Dec 292015


2015 has been a year of understated performances, actors not necessarily making huge physical transformations to lose themselves in characters (though there are some, such as Jake Gyllenhaal for Southpaw). As we head into awards season there are not the same group of big, showy performances we usually expect. Some of these performances were recognised at last year’s Oscars (and in the case of Eddie Redmayne, winning), but I witnessed them all for the first time in 2015. Most of these performances have been praised by others than myself throughout the year, but in case we forget about them I wanted to remind you of how great they are. Maybe it will inspire you to catch up with the films if you missed them.

After the jump, find the long-list of my favourite performances of 2015. The actors are listed in rough order of how I experienced their work for the year, with some personal awards at the end:

David Oyelowo – Selma

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Joaquin Phoenix and Katherine Waterston – Inherent Vice

Paul Dano – Love & Mercy (see also: Youth)

Elizabeth Banks – Love & Mercy (see also: Magic Mike XXL)

Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina (see also: A Most Violent Year and Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Jack O’Connell – ’71

Lily James – Cinderella

Jude Law – Black Sea

Tessa Thompson – Dear White People (see also: Creed)

Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina

Carey Mulligan – Far From the Madding Crowd (see also: Suffragette)

Matthias Schoenaerts – Far From the Madding Crowd

Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road

Tom Hardy – The Revenant (see also: Mad Max: Fury Road)

Tommy Lee Jones and Hillary Swank – The Homesman

Guy Pearce and Kevin Corrigan – Results 

Michael Shannon – 99 Homes (see also: The Night Before)

Elmer Back – Eisenstein in Guanajuatro

Laia Costa and Frederick Lau – Victoria

Nina Hoss and Ronald Zehrfeld – Phoenix

Luisa Cruz – The Arabian Nights: Volume 2

Amy Poehler (voice) – Inside Out (see also: Sisters)

Jada Pinkett-Smith and Andie MacDowell – Magic Mike XXL

Dan Stevens – The Guest

Ronit Elkabetz – Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Rebecca Ferguson – Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Benicio Del Toro – A Perfect Day (see also: Paradise Lost and Sicario)

Elizabeth Debicki – The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Dane Dehaan – Life

Jake Gyllenhaal – Southpaw

Rachel McAdams – Spotlight (see also: Southpaw)

Jason Bateman – The Gift

Meryl Streep – Ricki & the Flash 

Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin – Sicario [see also: Inherent Vice (Brolin)]

Matt Damon – The Martian

Greta Gerwig and Lola Kirke – Mistress America

Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Vincent Cassel – Partisan

Colin Farrell and Ben Wishaw – The Lobster

Michael Caine and Rachel Weisz – Youth  

Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg – The End of the Tour

Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen – Brooklyn 

Viggo Mortensen – Far From Men

Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay – 45 Years

Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Kate Winslet and Judy Davis – The Dressmaker

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant

Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling – The Big Short

Mark Ruffalo and Liev Shreiber – Spotlight

Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation 

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara – Carol 



Favourite Female Performance – Rooney Mara (Carol)

Favourite Male Performance – Colin Farrell (The Lobster)

Favourite Ensemble Cast – The Big Short (Runners-up – Inherent Vice, Magic Mike XXL, Brooklyn and The Lobster)

Female Performer of the Year – Carey Mulligan (Runners-up: Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz, Tessa Thompson and Rachel McAdams)

Male Performer of the Year – Benicio Del Toro (Runners-Up: Oscar Isaac, Tom Hardy and Michael Shannon)