I usually don’t do a “ Best Actress” article because sometimes it’s hard to keep track of the great performances because some of those performances are utilized in oscar baity movies that don’t tend to be good. It’s not a problem with the actresses, it’s more of a problem with Hollywood and this stupid precedent they have set on female actors. There are so many talented actresses out there and it’s shame a lot of them are being underutilized but in 2015 I saw so many great movies with great performances from actresses that they all deserve a shout out and for that reason I won’t even bother ranking them as again with my supporting actors article, all these actresses deserve your attention. Some of the movies might not be that great but it doesn’t devalue any of their work. I’m glad we’re getting to a point where actresses can lead unique movies and show how talented they truly are. Hopefully Hollywood can keep that up.
Cate Blanchett - Carol
Cate Blanchett is hands down one of my favorite actresses of all time. She’s an incredible talent and I love seeing her in movies. Sadly, I thought Carol was a terrible movie but Cate made it watchable. Rooney Mara holds her own as well but I feel Cate brings a lot of depth to her hollow character. I’m not too fond of fake accents for period films as they can come off annoying but man does Cate make it part of her character. Kind of like what Tom Hardy did with his character in The Revenant. One of the reasons why Blanchett is a terrific talent, is she can elevate mediocre material & carry movies with ease.
Saoirse Ronan - Eilis Lacey - Brooklyn
Saorise Ronan has always been talented. She’s one of the few amazing child stars that has kept her acting quality on par. The character of Ellis isn’t a showboaty performance but like Brie Larson carries her film, Ronan carries her movie. She’s an absolute delight to watch and I feel if it wasn’t for her charming performance, the movie wouldn’t be as strong as it turned out to be. I even think she outshines her male costars (including the awesome Domnhall Gleeson)
Brie Larson - Joy "Ma" Newsome - Room
Brie Larson’s Joy is one of the many quiet performances given this year but I really like the fact that Larson is stretching her acting chops in the past few years. Funny enough she played a high schooler not too long ago and now is playing motherly characters but she fits so well into both roles. Brie Larson carries a majority of the movie (even though I wasn’t crazy about the movie itself) and I think anytime an actor can carry a huge chunk of the movie by themselves, that’s an accomplishment. Not say to Jacob Tremblay was terrible, he did a good job as well but I would say Larson is the star of this movie & shows how diverse she can be.
Emily Blunt - Kate Macer - Sicario
I seriously can’t fathom how this performance was ignored. Emily Blunt is slowly becoming one of the best actresses in Hollywood and her film selection has been top notch. Emily Blunt’s Kate Macer isn’t a loud performance and she kind of feels underdeveloped for a bit but the genius of the role shines in the last scene of the movie. I don’t want to give anything away but Blunt plays the part of someone in a moral crisis perfectly. And you have to give her props for refusing to do a nude scene (so many actresses feel they have to strip to be taken seriously) and letting her performance do the talking. And if we’re going to get strong performances from actresses we have to support roles like Emily Blunt’s Kate Macer. We can’t have these generic oscar bait performances that actresses are delegated to doing. I think it’s exciting we’re getting female action heroes, female protagonists, female villains in movies these days because it really shows how talented actresses like Emily Blunt are.
Jennifer Jason Leigh - Daisy Domergue - The Hateful Eight
I’m a little confused as to why Jennifer Jason Leigh is being considered a supporting actress this year when she’s technically the leading female in the movie and has the most screen time out of any character but that’s besides the point. This was the perfect comeback for an underrated actress in Jennifer Jason Leigh & she’s absolutely vicious in her role. And wow does she go through hell in the movie. (NO SPOILERS) I couldn’t see anyone but her playing the role and I’m glad Tarantino gave her the part. It’s a shame actresses lose roles as they get older but Leigh proves she’s just as capable as any other upcoming actress.
Honorable Mentions : Alicia Vivakander- Ex Machina, Olivia Cooke - Me, Earl, & The Dying Girl, Sarah Snook - Predestination, Charlize Theron -Mad Max: Fury Road