They say this was the year of the woman, and in many ways it truly shows on film. There was quite diversity of roles to choose from when choosing this list a number of actresses just barely didn’t make the cut. I really need to give special mentions to Claire Foy, Regina King, and Nicole Kidman for their wonderful work this year in multiple projects. However, I forced myself down to 10 on this and I chose to shine a light on some new actresses here as well. Here are the Top Ten Actresses of 2018!
- Kiki Layne – If Beale Street Could Talk
This performance is all in the eyes. So many beautiful shots in this movie are the camera pointing directly at Kiki’s face and she has to carry all the emotion of the film in those eyes. It’s a wonderful performance and she is an actress worth keeping an eye out for.
- Felicity Jones – On the Basis of Sex
Taking on one of the most iconic women currently living today is always going to be a tall order, but Felicity Jones is more than up to the task. She fully embodies RBG and delivers a performance that reminds us of why Ruth is one of the greats to begin with.
- Viola Davis – Widows
Trying to play a woman that is both tough as nails in front of others, but completely vulnerable behind closed doors, is a balancing act that might seem daunting to many. Yet, Davis makes it all seem so simple. She expertly shifts between reality and the façade with a grace that few others can pull off.
- Emma Stone – The Favourite
Stone has quickly become one of the most talented young actresses on the scene and every year there is something that she does to catch your eye. This year it was playing the sneaky and seductive Abigail. The fact that she managed to steal the show out from under both Olivia Coleman and Rachel Weisz in Oscar worthy performances is a testament to how good she really is.
- Amy Adams – Vice
Honestly, I think that Adams is about the best actress working in Hollywood today. There is not a thing that she cannot do and playing one of the strongest conservative women carry a microphone can be added to those things. Lynne Cheney is a pit bull of a woman, but she also had the charm to get her where she is. Adams portrays that with ease and delivers one of the most shining aspects of an imperfect film.
- Amandla Stenberg – The Hate U Give
This young lady was absolutely on fire in this film. Playing a teenager who has to play both sides of the tracks, Amandla delivers an electrifying performance that just builds to an explosion of activism in the final act. Keep her name in mind. This young woman is going somewhere.
- Yalitza Aparicio – Roma
This entire film is like being a fly on a wall that’s watching young Cleo’s life and Yalitza makes her a woman that we all can relate to. Her entire demeanor carries you through this movie and clearly conveys the economic situation of a maid in the 1970’s. This is a beautiful performance from a first time actress that will steal your heart.
- Melissa McCarthy – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
I was blown away by this performance. Lee is a woman who most anyone would consider a total bitch, but McCarthy gives us insight into her acts and what can easily make someone commit the crimes she does. And the truth is that it’s just loneliness, poverty, desperation, a need to have her work respected, and all the other things that all us poor folks deal with most of our lives. She conveys this all brilliantly, sympathetically, and without ever skimming on the attitude that makes her character who she is.
- Lady Gaga – A Star is Born
This is my very favorite individual performance of the year. Gaga is absolutely to die for in this role and it’s not just because she is some beautiful pop star singing in a movie. It’s because she conveys the wonder that everyone has to the world of wealth and power, but she does it with a loving gaze at someone who has just as much trouble as she does. Her chemistry with Bradley Cooper is the kind of lightning in a bottle that rarely comes around and when they are performing songs on stage it is absolutely cinematic bliss. I hope we see a lot more of Gaga in the future.
- Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins, A Quiet Place
These may not be the two very best performances of the year, but they are both damn close and that’s enough to make Blunt the Best Actress of the year. She brings such charm and wit to the role of Mary Poppins that you will swear she is channeling Julie Andrews. And when she is dancing a jig with Lin-Manuel you will feel like you just got a sneak peek at a Broadway show which you normally would never be able to afford. It’s a special feeling to see a charming and happy performance that is this good. On the flip side, her role in ‘A Quiet Place’ is about a harrowing as it gets. You will be on the edge of your seat from the most she steps on that nail to the moment she screams. It is easily one of the most intense performances of the year and I’m so glade that she got a SAG nomination. She is truly a marvel to behold in both of these films and it is our honor to just get to watch.