As we look back on the year that was I always enjoy giving 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 we were blessed with a variety of fine performances, many from unexpected places. So let’s get to it by starting with the Supporting Actress category.
#5 – Zhao Shuzhen (“The Farewell”)
From the very first time I saw the beautiful “The Farewell” I knew that Zhao Shuzhen was going to be on this list. She is the heartwarming center of Lulu Wang’s semi-autobiographical comedy-drama. Her performance is so sweet, emotionally authentic, and full of gentle, infectious humor. I love what she brings to the story.
#4 – Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
Talk about an actress who had a great year on the big screen! She was fantastic in “Little Women” but even better in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story”. She plays a devious but savvy divorce attorney who you can’t stand yet you can’t help but admire. She’s shrewd, confident, and devilishly entertaining as portrayed by Dern. She’s been sweeping the awards season and Oscar should be next.
#3 – Rebecca Ferguson (“Doctor Sleep”)
Mike Flanagan’s “Doctor Sleep” was one of my biggest surprises of the year. There are several reasons it works so well and Rebecca Ferguson is one of them. Sadly, no one is talking about her performance which I found to be mesmerizing, charismatic, and utterly chilling. She was one of year’s best antagonists and was a real scene-stealer.
#2 – Thomasin McKenzie (“Jojo Rabbit”)
“Jojo Rabbit” is a movie full of rich performances but my favorite may be from Thomasin McKenzie. I can’t think of another young actress who can convey so much through the softest voice and most earnest expression. Much like Scarlett Johansson, McKenzie is an essential ingredient and the film wouldn’t be the same without her tender and heartfelt performance.
#1 – Florence Pugh (“Little Women”)
If you don’t know Florence Pugh by now you must not be paying attention. She is hands-down one of the most exciting and diverse young actresses out there. Her work in “Little Women” is further proof of that. She brings so much fresh life and many new layers to a classic literary character. Full of confidence and feminine grit, this is a truly memorable performance.
So there you have my picks for the best supporting actress. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below and watch for my supporting actor choices tomorrow.