I'm bored of the old guard of actresses ruling the Best Actress field every year, and this Oscar season doesn't look to be any different. In fact, most of the main Best Actress contenders skew a little bit older, and of course Meryl Streep is there for August: Osage County, apparently because she wore a lot of make-up and didn't wear out her throat screaming for two hours. Good for her. Her place in the race is assured no matter what, but this year in particular there were a wealth of great performances by women who will probably be ignored by the Academy, even though they have as much right to be there as anybody.
So what I recognized, and this will be the case for male performances too, is that most of the performances that had the greatest impact on me probably have no shot at receiving a golden statue. What they all share in common for the most part are two things: youth and opportunity. The oldest actress on my list is veteran scene-stealer Kristin Scott Thomas who gives bad mothers an even worse name in Only God Forgives. Right next to her is TV vet Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who displays in Enough Said a wit and dramatic range could have made her a big screen star. Others, like Brie Larson for Short Term 12, are under 25 and taking advantage of their first chance to play truly complex, lived-in characters. And then there are those in-between like Gaby Hoffmann, who has been acting steadily for 25 years and is only now just starting to come into her own as a blissful hippie traveler in Crystal Fairy. And yeah, a few were just extremely hot, like the crimson-haired Christa Theret in Renoir as the woman who reignited the legendary artist's passion.
As always, feel free to weigh in with your own picks! Go here to see all of these terrific leading ladies in action!
15. Waad Mohammed- Wadjda
14. Melonie Diaz- Fruitvale Station
13. Christa Theret- Renoir
12. Rosario Dawson- Trance
11. Kristin Scott Thomas- Only God Forgives
10. Veerle Baetens- The Broken Circle Breakdown
9. Amy Acker- Much Ado About Nothing
8. Berenice Bejo- The Past
7. Gaby Hoffmann- Crystal Fairy
6. Greta Gerwig- Frances Ha
5. Julie Delpy- Before Midnight
4. Lake Bell- In a World....
3. Shailene Woodley- The Spectacular Now
2. Julia Louis-Dreyfus- Enough Said
1. Brie Larson- Short Term 12