It was a pretty good year for female leads (and a few outstanding supports), but, based on films seen in Australia in 2015, my top five are:-
5: Nina Hoss: Phoenix
4: Emily Blunt: Sicario
3: Charlize Theron: Mad Max: Fury Road
2: Cate Blanchett: Carol
1: Julianne Moore: Still Alice
Like the two foreign language male performances in my top five (Aleksey Serebryakov in Leviathan and Viggo Mortensen in Far From Men), there’s a quiet dignity in German actress Nina Hoss and her post-World War II drama Phoenix.
Emily Blunt is proving herself to be the actress of choice when it comes to tough action roles – Edge of Tomorrow, The Adjustment Bureau and the forthcoming The Huntsman’s Winter War. But it’s Emily as the confident yet vulnerable FBI Agent Kate Macer that rockets her into my list.
Another action hero – and a performance that stole the film. Charlize Theron outshone Tom Hardy in Mad Max: Fury Road.
The film is loved by critics but I personally found Carol underwhelming. Not so Cate Blanchett’s performance as the calculating, predatory lesbian, Carol Aird in the adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt. It could well deliver Cate her third Oscar.
But, like Eddie Redmayne in the male list, it’s last year’s Oscar winner who tops my Best of Year – Female Performance for 2015. Julianne Moore is devastating as university lecturer Alice Howland diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in Still Alice.
Top of the supporting actress list goes to Kristen Stewart for her performances as Alice’s daughter in Still Alice and her role in Clouds of Sils Maria.