The reality of how female actors in Hollywood are treated was laid bare by multiple women who came forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment after exposés by The New York Times and The New Yorker. Amid all this unpleasantness, there is a silver lining in the form of some truly great performances by talented actresses who proved to the world that they can be as good as, if not better than, their male counterparts. Here is the list of 10 such actresses who distinguished themselves this year. There isn’t any order.
Gal Gadot: Gal Gadot played the role of Wonder Woman with a certain innocence, like a queen who is not aware of her majesty. With a well-written character, Gadot gave the world a strong and beautiful heroine who is by far the best thing among the modern crop of DC superheroes.
Zoe Saldana: Zoe’s character in Guardians of the Galaxy series Gamora is the thing that binds the Guardians of the Galaxy. Mind you, she has to work with an egoistic (if adorable) little tree, a prankster raccoon, an impressionable fool, and a blowhard. Zoe Saldana did it again in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 as a leader (yes, she is the real leader no matter what Star-Lord may say) who is super-efficient at her job and not given to emotional outbursts like the other members of the team.
Anne Hathaway: Anne is undoubtedly a great actor, but she has not done justice to her talent so far. She did come close this year with perhaps the best performance of her career with Colossal. She is excellent, funny and uncannily believable as a struggling alcoholic writer.
Cate Blanchett: In Thor: Ragnarok, she gave the first female villain to Marvel Cinematic Universe. As the deadly (literally, since she plays the goddess of death) Hela, even in an uproariously funny film, manages to unsettle viewers. It is like, as somebody said, Galadriel (her character in the Lord of the Rings trilogy) got the possession of the One Ring… and went batshit crazy. Blanchett is superb.
Margot Robbie: Robbie has become one of the finest actors in Hollywood and she is fairly new. Even in a film as excoriated as Suicide Squad, her performance as Harley Quinn got lauded universally. In I, Tonya, she proved that it was not a one-off, and she is here to stay. While Harley Quinn was a maniac, Tonya Harding was simply unconventional, a foul-mouthed, defiant woman who did not fit into the norms of the society, and thus treated as an outsider.
Meryl Streep: Streep has been a legend for decades now, and her performance in Steven Spielberg’s The Post proves she is still one of the best actresses in the world, if not the best.
Vicky Krieps: This relatively unknown name was pitted opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in the last film of his career (Phantom Thread), and she more than matched up to him. Day-Lewis may be a legend, but Krieps was not all intimidated by his star-power.
Diane Kruger: She has given some memorable performances before in films like Troy and Inglourious Basterds, but she gave the best performance of her career in In the Fade as a distraught woman who has lost her husband and child.
Sally Hawkins: Hawkins got the recognition she deserved since Happy-Go-Lucky for her incredible acting skills in Guillermo del Toro’s widely praised surreal horror film The Shape of Water.
Saoirse Ronan: Another standout performer, Ronan’s work in coming-of-age comedy Lady Bird was affecting and engrossing. Her character may have been filled with teen angst, but Ronan gives it the substance and subtlety that makes it very relatable.