2014 has come to an end, and before I post my final list of my 10 fav. films of the year, I decided I first reveal my picks for the Top 10 Actors/Actresses of the year! What does that mean exactly? Well, 2014 has been a really interesting year, and so many new/lesser known actors/actresses have risen to fame with their performances or otherwise, plus so many of my favourite actors/actresses have starred in successful movies. So, I decided to rank the top 10 actors/actresses of the year whom I felt were most successful based on (but of course not stringently) these criterion: box office success, performances + range of performances, and not using their stardom for negativity.
10. Emily Blunt
(image credit: people.com)
Her 2014 in film: The Wind Rises, Edge of Tomorrow, Into the Woods
I consider myself a rather long-time supporter of Emily’s work, having supported her since her performance in The Devil Wears Prada, where she received a considerable amount of Oscar buzz. This year, her two major films, Edge of Tomorrow and Into the Woods were definitely great additions to her already solid list of work. Edge of Tomorrow was probably the biggest surprise for me this year in terms of films that I liked, since I had expected it to be something of a flop like last year’s Oblivion. And yet, it was such a good movie that I would have called it the movie of the summer for me if it wasn’t for X-Men DOFP, thanks definitely in part to Emily’s totally kick-ass character. It’s 90% on RT and reasonable box office performance (as compared to the bomb many were predicting) were the sweet cherries on top of this cake.
Next, Into the Woods. I haven’t actually seen that movie, though it’s clear she’s been receiving her fair share of Oscar buzz in the past few months for her performance (though it’s now kind of died down), and apparently she has a good chance of taking home the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy next year for her performance, so I’m sure it’s brilliant.
Lastly, as far as I know, she’s generated nothing but positive buzz and influence surrounding her this year, (I don’t think I’ve really heard anything negative about her ever before, actually) and I really enjoyed the Actress Roundtable she was in this year.
9. Viola Davis
(image credit: usatoday.com)
Her 2014 in film: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Get On Up, How to Get Away with Murder (TV)
Ever since The Help, Viola Davis has been one of my favourite actresses. I thought this was a pretty great year for Viola, though mostly due to her new role on TV in How to Get Away with Murder, which I hear is awesome, and she seems to be receiving an incredible amount of awards buzz surrounding that (I haven’t watched it – I blame my education system). Of her two films this year, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and Get On Up, I’ve only watched the second, though I am dying to watch TDoER, since I’ve been hearing wonderful things about it, and it seems her performance in there is great as well.
In Get On Up, her role is relatively small, though if anything her scenes were probably the standouts in the film for me, being the emotional highlights for me. If I’m not wrong, she received a slight amount of Oscar buzz surrounding that earlier this year as well.
Overall, I think this has been a stellar year for Viola Davis, mostly due to her (seemingly) spectacular turn on TV, as well as her strong supporting roles in film. Also, like Emily Blunt, I have not heard of any negativity surrounding her name all year.
8. (tie) Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones
(image credits: entertainmentrealm.com (top) and vogue.co.uk (botton))
The reason why Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones landed at equal positions for me is because this year seemed largely similar for both of them: both are actresses who have been in the business for some time, but have never truly quite “broken through”, if you get what I mean, until this year, where they both gained immense amounts of Oscar buzz surrounding a single performance. As you should already know, the films they starred in this year are Gone Girl and The Theory of Everything (for Rosamund and Felicity, respectively). I have watched both, and their performances are both stunning in their different ways.
In Gone Girl, Rosamund was perfect as Nick Dunne’s devious, cold, psychotic and sometimes poetic wife, giving a performance that definitely did justice to immensely popular book (of the same title). Rosamund also had a part in Hector and the Search for Happiness this year, though that appears to be a rather small film, which I haven’t yet watched so I’m unable to comment on that.
In The Theory of Everything, Felicity was the emotional highlight of the film for me, playing Jane Wilde Hawking with such emotional depth it’s hard to call the performance anything short of spectacular. Felicity Jones also had a minor part in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, though her part was so small I’m not really going to bother talking about it.
Both actresses have also, of course, generated positive buzz surrounding themselves, especially in the most recent months, where they have garnered large amounts of Oscar buzz. Which is why for me, they are both tied at 8th.
6. Chris Pratt
(image credit: esquire.com)
His 2014 in film: The Lego Movie, Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Rec (TV)
If there were an award for commercial success in film, Chris Pratt would probably be the best representative this year. Having loved Parks and Rec for so many years, I was so happy that Chris, having played mostly supporting roles in so-so romcoms or similar before 2014, broke out in such a huge way this year, in the form of two movies: The Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Arguably, animated films are a different matter, but playing the lead role in the 1st & 4th biggest box office hits of the year (in the US) mean a lot. I loved both films, The Lego Movie probably being one of my all-time favourite animated films ever, and Guardians of the Galaxy being arguably my favourite Marvel film yet. It definitely helps that both films are above 90% on RT (TLM is at 96%, while GOTG is at 90%), meaning in addition to being commercial successes, his films were critical successes as well. (unlike, let’s say, Transformers.)
Add that to the Teen’s/People’s choice awards buzz he’s getting, yet another awesome season of Parks and Rec and his goofy and likeable personality shining through all year and the awesome Chris Pratt is the 6th most successful person in film this year for me, and easily the most successful in terms of box office success. Now, all he needs is to show more of his acting chops, and if he lands himself in the Oscar race anytime in the next few years, you can expect him to explode into Jennifer Lawrence levels of stardom.
5. Shailene Woodley
(image credits: eononline.com)
Her 2014 in film: Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, White Bird in a Blizzard
No list regarding film in 2014 would be complete without Shailene Woodley making an appearance, because this year, Shailene has not only found herself in commercially successful films, but also surrounded by some Oscar buzz.
If things had only been slightly different, Shailene would probably be my top pick for this year. Why do I say this?
Well, firstly, let’s start with Divergent. Personally, I didn’t think it was that great a film, though it was certainly a huge commercial success, especially among teens. It also suffered critically, having ~40% on RT.
Then, came The Fault in Our Stars, the film which was what drove her all the way up the ranks for me. Besides being both a huge commercial and critical success, once again, especially among teens, Shailene also found herself surrounded by some Oscar buzz for her emotional performance. I mean, who didn’t cry watching that film? However, all that Oscar buzz doesn’t seem to have paid off in terms of actually getting her a nomination, based on the “precursor” nominations that were revealed not long ago.
Her last film, White Bird in a Blizzard, seems rather small, and I have not gotten around to watching me, and I’m not sure if I will ever see it actually.
If anything, for me, Shailene takes the top spot for biggest rise to stardom. Social media these days is dominated by teens, which was why I mentioned the success of her films with teens, because I think she is arguably to queen of social media (of 2014), and as far as I know, she has only been using her social media dominance for positivity, another key reason why she takes the No.5 spot (eg. the whole hair-cutting thing).
In terms of box office success, she is probably behind only (queen) Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men DOFP, Mockingjay) and perhaps Angelina Jolie (Maleficent) for the actresses.
4. Mark Ruffalo
(image credit: popsugar.com)
His 2014 in film: The Normal Heart, Begin Again, Foxcatcher
The most prestigious award for film is the Oscars. The most prestigious award for TV is the Emmys. This year, as far as I can see, only one person gained massive amounts of traction in both platforms, and that’s Mark Ruffalo.
He began the year with an amazing and heart-wrenching performance in The Normal Heart, a TV movie that went on to be a huge contender at the Emmys, where Mark, of course, was nominated for both Best Actor and as a producer. His loss for Best Actor was considered by many to be a snub.
Then, came Foxcatcher. I haven’t watched it yet, but obviously, if you’ve been following the awards circuit, you’ll know it has received great reviews, and Mark is something of a frontrunner (apart from perhaps J.K Simmons) for Best Supporting Actor, having been nominated recently for the Golden Globes, SAG and Critics Choice. Additionally, he’s been nominated for the Golden Globe for his performance in The Normal Heart. 2 Golden Globe acting noms in 1 year: to me, that’s comparable to Kate Winslet’s awards-circuit-dominating run in 2008.
Additionally, Begin Again was actually one of my favourite films of the year, so that’s the cherry on top of this cake.
3. Matthew McConaughey
(image credit: slate.com)
His 2014 in film: Interstellar, True Detective
This year’s Oscar winner for Best Actor takes 3rd place because of his incredible work both on TV and in film. While I’m not exactly a McConaughey fan, I can’t deny that 2014 was an impressive year for him, especially considering how before 2013 his star power had seemed so faded.
Ok, so maybe part of the reason why he’s here is because he’s still caught in some of that 2013 afterglow, but I actually really liked his performance in one of the biggest films of the year: Interstellar, and if I’m not wrong he gained some awards traction for that.
On TV, his work in True Detective seems to be making waves, giving him Emmy nominations and even a Critics Choice win. Overall, I think there’s really nothing to say except that it’s been a completely stellar year for him.
2. Julianne Moore
(image credit: theguardian.com)
Her 2014 in film: Non-Stop, Still Alice, Map to the Stars, Mockingjay Part 1
Mark Ruffalo isn’t the only one with 2 Golden Globe nominations for acting for next year’s Globes. Julianne Moore is nominated for Best Actress in 2 films: Map to the Stars (comedy/musical) and Still Alice (drama), and she must be absolutely stunning in both because she has appeared in just about every awards-related article I’ve read, and word is that she’s almost an absolute lock to win the Oscar for Best Actress next year.
Julianne Moore enters this list at No. 2 because the last time she got an Oscar nomination was in 2002. (where she was nominated for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress) I’d say this is probably the biggest comeback of 2014, since in this previous years, she had been featuring mostly in smaller films, though some of those have gained awards buzz.
Add her massive amount of awards buzz to the fact that she played President Coin in Mockingjay. Mockingjay was pretty good, but was a tiny bit disappointing, but one of its positive factors was definitely Julianne’s portrayal of Coin. She was the perfect Coin for me; cold, collected, with a slight glint of evil in her eyes.
So if anything, I’d say 2014 was a huge comeback year for Julianne Moore, and I’ll be expecting her to receive plenty other interesting roles in the near future.
1. Jessica Chastain
(image credit: theguardian.com)
Her 2014 in film: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Miss Julie
Just by simply looking at this list of films Jessica Chastain has starred in this year will give you an idea of the daringness of her spirit and her willingness to explore in the film industry. Each performance is so different from the next; TDoER is a film about romance and love, where she plays a contemporary character. In Miss Julie, she is the daughter of the Count, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat who attempts to seduce her father’s valet, she plays the wife of an immigrant caught amidst violence and corruption in 1980s New York, and in Interstellar, she plays the daughter of an astronaut in the near future. Not long ago, she was awarded the Critics Choice MVP award for her year in film.
To be able to successfully pull of all those roles in 1 year of film is nothing short of incredible. Each of her performances has received varying degrees of awards buzz, most notably her performance in A Most Violent Year, where she is predicted to garner an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category.
Taking into account the commercial success of her films, the film Interstellar is one of the highest grossing films of the year, and to me, she was definitely the emotional highlight of the film.
Even in TDoER and Miss Julie, despite those films receiving mixed reviews, critics have agreed that, regarding those films, one of their biggest plus points was Jessica’s performance.
Which is why, to me, Jessica Chastain is the most successful actress in film this year, because of her stellar performances in a range of such wildly different films in the span of a year. In an Actress Roundtable interview she did this year, she mentioned that she was constantly trying to tackle new roles, and I think that paid off completely this year.
That’s it! SO basically, those are my picks for the most successful actors/actresses in film! What do you think? Please comment/share/follow 😀
I’ll end this off with a list of honourable mentions/people are I was seriously contemplating to enter into the list:
11. Keira Knightley, 12. Ansel Elgort, 13. Lupita N’yongo, 14. Angelina Jolie, 15. Jennifer Lawrence, 16. Michael Keaton, 17. Scarlett Johansson 18. Channing Tatum 19. Phillip Seymour Hoffman 20. J.K Simmons
Also, check out iamjustin365.wordpress.com for something cool to follow in 2015 🙂
– J.K –