Best Actresses of 2011
2011 has had some brilliant newcomers when it comes to actresses with there even being a few in this list. However it is also the year of returning talents. Overall 2011 has highlighted some of the best Actresses working today. Here are the top 10 actresses of the year.
10. Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit was a hit and miss film but something everyone can agree on is that Steinfeld’s performance was really something else. Her portrayal of Mattie Ross was pitch perfect with her being steel faced but also young and naive. A perfect combination.
9. Kirsten Dunst – If there was a performance this year that is just so devastating and unapologetic it would be Dunst in Melancholia. She brings loneliness to the film despite the fact she is surrounded by hundreds of their closest friends. It’s a delightfully bleak performance.
8. Elle Fanning - In 2010 Fanning wowed audiences in Sophia Coppola’s Somewhere. Now in 2011 she continues to impress with her standout performance in Super 8 as a young girl living with her alcoholic father, A man everyone finds responsible for a town tragedy weeks prior. She manages to show both love, fear and hatred towards the same man all at the same time which is just brilliant. She gels perfectly with co-star Joel Courtney making Super 8 a film well worth watching.
7. Amy Adams - Adams who is probably best known for her adorable turn as Giselle in Enchanted goes completely against type for The Fighter but proves she isn’t just another pretty face. Her hard as nails turn as Charlene is engrossing as she shows great compassion towards Micky as she begins to understand what he has to deal with. However it is her interaction with the rest of Micky’s family that brings out the best in Adams’ performance. She plays off of Christian Bale’s Dicky showing her protective side. It’s an incredibly vibrant portrayal of a strong woman who only wants best for Micky.
6. Amy Ryan - Paul Giamatti may be the centre of Win Win but Amy Ryan is the heart. As Jackie she exudes charm with her character being almost the perfect mother. She emphasises the characters insecurities but also her hopes. As the movie goes on her whole demeanour changes as she begins to learn more about both her husband and Kyle, the boy they have let move into their house. Her performance mirrors that of a new mother as she begins to learn different things about the new life in her house. She adapts as the movie progresses as her character becomes less naive and more hardened with her husband but softer and more loving with Kyle. It’s a performance that shows incredible depth.
5. Anna Kendrick - Kendrick wowed us with her buttoned up performance of Natalie Keener in 2009’s Up in the Air and now she is back with another mesmerising show of talent. This time she plays Katherine in Jonathan Levine’s 50/50 an overly considerate therapist in training who is trying to keep her relationship with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Adam strictly professional. Watching Kendrick try to control herself while bubbling with unspoken emotion is gripping and she works brilliantly with Levitt who also provides an astoundingly strong performance. One to watch.
4. Natalie Portman - Sure she has had some clangers this year (No Strings Attached, Your Highness) but Black Swan more than makes up for it. She understands the obsession of her character, her fears and her desires. She just has a perfect handle on the mind of Nina, one consumed by fears of being overtaken, of not being dark enough, agile enough. She brings these fears to life, sometimes through the simple act of dancing, all the while in complete control of what she wants to show the audience.
3. Nicole Kidman - It’s hard to imagine the reaction you would have if you lost a child but Kidman’s acting in Rabbit Hole tries not only to answer that question but also try to show that things do get better. Kidman performs wonderfully with her handling the characters grief with the right amount of delicacy but also a healthy lashing of brutal honesty. It’s a film and a performance that don’t try to shy away from what the character is thinking while never being ashamed to emphasise the senseless nature of what has happened.
2. Melanie Laurent - Beginners wouldn’t have been complete without the quirkiness of Laurent. She brings a lightness to the film with her portrayal of Anna. Her live in the moment attitude perfectly complements Ewan McGregor’s Oliver. Her ability to convey a simple but heartfelt message without saying a word is great and it makes for some brilliantly entertaining scenes. Although it was clear she was one to keep an eye on with 2008’s Inglourious Basterds and 2009’s The Concert, Beginners shows she can handle both comedy and drama all at once with gusto.
1. Mia Wasikowska – She is an odd choice to play Jane Eyre but now that I’ve seen it, it really couldn’t be anybody else. She handles the bleakness of the material perfectly while also bringing a lost innocence back to the character, one who has been beaten into submission by an elite girl’s school. She complements Michael Fassbender’s Rochester while infusing the film with some much needed melodrama. It’s a effortless performance that is remarkably elegant yet tragic.