Ah, the end of the year. Another one in the can to be filed away alongside all the other almanacs. 2007 was a good year for some and a great year for others. And also a lousy year for a few, but who cares about them? Here are three who can count 2007 among their professional best:
Philip Seymour Hoffman: After several Best Actor and Actress winners tossed away their award cred on some subpar offerings -- sure, Halle Berry is the obvious one, but don't forget Roberto Benigni, Jamie Foxx (Stealth, The Kingdom), Hilary Swank (2 Oscars and she isn't offered anything better than The Reaping and P.S. I Love You?), and this year the still great Helen Mirren cashing a check in National Treasure: Book of Secrets) -- Hoffman follows up his win for Capote with one of the best Holiday movie seasons in history. He's intense and tragically flawed in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead; he's cynical, hilarious and way too smart for his own good in Charlie Wilson's War; I haven't had a chance to see it yet but he's Golden Globe nominated and Oscar buzzed about in The Savages.
Casey Affleck: I hope he got his big brother Ben something real nice for Christmas because he owes him for pinning his directorial debut squarely on his little brother's shoulders. And I hope Ben got Casey something real nice for Christmas because Casey totally delivers. Gone Baby Gone is one of the year's best and Casey Affleck inhabits his novice Boston detective role like he grew up in the town (which he did). Then, just to show that he doesn't need his big brother directing or a movie shot in his backyard to be good, Affleck the Younger turns in a starmaking performance in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, fully holding his own opposite Brad Pitt. A breakout year.
Katherine Heigl: On the distaff side, how about this "Grey's Anatomy" star who snagged a surprise Emmy win (no one seemed more surprised than she did), and delivered a genre-busting performance in Knocked Up. Heigl proved this year she can handle both romance and raunch and that will serve her in good stead for years.
Others who had career-making 2007s at the movies include Emile Hirsch, Amy Adams, Michael Cera, Ellen Page, Sharon Leal (I'm including Dreamgirls on her 2007 resume; that's when I saw it), and probably a few others I can't think of right now.
Know one I blanked on? Add it in the "Comments" section.