5. Jake Gyllenhaal: Nightcrawler
4. Brendan Gleeson: Calvary
3. Matthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers Club
2. Timothy Spall: Mr Turner
1. J K Simons: Whiplash
This was hard as the top three are certainly interchangeable, and two or three on the periphery of the top five could have easily made the shortlist on another day – Tom Hardy for Locke and Oscar Isaacs for Inside Llewellyn Davies in particular.
But character actor J K Simons is my choice for the year with his riveting performance in Whiplash.