One of my favorite things to do in January is to look back at the performances from the year that was. The Golden Globes have come and gone. The Oscars are right around the corner. This is my chance to share the actresses and actors who I thought were the best in their respected categories. So without delay I’m letting the ladies go first. These are my favorite performances by actresses in supporting roles. It’s been a rich year filled with strong performances and these women have stood out to me.
#5 – Tilda Swinton (“Snowpiercer”)
I think the word ‘diverse’ is a great word to describe Tilda Swinton. In 2014 she showcased her incredible range. One of her standout and incredibly unique performances came in “Snowpiercer”. She plays Mason, the second in command of a constantly moving train carrying the last survivors on the frozen earth. Swinton hams it up like never before, but in some weird twisted way her character fits in this world. Swinton is devious, maniacal, and at times absolutely hilarious.
#4 – Emily Blunt (“Edge of Tomorrow”)
This is certainly not the kind of performance that will garner awards attention, but Emily Blunt’s performance in “Edge of Tomorrow” is gritty, tough, and filled with personality. Those who know my appreciation for Blunt may see this as a biased pick. But Blunt really shows a different side of her. She matches Tom Cruise in every scene and she injects such vivacity into a character that could have been run-of-the-mill and cliché. It’s a great performance.
#3 – Eileen Atkins (“Magic in the Moonlight”)
It’s a small role, but I love Eileen Atkins in Woody Allen’s “Magic in the Moonlight”. Allen has a knack for writing good female characters and then choosing good actresses to bring them to life. That is definitely the case with Atkins. She plays Colin Firth’s Aunt Vanessa, a subtle fireball who isn’t afraid to speak her mind to her pretentious nephew. Atkins makes it seem effortless as she delivers muted but sharp wit and a delectable charm.
#2 – Agata Kulesza (“Ida”)
One of the strongest components in Pawel Pawlikowski’s fabulous “Ida” is Agata Kulesza and her character Wanda. In many ways she is the door of self-discovery for young Ida. Kulesza gives us that side of her character, but she also superbly conveys another side plagued by misery and depression. Kulesza never struggles with the various perspectives she is asked to show, and regardless of whether the scenes are big moments or small subtle ones, she is up for the task.
#1 – Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”)
There is a lot of buzz surrounding Patricia Arquette’s performance in Richard Linklater’s brilliant drama “Boyhood”. She deserves all of the attention she is getting. Arquette has always been a talented actress but here she gets an opportunity to do a number of different things. Filmed over a twelve year period Arquette shows us several different stages of this mother’s life and at no point does she ever feel deceptive or false. Arquette injects so much emotion into an already deeply moving film. She won the Golden Globe for the performance and I’m hoping an Oscar win will follow.