With the Oscar race now in full swing, it’s important to check out the amazing work turned in over 2015 by some of Hollywood’s best actors, male or female. While we’ve already covered some stunning films and some powerful male roles, this year has seen a number of impressive performances from women that have raised the bar.
With moviegoers only having a limited amount of time to check out all the potential nominees, we thought we’d make it a little easier. Below we’ve showcase the performances we felt were most your time and most likely to stay with you long after leaving the theater.
Here’s our list of 11 Actresses Who Could Win An Oscar This Year.
10 Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
Steve Jobs was not a commercial success, but even its critics acknowledged the amazing job done by its, leads Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet. While Fassbender played the title character, Winslet portrayed Joanna Hoffman, Jobs' right hand woman in Apple's early days.
Hoffman worked closely with Jobs on the Apple Computer Macintosh team and the NeXT team. She was essentially one of Jobs’ closest advisers and had no problem expressing her opinions. Winslet was thrilled to meet her real-life counterpart and that likely helped her dive deeper into the role.
While many would assume Fassbender would be the one to have better odds at a nomination, Winslet actually may have the stronger chance. It also helps she’s a six time nominee that voters seem to absolutely admire.
When it comes to the Oscars, there are actresses you should never count out and Winslet is one of them.
9 Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
Jennifer Lawrence has become a fixture at the Oscars.
Having been nominated three out of the last four years, this year she’ll likely keep her hot streak going with Joy. Playing a real person for a change, Lawrence portrays Joy Mangano, the woman behind the “Miracle Mop.”
The film takes audiences behind the invention of the successful product and Joy’s persistence to become successful, despite her obnoxious family’s constant meddling. Lawrence is at the center of the film and the entire movie rides on her very capable shoulders.
Just as she’s secured nominations for previous David O. Russell directed performances (including a win for Silver Linings Playbook), Lawrence seems set to once again return to the red carpet in 2016 as a nominee.
8 Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
You may not be able to pronounce Saoirse Ronan’s name, but you’ll remember her performance.
Previously nominated in 2008 for her supporting role in Atonement, Ronan should have no problem re-capturing the hearts of voters with Brooklyn. As a Irish immigrant living in Brooklyn, Ronan plays a character looking for a better life, but is torn between two lives when a tragedy forces her to return home.
Ronan is talented actress and the success of the movie heavily weighs on her ability to make the audience care about her character’s decisions. Anyone looking at the maturation of this actress shouldn’t be surprised at how effortlessly she control’s moviegoers' emotions. From Hanna to The Grand Budapest Hotel, Ronan has often chosen the right roles at the right times.
Brooklyn will not be the last time you hear her name and “Oscar nominee.”
7 7 & 8. Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara (Carol)
A two-time Oscar winner and a six time Oscar nominee, Cate Blanchett is likely set to become a Meryl Streep-like legend in the very near future. The reigning Best Actress winner for Blue Jasmine, Blanchett should be able to defend her title with a nomination for Carol.
She stars as a married older woman who starts an affair with a younger department store clerk played by Rooney Mara. Mara, no stranger to award season herself after her nominated turn in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, could easily find herself nominated alongside her talented co-star.
Carol, along with Joy and Brooklyn represent some of the finest acting by female actresses in 2015 and this group of women will (and should be) frequent nominee lists throughout award season. It is just in Carol’s case, the film could see double recognition.
6 Helen Mirren (Woman In Gold/Trumbo)
Helen Mirren is just as much of an award season veteran as Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, but for whatever reason, she has less Oscar nominations. This year’s she has two very realistic opportunities at adding to her total.
Woman In Gold came out earlier in this year and immediately won over critics. It didn’t do anything special at the box office, but Mirren was spectacular as a Jewish refugee taking on the Austrian government over her family’s property. She followed that up with Trumbo, where she jumped to the other side of the spectrum as a despicable tabloid reporter who helped forward the blacklisting of various Hollywood figures during the Red Scare era.
In both cases, Mirren shined on screen which shouldn’t come as a shock to her loyal and large fanbase. If there is any justice Mirren should be a fixture throughout award season as her on-screen presence is something special.
5 Jane Fonda (Youth)
Jane Fonda is one of those actresses you either love or hate. Yet regardless of how you feel about here, she knows how to hold her own on screen. Case-in-point: Youth.
The film centers on a retired orchestra conductor (Michael Caine) on vacation with his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and his best friend (Harvey Keitel) when he receives an invitation from Her Majesty too good to turn down.
Fonda enters the mix as one of Keitel’s muses from his directing days and, while she has limited screen time, she makes the absolute most of it. That’s the trademark of an actress who can command attention and get awards voters excited.
Of course should this happen, this would give a whole new definition to what a “supporting” character actually is, but sometimes exceptions are justified.
4 Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)
Rachel McAdams will find herself in much the same situation as The Hateful Eight’s Jennifer Jason Leigh in that she’s the sole female lead.
Spotlight is headlined by a talented ensemble including Michael Keaton and Mark Ruffalo, who both have gotten more buzz than McAdams. Still McAdams is just as much a part of the cast as her male counter-parts and it would be a shame to her be overlooked.
The film is a brilliant look at how the Boston Globe broke the church sex abuse scandal back in 2001. It gives each of its cast members something to work with and the talented group easily capitalizes on their specific roles.
McAdams will likely make a late run as award season heats up as more and more people begin to realize how vital of a part she plays. It also helps she’s naturally likeable and charismatic.
3 Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Every year, there is one actor or actress that comes out of nowhere and quickly becomes the next big thing. Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page and Lupita Nyong'o have fit that criteria in recent years and in 2015, that actress is Alicia Vikander.
In 2015 alone, Vikander has starred opposite Bradley Cooper, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer and Eddie Redmayne. Yet it’s the latter film that will put her into the Oscar race. In The Danish Girl, Vikander plays a woman whose husband becomes one of the first people to transition from male to female.
It’s an eye-catching role that has been earning Redmayne buzz since last year, but it wasn’t until this year that Vikander has seen her stock go up. Following her turn in the very well-received Ex Machina, more people began to realize who she was and that momentum is unlikely to go away.
2 Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
As the only female member of The Hateful Eight, Jennifer Jason Leigh had to work eight times as hard to get noticed. However, it soon becomes especially clear that she has no problem with that task.
Leigh plays an outlaw being brought in by a bounty hunter (Kurt Russell) to hang for her crimes. Yet when a blizzard traps her and her captor in a cabin with six other strangers, death and distrust lurks around every corner.
The entire cast (which also includes Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins and Tim Roth) is stellar, and you can tell they are relishing the experience. Leigh's character is brash, brutal and as un-ladylike as they come, which also could separate her from her fellow potential nominees.
1 Brie Larson (Room)
If you don’t know who Brie Larson is, you will soon enough.
Larson is currently filming King Kong prequel Skull Island and by the time that comes out could easily have “Oscar winner” attached to her name. In addition to playing Amy Schumer’s sister in the summer hit comedy Trainwreck, Larson is the front runner for Best Actress for her role in Room.
In the film she plays a mother who, along with her young son, is kidnapped and imprisoned in a small room for years. Her battle to stay sane and upbeat for her son’s sake fuels the film and will easily appeal to voters.
Prior to this year, Larson had impressed in films like Short Term 12, but not at the same level as she does in Room. She’s previously had roles on TV series such as Raising Dad, The United States of Tara and Community as well as in films like 21 Jump Street.
With Room, she’s reached a whole new level.
How many of the above performances have you seen? Did we leave any frontrunners off our list? Which actor do you think will win Best Actress? Hit up the comments and let us know.