Again, I’ve chosen my 10 favorite roles by an actress in a supporting role. A pretty diverse group, and there are some I really enjoyed that didn’t make the cut on this list. Just to drop a few of those names, Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), Mya Taylor (Tangerine), Tilda Swinton (Trainwreck), Jessica Chastain (The Martian), Laura Linney (Mr Holmes), Rose Byrne (Spy), and Mamie Gummer (Ricki and the Flash) were all on this list at one point.
10) Zoe Saldana (Infinitely Polar Bear)
She’s a really underrated actress, and perhaps has never really been pushed dramatically because of that, but I really enjoyed her work in this. Both her and Ruffalo lifted a so-so film with their performances. Hopefully, she’ll continue to get roles that stretch her as an actress, and prove her worth dramatically.
9) Joan Allen (Room)
Joan is consistently one of the best actresses working in Hollywood. I loved her performances in The Contender and Pleasantville. It’s easy to let Allen’s work be overshadowed by the showier performances of Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, but Allen has a few key scenes that really hit home. It really is the trio that makes this film work so well. Playing a mother whose child was abducted, and her whole life changed, who finally is reunited with a very different daughter, and a grandson she never knew she had. It’s a great performance.
8) Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
It was really our introduction to Vikander, and what a memorable introduction. She’s the heart of Ex Machina, and her manipulation of the other characters is such a key plot point. Watching her performance, I knew we’d see other great work from her this year, and we got to in The Danish Girl.
7) Rooney Mara (Carol)
I thought Mara did have stronger work in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, but I think this is another strong effort from Mara, who is quickly proving herself to be one of the strongest actresses in Hollywood. I think we’ll continue to see her name at the Oscars, and one day she’ll find the right role that just clicks and she’ll win. It feels weird including her in supporting, but I did feel that her role was a bit more supporting than Blanchett’s.
6) Helen Mirren (Trumbo)
I’ve heard a lot of mixed reactions to this role, but I loved it. I know Trumbo has been a divisive film, but Mirren was great in it. She really handles everything with little nuances that only a seasoned actress could pull off. She’s one of the greatest actresses of all time. It’s rare that she would turn in a performance that I didn’t like. I actually enjoyed her more in Trumbo than Woman In Gold.
5) Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy)
Snubbed by the Oscars, Banks really proved herself this year in Love and Mercy. It’s by far her best work to date, and I hope she continues to expand herself dramatically. We’ve really only ever seen her used as a comedic actress, but I think she has a lot of potential. It was a meaty role, and she pulled it off.
4) Kristen Stewart (Clouds Of Sils Maria)
Quite possibly the first time I actually saw Kristen Stewart act since Panic Room. She gets away with basically playing herself in every movie, and people just fawn over her. I actually hated her as an actress before this. True story. I believed she had very little talent, and was overrated. She proved me wrong, and blew me away with her role in Clouds Of Sils Maria. Another Oscar snub, but her film was really small. I wish more people had seen it because it confirms that Stewart does have talent, she just needs to use it more.
3) Olivia Cooke (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl)
I don’t know why this film, or her performance isn’t getting more critical notice. Critics praised the film when it was released, but everyone forgot about it. It eventually got no nominations, and Olivia Cooke went back to obscurity. There’s a real talent here, full of a ton of honesty. Cooke has so much to offer Hollywood. I hope we see more from her in the future.
2) Kyra Sedgwick (Time Out Of Mind)
It’s a tiny role, but so was Judi Dench in Shakespeare In Love. I truly did a double take when I realized it was Sedgwick on screen. I had no idea. Her screentime is brief, lasting maybe two minutes, but damn was that performance incredible. She lost herself in that role, and truly became one of those crazy homeless ladies. She’s unrecognizable, and it’s unlike anything she’s ever done before. Brilliant performance. Probably her best ever.
1) Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
My favorite supporting performance. Tarantino has a way of finding underappreciated actresses and giving them the right role to reset their career. Leigh shined in The Hateful Eight, and I forgot it was her on screen. She became this character, and I never saw the actress. That’s often really hard to do, and I think she did it masterfully. I hope she wins the Oscar, because she’s my favorite supporting performance of the year.