Over the past few years, the Best Actress field has been loaded with terrific performances and 2018 was no different. I could have easily expanded the 2018 field to ten nominees and I still would have snubbed a few. This year’s nominees are all incredibly strong and are all from incredibly strong films that they carry. With a nice mix of newcomers and veterans, including an actress who has never acted before battling it out with arguably the most overdue actress in all of Hollywood, these actress are all worthy of their nominations. But were there performances this year the best of their careers? Here are my picks for the best performances from this year’s Best Actress nominees.
Nominated for – Roma
Best Performance – Roma
- Being as this is Aparicio’s first performance ever, this was the only winner. Aparicio is very good in Alfonso Cauaron’s Roma, but I don’t know if it is actually a great performance. Aparicio is not a trained actor, nor had any experience before Roma, so I can’t tell if her performance was a product of her decisions for the character or if everything was Cuaron. I want to be optimistic and say Aparicio was the one making the choices, but with a great director like Cuaron making his most personal film ever, I feel like he made the calls. Only time will tell how good this performance really is.
Nominated for – The Wife
Best Performance – Fatal Attraction
- The plot of Fatal Attraction is something that would be in Lifetime today. A deranged thriller about a woman who stalks a married man who she had a one night stand with. But what makes Fatal Attraction far better than a Lifetime movie is the slick direction by Adrian Lyne and the performances from Michael Douglas and Glenn Close. Now Douglas was doing his typical, 80’s Douglas thing, but it’s Close who portrays her character as more than just a psychopath. In a performance that could have easily been taken over the edge and considered hammy or campy, Close never lets it get there. Instead, Close gives us a character who on the surface seems obsessive and insane, but is really a deeply troubled, disturbed woman who has a past that haunts her. Like all great cinematic villains, this is a deeply rooted character that will terrify the hell out of you and Close elevates it into masterful work.
Nominated for – The Favourite
Best Performance – Tyrannosaur
- Oliva Coleman is having the time of her life on the awards circuit for her wonderful performance in The Favourite. A working actress for years, Coleman is finally getting her due this year and it is well worth it. But in 2011 I saw Coleman in a small British indie film called Tyrannosaur and it is a performance I have never forgotten. In Paddy Considine’s wildly depressing movie, Coleman plays an abused religious woman who befriends a violent, tortured man. This is a slow building, quiet performance, with Coleman restraining herself until the shocking final act. Tyrannosaur is not the easiest movie to watch, but Coleman’s performance makes it worth every second.
Nominated for – A Star is Born
Best Performance – A Star is Born
Gaga has been slowly creeping her way into acting for a few years now, starting as a supporting character in a couple Robert Rodriguez movies, Gaga made a huge splash on T.V. in American Horror Story, winning a Golden Globe for her performance. But her performance in A Star is Born is a true breakout a performance. A raw, intimate performance where Gaga stripped away any resemblance of her music personality to give us a performance for the ages. Aside from the singing and performing, which we knew she could already do, it’s the quieter moments where Gaga shines her and her chemistry with co-star Bradley Cooper is unmatched to any movie in 2018. In A Star is Born, Gaga proved just how good of an actor she really is and showed us that we have a true star on our hands.
Nominated for – Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Performance – Spy
- Melissa McCarthy has now been nominated for two Oscars; this year for Can You Ever Forgive Me? and back in 2011 for her breakout performance in Bridesmaids. One performance showcased McCarthy’s dramatic chops, the other showed her comedy brilliance. But there was one performance that combined both of those together: 2015’s Spy. This wildly underrated comedy is a showcase for all of McCarthy’s talents, as she plays a desk jockey at a spy agency who gets called into the field and must use her wits to save the world. McCarthy is incredibly funny, yet also shows a deeper side as she plays an agent nobody suspects will succeed because of her body, her age, and her lack of experience. This is the best of both McCarthy worlds and she carries Spy into being one of the best comedies of the decade.
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