What is good acting? Is it how believable you are? Is it range? Is it the ability to speak with your eyes? Is it subtlety? Is it your ability to bring something new and unexpected to the script you are given?
I'm asking because I was talking to someone, and I like asking questions like "Name some really good books!" or "Name some movies that you will watch over and over!" -- but when it came to movie performances, I found that I couldn't really come up with a favorite list. These are some of the things that were going off in my head:
a) if you have a very good script and directing, moderate acting will do the job
b) if you are basically playing yourself, of course you're going to be convincing without having to actually be good at acting
c) if you have to work with terrible writing, and still manage to do something with it, then maybe you're a really good actor
d) maybe 'acting' as we perceive it actually depends a lot on 'editing'
e) maybe 'acting' depends on other things as well, like lighting and music
f) there is actually no 'objective' good acting -- it's pretty much all personal taste
g) if this is the case, awards are totally bunk (even more bunk than I originally thought)
h) likeable characters are, well, too mainstream -- so portraying unlikeable characters actually makes people think you're good at acting
i) expectation plays a huge part -- if you are in a comic book movie, no one expects a lot of acting from you
j) it's all relative -- if everyone else in the movie sucks, people are going to praise you (and, again, think you are better than you actually are)
k) if your character has a dark past, people confuse it with depth and praise your acting
l) or maybe good acting is just an ability to be someone else who is totally different from who you are
m) this is starting to sound like runaway Ni, so I'm going to stop
So... in your opinion, what is good acting? What is a good actor? How do you judge? Feel free to give some examples