless portrayal of Borat was simultaneously hilarious and shocking, to the lesser known Abbie Cornish, who was heartbreaking in âSomersault,â an Australian coming-of-age film that played in American theaters for only a few weeks.
More here. [Photo shows Cate Blanchett.]