The 50 Best Film Performances Of 2022

The 50 Best Film Performances Of 2022

2022 is done and all of the movies have been released. And that means that the Oscars are right around the corner!

Laura Dern says "It's Happening"
Laura Dern says "It's Happening"

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Get hyped Laura!

And that means that in a few days, there will be 20 new acting nominees vying for those four coveted statuettes.

Jennifer Lawrence says "This is nuts!"
Jennifer Lawrence says "This is nuts!"

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And so to help the Academy, I've compiled a whole list of incredible performances from 2022 that are worthy of an Oscar. I've watched a TON of movies this year, so there was a lot of competition, but these are my faves.

Frances McDormand screams
Frances McDormand screams

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First a few ground rules:

1. Only films that came out in 2022 are eligible. Sorry M3GAN, you'll have to wait until next year.

2. This isn't a ranking. The actors are listed in alphabetical order.

3. I split up lead acting performances from supporting acting performances.

4. This is only for films. TV performances don't count.

5. This is all based on my opinion, not critical success, box office numbers, or awards received (although I may factor those things in).

So let's get to it!

Spike Lee says "Lets do the right thing"
Spike Lee says "Lets do the right thing"

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Best Lead Performances:

1.Antonio Banderas — Felix Rivero (Official Competition)

Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz stand on a red carpet

It only makes sense that we start this list with a performance in which an acclaimed actor is on the hunt for awards glory. In Official Competition, a self-absorbed millionaire wants to win some film awards and so hires the team of award-winning director, Lola Cuevas (Penelope Cruz), acclaimed stage actor, Ivan Torrez (Oscar Martinez), and A-lister, Felix Rivero (Antonio Banderas) to make a movie that sweeps the awards circuit. Lola puts her two actors through a deranged set of acting exercises to prime them for the performances. Banderas is brilliant as a Brad Pitt-esque figure who's unaccustomed to such preparation. The very meta role, which requires several scenes where we need to see how great of an actor Felix is, is a challenge, and Academy Award nominee Banderas is up to the task.

IFC Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

2.Bella Ramsey — Birdy (Catherine, Called Birdy)

Bella Ramsey stands with a bird

After stealing scenes in the last few seasons of Game of Thrones and popping up in His Dark Materials, Bella Ramsey burst onto the film scene this year in the titular role of Lena Dunham's adaptation of Catherine, Called Birdy. Ramsey (who has been in the news lately for her upcoming HBO series, The Last of Us, and addressing her gender fluidity), is effervescent charisma in this medieval comedy about a young girl set to be married off to an older man to save her family's fortunes. Ramsey, who also delivers the witty voiceover, is charming, feisty, plucky, and just the right amount of sweet. She's Eloise at the Plaza if the Plaza was a craggy old castle, and it's impossible not to fall in love with her. This film solidifies her as a rising star, and I can't wait to see what she does next.

Alex Bailey/Amazon Prime Video/Courtesy Everett Collection

3.Bill Nighy — Mr. Williams (Living)

Bill Nighy stands in the street with a hat on

Mr. Nighy is thick in the hunt for his first Oscar nomination (shocking that he doesn't have one already) for his role as a British bureaucrat. With Golden Globe and SAG nominations under his belt, he's certainly well on his way. In Living, a film whose pedigree is astronomically high given that it's based on a Tolstoy novella, a Kurosawa film, and an Ishiguro script, Nighy plays Mr. Williams, a stuffy paper-pusher who begins to act erratically after decades of precise decorum. He's recently received news of a terminal illness and is trying to make sense of his life, which has been very routine up to that point. Nighy, who can play both serious and hilarious, is the perfect choice for the role and delivers a performance that is bursting with life even as it's showing so much restraint.

Sony Pictures Classics/Courtesy Everett Collection

4.Camila Mendes — Drea (Do Revenge)

Camila Mendes holds Maya Hawke's head in her hands

Camila Mendes has been training for this role for years, honing her quippy queen bee skills on Riverdale. Armed with a significantly better script and costumes that don't make her look like an attorney (sorry Veronica), Mendes shines in this teen revenge comedy about a pair of outcasts trying to get back at their horrible classmates. As the disgraced it girl seeking to claw her way back to the top of the heap, Mendes is the perfect combination of bitchy, manic, and surprisingly sweet. She's delivering Glinda in Wicked in an abundance of plaid, and it's a joy to watch her wreak havoc on a bunch of preppy rich kids (even if she is one, too).

Kim Simms/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

5.Cate Blanchett — Lydia Tár (TÁR)

Cate Blanchett waves a baton

It's a two-person race for the Best Actress statue at this year's Oscars, and Cate Blanchett (who has already won twice) is giving Michelle Yeoh a run for her money. Playing the unraveling acclaimed conductor, Lydia Tár, Blanchett gives a tour de force, gobbling up the screen for nearly three hours as her character tumbles in a swift fall from grace. She insults Julliard students, she psychologically intimidates children, and she talks endlessly about Mahler. The performance is an undeniable tour de force, cementing Blanchett into the pantheon of the greatest living actors. Will she become only the 8th actor to earn three Oscars? It's possible. Even if she doesn't, it will be her 8th nomination, and at only 53, she will certainly break more records in her career.

Florian Hoffmeister/Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

6.Colin Farrell — Padriac Suilleabhain (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Colin Farrell sits talking to Brendan Gleeson by the sea

Another actor in the running for an Oscar this year is Colin Farrell who, like Bill Nighy, has never been nominated. He's currently in a heated three-man race with Brendan Fraser and Austin Butler for Best Actor. The Banshees of Inisherin, an Irish fable of sorts from Martin McDonagh, is an actor's dream, and currently, four of its cast members are circling Oscar nominations. Farrell takes the lead role of an ordinary, sort of stupid, villager struggling to understand why his best friend suddenly doesn't want to talk to him anymore. He's already won the Golden Globe and has been nominated for the SAG award, so come nomination morning, expect to see his name. We can only hope that the presenter will also attempt to read off his character's name.

Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

7.Dale Dickey — Faye (A Love Song)

Dale Dickey stands by a trailer

If you recognize the woman pictured above but could not for the life of you name her, then you are not alone. Character actor Dale Dickey is definitely one of those "oh I've seen her in something" actors and her filmography boasts plenty of shows and films like Iron Man 3, Hell or High Water, True Blood, and Breaking Bad. In this quiet indie film about a woman waiting at a campsite for a friend, however, Dickey finally takes center stage. Alone on screen for most of the film, she is mesmerizing even as she spends her time going about her daily chores by herself. She certainly proves she has the talent to headline a film, and hopefully, this is just the beginning of her lead roles.

Bleecker Street Media/Courtesy Everett Collection

8.Danielle Deadwyler — Mamie Till-Mobley (Till)

Danielle Deadwyler speaks before some microphones

It's hard to find more heart-wrenching work this year than Danielle Deadwyler's in Till. Playing the mother of Emmett Till, who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, Deadwyler is given the tremendous task of portraying a nearly incapacitating grief thrust into the public eye. Like Natalie Portman's performance in Jackie, this performance is full of emotion and asks the actor to convey that emotion while portraying a real, historical figure. Deadwyler, who was largely unknown before this year despite great work in Station Eleven and The Harder They Fall has certainly made a name for herself with this momentous performance. She is one to watch for sure.

Lynsey Weatherspoon/United Artists Releasing/Courtesy Everett Collection

9.Daryl McCormack — Leo Grande (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande)

Daryl McCormack sits on a couch

A script-heavy, COVID production, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande is a film shot, for the most part, with just two people talking in a hotel room. McCormack, who stars opposite Emma Thompson (and we'll get to her in a bit), plays a suave sex worker hired by Thompson's Nancy to teach her how to have sex after spending years in a sexually frustrated marriage. Leo is alluring, reassuring, and kind, but as the film progresses, we begin to see the cracks in his call boy persona, hiding something much more vulnerable underneath. Both performances in this film are among the best of the year, and it's a shame that they aren't garnering more awards consideration, as both deserve Oscars. At the very least Leo Grande deserves an AVN, for what I have to assume is a VERY SEXY Only Fans account.

Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

10.Donald Elise Watkins — Kunle (Emergency)

Donald Elise Watkins drives RJ Cyler

Emergency is the best film of 2022 that you've never heard of. The Sundance success follows the "get to the party" comedy film model with three friends trying to execute a frat party marathon only to find a white girl passed out in their apartment. What was all fun and games (and still is remarkably funny) turns into a horror film as three men of color try to determine what to do with the incapacitated white girl. While the entire cast is superb, Donald Elise Watkins, as the straight-laced worry wart at the film's center, is remarkable. He's asked to deliver top-notch performances in both drama and comedy, and he delivers both effortlessly. His work during the film's climax is especially worthy of an Oscar nom, IMHO.

Quantrell Colbert/Amazon Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection

11.Emma Thompson — Nancy Stokes (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande)

Emma Thompson sits on a bed

The other half of the Good Luck to You, Leo Grande combination is Emma Thompson, and boy oh boy is she delivering a masterful performance. While Thompson is always great (minus whatever accent she was using in Last Christmas), this is some career-best work, which is saying something given her Oscar-winning career. In a weaker year, she'd be sailing towards a Best Actress win, and the fact she's not in the conversation is SHOCKING. She's anxious, she's witty, she's vulnerable, she's not afraid to be unlikeable. The performance is a Tar-level tour de force. If you want to see someone ACTING (in all capital letters), then this is a film you should watch.

Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

12.Felix Kammerer — Paul Baumer (All Quiet on the Western Front)

Felix Kammerer stands with other soldiers

Another of this year's newbies who deserve attention is the Austrian actor, Felix Kammerer, who is making his film debut as the lead in this German adaptation of the classic novel. In a Revenant-esque performance of physical brutality, Kammerer's Paul is dragged through the wringer as an optimistic young soldier who enlists in World War I only to come face-to-face with the horrors of trench warfare. The ridiculously beautiful film hinges on his performance as he serves as the vessel through which the audience experiences the war. While international actors rarely make it into the Oscars acting races, unless they're also big names in the US, All Quiet seems to be a frontrunner for International Feature and will hopefully garner Karmmerer plenty of meaty roles for the future.

Reiner Bajo/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

13.Frankie Corio — Sophie Paterson (Aftersun)

Frankie Corio talks on the phone

Also among this year's crop of incredible rookies is Frankie Corio, who plays an 11-year-old Scottish girl on a Turkish vacation with her troubled father. Corio, who was discovered in a massive audition for the part, is so natural and effortless even as she's asked to do some incredible work against Paul Mescal. She's happy, she's sweet, she's goofy, but she's also acutely aware that something is wrong with her father and is struggling to understand what it is. Often child actors can be a bit cloying, but Corio never is. This movie is in my top ten of the year, and a massive reason why is Corio's stellar performance.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

14.Jennifer Lawrence — Lynsey (Causeway)

Jennifer Lawrence rides on a bus

J. Law is BACK, BABY! Lawrence had an incredible streak in the 2010s where she was nominated four of six years for Oscars while also headlining two massive film franchises. But since 2016, she's been largely MIA and has steered clear of lead Oscar-y roles nearly entirely. This year she returned in a tiny indie film in which she plays a soldier with a traumatic brain injury who returns home to New Orleans to recover. Lawrence proves that she is, and always was, an incredibly talented actor with this quiet, nuanced performance. And now that she's clear of her franchise contracts, hopefully, she'll make more films of this stature and quality in the future.

SRS Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection

15.Jenny Slate — Marcel (Marcel the Shell with Shoes On)

A shell stands on a map

While the Oscars don't have a category for voice acting, so this performance is ineligible, Jenny Slate is certainly worthy of an Academy Award for creating, writing, and voicing this year's best shell. The film, based on a YouTube short, is a testament to Slate's charisma as Marcel, who narrates the scripted documentary-style film and serves as it's subject, steals the heart of everyone who's watched him. The stop-motion animation here is also wonderful, and hopefully, Marcel will be nominated for Best Animated Feature, but it's Slate who really shines here, and I'd love a voiceover category to be added stat to recognize her.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

16.John Cho — Max Park (Don't Make Me Go)

John Cho looks through a doorway

And the award for Performance Most Likely to Make You Cry most definitely goes to John Cho in this year's teen dramedy, Don't Make Me Go. In it, Cho (who is reliably great even in bit roles like in Big Fat Liar) plays a single father diagnosed with a terminal disease, who drags his angsty daughter (Mia Isaac) on a road trip without telling her he's dying. The pair have incredible chemistry, and Cho is given the emotional heavy lifting of playing someone trying to untangle his own grief while also attempting to make happy memories with his daughter. I'm just sitting over here waiting for someone to give this man the role that will finally push him into the Oscar conversation.

Amazon Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection

17.Julia Roberts — Georgia Cotton (Ticket to Paradise)

Julia Roberts and George Clooney get off a boat

There is charisma, and then there is Hollywood A-lister Julia-Roberts-charisma. No one can launch a movie quite like she can, and she proves just how magnetic she is, especially in a rom-com, in this sort of ludicrous film about a pair of divorcees who descend upon their daughter's Bali wedding to undermine the whole thing. Roberts is re-teaming with her old bestie George Clooney for the film, and the two just look like they are having a blast. Their joy is infectious and especially during a beer pong scene, you can't help but smile and have a good time as they do. There's so much improving and prankery going on that the film has a blooper real, and watching Roberts grin ear to ear with her million-dollar smile is worth the price of admission.

Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

18.Lesley Manville — Ada Harris (Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris)

Lesley Manville leans against a railing

Like Julia Roberts, Lesley Manville is another of this year's acclaimed actresses delivering a solid bop of a performance in a comedy. In Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris (which is the spiritual prequel to Emily in Paris and also stars Lucas Bravo who is in this AND Ticket to Paradise) Manville plays the titular Mrs. Harris, a cleaning lady who decides to splurge for once in her life and travels to Paris to buy a Dior dress. The whole thing is a Downton Abbey-esque romp that feels very frivolous but so lovely at the same time. Manville's Harris charms everyone she comes in contact with in the film and you can easily see how every person in Paris is falling over themselves to help her. I too would make her a dress for free if I knew how.

David Lukacs/Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

19.Margot Robbie — Nellie LaRoy (Babylon)

Margot Robbie dances

Nellie LaRoy is a cocaine-infused, pedal-to-the-medal, whirling ball of chaos from the second she appears on screen in Babylon, and Robbie is taking her Harley Quinn/Tanya Harding mania to a whole new level. And while the character is all over the place, you can tell that Robbie had a firm grasp on everything she is doing, especially in the scenes where she (like Antonio Banderas in Official Competition) is playing an actor acting in the film. The three-hour-long Hollywood epic is a wild ride, and one that could easily spin out from under itself, if it weren't for performances like those from Robbie, Brad Pitt, and Diego Calva, that ground the whole thing down even while it moves into hyperdrive. Plus watching Robbie flail around to the film's incredible score is deliciously fun.

Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

20.Michelle Yeoh — Evelyn Wang (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Michelle Yeoh with a googly eye on her head

THE best performance of the year, and one that certainly deserves an Oscar is Michelle Yeoh's turn as Evelyn Wang (and her various alternative timeline versions) in Everything Everywhere All at Once. The curmudgeonly, worn-down laundromat owner is dragged into the center of a multi-dimensional war to save the world, and Yeoh is tasked with the nearly impossible task of playing over a dozen characters who are all different while all being her. She has to be funny, dramatic, act in several languages, perform martial arts, and somehow be endearing while telling her daughter that she's fat. Yeoh, an often underutilized actor, is finally able to show her full range, and unlike Blanchett, who has two Oscars at home already, Yeoh has never even been nominated. She deserves this year's Oscar in every dimension that exists.

Allyson Riggs/A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

21.Olivia Colman — Hilary Small (Empire of Light)

Olivia Colman sit in a ticket booth

Olivia Colman is back yet again in the Oscar hunt, looking for her fourth nomination in just five years (a period during which she's also earned two Emmys). In Empire of Light, Colman plays a lonely movie theater attendant working away on the coast of England without much to live for. Her life flickers back into hope, however, when she meets Stephen (Michael Ward) in Sam Mendes's latest gorgeous endeavor. Colman is asked to take big swings in the role and steals scene after scene whether it be interrupting an awards gala, shouting at her boss, or reading poetry in a voiceover. While the film has received mixed reviews, Colman's performance is nothing short of incredible and deserves to be rewarded.

Parisa Taghizadeh/Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

22.Park Hae-il — Detective Jang Hae-jun (Decision to Leave)

Park Hae-il stands outside

Another of this year's International Feature heavy hitters is Park Chan-wook's Decision to Leave which follows a police investigator dispatched to uncover what happened to a climber who fell to his death. While investigating, Park Hae-il's Detective Jang becomes infatuated with the victim's widow, a strange and inscrutable woman who may have been involved in her husband's death. Watching Park's detective evolve from a by-the-book investigator to a love-sick man dragged around by what might be a murderer is mesmerizing, and Park deserves to be nominated for his work here.

MUBI/Courtesy Everett Collection

23.Paul Mescal — Calum Paterson (Aftersun)

Paul Mescal in an airport with his backpack on

Frankie Corio's other half in Aftersun is Paul Mescal, who plays her young father, a man trying to hold it together for his daughter while obviously falling apart. Mescal's Calum takes his daughter on a Turkish vacation in order to create good memories with him, something that she is obviously short on. And while he has some good days, there is clearly darkness creeping into his mind. Mescal's performance is on the bubble for Oscars this year, but as it continues to gain more and more fans, it will hopefully launch him into one of the open slots in the Best Actor race. His dancing during the "Under Pressure" sequence alone deserves that.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

24.Tilda Swinton — Julia Hart & Rosalind Hart (The Eternal Daughter)

Tilda Swinton lies in her bed

Tilda Swinton is no stranger to playing multiple roles in a film. (During the press tour for Suspiria, she attempted to play two different actors altogether.) This year, however, she plays both parts in Joanna Hogg's gothic mother-daughter mystery. As the saying goes, all women become their mothers, and that is literally the case here. Where a lesser actor would turn the role into something incredibly kitschy, Swinton's nuanced performance allows the mother and daughter to be two unique characters while highlighting the familiar similarities and mannerisms that exist in all parent/child combinations. The tiny indie film has yet to garner much of an audience, but the performance is another in Swinton's incredible filmography.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

25.Viola Davis — Nanisca (The Woman King)

Viola Davis stands in a field

Last, but certainly not least, in the lead category, we have Viola Davis, who is playing against type as an African warrior in this incredible transformation. While Davis, like Blanchett and Colman, is an awards juggernaut who can do no wrong, she is especially extraordinary in this stern, brutally physical role. Her violent warrior is a far cry from the wives and mothers she's played in the past and seems to have unlocked a whole new selection of characters for her to play. Davis is in the hunt for her fifth Oscar nomination since 2009, and certainly would be worthy!

TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Best Supporting Performances:

26.Aimee Lou Wood — Miss Harris (Living)

Aimee Lou Wood looks over a pile of papers

Let's start our conversation about supporting actors with this charming, but often overlooked, performance from Sex Education's Aimee Lou Wood in Living. While all eyes are on her co-star Bill Nighy, many of his best scenes are opposite her charismatic, funny, energetic Miss Harris, someone who shows him there are ways to live outside his stuffy bureaucratic life. Wood's Miss Harris is the coworker we all desperately long to have. She's efficient. She's competent. She's funny. She makes the job worth going to work for. Wood is still at the start of her career, and I can't wait to see what's next for her.

Sony Pictures Classics/Courtesy Everett Collection

27.Angela Bassett — Queen Ramonda (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)

Angela Bassett walks in a procession in all white

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is Angela Bassett, an actress with a long storied career. While she's turned out consistently great work for decades, the Bassett is finally in the hunt for her second Oscar nomination, and first win, this year for playing the grieving mother of T'Challa in the Black Panther sequel. While the MCU films have never earned an acting nomination, Bassett's performance pushes beyond the genre, and the award could serve as a way to honor her career as well as this film. She's already taken home the Golden Globe and Critic's Choice Award, so she's certainly this year's frontrunner.

Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

28.Bad Bunny — The Wolf (Bullet Train)

Bad Bunny holds knife on a train

Bullet Train needed a big name as The Wolf, the first of many assassins who face off against Brad Pitt in this rompy action film set on a train. Bad Bunny fit the brief. Not only is Bad Bunny ridiculously hot, but he's also the definition of cool. No one is more suave and sexier than him, and that includes Brad Pitt (sorry not sorry). He shows up for two scenes, dies in a spectacular knife battle, and then lets his body be used as a prop. An iconic cameo.

Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

29.Barry Keoghan — Dominic Kearney (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Barry Keoghan stands in a field

Banshees is one of two films (along with Everything Everywhere All at Once) that could be in the hunt for four acting nominations this year (meaning eight of the 20 slots would be snatched up by the two films). Along with Colin Farrell, Barry Keoghan is a part of the Banshees quartet, playing what initially appears to be the dopey town nuisance. As the film unfolds, however, the deep and tragic layers of Keoghan's Dominic appear and the performance takes on added meaning and impact. Keoghan has been playing unsettling figures for a while from The Killing of a Sacred Deer to Eternals, and he could be headed toward his first Oscar nomination.

Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

30.Brian Tyree Henry — James Aucoin (Causeway)

Brian Tyree Henry sits at a table

Like Keoghan, Brian Tyree Henry is a fresh face who's been turning out good work for several years and is finally in the hunt for his first Oscar nomination. While his work in Atlanta, Eternals, Bullet Train, and Widows was more high profile, he's finally handed a meaty role in a drama, playing a new friend to Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway. Mourning the loss of his family, James (Henry) is able to spot the trauma that Lynsey (Lawrence) holds, and the two bond, slowly unpacking the horrors they've survived. The pair both deliver incredible work in a film that is mostly just a portrait of their relationship. I have yet to see Henry give a bad performance (even in a stinker like Godzilla vs. Kong), so an Oscar nomination seems inevitable at some point.

Wilson Webb/Applet TV+/Courtesy Everett Collection

31.Carey Mulligan — Megan Twohey (She Said)

Carey Mulligan talks on the phone

Carey Mulligan should already have about sixteen Oscars by my estimation, and instead, she's got two noms but no wins. Her incredible work in She Said doesn't seem to be primed to change those numbers, as it failed to register in a big way at the precursors, but that doesn't mean she's anything short of incredible. In She Said, she plays one of the pair of New York Times journalists who broke the Harvey Weinstein story that launched the #MeToo movement. Mulligan is as mesmerizing as always as she trots around NYC, tote bags in hand, chatting on the phone to various sources, editors, and obstructionist lawyers trying to bring Weinstein's grotesque crimes to light. She and Zoe Kazan breathe life into what could have been a stuffy journalist movie, and if you haven't caught up with this one, you need to watch it.

JoJo Whilden/Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

32.Da'Vine Joy Randolph — Pooh (On the Come Up)

Da'Vine Joy Randolph and Jamila Gray stand together in a crowd

Da'Vine Joy Randolph burst onto the scene in 2019 when she starred in Dolemite Is My Name opposite Eddie Murphy. The film was criminally under-rewarded in the awards race, but Randolph proved she had the chops to hang with the best of them as an actor. This year she appeared as the supportive, hard-edged aunt in this adaptation of Angie Thomas's best-selling novel. Randolph (who also had memorable turns in The Lost City and Only Murders in the Building this year) is nearly unrecognizable as the stern, ferocious protector of young rapper Bri (Jamila Gray) while also processing the death of her brother.

Erika Doss/Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

33.Dolly De Leon — Abigail (Triangle of Sadness)

Charlbi Dean, Dolly De Leon, and Vicki Berlin stand in the jungle

Largely invisible for the film's first two acts, Dolly De Leon steals the spotlight in the final third of this eat-the-rich satire about the passengers of a Below Deck-esque mega-yacht. De Leon plays a member of the yacht's cleaning crew Abigail, who upon the boat's capsizing takes a leadership role as the only survivor with the skills necessary to live on the island they are shipwrecked on. Watching Abigail transform from a meek maid to the de facto ruler of her posh compatriots is extremely fun and De Leon's power-hungry ethos leaves you on the edge of your seat.

Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection

34.Gal Gadot — Linnet Ridgeway-Doyle (Death on the Nile)

Gal Gadot walks through a bar

Gal Gadot went into a god-awful movie that truly not a single human would have remembered and cemented it into history with one line. She said, "And enough champagne to fill the Nile," threw her bubbly, and earned a spot on this list. No notes.

20th Century Studios/Courtesy Everett Collection

35.Guslagie Malanda — Laurence Coly (Saint Omer)

Guslagie Malanda stands on trial

Based on a real French court case, Alice Diop's French film, Saint Omer, tells the story of a pregnant novelist who attends the trial of a woman accused of murdering her child. Malanda plays Laurence Coly, the woman who is on trial, and while we see the case through the eyes of Rama (Kayije Kagame), it is Coly who becomes engrained in the viewer's mind. In a series of court appearances, she recounts her life story in a harrowing, restrained, effecting manner. This performance will stick with you for years and if it were not for the Academy's bias against international actors, she would certainly be nominated.

Super/Courtesy Everett Collection

36.Gustav De Waele — Remi (Close)

Gustav De Waele sits against a wall

Another incredible international supporting performance comes from young teen Gustave De Waele. He plays one half of a pair of boys in Close who, after spending a summer in a close friendship, are torn apart by bullies at their school. Both De Waele and Eden Dambrine are delivering performances befitting adult A-listers, and their subtlety and realism are remarkable. The Belgian film made the Oscar shortlist and is in the running for an International Feature nomination. Remi's vulnerability and tender love for his friend is beautiful and heartbreaking.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

37.Hong Chau — Liz (The Whale)

Hong Chau sits on a porch

Hong Chau is having an incredible year. Not only is she remarkable as Charlie's (Brendan Fraser) best friend/nurse/partner-in-law in The Whale, but she also steals scenes as the homicidal hostess in The Menu and as the talented artist bestie of Michelle Williams in Showing Up. She's certainly in the hunt for an Oscar nomination (she just got one from SAG) for The Whale where she delivers an incredible Oscar clip scene moment telling her brother's story on the porch of Charlie's house. Hong Chau is the best thing about The Whale and I'd be ecstatic to hear her name read on nomination morning.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

38.Jamie Lee Curtis — Deirdre Beaudeirdre (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Jamie Lee Curtis sits in a cubicle

The second of four actors vying for Oscars from Everything Everywhere All at Once is Jamie Lee Curtis. The long-time beloved actor who got her big break during the original Halloween franchise seems destined for her first Oscar nomination as an ornery IRS agent dead set on stymying Evelyn's (Michelle Yeoh) plans across dimensions. Curtis is terrifically funny in the main role, but since she appears as a number of characters she, like her costars, gets to flex her acting chops across genres. Give her an Oscar just for playing a lesbian with hot dog fingers.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

39.Janelle Monae — Helen Brand & Andi Brand (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery)

Janelle Monae holds a water bottle


Another actor in the Oscar hunt for playing multiple roles is Janelle Monae. The multi-hyphenate star is a scene stealer in this Knives Out sequel. She starts the film as one of the suspects brought to the private island home of a tech billionaire, but as the plot unfolds, you realize that she's actually playing a pair of twins. The twins couldn't be more different (one has an outlandish southern accent that the other somehow rid herself of), and Monae does a phenomenal job flopping back and forth between the two and even playing one pretending to be the other. The degree of difficulty here is certainly high.

John Wilson/Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

40.Janet McTeer — Lillian Bloom (The Menu)

Reed Birney, Paul Adelstein, and Janet McTeer stand in a restaurant

While The Menu offers a smorgasbord of incredible performances, the one that sticks out to me the most is Janet McTeer's turn as uppity food critic Lillian Bloom. Through the opening courses, she narrates the meal in skewering language to her editor (Paul Adelstein), but as the dinner progresses and the events get more violent, she unravels, disconnecting with sanity and grasping at straws before finally succumbing to a resigned depression. The lauded stage actor is impeccable here, delivering dry wit and spot-on comedic timing. I'd love to see her pop up in Knives Out 3 please and thanks.

Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

41.Kate Hudson — Birdie Jay (Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery)

Kate Hudson screams

And coming back to Knives Out, perhaps the most genius bit of casting in the film (and in 2022) was tapping Kate Hudson to play the out-of-touch supermodel/influencer/entrepreneur, Birdie Jay. Hudson is always funny in comedies (I love Bride Wars. Sue me.) and she capitalizes on that here. Hudson's slightly out-of-touch persona (remember the Sia movie, Music?) plays perfectly into this role and proves that she's in on the joke. She's definitely delivering one of the best comedic performances of the year.

Netflix/Courtesy Everett Collection

42.Ke Huy Quan — Waymond Wang (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Ke Huy Quan smokes a cigarette

I don't want to jinx it, but it would appear that the actor with the best chance to win an Oscar this year is Ke Huy Quan. The ridiculously charming actor, known primarily for his childhood roles, stepped away from the profession in recent years due to a scarcity of roles for Asian actors. With his return, however, he's been scooping up nearly every award available to him this season. In addition to a plethora of critics prizes, he's won Critics Choice and the Golden Globe and has been nominated for SAGs. If he doesn't get nominated on Tuesday, I'll eat a tube of chapstick.

Allyson Riggs/A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

43.Keke Palmer — Em Haywood (Nope)

Keke Palmer stands in an amusement park

Keke Palmer is an ICON. Every single interview she does proves she's a star. She can sing. She can act. She can jump rope. Not to mention, her sister is also a badass. Palmer plays the quippy younger sister in Jordan Peele's latest sci-fi horror flick opposite Daniel Kaluuya, and while Kaluuya's performance is very restrained, Palmer is giving it her all. She's just as talented at dramatic acting as comedic and she gets to show off her skills in both while riding horses and tracking UFOs.

Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

44.Kerry Condon — Siobhan Suilleabhain (The Banshees of Inisherin)

Kerry Condon sits on a boat

Kerry Condon is one of those actors who you've probably seen/heard in 20 things and never realized it. In addition to voicing F.R.I.D.A.Y. in a ton of Marvel films, she's popped up in The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, and Ray Donovan. Now she's front and center in this Irish film in the hunt for Best Picture and almost certainly headed for her first Best Actress nomination. She's the exasperated sister of Colin Farrell trying to help him through his feud but also searching for meaning within her own life.

Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

45.Nina Hoss — Sharon Goodnow (TÁR)

Nina Hoss stands in a concert hall with Noemie Merlant and Cate Blanchett

While much of TÁR's attention has been focused on Cate Blanchett's performance, that of her dutiful wife Sharon (Nina Hoss) is not to be overlooked. Hoss is an exception as Lydia's (Blanchett) whip-smart and silently observant companion. Watching her register what tricks Tár is up to and slowly work to distance herself is a masterclass in subtle yet effective acting. The reason Blanchett is so great here is that she's acting against such an incredible scene partner.

Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

46.Pedro Pascal — Javi Gutierrez (The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent)

Pedro Pascal stands on a dock

You may have completely forgotten that this meta Nic Cage film came out this year as it arrived last spring and has largely disappeared from the cultural consciousness. But Pedro Pascal, who has become the king of serious genre shows between The Mandalorian, Game of Thrones, and The Last of Us, is delightful here as Cage's nerdy fanboy. Pascal is playing against type as this golden retriever-incarnate who follows Cage around his private island with adoration in his eyes. Pascal will get his Oscar nomination before long.

Katalin Vermes/Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection

47.Rachel Sennott — Alice (Bodies Bodies Bodies)

Rachel Sennott lays on the floor wearing glow in the dark necklaces

My favorite scream queen of 2022 is Rachel Sennott (apologies to Mia Goth and Georgina Campbell). Her peppy, overly emotional, astrology-obsessed Alice is the lifeblood of Bodies Bodies Bodies. From the moment she pops up on screen dating Lee Pace to her eventual demise, she's skittering and shrieking to perfection. Her podcast monologue is incredibly written and she delivers it marvelously. The glowstick/lollipop/crocheted top was an iconic look for Halloween this year, and if Rachel doesn't get an Oscar, at least Alice should get an award for her pod.

A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

48.Sally Field — Marilyn Cowan (Spoiler Alert)

Sally Field and Jim Parsons stand on a road

There's no such thing as a bad Sally Field performance, and those of us who love Mrs. Doubtfire know that Field is especially great in a comedy. While Spoiler Alert is heartbreakingly depressing (it's a cancer movie), Sally Field (who can also do drama) is laugh-out-loud funny as Jim Parson's mother-in-law obsessed with competing in triathlons and ready to drag anyone who cheats in her sport of choice. Sally Field plays a mom like no one else, and I'm begging for her to adopt me.

Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

49.Stephanie Hsu — Joy Wang (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

Stephanie Hsu walks in confetti and an Elvis outfit

Our final Everything Everywhere All at Once entrant (and I could add several more) is Stephanie Hsu. Of the film's quartet, she's the newcomer who plays the lesbian daughter of Evelyn and Waymond, but she holds her own in scenes with three titans of the industry. In many ways, she's the center of the story (and bagel), and the other characters revolve around her. Like her co-stars, she's also tasked with playing multiple characters and does so seamlessly. I also need this film to get nominated for the Best Costume Design Oscar solely based on her costumes.

Allyson Riggs/A24/Courtesy Everett Collection

50.Matt Rogers & Tomas Matos — Luke & Keegan (Fire Island)

Matt Rogers and Tomas Matos have their hands on Zane Phillips

And last, but certainly not least, I've got to give some love to my gays. While the entire cast of Fire Island is delivering "YAAASSSS QUEEN" personified, Rogers and Matos as the gayest of gay sidekicks are incredibly funny. Whether it be hooking up with porn stars, impersonating Marisa Tomei, or trotting down the boardwalk, the pair steal scenes all the way from the Sayville to the Meat Rack. While I spent most of the film drooling over James Scully, I did have to take breaks due to being doubled over with laughter at this pair's antics. Pride and Prejudice has been adapted countless times and never have Lydia and Kitty been so watchable.

Jeong Park/Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection