Best of 2018 – Lead Actress

lead actress

It’s day three of my look back at the best performances of 2018. The supporting categories are in the books and now we move to the leads. Narrowing down the Lead Actress category to only five proved to be a brutal task but you know the rules. So here they are.

#5 – Regina Hall (“Support the Girls”)


This surprisingly intimate and utterly charming little indie features a central performance by Regina Hall that should not be missed. She manages a near perfect combination of drama and comedy while giving us one of the truest characters of the year. A career best for Hall.

#4 – Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born”)


What else can you say about Lady Gaga’s sparkling performance? Her first starring role in a feature film is an absolute knockout. Through a surprisingly strong mix of acting and song, Gaga infuses the entire film with heart and warmth. She’s truly an eye-opener.

#3 – Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place”)


Oh how I adore “A Quiet Place” and Emily Blunt is one of the biggest reasons for that. Despite such little dialogue, she has no trouble conveying the swirl of feelings her character encounters. And whether she’s quietly grieving or fiercely protecting her family, Blunt just kills it.

#2 – Thomasin McKenzie (“Leave No Trace”)


Here is a shining example of how quiet and gentle work in front of the camera can take your breath away. I adored Thomasin McKenzie’s heart-wrenching performance. She sheds her character’s wide-eyed innocence right before our eyes and she had me deeply invested every step of the way.

#1 – Carey Mulligan (“Wildlife”)

Wildlife - Still 2

In a year with several stand-out performances none grabbed me quite like Carey Mulligan in “Wildlife”. She has always been a great but often underappreciated actress. Here her stunning portrait of a woman on the brink deserves so much more attention. It’s such a shame more people haven’t seen it.

So how did I do? Let me know in the comments section below. And that leaves us with one more category – Lead Actor. See you tomorrow.

21 thoughts on “Best of 2018 – Lead Actress

  1. Nice highlight for Thomasin MacKenzie and Lady Gaga. I also enjoyed Mulligan’s performance but didn’t care very much for her character in Wildlife. It felt disjointed to me. And why no Olivia Colman? Hands-down the best performance of the year for me.

    • Thanks man. I really liked Mulligan’s character. Not ‘liked’ as in I thought she was a wonderful human being, but I saw her as incredibly complex. My wife and I had such a good discussion over her. To me she was a woman breaking down. In one sense she had lived in the ‘domesticated wife’ mold but couldn’t take it any more. I felt she was tired of spinning her wheels but when she burst out she lost control. I dunno, don’t want to give too much away but I went from sympathetic to being furious to being sympathetic again.

      As for Colman, she is very good and was one of the last ones I cut. I liked her performance but (and I know you’ll disagree here) but I felt the material lets her down and sometimes reserves her to this solemn sad sack of a character. I wish she was given more to do but I don’t think the script allows for it. Does that make any sense whatsoever???? LOL

      • A discourse with the wife on Mulligan would be very interesting. I see your point and I don’t disagree but her actions just seemed so abrupt to me. One minute she was the rock of the family, the next she was the destructive force. Her performance was great but but I found her behaviour jarring and inconsistent.

        As for Colman, You know what I think. I completely disagree LOL.

      • It was a quick turn for sure. I felt it was her breaking point. And while she was the rock so to speak I do feel Dano shows some subtle cracks in the family that made sense to me. One things for sure, it’s definitely a role/performance that spurs conversation.

      • Yeah, I don’t doubt the incredible performance that Mulligan delivers, I found the problem in the writing or possibly that handling of her transition on Dano’s part. Mulligan delivered her end of the bargain.

  2. Thomasin McKenzie (“Leave No Trace”). I just watched this last night. You are right. The break between her father was great. No melodrama. A realistic relationship. A soft story.
    She was a deer.

    • Oh you’ve seen it? I adore that movie. Easily in my Top 5 from last year. Her performance was superb and my heart ached for her the entire time. This also ended up being one of my young daughter’s favorite films from last year. That made me smile big!

  3. I can’t say no to these choices despite not having seen those films. Plus, I’m happy people are giving Regina Hall some love. Especially from the New York Film Critics Circle which I feel has way more prestige than the Oscars. For me so far…

    1. Viola Davis-Widows
    2. Natalie Portman-Vox Lux/Annihilation
    3. KiKi Layne-If Beale Street Could Talk
    4. Yalitza Aparicio-Roma
    5. Rachel McAdams-Game Night

    Honorable Mentions: Dakota Johnson-Suspiria and Evangeline Lily-Ant-Man & the Wasp.

    • So great to share enthusiasm for Thomasin. And I’m with you on those being lead performances. I have a hard time understanding how they come to some of their conclusions on Lead vs Supporting.

  4. Toni Collette in Hereditary.

    So glad to see Regina Hall getting some love. Her career has been one of pretty steady ascension. Of what I’ve seen Toni Collette in Hereditary is my hands down winner, though. Others I was really impressed by…

    Toni Collette in Hereditary
    Charlize Theron in Tully
    Toni Collette in Hereditary
    Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Kindergarten Teacher
    Toni Collette in Hereditary

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