5. Widows – Viola Davis
For playing every note in the book and never falling out of tune. There’s no need to belabour this at this point, but few actors can command the screen with such assimilation.
4. Support the Girls – Regina Hall
For taking on a role that in her hands would feasibly be bitterly funny, and turning it into something closer to a Dardenne’s heroine. Never condescending to her environment, you feel the love she has for her girls.
3. A Private War – Rosamund Pike
For the year’s most underrated performance, and magnificent it truly is. As a woman whose fearlessness is the kind everyday people take for granted, her own fearlessness on camera is almost as inspirational.
2. Life and Nothing More – Regina Williams
For being utterly absorbing in how she embodies the contradictions of what it means to be a human being. The fact that she’s a non-professional and that her performance is largely improvised makes it all the more mind-boggling.
1. Hereditary – Toni Collette
For the year’s single greatest performance from anyone. Raw, persistently astonishing, she’s almost primordial in her emotive array and thematic clutch. It is acting mastery, and one all students of the artform should observe closely. There really are just too many moments of brilliance to list here. But I do wish the film itself was at her level.
Runner Up: Private Life – Kathryn Hahn
This was an embarrassingly difficult year for BEST ACTRESS, with riches galore to choose from. I’m sorry, but I have to list some others that could easily have made the top five:
Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Melissa McCarthy
Cold War – Joanna Kulig
Eighth Grade – Elsie Fisher
The Favourite – Olivia Coleman
The Favourite – Rachel Weisz
Leave No Trace – Thomasin McKenzie
A Quiet Place – Emily Blunt
Sadie – Sophia Mitri Schloss
A Simple Favor – Anna Kendrick
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