I'm bored of the old guard of actresses ruling the Best Actress field every year, and this Oscar season doesn't look to be any different. In fact, most of the main Best Actress contenders skew a little bit older, and of course Meryl Streep is there for August: Osage County, apparently because she wore a lot of make-up and didn't wear out her throat screaming for two hours. Good for her. Her place in the race is assured no matter what, but this year in particular there were a wealth of great performances by women who will probably be ignored by the Academy, even though they have as much right to be there as anybody.
So what I recognized, and this will be the case for male performances too, is that most of the performances that had the greatest impact on me probably have no shot at receiving a golden statue. What they all share in common for the most part are two things: youth and opportunity. The oldest actress on my list is veteran scene-stealer Kristin Scott Thomas who gives bad mothers an even worse name in Only God Forgives. Right next to her is TV vet Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who displays in Enough Said a wit and dramatic range could have made her a big screen star. Others, like Brie Larson for Short Term 12, are under 25 and taking advantage of their first chance to play truly complex, lived-in characters. And then there are those in-between like Gaby Hoffmann, who has been acting steadily for 25 years and is only now just starting to come into her own as a blissful hippie traveler in Crystal Fairy. And yeah, a few were just extremely hot, like the crimson-haired Christa Theret in Renoir as the woman who reignited the legendary artist's passion.
What I've tried to do in each case is provide a clip to show off why these extremely talented ladies were so unforgettable. As always, feel free to weigh in with your own picks!
Waad Mohammed- Wadjda
Melonie Diaz- Fruitvale Station
Christa Theret- Renoir
Rosario Dawson- Trance
Kristin Scott Thomas- Only God Forgives
Veerle Baetens- The Broken Circle Breakdown
Amy Acker- Much Ado About Nothing
Berenice Bejo- The Past
Gaby Hoffmann- Crystal Fairy
Greta Gerwig- Frances Ha
Julie Delpy- Before Midnight
Lake Bell- In a World....
Shailene Woodley- The Spectacular Now
Julia Louis Dreyfus- Enough Said
Brie Larson- Short Term 12