Holly Hunter — Helen Parr, The Incredibles
A lot of acting, whether with your voice or your face, simply comes down to presence. Unfortunately, a lot of the regular celebrity voice actors don’t actually have the chops to deliver a convincing audio-only performance. Fortunately, Pixar usually goes for people who can simply deliver the goods. In the case of The Incredible’s Helen Parr, their choice of Holly Hunter for the voice is simply inspired.
Basically, she’s the ultimate mom. She’s a bit frazzled and more than a bit stressed, but she cares about her family and tries to keep up her faltering marriage. That’s a combination that many actresses have tried and failed to balance, but Holly Hunter makes it look easy.
Oh, and then she breaks out into this:
You go girl.
Albert Brooks – Marlin, Finding Nemo
Albert Brooks has made a name for himself by playing a nebbish (well, until Drive, that is). And sure, that’s one of the most endearing qualities he brings to the character of “Finding Nemo’s dad” in that movie. What’s even more important, though, is that he manages to make that character a credible movie hero as well.
It’s a fine line, to take a character who is essentially reluctant and cowardly, and act him through a journey of peril and risk without ever violating the core of the character. Brooks nails it.
It’s not hard to find a Pixar scene that jumps through more dramatic hoops than most live actors are able to, but here’s one from Finding Nemo. Brooks has to go a lot of places in these two minutes, and he has to do it while talking like a fish, too.
Craig T. Nelson – Bob Parr, The Incredibles
By the way, I love this movie. I think it’s one of the best depictions of a real family dynamic that has ever graced a children’s movie. That owes partly to the brilliant, genre-savvy script penned by the reliable Brad Bird, but it owes just as much to the rock-solid vocal cast.
And the best of these, for me at least, is Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible. I’m not familiar with Mr. Nelson’s work on Coach, but he brings a level of realism, pathos, and power to this family patriarch that I’ve rarely seen in ANY movie, animated or otherwise.
Just listen to the way Nelson marries the ordinary with the extraordinary in this decidely atypical “kid’s movie” scene:
What about you? I feel bad for leaving out Kevin Spacey’s Hopper, but who are your favorites?