2015 came and went, leaving us a trail of great movies and entertainment. The aspect, in my opinion, that stands out the most was the outpouring of excellent female performances. Every year we have outstanding performances from women but this year was evidence that they can carry the weight of any genre.
I want to list actresses that this year gave us a different look in to genres that are, in a way, "reserved" exclusively to men. That's why I'm not going to list someone like Amy Schumer or Melissa McCarthy since women have always been a fundamental part of comedy or Cate Blanchett (although Carol was outstanding) but again, drama is another field where female performances are key to its success. I'm not taking anything from them but it's important to highlight the groundbreaking year 2015 was for female leads in other areas of entertainment and the bright future these actresses bring with them.
10. Hayley Atwell
Last year started with a high profile Marvel character, Peggy Carter. [Marvel's Agent Carter](tag:1119765) was a pleasant surprise thanks to the charm of Hayley Atwell. Focusing on a noir action style series but more on her development than the action itself, proved to be a winning formula. Sexy, stylish, classy. She is a modern bombshell.
9. Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain has been a fan-favorite lately and her acting in The Martian is something you expect from her and she always delivers. But Crimson Peak showed a side of the actress that we hadn't seen before. It's not the first time she has collaborated with Guillermo del Toro (the first time being Mama) but this time she was on the other side providing the horror. In a movie filled with the paranormal, the most terrifying thing in the movie was a being of flesh and bone.
8. Daisy Ridley
Virtually an unknown in the entertainment business, Daisy Ridley was entrusted with the legacy of one of the most beloved movie franchises of all time. One can argue that Star Wars can have anyone acting in it and people will still see the movies. True to some extent but the performance from Ms. Ridley was a pleasant surprise. She is a very strong performer and the screen shines every time she is in it. Star Wars might be bigger than the sum of all of its parts but if the powers that be made her the face of the franchise, that means that she left one hell of impression with her performance. If the brain trust behind our beloved Star Wars trusts her, why can't we?
7. Lily James
Cinderella was amazing and that's only because Lily James was in it. Being a Disney movie based on a famous fairy tale where normally everyone ends up singing, imagine my surprise when the best scene of the movie comes in the form of a long take Waltz scene where only music, dance and expression are front and center. Lily James has a natural charm and she is so damn likeable.
6. Brie Larson
Brie Larson is the type of actress that goes under the radar and whenever she shows up on screen, but her performance stays with you. She makes her screen time count and her presence feels like the eye of a hurricane. She has the instinct to captivate you and once you focus your attention on her, she unleashes the ferocity of pure emotion. There are actresses that wait for that moment to transcend from a good actress to a great one and with the film Room, her moment has arrived.
5. Rebecca Ferguson
It's hard to steal screen time from a legend like Tom Cruise but that's exactly what happened with Rebecca Ferguson. She was fearless and relentless. Everyone thought she was going to be your generic femme fatale but, man, did she surprise everyone. Rebecca Ferguson's character in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation could easily replace Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt in future installments and I wouldn't be surprised if it actually happens. James Bond could use some strong women like Ferguson's character in the future.
4. Charlize Theron
What can I say about Ms. Theron that hasn't been said before? Her record is outstanding and her portrayal of Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road just showed once more that there is no challenge she can't tackle and make it her own. She is the definition of a Hollywood Star. She continuously reinvents herself, remaining relevant, and in Hollywood, that is key to achieve success.
3. Emily Blunt
Sicario is one of the best movies I watched last year and Emily Blunt is proving to be a versatile actress that can carry any movie she is in. Her range is so incredible that in this movie, that wasn't necessarily about her, she still managed to convey the burden of being the audience's eyes into this grim and violent world. She doesn't have to play the hero or the villain to remember her memorable performance. That's an outstanding feat in itself.
2. Krysten Ritter
I have to say that I didn't know what to expect with Jessica Jones. After watching the first teasers, I was like "Oh, this is going to be fun," then the full length trailer debuted focusing on her "relationship" with the Purple Man and then I was like "Ok... that was pretty dark." And then I watched the show.
Let me tell you that after finishing watching the first season, it was like a wake up call. A show based on a comic book character tackling issues like abuse from a different perspective, Jessica was abused and the most frustrating thing is that, even with all her powers, she was still a victim. What I loved about the show is that she wasn't portrayed as a broken person. This is a person that decided to be a survivor not a victim and to fight against the evil that left her feeling vulnerable. Yes, she ended up with PTSD but here is where Ms. Ritter excelled in her performance. A show that took this route is worthy of a standing ovation because the way to help people is to listen and give them a voice. Comic book films and TV shows are at their most popular and using this outlet to make everyone aware of issues like these is a victory on its own.
1. Alicia Vikander
In my opinion, she is the performer of the year. With films like Ex Machina, Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Danish Girl, Alicia Vikander has the ability to wear many masks and give each one of them a unique voice. She gives strong performances each and every time she appears on screen and is more than capable of going toe-to-toe with high caliber actors. The reason I have her as my #1 is that the three movies I mentioned at the beginning of this entry belong to completely different genres, and she killed it in all three. It is impossible to type cast this lady and that, in my opinion, is the definition of talent.
There you have it. Thank you for your time and I hope you enjoyed the read.