Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge lists his ten favourite film performances of the year. Please note that the performances in Parasite are not included as the film has a 2020 UK release date.
You can also listen to James and Anna’s picks on YouTube:
10. Samara Weaving – Ready Or Not
Weaving’s presence helped elevate this horror-comedy into one of the surprise treats of 2019. A performance with similar charm and determination as Blake Lively in The Shallows.
9. Taron Egerton – Rocketman
Egerton turned up the flamboyancy and unruly energy to capture the spirit of Elton John. A big contrast to his role as loveable underdog Eddie ‘The Eagle’ in 2015.
8. Beanie Feldstein – Booksmart
Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever brought the necessary laughs, likability and emotional depth to make Booksmart a huge success.
7. Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
Ronan’s remarkable decade was capped off by another enchanting performance.
6. Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
A fun turn for DiCaprio saw him play a struggling and insecure LA actor. Impressively, this performance is just as committed as the ones he put in for Inception and The Revenant.
5. Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
This is arguably Johansson’s best performance since Lost In Translation. The divorce backstory scene with Laura Dern is a particular highlight.
4. Adam Driver – Marriage Story
This is Driver’s best performance of his career. Fittingly, it comes while working with the same director (Noah Baumbach) who helped ignite his career at the start of the decade.
3. Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Phoenix delivered a disturbing and iconic performance to make this one of the most talked about films of the year. The actor’s commitment to playing the Joker was most evident in his bony physique – a stark change from the dad body he had in You Were Never Really Here.
2. Awkwafina – The Farewell
Awkwafina proved any doubters – myself included – wrong with this thoughtful lead performance. The 31 year old is vital to the film capturing a beautiful blend of humour and poignancy.
1. Florence Pugh – Midsommar
Amid the striking visuals and disturbing events of Midsommar, Pugh’s transformative performance acts as the captivating core of this daylight horror. Her incredible performance reaches its peak in the unforgettable closing scene of the film.