2015 Best Actress thoughts

While I should probably rewatch all of the past nominees to have a better opinion, I honestly think 2015 is my favourite best actress year for this decade so far, followed by 2013 and then 2010. This category has been going strong for me, and even 2012/2011 were pretty unique years despite being the weak links so far.

The performances are all so different and varied, and yet each of them evoked such strong feelings within me at certain points that I feel my ratings are perfectly justified. I had my issues with #5 but her strong moments were brilliant and I think she deserved her score. #4 is the pick of many people, and while I said that I was going to upgrade her score a while back, I decided to stick with the original rating I gave her. I can see why some would give her a 5 and pick her, but I (highly) respect more than love the performance.

I should also clarify that #1, #2 and #3 are equal to me, and I won’t even deny that their rankings are highly tentative. I literally just switched the positions of #2 and #3 in my head while typing this sentence. I picked #1 to be my winner because she has the freshest impression in my head so far, but I know that the moment I re-watch any of the other 2, there is a very high chance I would make that performance my pick instead. Their performance are just that brilliant to me in their own unique ways, and they would have made worthy winners. Even #4 and #5 winning wouldn’t have been that bad too.

5. Jennifer Lawrence in Joy – 4.5/5


I agree that the writing pulls her down at times, especially when she has to act like Don Corleone (the final moment where she dealt back was brilliant though). However, she has so many great moments throughout her performance that I feel perfectly justified with my 4.5. When she blanked out in front of the camera, I was rooting for her to start speaking again. When she broke the mop in tears, she broke my heart. Can’t believe I just typed the previous sentence, but whatever. Lawrence might technically not be the greatest actress, but the rawness and imperfections in her performances always get to me, and the same can be said here. Sorry haters.

Favourite moment: The breakdown scene/the first time she sold the mop on live TV.

4. Charlotte Rampling in 45 Years – 4.5/5


It is a very quiet performance that is much more complex than I initially realised, which explains why I considered giving her a 5. It is a bit too quiet for my taste, but the performance is supposed to be like that, and I can’t really find anything to fault. She slowly allows us to enter Kate’s mind through subtle and effective moments, and I understand why she is a winner for so many.

Favourite moment: The final shot, when she realises that the future of her marriage is never going to be the same again

3. Cate Blanchett in Carol – 5/5


It is another performance that showcases what a master actress Cate Blanchett is, and I felt like I just sat through a highly insightful acting class when watching her. There is so much class, elegance and seductiveness on the surface of the performance, but Blanchett slowly peels away these layers to reveal the depressed and lonely character that Carol actually is.

Favourite moment: The final smile/”We are not ugly people Hodge”

2. Brie Larson in Room – 5/5


Man I saw this soooo long ago as compared to the other performances, which is why her ranking as of now is probably the most inaccurately placed in my mind. I recalled finding her gutwrenching, intense, realistic and raw. Her fierce protectiveness of her son and her chemistry with Jacob Tremblay are some of the most brilliant aspects of her performance. Her struggle to adapt back to the real world was excellently portrayed too.

Favourite moment: Her explaining the reality of the room to Jack/the silent goodbye at the end.

1. Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn – 5/5


She is absolutely charming, radiant and heartbreaking here, showing off her immense acting capabilities and maturity despite being the youngest nominee in this category. Every aspect of Eilis’ life can be felt, thanks to her – heartbreak, loneliness, grieve, falling in love, etc. It also reminds me a little of classical Hollywood, except with better acting and realism.

Favourite moment: When she says that she is truly happy/the final reunion with Tony. But the performance is best appreciated as a whole, as you follow through Eilis’ development and changes.

I have no personal lineup as I haven’t seen enough performances so far =( I guess Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road would be #6, but I am fine with this lineup as it is.

Up next: Stop procrastinating with 1977 best picture and finish up Star Wars and The Goodbye Girl. Unfortunately, due to the incredibly long time I took to complete this year, I don’t think I am able to give my definite thoughts on who my pick is. I will just complete this year, and see whether I want to continue with this project. I most likely will, since any excuse to re-watch The Godfather I and II works for me. However, I will definitely be focusing on film performances first before resuming this project.




  1. Agreed, this is a pretty fantastic year. I still haven’t watched 2 of the 5, so can’t quite benchmark it against ’10 and ’13 just yet, but definitely think that this has been a pretty interesting decade of Best Actress nominations, especially in the weaker years — gotta love the inspired selections of Cotillard, Riva, and Wallis!!

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