10) Tessa Thompson (Dear White People)
A breakthrough performance that I will remember. I don’t think the movie would have been good without her.
9) Keira Knightley (Begin Again)
Another great performance from Keira Knightley.
8) Kristen Wiig (The Skeleton Twins)
One of the best alumni to ever leave Saturday Night Live. Here she conquers depression and suicide, and she does all of that with Bill Hader at her side. It’s hard to imagine a future without Kristin Wiig being an Oscar nominee at some point.
7) Jenny Slate (Obvious Child)
Another SNL alumni in my top 10. Slate brings drama and comedy to the role of a girl who gets knocked up after a one night stand, and decides to get an abortion on Valentine’s Day. You can’t be too funny, because it’ll turn people off, and you can’t be too serious because it’s already a depressing subject matter. She was perfect for the role.
6) Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby)
My favorite Chastain performance this year. She really brings so much to the film. The loss of a child is an incredibly heavy subject matter to deal with, and Chastain brings real life to the part.
5) Felicity Jones (The Theory Of Everything)
Sure, everyone will remember Eddie Redmayne, but his performance wouldn’t have been perfect without Felicity Jones at his side. Her heartbreaking work deserves to be recognized.
4) Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl)
A breakthrough part. If you had asked me “what type of part could Rosamund Pike play?” I would have had no idea. Now I know. Smart, deceitful, sexy, and a murderer. That’s the kind of role Rosamund Pike will kill.
3) Reese Witherspoon (Wild)
It’s her best performance ever. Sadly, it’s not enough to win the Oscar, but it is definitely her best performance ever.
2/1) Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
I literally can’t choose. I thought I could, but I can’t. Both are fantastic performances. I loved both of them. It’s easily Aniston’s best performance. Moore has a ton of great performances to choose from, but that doesn’t make Moore’s performance any less great. It’s still one of her greatest performances.