Monday, January 2, 2012

2011 year in review: top female actors

Now arrives the time to recapitulate the most memorable performances from 2011, both from the female and male actors. As stimulating as it can be to write these two lists, it always hurts upon realizing how much more difficult it is to recount the great female performances of the year. Either women still do not receive the same amount of solid roles as men or I'm just not going to see the right movies to make a more informed judgement call. Regardless, let us begin with the women:

5-Rooney Mara in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
A tricky pick given our collective propensity to criticize actors who put on accents to further make their characters more 'authentic', but not only is Mara's passable, she completely inhabits Lisbeth Salander, doing just enough tinkering to create her own version of the character.

4-Amy Seimetz in A Horrible Way to Die
Super dramatic performance number 1 of the countdown. Amy Seimetz is given a pretty low life type of chatacter in A Horrible Way to Die, playing a recovering alcoholic trying to reconnect with the world. She is more than up to the task of making us want to do the right thing, even if it kills her, literally.

3-Elle Fanning in Super 8
Arguably the biggest surprise of the year as far as mainstream cinema is concerned. The entire cast of the film is very, very good, and yet Fanning floors everybody nonetheless. Charming, touching, smart emotionally rich, Fanning's performance is one people will remember for a long time to come.

2-Jennifer Ehle in Contagion
Interesting that the best performance in an all star cast comes from the one actor most people were unfamiliar with. There is something to be said when the most complete performance comes from someone other than Matt Damon, Marian Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow.

1-Hatice Haslan in Vucut
Haslan gave a stunningly gripping performance, playing a broken down ageing porn star who must wrestle with a new found connection she has in a young, rambunctious teenage boy. The power and fragility of this fifty-something used and abused woman is amazing to behold.

Honourable mentions: 
Geneviève Rioux in La Vérité
Carey Mulligan in Shame
Saoirse Ronan in Hanna
Juliette Binoche in Copie conforme/Certified Copy
Jenira Pongpas in Uncle Boonme Who Can Recall His Past Lives


Anonymous said...

I would vouch for Kirstin Dunst in Melancholia.

Elena Anaya in The Skin I live in was also great.

Elisabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene.

And of course Carey Mulligan in Shame.

Unknown said...

Yes - Elle Fanning was superb in Super 8! I'm with thevelvetcafe though, my number one would also be Kirsten Dunst. Honourable mentions for Amy Ryan in Win Win, Tilda Swinton in ...Kevin and Belen Rueda in Julia's Eyes.

edgarchaput said...

@Velvet and Multiplex: I haven't seen Melancholia despite that I had not one but two opportunities (a festival followed by a limited theatrical release). Unforgivable, I know. I await a DVD release to play cathcup.

Elena Anaya, oops. I forgot about her. She was quite special in The Skin I Live In. Maybe an honourable mention though. I'm pretty comfortable with my top 5 as is.

Courtney Small said...

Completely agree on Elle Fanning, the rest of my top five would include:

Bérénice Bejo – The Artist
Elizabeth Olsen – Martha Marcy May Marlene
Viola Davis – The Help
Kirsten Dunst - Melancholia

edgarchaput said...

@CS: The thing is, I have yet to see either 'Melancholia' and 'The Help.' To be honest, that pick (Viola Davis) surprises me. It might have to do with the fact that nobody has put her on a list, or that 'The Help' simply looks like a boring movie. What were your thoughts on the film itself?