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Directors (For Sama)
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

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CONSIDER - Actresses of 2019, First Half

Here's our penultimate 'halfway mark, year in review' post for you. The 19 performances by actresses we treasured most at the movies thus far this year. 

We hope you'll sound off on these and share your own favourites in the comments... and we hope this list serves as a reminder to Oscar and Globe and SAG voters to keep lists of things that impress you all year so that at the end of the year you aren't just voting for the 5 things you just saw. Before we begin I should note that I sadly missed the three following female-led films and will catch up with them when given the chance later in the year: Her Smell, Little, and The SouvenirOkay here we go...

(Jan 1st - June 28th releases)  

Jessie Buckley as "Rose-Lynn" in Wild Rose
Yes, the movie basically hands her the "star-making" reviews on a platter. It's ALL about watching her sing and emote. But the performance has lovely nuances, lived-in feeling, and own-worst-enemy fire. And that voice. Good god.  

Kaitlyn Dever as "Amy" in Booksmart
From that first weird dance move we were hooked. We knew she was among our finest young dramatic actresses since Short Term 12 but turns out she's just as strong in comedy!  

Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir as "Halla / Asa" in Woman at War
Good luck to Jodie Foster who optioned this for a remake. Halldóra will be a tough no-nonsense act to follow. 


Sienna Miller as "Deb" in American Woman
As we discussed on the podcast, Miller turns in her best screen work yet in the largest and most complex role she's been handed as a wild childwoman who has to sober up when her teenage daughter (who's already made Deb a grandmother) goes missing.

Julianne Moore as "Gloria" in Gloria Bell

Lupita Nyong'o as "Adelaide Wilson/Red" in Us
One of the year's most creative and most effective star turns. She slays. That vocal control. Wow.

Mary Kay Place as "Diane" in Diane
It's exceptionally rare to see familiar never-lead character actors handed roles this large and complicated. What a gift twice over --  for her and us. 

Emma Thompson as "Katherine Newbury" in Late Night
If this had been a hit there would have been Oscar buzz. So funny. But three dimensional character work, too. 

P.S. And a round of applause for this year's camp baddies Isabelle Huppert and Octavia Spencer as Greta and Ma respectively -- they both amused and were clearly loving their titular roles -- but the films hampered them with weak execution and  indifferent character-writing respectively.



Barbara Auer as an architect in Transit
Confession: Screened this movie so long ago we've forgotten many details other than how impressed we were with it overall and that Auer was mesmerizing in a small role. But how small? Was it just a cameo? Must screen again.

Juliette Binoche as "Dibs" in High Life 
Thirty-six years into her screen career she's STILL pushing herself and refusing to coast. She's so deep in this you forget that "mad scientist" has been a stock villain role for a million years.  

Christina Hendricks as "Kathy" in American Woman
It's weird to call her underappreciated as an actor after six Emmy nominations but she is. She's so real and moving here as the settled everywoman sister to a hot mess. 

Taylor Hickson as "Natasha" in Giant Little Ones
Hers is the last major character in the film to come into focus but we're so glad she did. We kept thinking about her after the film ended, which is always a good sign that a peripheral player has done their character work. 

Shahadi Wright Joseph as "Zora Wilson / Umbrae" in Us
Every single person in this movie is doing amazing doubleinventive work. Joseph manages the impressive feat of giving the scariest performance of the enseble while also feeling completely real and normal in the other role. Can you believe this is a feature debut?

Chulpan Khamatova as "Xenia" in The White Crow
She didn't get much coverage that we could see in the press for this movie, but she's giving the best performance within it as a ballet mentor's frustrated and sexually curious wife with a thing for the young Nureyev.  

Billie Lourd as "Gigi" in Booksmart
So funny. People really missed out who skipped this movie. 

Andrea Martin as "Bobbie" in Diane 
Nice to see Martin do a drama for a change as she's often prized for her comic chops. 

Elisabeth Moss as "Kitty Tyler / Dahlia" in Us
Moss's range is starting to feel limitless. We're frightened. 

Dierdre O'Connell as "Donna" in Diane
The most sympathetic performance in Diane, but blessedly free of asking for that sympathy as Diane's dying best friend who is such a full person it feels reductive to describe the character in synopsis.

Sophie Okonedo as "Susannah" in Wild Rose
Okonedo takes an almost impossible story arc -- rich employer turned impulsive patron of her housemaid -- and makes it feel not just real but an inevitability due to her heartfelt characterization.

Julie Walters as "Marion" in Wild Rose
At first we were frustrated that she was stuck in a one-dimensional role as Longsuffering Mother. But trust Walters to deepen it as she goes and really sell two sudden shifts (to tough love and then to soften again, unexpectedly).




Bobbi Salvör Menuez as "Shooting Star #1" in Under the Silver Lake

Marie Seux as a doctor in Sauvage/Wild

Emma Thompson (voice only) as "The Elder" in Missing Link

Top fives from the Team Film Experience
• 19 favourite male performances
Mainstream box office report
Niche interest box office report 

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Reader Comments (30)

I love that all six members of Us ensemble received notices.

I assume this is fairly indicative of your feelings of the film overall

July 2, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBen

Lupita forever.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRebecca

Isabelle Huppert, GRETA
Octavia Spencer, MA
Mary Kay Place, DIANE

Juliette Binoche, HIGH LIFE
Deirdre O’Connell, DIANE
Andrea Martin, DIANE
Billie Loire, BOOKSMART

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRoger

Thanks for doing this. I really do think Lupita was extraordinary. Too bad Julianne was a remake and Emma's movie also barely threaded water.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJono

No love for Beanie Feldstein? I thought she was the clear MVP of Booksmart and gave one of my favorite performances of the year. Cant wait to see what she does next.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRayLewis1997

I’ve give mentions to BOTH the leads of BOOKSMART a la Thelma & Louise!!! #criminal

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

So glad you cited Barbara Auer in "Transit". Saw it last year and the performance has definitely lingered. I don't recall it as a cameo; I believe she's in several scenes, registering strongly in all - and growing progressively more fascinating. A very fine actress previously unknown to me.
As far as leads go, enjoyed both Penelope Cruz in "Everybody Knows" and Alia Bhatt in the Bollywood epic "Kalank". Sonakshi Sinha, a top star in her own right takes a secondary role in this one. She's often reminded me of Olivia de Havilland, never more so than with the Melanie like character she plays so beautifully here.
And I'm surprised Bryce Dallas Howard isn't getting more buzz for her compelling turn as Elton John's self-absorbed mother in "Rocketman". I think she's dynamite in it - what with the who knew she could do that Brit accent and the unexpected singing talent. I remember loving her several years back in "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond", a film and performance that were both undervalued. Would love to see her very distinctive contribution to "Rocketman" net her a supporting nomination this year.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen

In a perfect world Elizabeth Moss would be getting Oscar buzz for Us. That mirror scene was so transfixing and what I remember most about the movie.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G

Missing, The Souvenir, hurts your list. Give Binoche a 2nd Oscar.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Julianne is out of this world in Gloria Bell, she deserves a Golden Globe nomination. At least.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFerdi

Great call on "Shooting Star #1" in Under the Silver Lake

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

I though Charlize Theron was effortlessly charming and relateable in Long Shot.

Amy Seimetz was the best thing in Pet Sematary selling papable fear when stuff goes haywire.

Aubey Plaza created a great chemisty with her on screen son in Child's Play

All the ladies in Us.

The 5 reactions from the Oscar ladies when Close lost to Colman.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Lupita has given what will probably be THE performance of 2019. If there are 5 better performances in the upcoming months then it'll be an incredible year from actresses.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrad

One of the things I love about these list most is that it gets me to watch things I didn’t even know about. Can’t wait to check out MKP in Dianne and everyone in Wild Rose.

I suspect Lupita and Julianne will keep their buzz and, at least, secure Golden Globe noms. Will any of these other folks get traction?

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Juliette Binoche/Nora Hamzawi - Non-Fiction
Zhang Tao - Ash Is Purest White
Ana Brun / Margarita Irun / Ana Ivanova - The Heiresses

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

Cannot wait for Mary Kay Place's Indie Spirit nom!

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

Finally saw Booksmart and it's definitely one of my favorite movies of the year! I don't remember the last time I laughed that hard watching a film. Fantastic script, great directing and what a cast! I'd have a hard time choosing between the two leads though, they both did an amazing job.

I'm DELIGHTED you mentioned Marie Seux's beautiful short performance in Sauvage. I remember wondering how easy it seemed for her to be in that movie for just a few minutes and yet understanding and playing her character so completely. Very impressive!

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFrenchToast

when is Wild Rose going to open wide? I have heard nothing but raves from Brits in the biz re Buckley’s performance. And now that I know Sophie effing Okonedo is in it too, desperate to see!

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Amy Ryan was so good in Late Night, it's really too bad she didn't have a bigger part. But her last scene was gold. When is she going to get a juicy lead role?!

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Very worthy picks, but Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell is head and shoulders above any other performance I've seen this year. Agyness Deyn was unexpectedly great as her friend and bandmate as well.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Just want to echo Suzanne -- see Her Smell, Nat!!!

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJason

YES to Buckley and Walters. Have seen far less satisfying screen double acts pan out to double Oscar nominations. You KNOW Walters is in the mix for a BAFTA nod, so I hope both of these special performances generate some year-end traction.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRobUK

Agyness Deyn, Elisabeth Moss, and Gayle Rankin, HER SMELL
Nora Hamzawi, NON-FICTION
Haley Lu Richardson, FIVE FEET APART
Kelly O'Sullivan, Lily Mojekwu, and Charin Alvarez, SAINT FRANCES

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTrina

Octavia Spencer in Ma!!! lol

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

For consideration: Scarlett Johansson/Karen Gillan-Best Supporting Actress for Avengers: Endgame. Also a special mention to Rene Russo for her cameo in the film as she was able to do a lot in that one scene to make up for being underused for the other Thor movies.

July 3, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Zhao Tao - Ash is Purest White
Silvia Varon - Second Star on the Right
Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein - Booksmart
Alia Bhatt - Gully Boy

Mindy Kaling - Late Night
Brie Larson and Scarlett Johannson - Endgame
Anjelica Huston - John Wick 3
Marsai Martin - Little

July 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

I think there will be a huge push for Lupita for Us. She stands a great shot at an Oscar nomination.

August 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Diana Lin who played Awkwafina's mother in The Farewell gave a realistic and touching performance. Def should be considered for supporting work in the upcoming award season.


August 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMMinDC

MMinDC... The Farewell isn't listed in the acting because it came out in July and this is January through June but I also loved the acting in it. Diana Lin was really strong but I think the grandmother will get the big supporting push.

August 1, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R


#1. Elizabeth Moss - Her Smell
2. Honor Swinton Bryne - The Souvenir
3. Mary Kay Place - Diane
4. Tao Zhao - Ash is Purest White
5. Karelle Tremblay - The Fireflies Are Gone
6. Kaitlyn Dever - Booksmart
7. Julianne Moore - Gloria Bell
8. Victoria Carmen Sonne - Holiday
9. Paula Beer - Transit
10.Carmina Martina - Birds of Passage


#1. Juliet Binoche - High Life & Non-fiction
2. Deirdre O'Connell - Diane
3. Nora Navas - Pain and Glory
4. Lily-Rose Depp - A Faithful Man
5. Bennu Yildirimlar - The Wild Pear Tree
6. Tilda Swinton - The Souvenir
7. Bille Lourd - Booksmart
8. Sylvia Chang - Long Day's Journey Into Night
9. Nora Hamzawi - Non-fiction
10. June Diane Raphael - Long Shot

I agree that all the women in Us are very good, but I loathe the movie so much that I just can't reward it.

August 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

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