Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network”(2010)
Jesse Eisenberg (with help from David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin) dared to bring one of the most obnoxious, unlikeable characters to life, a feat rarely attempted since “Citizen Kane” was released in 1941. From its opening moments inside the Thirsty Scholar, with Mark Zuckerberg carping over his entrance into Harvard’s Final Club, Eisenberg wields the arrogance and brilliance that will transform a college sophomore into a status-obsessed, social media tycoon. Following the structure of a Greek tragedy, Eisenberg confidently takes Zuckerberg from impish hacker to Sean Parker sycophant to coding savant gasping to stay ahead of his fallow personal life.
It’s easy to play nice. It’s exhilerating to play evil. But that nebulous, guarded middle-ground, inhabited by shrill genius; that takes real talent.