The Tenth Day of Oscar 2017: The Best of Leading Actresses
For the second year in a row, the leading ladies have a far deeper roster of stellar performances than the men. We were remiss to leave out a handful of memorable performances – namely Kate Beckinsale (Love & Friendship), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch), Hailee Steinfeld (The Edge of Seventeen), and Sally Field (Hello, My Name is Doris). So who did we include? Find out by scrolling through the videos clips below from our Oscar picks and favorite leading female performances from the past year!
Oscar Nominee - Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
And Streep receives her obligatory invite to the ceremony. This time for a broad, but impressively emotional performance in a historical comedy, playing both for laughs and tears, making the ho-hum script better than it should be.
Oscar Nominee - Ruth Negga, Loving
It was a nice surprise to see Negga recognized here. Her understated performance foretells great things and this will certainly not be her last time on the nominee list.
Oscar Nominee - Natalie Portman, Jackie
Playing historical figures is hard because it is so easy to fall into caricature, which must be doubly true for such an iconic figure as Jackie Kennedy. Luckily, Portman finds true emotion and complexity in this woman and delivers a powerhouse performance that couldn't be ignored.
Oscar Dark Horse - Isabelle Huppert, Elle
A surprise win at the Golden Globes is likely not enough to push the needle in her favor, but there is an outside chance it spurred more of the Academy to pay attention and watch Huppert's performance. if they did, they may have reacted in kind with the critical world and showered her with praise. And that would result in a well-justified upset for the ages.
Oscar Front Runner - Emma Stone, La La Land
Stone is not only the heavy favorite here because she is the current Hollywood "it" girl - it is because she provided what will go down as one of film's iconic, beloved movie musical characters.
Chelsea's #5 - Amy Adams, Arrival
I hate leaving Ruth Negga off this list. She's stunning and this is a really stacked category this year. But I just had to give a few shout outs to Amy Adams, for her bravura work both on Arrival and Nocturnal Animals. She's fantastic in Arrival, embodying curiosity as well as patience and a willingness to let go just a little bit.
David's #5 - Ruth Negga, Loving
There is more said in Negga's soulful and resolute eyes in this role than most any performance in film this year. In an inviting, sympathetic turn, she finds an endearing and unforgettable mix of timidity and integrity.
Chelsea's #4 - Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann
Hüller is perfection in this occasionally zany, frequently bombastic film. She offers complete control of her character, a hard-nosed corporate consultant, and she also fearlessly tackles the big comedic moment, the tiny awkward conversations, and the extraordinarily profound relational junctures. She exhibits range and is exacting.
David's #4 - Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann
In playing a harsh and flawed pragmatist, Hüller took big risks. Not only does she put herself out there physically and comically, she captures a realistic emptiness and longing along the way. Toni Erdmann is so precisely quirky that it required an intelligent performance that does not pander nor draw attention to itself - she nails it.
Chelsea's #3 - Natalie Portman, Jackie
Sometime it's hard to figure out where Jackie ends and Portman begins, she so fully embodies this iconic historical figure. What's most impressive is that she also manages to imbue this role with honesty as Kennedy grasps for meaning, peace, and a simple knowledge of what she should do next--for herself and for her husband's legacy.
David's #3 - Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Single mothers are both judged and applauded, a tension that Bening captures perfectly in her work here, showing how the best of intentions can backfire and second-guesses are inevitable. Her ticks and contradictions are both frustrating and immediately endearing as universally relatable.
Chelsea's #2 - Isabelle Huppert, Elle
Huppert has found quite a role in Michele Leblanc, who is, in one word, a survivor who refuses to be a victim. I love how Huppert doesn't once apologize for her, doesn't offer any pat answers and understanding of Michele's inner life, but instead dives right into the gritty, ugly details of her past and present.
David's #2 - Emma Stone, La La Land
Playing the ultimate ingenue and idealist is not an easy sell - it's been done so many times that every new attempt runs the risk of feeling cliche. Not so with Stone's turn in La La Land, as she captures both youthful idealism and inevitable struggles that follow with such charisma and authenticity it is impossible not to fall in love. Where a lesser actress would incite eye-rolls, she incites genuine affection.
Chelsea's #1 - Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
I just love love love how inscrutable Bening is as the matriarch of her own make-shift family in 20th Century Women. She is at once maternal and cool, inviting and closed-off. This is a meaty role filled with contradictions, and no one else could pull it off with such humanity. A truly three dimensional performance.
David's #1 - Isabelle Huppert, Elle
The year's most daring performance, hands down. Huppert manages to keep viewers guessing about her character's motivations from frame one while never feeling anything but genuine, displaying a complex mix of emotions that are simultaneously sympathetic and abrasive.
Check in tomorrow as we turn our attention to the most important person on any film production – the director.