Jennifer Lawrence has been the most in-demand actress in Hollywood this decade, and also the highest paid (until recently passed by Emma Stone). Still in her late 20s, Lawrence already has four Oscar nominations for outstanding performances in films like Winter’s Bone, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle. She’s also been a gigantic box office draw in two franchises, helping to reboot the X-Men as Mystique and in the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games novels. She is in a bit of a slump the last few years, but with a legion of fans and undeniable dramatic skills, that could change at any time. She was so young when Winter’s Bone put her on the map that it’s hard to remember how young she still is, but this is an actress who has decades of work ahead of her, so an off year or two (unless it becomes four or five) isn’t going to stop audiences from keeping her in demand, despite her performance in the recently divisive mother!. Continue reading Jennifer Lawrence’s 10 Best Movies→
Jeremy Renner has become one of Hollywood’s most consistent leading men over the last decade. Since hitting A-list status with back-to-back Oscar nominated performances in The Hurt Locker and The Town, Renner has continued to pump out both quality dramas like Wind River, American Hustle, Arrival, and Kill the Messenger. He’s also part of both the Mission Impossible and Marvel Cinematic Universe franchises, contributing to some of the biggest blockbusters of the last few years. He’s a solid leading man and action star with a talent for portraying everyman characters in the tradition of Harrison Ford. Continue reading Jeremy Renner’s 10 Best Movies→
Christian Bale’s career is already entering its fourth decade of excellence. The actor, whose first starring role was in 1987 in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun at age 13, already has a career’s worth of outstanding roles and an Oscar for his performance in David O. Russell’s The Fighter. For most, Bale is the definitive Batman in the definitive super hero trilogy: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. Nolan and Bale put a stamp on Batman that others will be living up to as long as the character exists. Bale also teamed with Nolan in The Prestige and with Russell again in American Hustle for wildly different roles in two outstanding films. Bale is an intense, character-driven actor who has twice lost massive amounts of weight (Rescue Dawn & The Mechanic) for roles. Bale gained 109 lbs for Batman Begins after losing 63 lbs for The Machinist. Bale went from 121 lbs to 230 lbs in only six months which overshot what Chris Nolan wanted for his Batman, so by the time filming began, Christian Bale had dropped to 190 lbs. For Vice, Bale did the reverse and gained over 40 lbs. to play former Vice-President Dick Cheney. The dedication paid off, and Bale continues to be one of the most dynamic actors working today.
Christian Bale’s Best 10 1. The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012) Bruce Wayne/Batman 2. The Prestige (2006) Alfred Borden 3. 3:10 to Yuma (2007) Dan Evans 4. American Hustle (2013) Irving Rosenfeld 5. The Fighter (2010) Dicky Eklund 6. The Big Short (2015) Michael Burry 7. Henry V (1989) Robin 8. Rescue Dawn (2006) Dieter Dengler 9. Empire of the Sun (1987) Jim 10. Little Women (1994) Laurie Honorable Mention: Equilibrium (2002) John Preston
Amy Adams has unfortunately inherited the mantle Kate Winslet had to drag around for a decade: “Best Actress Without An Oscar”. Nominated six times, she’s 0 for 5 (the verdict is still out on 2019’s nomination). Adams has put together an amazing body of work since she broke out in 2005’s Junebug and earned her first Oscar nod. Whether in supporting roles as in Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, or Her; or as a lead in American Hustle, Big Eyes, or Enchanted, Adams always delivers strong performances. I think her best performance was American Hustle, but her best movie was 2016’s science fiction masterpiece Arrival. In the age of the comic book movie, most stars have been snapped up by DC or Marvel. Adams has played Lois Lane in the DCEU in Man of Steel (which was good) and Batman vs. Superman (which was really not but not Adams’ fault). It’s an unfortunate reality that quality actresses have a harder time finding quality roles as they age. Adams is defying this trend, and eventually, the Academy will recognize her as one of the strongest actresses of the last 30 years.
Amy Adams’ Best 10 1. Arrival (2016), Louise Banks 2. American Hustle (2013), Sydney Prosser 3. Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Bonnie Bach 4. Catch Me If You Can (2002), Brenda Strong 5. Enchanted (2007), Giselle 6. Doubt (2008), Sister James 7. Julie & Julia (2009), Julie Powell 8. The Fighter (2010), Charlene Fleming 9. Junebug (2005), Ashley 10. Big Eyes (2014), Margaret Keane Honorable Mention: Her (2013), Amy
Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.
Alright, that’s not terribly descriptive, but at this point you kind of just have to know that the last two times David O. Russell directed Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, all three were nominated for Oscars and Lawrence won once (and should’ve won twice). Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle and now Joy.