As we look back on the year that was I always like to give time to the performances that shaped the year’s films. Over the next few days I’ll be highlighting my favorite work from the four major acting categories. This year was full of fine performances, many from unexpected places. So let’s get to it by starting with the Supporting Actress category.
#5 – Cynthia Erivo (“Bad Times at the El Royale”)
Amid all the good performances in this pulpy neo-noir crime-thriller Cynthia Erivo shined brightest. She is our most grounded connection to the story and easily pulls the most sympathy. Oh, and lets not forget she gives us some knockout musical numbers.
#4 – Linda Cardellini (“Green Book”)
She nearly gets lost among the two wonderful central performances, but an argument could be made that Linda Cardellini is the heart of the film. It’s a small role but she never fails to bring a needed warmth to every scene she’s in. She’s just delightful.
#3 – Laura Smet (“The Guardians”)
It couldn’t have been easy tackling her role in Xavier Beauvois’ “The Guardians” yet you wouldn’t know it from Laura Smet’s extraordinary performance. She not only nails the physical demands but shows a brilliant knack for conveying so much emotion even within the film’s distinctly quiet framework.
#2 – Claire Foy (“First Man”)
Watching Claire Foy maneuver through the range of emotions her character endures is one of many strengths of “First Man”. She brings things down to earth (bad pun intended) and is a reality check for both her lost and struggling husband and for us. It’s a moving and genuine portrait.
#1 – Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”)
She’s winning all of the awards for this category and (in one of those rare instances) the awards circuit is getting it right. You can’t help but be smitten with Regina King. You buy into every moment of her performance portraying a loving and supportive mother who also has a firm foot in the real world. She’s both heartwarming and heartbreaking.
So what did I get right and where did I go wrong? Let me know in the comments section below. Next up – supporting actor.