One thing’s for sure, as much as we would like to, none of us will ever forget 2020. But today isn’t about focusing on the bad. This is the time when I celebrate the very best from the movie year that was. Despite its many setbacks, 2020 gave movie fans plenty to enjoy. Over the next few days I’ll be focusing on the actors and actresses, highlighting the best work from each of the four major acting categories. Like any normal year there have been so many memorable performances worth considering. But for me these are the best. So let’s get to it starting with the Supporting Actress category.
Honorable mentions: Stana Katic (“A Call to Spy”), Yuh-jung Youn (“Minari”), Priyanka Chopra Jonas (“The White Tiger”), Helena Zengel (“News of the World”), Ellen Burstyn (“Pieces of a Woman”)
#5 – Margo Martindale – “Blow the Man Down”
Here’s a performance that has stuck with me since first seeing “Blow the Man Down” earlier this year. Margo Martindale instantly captures your attention as a brothel owner in a small seaside fishing village. The shady character is interesting on her own but Martindale brings loads of charisma, some dark humor, and a quiet menace. This is a movie full of rich performances but Martindale’s is the most unforgettable.
#4 – Glenn Close – “Hillbilly Elegy”
While I still feel “Hillbilly Elegy” has its share of issues, I absolutely loved everything about Glenn Close’s performance. She plays the abrasive matriarch of a rural low-income brood; a thorny and world-weary character who’s far from squeaky clean but does her best to keep her troubled family together. This is one of those incredible two-pronged performances that features both stellar acting and a stunning physical transformation. I loved it.
#3 – Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”
In “Mank” Amanda Seyfried plays Marion Davies and brings warmth and humanity to a figure mostly known for being the mistress of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. It’s not a big role but Seyfried lights up the screen, bringing an energy and confidence that shatters the popular Hollywood blonde stereotype. Seyfried shows off her welcomed smarts and adds a complexity to Davies that makes her much more than some big shot’s side project.
#2 – Yeri Han – “Minari”
While there are a couple of supporting performances from “Minari” that will probably get more Awards season chatter, I keep coming back to Yeri Han and her delicate, soulful portrayal of a struggling wife and mother. Han gives us someone who earnestly wants to support the ones she loves but finds herself captive to her husband’s audacious dreams. It’s such a gentle yet potent role and Han handles it with exactly the right tone and temperature.
#1 – Juliette Binoche – “The Truth”
This may be a bit of a cheat because it’s a pretty meaty role, but I’m still picking the Juliette Binoche’s work in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “The Truth”. Needless to say I love this performance which sees Binoche playing the daughter reckoning with who her mother really is. It’s a perfectly tempered performance; one that shrewdly conceals her character’s sentiments before eventually letting them surface. Not through one big attention-getting scene, but carefully over the course of the film. And Binoche, known for being natural and authentic, is the perfect woman for the role.
So this wraps up the supporting actress category. See anything you agree or disagree with? I would love to hear it in the comment section below.