Similar to the same list in 2014, I do not fancy classification in acting department. No leading and supporting, although – without question – they’re essential; no male and female, the way Chris Rock put amen to it during his Oscar opening monologue. Among hundreds of splendid, vigorous performances in 2015, I narrowed it down to 15 actors and actresses for their body of works.
But before the , I also present a list of Best Breakthrough Performance by actors and actresses, who are traditionally beyond my radar, for their extraordinarily stellar achievements in acting. Name them rising stars or go-getters, they’re gonna open my list in alphabetical order.
Best Breakthrough Performance of 2015
01. Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl)
Depicting a 15-y.o girl (9 years younger than her actual age), Powley sympathetically embraces the girl’s teen angst, quirkiness and carnal disorientation in a solid work.
02. Jacob Tremblay (Room)
As a long-haired 5-y.o boy whose world is the titular room, Tremblay acts as brilliant as his Oscar-winning co-star to make it “impossible not to love Room’; probably, he himself deserves an Oscar.
03. Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor (Tangerine)
The Tangerine double trouble isn’t only defining “a surprisingly amazing performance by transgender performers in movie”, they’re naturally manifesting that.
04. Shameik Moore (Dope)
Straight-A students aiming for Harvard admission but he’s taking the gangsta way due to racial stereotype and all, Shameik Moore is the perfect guy for that.
Congratulations, Powley, Tremblay, Kiki Rodriguez, Taylor, and Moore, for the breakthrough performance.
Before moving on to the Best Performances list, I should mention some names considered as honorable mentions, as follows: Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road), Paul Dano (Love & Mercy), Idris Elba (Beast of No Nation), Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams (Spotlight), and Jason Segel (The End of the Tour). Now, here comes the more traditional list of Best Performance by actors and actresses in 2015 (in a countdown).
Best Performances by Actors and Actresses in 2015
15. Harrison Ford (Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens)
There’s a lump in throat when he first re-entered the saga and there’s another one when he eventually stepped out of the saga. He shot first, though.
14. Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year, Ex Machina, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens)
An oil trader who sets fire, a brilliant young scientist who tests a real human and a not real human, a competent Resistance pilot, Isaac is in a good year of being some competent chaps.
13. Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
Sly is no longer the champion under spotlight, but his charm as a mentor eventually shines even brighter – he’s Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed at once.
12. Michael Fassbender (Slow West, Steve Jobs, Macbeth)
We can’t never see the persistent and cocky side of the Apple founder if not portrayed by Fassbender. Bonus: An outlawed mentor to a love bird in a quirky Wild West and a mad king of Scotland.
11. Matt Damon (The Martian)
In a survival story where the protagonist goes confident, instead of being depressed, Matt Damon injects tons of comic relief to a cocky, self-obsessed astronaut.
10. Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
A howling, black-eyed, foul-mouthed diabolical b*tch in a pack of hateful manhood is only as astonishing as the one portraying her – JJL.
09. Michael B. Jordan (Creed)
Jordan might flop as Johnny Storm, but he’s the sucker punch Rocky franchise had to survive. His Creed is more a Balboa than a Creed, but Jordan successfully brought up both charms in one body plus slick chemistry with Tessa Thompson.
08. Domhnall Gleeson (Ex Machina, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Brooklyn, The Revenant)
From a father’s son, Gleeson Jr. finally established himself as one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood nowadays – look at the range of character he played during 2015 alone. From a tech geek on a Turing test, a lover of no expectation in Ireland, a fur-trading captain with responsibility, to a comic general of First Order, there’s no single red thread but his charm-eleon persona.
07. Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)
With 50 year of experience, the British legend exhibits one of the most emotional performances of the year in an adult romance which starts to crumble. The tension raises step by steps culminating in a one-look wonder end that haunts.
06. Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
A perfectly intriguing transformation of a shy country girl into an independent woman of her own will is projected effortlessly by a star whose name means the independent itself – Saoirse.
05. Brie Larson (Room)
Once an indie darling, now an Oscar darling, Brie Larson delivers a heart-wrenching performance as an ill-prepared mother and everything for a son in an award-winning taste at the first sight.
04. Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)
After several attempts, he finally won his first Oscar for a wrong movie, but I cannot agree more with this. Which actor would survive a Jackass in wilderness movie without lessening a drop of charisma in the end? Only Leo, this year.
03. Rooney Mara & Cate Blanchett (Carol)
CHEATING! Blanchett and Mara are an apparatus that supports each other to deliver a very exquisite display of artmanship in Carol. Blanchett can only be as good as Mara, vice versa; but no other couple is better than them in 2015.
02. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl)
It’s a very complicated year for Vikander. From summer blockbuster, indie to award-bait attempt are under her reach. Yet, she’s the angle of Ex Machina triangle that makes the movie humane and yet she’s a machine; and she’s a wife who encourages her husband to find his feminine side but gets jealous over it. Vikander took those complicated moves and projected them with a sense of clarity.
01. Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road, Legend, The Revenant)
A legend is on the making within Hardy’s long awaited road of career. He just Mel Gibson-ized himself and doubled the stakes to resurrect Mad Max; he splat himself into another half of Krays Bros and the other half then fussed with himself; then he showed the nature of a man as a mutineer in wilderness. I never see such dedication in acting if not in a legend.