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Amy Adams' 10 Best Roles, Ranked

Congratulations are in order for Amy Adams, who just got an Emmy nomination for lead actress. The nod goes to her role in Sharp Objects, where she plays a reporter that may possibly have a few more issues than Lois Lane. Although it’s really neat that she once appeared on Smallville, and ended up being a terrific Lane too. Amy Adams has been in a lot more than you may think—for the last twenty years, she has been a Hollywood locomotive. She’s sustained incredibly ranged talent, and she’s worked with everyone from Steven Spielberg to Meryl Streep. So, let’s have a look back at some of Adams’ best roles.

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10 Doubt

It’s hard to believe that this film came out eleven years ago. But it will remain decidedly timeless, given the highly challenging subject matter. There have been countless disputes about the relationship that Priests can have with the Catholic youth. This film adaptation of a stunning play explores that conflict with exhaustingly constant, effective drama which definitely earns the title. The plot allows Meryl Streep and the incomparable Philip Seymour Hoffman to flaunt their acting chops. So, it may be easy to forget that Amy Adams held her own among them, delivering the encapsulation of innocence. It is soothing and effective, without yielding to a simple portrayal of naivete—despite having significantly less to do.

9 Big Eyes

Amy Adams in Big Eyes

Following the terrific Frankenweenie, Tim Burton decided to tell one of the most straightforward stories of his career. Big Eyes’ plot involves a woman with a wholly unique, albeit disconcerting, painting style. But despite Margaret Keane’s talent, her husband ends up stealing credit for her paintings. The villainous, terrifying husband is played by Christoph Waltz, who generally gets away with playing some variant of himself. Which is just fine by us! It’s fantastic. But so is Amy Adams, who brings a satisfying arc to a victimized woman that overcomes her oppressor. Adams is often timid in the film, as opposed to the tenacious roles she’s known for. Adams effortlessly brings a lot of compelling nuance, and she even won a Golden Globe for this movie.

8 Vice

Vice has caused a great deal of controversy because of its blatant political stance. However, regardless of your views, there’s simply no denying talent. Only in an Adam McKay movie could genuine Shakespearean dialogue spontaneously intervene in a biography about a ruthless politician, and then have Amy Adams carry it out to perfection opposite Christian Bale. The scene is at once successfully hilarious, and intimately dramatic. According to the film, it’s made very clear that Lynne Cheney would have made twice the politician Dick ever did. Amy Adams brings a lot to her role as Lynne. Somehow, Adams balances the tone of an everywoman with a hidden sharpness, like a coiled snake.

7 Julie & Julia

Julie and Julia

Another biography, and another partnership with Meryl Streep! However, this time, Amy Adams is also front and center. And this subject matter is instead a great deal of fun, particularly for foodies. Julia Child is quite famous, and a blogger decides to cook all of her recipes. Fans of the source material will definitely be rewarded. In fact, Adams breathes a lot more personality into her character than she probably had on the page. That’s because of the significance of Julia Child, and the innate interest audiences will have with Streep’s character instead. Adams manages to craft a very sympathetic and charming young woman who is every bit as interesting.

6 Nocturnal Animals

Surprisingly, the director Tom Ford is mainly known as a fashion designer, whose only other feature released seven years prior. But Nocturnal Animals is another in a long series of successful thrillers that Jake Gyllenhaal has recently starred in. The story is conceptually robust and adamantly bleak. With meticulous handling, it avoids falling into a pitfall of art for art’s sake. Based on a novel itself, this story almost feels like a real-world manifestation of the fictional novel within the film. One can’t imagine better vengeance than that final scene. And yet, Adams brings a lot of sympathy, honesty, and guilt to a character we should otherwise completely despise.

5 Arrival

Arrival is easily one of the most gripping, slow-burn science fiction movies in years. Its mystery unfolds at a steady, engaging pace, and concludes with a remarkably intelligent twist. It is also haunting, and the choice that Adams’ character makes is probably pretty divisive.

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Thematically, the film was certainly timely. Even at the onset of 2016, politics had achieved considerable extremes. Then along comes a film about language and understanding, the crucial place that communication holds in society. It may be blatant, but it’s the kind of message we needed, and still do. Adams drives the film as a reserved, intelligent character who also shows heartwarming compassion in her “flashbacks”.

4 Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects Amma Camille and Adora

Here, Adams gets to portray another broken character, in a dramatic murder mystery that will definitely keep you guessing. Adams has her work cut out for her, with flashes of memories appearing suddenly and frequently. Without so much as a word, she conveys how certain memory cues can deeply affect us.

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The show offers tasteful representations of psychological issues, and the pacing is slow and deliberate. By the time the killer is revealed, you will feel both rewarded and shocked. This whole story is especially bleak, so it’ll take some very compelling characters and clues to keep viewers on board. Adams definitely delivers, as does the source material from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.

3 American Hustle

American Hustle, Christian Bale, Amy Adams

This is a hilarious, suspenseful, truly convoluted crime story in homage to Martin Scorsese. It even has Robert De Niro as a mafia boss in a truly chilling scene, though he remains uncredited. Set in the late seventies, two con artists are forced to help an FBI agent with a sting operation. It all becomes even more elaborate, as there isn’t a single relationship that’s steady or committed. Here, Amy Adams gets to throw on her best British accent, and play a femme fatale. She’s a quick-witted seductress, unlike anything we’ve ever seen of her.

2 Enchanted

Amy Adams and Jodi Benson in Enchanted

Here’s a Disney story that functions as an over-correction for all of its own misleading, dated stories about women. The story literally blurs the line between reality and Disney fantasy, encourages independence, and features an all-star cast. Much like James Marsden, Amy Adams brilliantly captures the naive charm of a Disney princess. It’s astonishing how successfully she brings that archetype to life, in a performance completely unlike any other in her filmography. Her comedic timing is on point, and she carries the smaller dramatic moments just as effectively as giant singing sequences. This is a must-see family movie with great comedy, important themes, and visual effects that still hold up.

1 The Fighter

Amy Adams as Charlene Fleming in The Fighter

Boxing movies often run into a series of tropes that have been established for decades, so they can sometimes feel redundant. The boxing ring itself has been filmed with about as much creativity as anyone can muster. It’s a great sport, with many icons, but it’s the home life that distinguishes one boxer from another on film. The family drama in The Fighter is truly affecting, and it features a unique setting, too. Here, Amy Adams really gets to work that familiar, resolute attitude. It leads to a lot of comedy and endearing drama alike. Adams has great chemistry with her co-star Mark Wahlberg, and adds very intriguing elements to the family conflict.

NEXT: Amy Adams & Ron Howard Teaming Up For Netflix Film Hillbilly Elegy

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