It was a triumphant year for movies. Specifically, it was a benchmark for female-driven stories. Although I confess I’m still catching up, this is my tribute to the best performance(s) of 2015!
How can you not admire Vikander?
She’s phenomenally talented. She’s acted in English, Danish and her native Swedish and she was in some of the best and most anticipated films of 2015.
There was creepy sci-fi gem Ex Machina, where she played Oscar Isaac’s android invention Ava, her robotic brain whirring as she plotted her escape from her creator’s clutches.
She was heartbreaking in a moving adaptation of Testament of Youth, Vera Brittain’s memoir of the war that wasn’t over by Christmas. Vikander is the unashamedly emotional lead in a story about a generation of doomed young men and the impact WWI had on women.
Then there’s Oscar bait The Danish Girl, where she plays the supportive wife of Eddie Redmayne’s Lili, one of the first transgender patients in the early 20th Century. Advance buzz and a Golden Globe nod for Best Actress suggested it was no mere beautiful suffering spouse gig and that she matched Redmayne.
- It’s a safe bet that her performance will make her an Oscar-nominee, although whether it is for supporting or lead remains uncertain. I don’t mind so-called category fraud. Supporting seems like a wasteland, with unexceptional performances gaining recognition as a courtesy because they’re in an Oscar contender, when they’d get ignored in anything else. If Vikander is at a disadvantage in the super competitive Best Actress race, put her in supporting.
Although Cate Blanchett is great in everything and Carol is no exception, I found Mara’s portrayal of numb young shop assistant Therese resonated with me more.
She falls in love with Blanchett’s assured and wealthy eponymous character and they begin a relationship. Considering this is set in 1950s America, it’s complicated.
Despite a very restrained performance, Mara expertly communicates Therese’s messy raw emotions, her shyness and uncertainty.
“I barely even know what to order for lunch,” she nervously admits on her first date with Carol.
(Spoiler alert) Her love for Carol helps her discover who she is, her place in the world and a more fulfilling life. Mara deserves every award coming her way.
My first reaction to news of Driver’s casting in Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t negative. I only knew him from the Lena Dunham-helmed Girls, so let’s just say he wasn’t on my radar.
So there’s something I have to thank J.J Abrams for – Driver is my new favourite actor. To stand out in a cast that good is a feat. Hope to see him square off (round off?) with BB8, and see which one of the two new Star Wars divas comes out on top.
I’m watching everything Driver has done, although I haven’t managed to face Girls yet. (Dunham’s memoir is going cheap on Amazon Kindle though. Might make some good post-holiday reading!)
The new Star Wars heroine was a revelation.
I’m probably not the only one who looked at Ridley’s resume and awaited a Natalie Portman clone who would give a wooden, half-assed performance like the one Portman gave in…Attack of the Clones.
There was no way Abrams was having a repeat of that. Ridley was superb casting and made the most of the opportunity.
There are so many performances I haven’t been able to see yet! I’m dying to see Emily Blunt in Sicario, Brie Larson in Room and Saorise Ronan and Domnhall Gleeson in Brooklyn.
Who impressed you with their performances in 2015? Do get in touch in the comments below!