Our Year in Review is doubling up now, two "best of" lists a daily to wrap up. This afternoon Matthew Eng exercizes his actressexuality.
Here are 25 scenes, songs, shots, reactions, line-readings, gestures, and whatnot that have stuck with me the longest from some — but not all — of my favorite female performances across film, television, music, and theater this year. Remember these? They are... in alphabetical order:
01 Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny’s bravura comic badinage is the main engine driving Love & Friendship, which only ever threatens to turn softhearted when these two catty soulmates are finally forced to part. Beckinsale and Sevigny carefully modulate their straight-faced hauteur during this fond farewell, but refuse to let even an ounce of sentimentality disrupt their regal self-possession. It’s one final, triumphant occasion for game to recognize game.
02 “Value,” the sixth episode of Donald Glover’s extraordinary first season of Atlanta, opens with an extended showcase scene of friendly rivalry between the luminous Zazie Beetz (as long-suffering public school teacher Van) and one-episode wonder Aubin Wise (as her childhood pal, now an “Instagram escort”). Both actresses tear into the scene with a comical trenchancy that scores its necessary laughs but also establishes a layered and fleetingly poignant background of affectionately-waged one-upmanship.