The 50 Best Performances Of 2015 – Part 2

By January 10, 2016

Welcome back to the best performances of 2015! In case you missed part 1, you can go check that out and then come back here for the top 25. Unless of course you want to skip all that and just go to the ones at the top. In that case we better just jump back into it.

Jason Segel GN25. Jason Segel – The End of the Tour
In a film that’s mostly just dialogue between two people, Segel (and co-star Jesse Eisenberg who could just as easily taken this spot) manages to sound natural and find the meaning in the words and bring this quiet and awkward yet smart character to life.

Walton Goggins GN24. Walton Goggins – The Hateful Eight
In a movie filled with actors at the top of their game, Walton Goggins stands out in his scene-stealing performance that manages to be funny, excitable, angry, buffoonish, and in control, all while delivering some of the film’s best lines.

Marion Cotillard GN23. Marion Cotillard – Macbeth
It’s easy for anyone to be distracted by the sumptuous cinematography and Fassbender’s intense titular performance, but Cotillard brings fire, grace, and depth to the infamous Lady Macbeth.

Daisy Ridley GN22. Daisy Ridley – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Emotionally tuned in and appreciatively subtle, it comes at even greater surprise that this is her first film. She proves to be a powerful and revolutionary addition to the Star Wars universe.

Juliette Binoche GN21. Juliette Binoche – Clouds of Sils Maria
In a role that could have been too self-involved or glamorous, Binoche finds truth in the material as an actress revisiting the play that made her a star, even if her character struggles to do the same.

Shameik Moore GN20. Shameik Moore – Dope
Dat hair.

But seriously, Moore brings humor and honesty to a layered character and embraces the contradictions to his character’s stereotypes in fitting with the strong themes of the film.

Corey Hawkins GN19. Corey Hawkins – Straight Outta Compton
This spot could have just as easily gone to the terrific Jason Mitchell, but the way Hawkins carried his scenes like a seasoned pro while still remaining natural shows me I can expect to hear his name for years to come.

Paul Dano GN18. Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
Here too could have gone to John Cusack, but while that was about recovery, with Dano we get to see the descent from misunderstood genius to disturbed, tortured genius played with intensity and even humor at times.

Mark Rylance GN17. Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
You go into a Tom Hanks/ Steven Spielberg Cold War thriller and you come out talking about some actor you’ve probably never heard of. It sounds crazy, but Rylance’s smart, reserved, and even funny performance speaks for itself.

Harrison Ford GN16. Harrison Ford – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
In what could have easily been a phoned in performance (and maybe it was and he’s just that good) Ford manages to find that inner scoundrel again and even some new layers to the iconic character that we’ve never seen before.

Idris Elba GN15. Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation
You know you’ve got a good actor on your hands when he can play a violent warlord with an army of child soldiers and still be appealing. Elba finds the humanity and the desperation in what could have been a soulless villain.

Kristen Stewart GN14. Kristen Stewart – Clouds of Sils Maria
Binoche may have had the leading role with a showier arc, but Stewart manages to be the perfect balance to her, giving the film perspective and a strong center.

Saoirse Ronan GN13. Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
This film is absolutely charming and that’s due in no small part to Ronan’s captivating, human performance as an Irish immigrant in 50’s Brooklyn. Plus that accent is to die for.

Abraham Attah GN12. Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
Able to upstage his adult co-stars at such a young age, Attah carries the film’s emotional arc by balancing vulnerability and trepidation with a decaying sense of self.

Richard Jenkins GN11. Richard Jenkins – Bone Tomahawk
Richard Jenkins sits in a makeshift cell in a cave inhabited by violent cannibals and proceeds to talk about a time he saw a flea circus and it’s the most captivating moment in this twisted horror Western.

Jacob Tremblay GN10. Jacob Tremblay – Room
When a film this troubling and intense is told through the eyes of a child, you need an actor who can carry those important parts of the film and this kid more than does that with his surprisingly tuned in, authentic performance.

Michael B Jordan GN9. Michael B. Jordan – Creed
This dude is what’s up. As resilient as Rocky and as captivating as Rocky, Jordan enters into an existing world with a familiar formula and makes it entirely his own in one of the most powerful performances of the year.

Rooney Mara GN8. Rooney Mara – Carol
While Blanchett is being pushed as the lead with her more glamorous (and admittedly fantastic) performance, Mara with her subtle reticence remains the vulnerable heart of the film. One could almost argue that she carries the film.

Sylvester Stallone GN7. Sylvester Stallone – Creed
After 6 films spanning 4 decades as Rocky, the character seemed to have run its course. But this film found new reason for the character and Stallone, like flipping a switch, brought Rocky back to life in his best performance since the first film.

Blythe Danner GN6. Blythe Danner – I’ll See You In My Dreams
Blythe Danner doesn’t get older, she just gets better. In a movie filled with genuine themes of ageing and living, Danner gives one of the most touching, real performances in recent memory. Plus her singing voice in that karaoke scene is magical.

Michael Fassbender GN5. Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
The film’s structure may prove frustrating for some, but with Fassbender’s dynamic performance charging through the movie at full speed mouthing off Aaron Sorkin’s fast dialogue, there’s almost no time to dwell on that.

Matt Damon GN4. Matt Damon – The Martian
In easily his best performance since Team America, Damon finds the humor, brains, and strength in an astronaut stranded on Mars who must “science the shit out of it” to stay alive long enough.

Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina3. Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
How do you give depth and intrigue to a machine? That’s a question you need to ask Alicia Vikander who gives one of the most profound performance of the year as a robot trying to pass as human.

Charlize Theron GN2. Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
Even more challenging, how do you bring depth and vulnerability to an action hero when 94% of the movie is a chase scene? Well Theron masters “show, don’t tell” in her now iconic performance as Imperator Furiosa.

Brie Larson GN1. Brie Larson – Room
Where do I even begin? Larson plays a character in an impossible situation: locked off from the world, being optimistic for her son and hoping against hope when there’s no reason to, an ordinary young woman who must feign extraordinary strength in the face of adversity, and Brie Larson plays it so convincingly and so powerfully that you’d think the role was waiting for her her whole life.
Also I was so emotionally famished after I saw the movie but then she favorited my Tweet and everything was better.

So that about does it for the best performances of 2015. Did you manage to catch all these great performances? Did I get all the best ones? Did I leave out too many? Who else would you have added? If I did well, comment and let me know how I did. If I did poorly, comment and let me know how I did.

As always, check on back for more updates — right here on GeekNation.

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Matt Brown

Matt Brown

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Matt is a writer of all sorts and a film addict who's still waiting for his Hogwarts acceptance letter. If you find him at a party, he's probably talking about Xena or doing a Nicolas Cage impression.