We aren’t even into the bulk of awards season yet, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t already seen some amazing performances from incredible actresses. 2018 has been a really great year for movies, some of the pure fun and others pieces of art that deserve to be recognized. So far, there are (at least) for performances that stand out among the rest for consideration for the coveted prize of Best Actress. In fact, these four women have never won the award, and damn it, this might just be their year!
4. Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong in First Man
While much of the focus might be on Ryan Gosling’s portrayal of the famed astronaut Neil Armstrong or the film’s stunning visuals, what really stands out the most about First Man is Claire Foy’s brilliant work in bringing life to the character of Janet Armstrong. Foy has yet to be nominated for an Academy Award, but her work in First Man is definitely deserving. Foy shatters the idea of a “wife-at-home” with her subtle, yet powerful, acting. She brings so much emotion into the role that you can feel every moment of fear, heartache, power, and determination. Foy shines in every scene she is, despite Gosling’s equally as strong performance; First Man might be Neil Armstrong’s story, but the movie, thanks to Foy’s acting, is most definitely Janet’s.
3. Keira Knightley as Colette in Colette
Bringing to the large screen another real-life person, Keira Knightley is the heart of Colette. The film is a brilliant look at the journey Knightley’s character goes on from a timid ghost-writing wife of a famed author to the ambitious, driven artist she grows into. Knightley makes it clear from the beginning that she didn’t come to merely play, she came to win. Her character grows and plays so much throughout the course of the film, that it would be easy for a lesser actress to miss some of the various stages of the character. Knightley does this flawlessly. You root for Colette at every turn and Knightley’s performance as the sexually liberated feminist icon is riveting from start to finish. With two nominations under her belt, one for Best Supporting Actress and the other for Best Actress, there’s no doubt that Keira Knightley will secure her third nomination for Colette and perhaps even take the prize home.
2. Glenn Close as Joan Castleman in The Wife
I’ll be honest, I left The Wife, a little disappointed, but that’s because the ending is purposefully unsatisfying. Glenn Close, who’s been nominated for an Academy Award a stunning six times, plays the character of Joan Castleman whose husband is receiving a Noble Prize. Similarly to the idea of Colette, The Wife follows Joan as she grapples with the fame her husband is receiving for her writing that he convinced her to let him publish under his own name. Close’s intimate portrayal of a woman who is fed up with her husband and his infidelity slowly bubbles under the surface until the eventual controlled explosion, as Joan finally lets everything go. The film at times is painfully slow and uneventful, but Close’s portrayal is so engaging that the film never feels boring. By the time the credits roll, you’re wishing to see more of what happens to Joan Castleman.
1. Lady Gaga as Ally Campana in A Star Is Born
Lady Gaga. Need I say more. We all already knew she was an icon and a goddess, but damn did we underestimate her acting chops. In Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, Lady Gaga gives an incredible performance that infuses every scene with charm and undeniable emotion. The development of the character of Ally is played extremely realistically by Lady Gaga and every moment of the movie is amazing. Lady Gaga’s first time on the big screen not only shines, but it stunningly delivers on the title of the film; A Star really is Born, and that star is Lady Gaga’s acting career.
I’m thoroughly expecting A Star is Born to sweep the Oscars and be nominated in numerous categories – yes, it’s that good. And all the more impressive being Cooper’s directorial debut and Lady Gaga’s feature film debut. But, Gaga is going to have some tough competition for Best Actress with everyone else on this list as well as those we have yet to see.