Best Actresses of 2017
Tatiana Maslany - Erin Hurley - Stronger
Tatiana Maslany is an acting gem. She slayed on Orphan Black by playing multiple characters and it is a shame we do not see her in more movies. Putting her next to Jake Gyllenhaal was a terrific pairing of acting talents. Maslany’s character might not be the lead of the film but she is the heart of the film. You can see the guilt and sadness in her eyes as she battles with optimism. There are scenes that require immense frustration to come out and Maslany plays it off easily. Not once does her performance come off cliche or annoying. Maslany goes toe to toe with Gyllenhaal in some scenes and it is an acting bonanza. Maslany brings a lot of emotion to the role and she too breaks out hearts. We need more of Tatiana Maslany.
Emma Stone - Billie Jean King - Battle of the Sexes
Emma Stone is one of the brightest actresses out there. She has worked very hard to get to where she is and is a hustler. She is humbly modest and gives 100 percent in every role. Now that she is a leading lady, Stone is trying to tackle more difficult roles and it is fun to watch. Battle of the Sexes might not have been the film to do Billie Jean King’s life justice, but Stone was the correct actress to play her. Stone transforms her appearance to be a bit more similar to BJK’s but she also gets some of the mannerisms correct. This is the first time I have seen Stone really become a character rather than a variation of herself. Her accent isn’t overdone as a lot of people tend to do and the performance is not in your face (Yelling emotionally crying) It is subtle performance but it is very well crafted. Stone does not make the movie about her but about servicing the plot and honoring BJK’s story. Carrell does not have as many scenes as Stone nor do they share much, Stone carries the movie on her own, is not overshadowed by her successful male co star. Like I said, I don’t think the movie itself was that great but sometimes the lead actor can be so entertaining that there is enjoyment to be had from the movie. That is certainly the case here.
Jessica Chastain - Molly Bloom - Molly’s Game
Jessica Chastain has been really stepping up in the last few years. She is fighting for actress rights but also daring herself to not be another Hollywood dame. Molly Bloom is one of her best performances if not best. Another great performance shunned by the Academy for some reason. Molly Bloom could easily be a unlikable character but Chastain gives her a relatable humanity with a drive any of us could understand. Her morals and decisions are questionable but Chastain shows us the fragile human being behind that exterior. Molly Bloom has been trying to prove the men in her life wrong and Chastain’s body movements and speech delivery make blatantly noticeable. Bloom isn’t a “character” type of role but Chastain disappears in the role. It is a subtle and intense performance but it takes skill to deliver Sorkin dialogue with finesse. The entire movie is based on Chastain’s performance and she carries the movies with ease. It is hard to imagine the movie being this good without her. Chastain really shines towards the end where she has to defend her decision making and goes on this emotional monologue which brings out the best in her talents. Jessica Chastain’s performance as Bloom is easily one of the best of 2017.
Frances Mcdormand - Mildred Hayes - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Frances McDormand has given us so many great performances in her career. She had solidified herself as an acting legend and haf nothing to prove. Yet McDormand still continues to give great performances and Mildred Hayes is one of her finest performances. Mildred is fierce, she is witty, a mess, terrifying and intimidating. And Frances channels all those emotions with ease. Her constant change in tone is well balanced and she does it with smoothness. Mcdonaugh is a writer who writes terrific dialogue and McDormand takes that dialogue a step further. She brings it to life and makes it her own. Mcdormand’s performance is so powerful she makes you forget you’re watching a movie. It is real and raw. And you can see right through Mcdormand’s eyes that she is a mess. It is amazing how versatile McDormand is. She has gone from playing damsel in distress (Blood Simple), to well meaning good hearted Marge Gunderson, to ditzy Linda Litzkey and now ferocious Mildred Hayes. Mcdormand deserves all the praise she has been getting.
Sally Hawkins - Elisa Esposito - The Shape of Water
Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water has to be one of my favorite performances in 2017. It is unique and not something you see in mainstream Hollywood. Any time a person with a disability is shown on screen, the movie is about their disability rather than a story. Props to Del Toro for making his leads silent characters. The film heavily relies on Hawkins’ physical and facial movements and she does an absolute terrific job. She portrays so much without saying anything. It is a tour de force of show and don’t tell. Hawkins worked very hard to get sign language down and that is not an easy feat. Hawkins is so convincing that you forget she can speak. And any time Hawkins is on screen you feel her presence and she does not have to say anything. It is a very emotional touching performance and there is one scene where it shows how terrific she is in her role. She explains to Richard Jenkins’ character why she loves the Fish Man so much. Her hands and face get more emotional and emotional during her confession and it gut wrenching to watch. That is great acting! For a performance with no dialogue it is absolutely memorable!
Margot Robbie - Tonya Harding - I Tonya
Saorsin Ronan - Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson - Lady Bird
Dafne Keefe - X23/Laura - Logan
Zoe Kazan - Emily Gardner - Big Sick
Michelle Williams - Gail Harris - All the Money in the World