These are the 15 relationships that really crackled for us on screen this year with an electric snap... or familial/platonic warmth... or sexual combustibility... or tense reserve ... or lived-in authenticity ...or any combo thereof depending on what the relationship called for. Kudos to the actors, directors, screenwriters, and casting directors who all obviously contributed to capture lightning in a bottle. The following examples of screen chemistry told us so much about the characters within the story and sometimes outside of it from long before the events of the movie or projecting out after the narrative. Do I find it troubling that the SAG and BFCA nominations for Best Ensemble avoided ALL of these films save Spotlight? Why, yes --- yes I do! Thanks for asking.
Note: I opted not to include Carol in the list primarily because the obsession is too strong and every single relationship in the movie is fascinating (yes even Therese & Richard's! Even Harge & Abby who only get one scene together) and it wouldn't be fair to the other pictures with its web of relationships, new, old, soured, fresh, complicated and all superbly rendered. Joy, which is better than the initial response suggests, also has fine pockets of chemistry within a bustling cast (something David O. Russell excels at) but I couldn't settle on any one relationship.
The list is presented without commentary... but for what you have to say in the comments.
15 Sylvester Stallone & Michael B Jordan in Creed (trainer/trainee and surrogate something)