As the Oscars approach, awards chatter is coming to a close. We’ve seen mostly the same people win acting awards this whole season, but I think it’s time to give recognition to some performances which have fallen by the wayside at the expense of the favorites.
This was a great year for both leading actor categories. I thought three of the Academy’s nominees gave great performances, yet you won’t see any of them in this post.
5. Ana de Armas, Knives Out – Much like comedies, Knives Out is the kind of movie that doesn’t tend to get nominated for Oscars. But de Armas is the glue that holds this movie together. Without her, or with a different actress, the movie wouldn’t be the perfection that it is.
4. Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart – Kaitlyn Dever brings together hilarious comedy and moving comedy in this movie. Beanie Feldstein has the “meaty” part, but without Dever’s raw emotion, it would be a shallow comedy.
3. Awkwafina, The Farewell – Sometimes we give actors who are known for comedy too much credit when they give a great dramatic performance. That’s not the case here. I love understated performances where the emotions are largely on the inside, and Awkwafina does that perfectly here.
2. Florence Pugh, Midsommar – I’ve seen Midsommar three times now and it stuns me more each time. Florence Pugh is going to be an absolute star within the next two years. Her performance in this movie is so magnetic, and she lets you in in a way you’d never expect with a movie like this and it’s electric.
1. Lupita Nyong’o, US – Speaking of electric performances, Lupita’s performance is so surprisingly good. Not because she is a bad actress, but because of the premise of this movie. It seems ridiculous, but she brings depth and gravitas to two diametrically opposite characters and she is the heart of the movie with both.
Honorable Mentions – Samara Weaving (Ready or Not), Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day 2U)