…Throughout the year, SpoilerTV sought to allow the fans to honor the performers who so often get forgotten by other sites and in fact, by many if not all award shows. The fans chose wisely throughout the year making for a wild showdown to crown SpoilerTV’s 2016 Reader’s Choice Performer of the Year. After a fierce battle, it was Amy Acker who played Samantha “Root” Groves from the dearly departed CBS series Person of Interest who claimed the title.
Throughout her illustrious career, Amy Acker has built up an impressive resume of beloved characters. Whether she is playing a good character, a morally ambiguous one, or a cold-hearted evil one, her fans flock to watch her. Not every actress is capable of jumping between good and bad characters and usually end up typecast as one or the other. Acker has made a great effort to ensure that her resume was diverse enough to allow her access to almost any type of role, good character or bad. It’s because of that willingness to take on roles across all lines of morality that have ensured that she will always be an in-demand actress. Acker got her first major break in the Joss Whedon series Angel and her career took off from there. She has dabbled around in many genres seemingly determined to not get locked down into one type of character. Though, it has been clear from the start that action based characters suit her best. She can fire guns and fend off bad guys as though she were an expert fighter. In truth, as she has revealed in more than a few interviews, she’s a bit of a klutz in real life. When she’s in character and in the midst of some big action sequence the audience doesn’t question, even for a second, her ability to pull off the part.
All of that likely factored into her landing the part of Root on Person of Interest. This was a complex series with complex characters, and Root was perhaps the most complicated of them all. At any given time, her loyalties were called into question, but when it mattered she always came through for the team. Both psychotic and unhinged, even per her own admissions, Root always seemed to have a soft spot for the good guys. Sure, she shot at them, kidnapped them, tortured them, beat them up, etc., but at the end of the day, she let them go on their way. In the end, after many trials and tribulations Root found herself a part of the team. This transition could have felt very forced, but because of brilliant writing and exceptional acting, it felt like an organic evolution for the character. She didn’t necessarily go through a redemption arc, but instead she just sort of slid into a spot on the team as they began to work together. It took everyone time to learn to trust her.
Even during the tumultuous times, Acker presented Root in a way that intrigued the audience. Root was never fully evil nor ever fully good. She was her own person living her own life for a mission that she felt destined to partake in with people she trusted. Acker brought life to every intense moment with such realism that it was easy for an audience member to get caught up in the action. It is a true testament to any performer when they deliver such a realistic performance that for that moment in time the barrier of the screen disappears and the audience feels as though they are right in the middle of it all.
That’s when a performer goes from great, even amazing, to exceptionally extraordinary. Many, if not all, of the 2016 SpoilerTV Performers of the Month can fit into this elite category, but not all can consistently maintain it. Acker’s ability to engage the audience in such a high-level way wasn’t just a one-off deal. In fact, she did it and still does do it in every single performance no matter what character she is portraying. To reach this level of acting and to be so proficient in the portrayal of characters that even she admits are far from who she is as a real person is exceptional. She operates at an acting level that many of her peers can reach, but simply can’t steadily deliver. Every character Acker has ever played has evolved her acting in a different way, but Root took her to a whole new level. Impressive for an actress that was already operating at the top of her field, whether it’s the fact that Root presented new and interesting challenges or that the show just gave her more liberties to do her thing, the performances she delivered were even above her prior bests. She’s truly gifted and an exceptional performer who is very deserving of all the praise she receives.
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