"We talk about brilliant performances all the time, you know, the actors who tear themselves apart for their roles, which I’m a believer in. But then I look at Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool and I say, ‘No one can do that but him,'" Gyllenhaal said during a Q&A after a screening of his latest drama, Nocturnal Animals, on Tuesday, Entertainment Weekly reports.
"That is truly, purely him. As an artist, he struggled for several years to figure that out and it’s all there on the screen," Gyllenhaal continued. "And it's brilliant."
Deadpool was Reynolds' passion project for over a decade, and the star struggled through development hell as he fought to find the funding to bring the project to the big screen.
After finally getting the green light from 20th Century Fox, Reynolds and director Tim Miller shot the stand-alone, R-rate comic book movie with the comparably low budget of $58 million. Deadpool went on to debut at No. 1 at the box office -- where it stayed in the top spot for three weeks -- and took home $363 million worldwide.
Reynolds was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for his celebrated performance, while the film itself was nominated for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. However, it received no Oscar nominations.
"Sure it’s a comic book movie and it’s made a lot of money — but that doesn’t subtract from Ryan’s extraordinary work," Gyllenhaal added. "Because it's him. I mean, let's ask ourselves: What else do we want from people who create? Something that is truly them."
Gyllenhaal and Reynolds have spent a lot of time together recently, filming the upcoming outer space sci-fi thriller Life, alongside Rebecca Ferguson, which opens in theaters March 24.
Gyllenhaal himself was also considered by many to be another star who was overlooked by the Academy this year, for his acclaimed performance in Nocturnal Animals.
The Tom Ford-directed thriller, which was surrounded by Oscar buzz earlier this year, only garnered one nomination: Michael Shannon for Best Supporting Actor. Meanwhile, Gyllenhaal did receive a BAFTA nomination for his role.