The 25 Best Movie Performances of 2018

2018 was a great year for movies, but none of it would be possible without the hardworking actors and actresses who give their all for each role. Whether its undergoing some body transformation or pouring their hearts out on screen, these actors have made our movie-watching experiences worth while. So, we at PCR decided to celebrate the 25 best performances in film. They are as follows:

25. Tom Cruise
Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Hardcore fans of the Mission: Impossible franchise are very familiar with Tom Cruise’s insane stunts and Olympic-worthy sprints; but what we received in Fallout was far greater. Cruise showed so much heart, passion and acting range in a film full of flashy stunts and impressive motorcycle chases. And that’s exactly why it’s one of our favorite performances of the year.

24. Anna Kendrick & Blake Lively
A Simple Favor

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This is a duo that we at PCR want more of in the future. In A Simple Favor, Kendrick and Lively are stellar separate and together, with a chemistry that burns bright. As the story unfolds and shocking truths are revealed, these leading ladies give their all every minute of this wild ride. We can’t recommend this film enough!

23. The Entire Cast of VICE

Christian Bale, Sam Rockwell, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, and Adam McKay at an event for Vice (2018)

Dick Cheney’s humorous biopic, directed by Adam McKay, was a hit or miss among critics and audiences. However, one thing is certain about the film – it contains close to perfect acting from the cast. The ensemble includes Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Jesse Plemons, Tyler Perry, and more; and every person delivers when it comes to portraying villainy, strength, and tenacity within their respective roles. So, sure, this film might be divisive, but PCR stands firm in believing that it’s worth viewing for the performances alone!

22. Amandla Stenberg
The Hate U Give

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Amandla Stenberg is one of Hollywood’s most well-known rising actors from the past 5 years. And with her performance in The Hate U Give, she’s solidified herself as one of the best in her age group. The film is as heartbreaking as it is uplifting, with its ability to instill motivation towards justice, and Stenberg’s delivery of such emotions have stayed with us since its premiere.

21. John Cho

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Fathers would do just about anything to ensure the protection and safety of their daughters; and in Searching, John Cho demonstrates this with the utmost conviction. Not only does he succeed in portraying such characteristics and emotion on screen, but Cho does it while navigating his way through an unfamiliar technological world. What a talent!

20. Emily Blunt
A Quiet Place

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The mother of the year in film award goes to Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place. Her depiction as one who’d pull out all the stops to protect her children from harm was one of the most special things to occur on screen in 2018. It’s no wonder audiences love her!

19. Nicolas Cage

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There’s nothing more exciting than an enraged Nicolas Cage in film, and in Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy, that’s exactly what audiences can expect. But more than perfectly conveying understandable anger, Cage shows incredible emotion and talent in his acting methods, making it one of our favorites of the year. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Cage wield a chainsaw?

18. Claire Foy

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What a year Claire Foy’s had! She started off with a bang as Sawyer Valentini in Unsane. Was she crazy or wasn’t she? That is a question that won’t be answered until the film’s end, but thanks to Foy’s brilliant performance, you will be glued to your seat as she wavers on the line of sanity.

17. Regina Hall
Support the Girls

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There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with hardships in ‘a man’s world’ at the most inopportune times, but Regina Hall does it in Support the Girls with class and dignity. Her performance is so grand, and her will is so strong that she’d be able to start a new feminist revolution on her own. Simply put, she’s a badass.

16. Lakeith Stanfield
Sorry to Bother You

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Everything about Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You is what we at PCR love about cinema. Lakeith Stanfield as Cassius Green happens to be one of the reasons. He’s hilarious and captivating in his quest for wealth and knowledge, and everything he does in this film – big or small – is incredibly convincing. Do yourself a favor and watch this film now.

15. Elizabeth Debicki

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One of the most underrated performances of 2018 is from Elizabeth Debicki in Widows. She plays Alice, a woman who overcomes the physical and emotional abuse she’s had to endure for too long, and she accomplishes this portrayal with such strength and determination no matter what obstacle stands in her way. Her character progression is one of PCR’s favorites of 2018, so we highly recommend watching Widows.

14. Daveed Diggs

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Carlos López Estrada’s Blindspotting is one of PCR’s favorite films of 2018, but it wouldn’t be possible without the incredible performance from Daveed Diggs. In between dodging his volatile best friend and witnessing an unjust police shooting of a black man, Collin goes through a lot in his final 3 days of probation. His performance was powerful and incredibly impactful, and that ending should be a movie itself for Daveed Diggs’ conviction, alone!

13. Melissa McCarthy
Can You Ever Forgive Me

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Dramatic roles suit Melissa McCarthy well as evidenced by her spectacular performance in Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me. She convincingly portrays a down and out writer and matches the humor and sadness in every way possible. It’s truly impressive. We at PCR can’t wait to see what McCarthy does next!

12. Joaquin Phoenix
You Were Never Really Here

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Joaquin Phoenix is one the best working actors of this generation. And this year, he showed no signs of slowing down. In Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, he doesn’t hold back one bit, giving the performance of a lifetime as he charges through every violent scene with ease. Honestly, what can’t JP do?

11. Viola Davis

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At this point in her career, Viola Davis gives nothing but great performances. Her take on Veronica Rawlins is nothing short of gold. If you haven’t seen Widows yet, you’re in for a treat. And to get an idea of how PCR feels about Davis in this role… Let’s just say that if she ever needed another force in her army of badass women, we’d run and join at her beck and call.

10. Adam Driver

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BlackKklansman was voted one of PCR’s best films of 2018. One of these reasons was due to Adam Driver’s incredible performance as a nonpracticing Jew cop who helped to infiltrate the KKK. Driver is so gifted in this film, in which he shows his acting range including regret and anger. But his perfect comedic timing is what puts the icing on the cake. It’s no wonder he made our top 10!

9. Lady Gaga
A Star is Born

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Lady Gaga was born to play Ally in Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star is Born, plain and simple. She is perfectly convincing as the rising pop star even though her fame reaches around the globe in the real world. Don’t be surprised if she cleans up during awards season!

8. Logan Marshall-Green

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Logan Marshall-Green is a pure joy to watch in Leigh Whannell’s Upgrade. His brilliance in the film stems from his ability to craft certain facial expressions that are in direct opposition with his body movements. That is SO difficult to do… Need we say more?

7. Natalie Portman

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Nothing in 2018 screamed “Badass” more than the women who took on the unknown in Annihilation. Leading the pack was the incredible Natalie Portman. From her perfectly-pitched emotion and her insanely cool ability to handle military weapons, to the horrors expressed in her body language… Miss Portman did not come to play in 2018.

6. Ben Foster
Leave No Trace

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Ben Foster as an army vet suffering from PTSD in Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace is acting perfection. His performance is subtle yet so in your face that one can’t help but to be in awe of his craft. Do yourself a favor and see this film as soon as possible.

5. Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz & Emma Stone
The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, and Olivia Colman at an event for The Favourite (2018)

The trio of The Favourite, Colman/Weisz/Stone, is cinematic gold. These women are hilarious, conniving, insufferable, worthy of empathy – all of the above! And it’s only possible because of the ensemble’s remarkable chemistry and conviction. How can anyone possibly pick a “favourite?” We sure can’t!

4. Ethan Hawke
First Reformed

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One of 2018’s best gems was Ethan Hawke in First Reformed. His ability to convey restriction, panic and internal turmoil was one of the best (if not THEE best) male performances of the year. Count it a blessing if you’ve seen this incredible performance. But if you haven’t, you’re just in time for awards season!… P.S. THAT ENDING!

3. Carey Mulligan

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Being a wife and a mother is a difficult, full-time job especially when your family is falling apart in front of your eyes. In Wildlife, Carey Mulligan exudes her character’s struggles with the utmost conviction, giving the performance of her career. Her decision-making within every scene was captivating as she brought her character’s heartbreak and frustration to life, yielding one of the best of 2018.

2. Toni Collette

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The scream queen of 2018 was none other than Toni Collette in Hereditary. Her performance was Horror gold as she put everything into each scream, tick, monologue, and head bang. Hereditary certainly reinvented the horror genre, but thanks to Collette, we’ll be remembering the film for years to come.

1. Stephan James & Kiki Layne
If Beale Street Could Talk

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The ability to capture and emote unconditional love on screen is extremely difficult to convincingly do in film. But in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, Stephan James and Kiki Layne exceed at it. Not only do they perfectly portray a beautiful love, they made us believe that it can overcome anything if we trust it all the way. That’s how powerful their performance was.

Thanks for reading our favorite performance list! Tweet us @PopCultureRevs to share some of your favorite acting that did not make the cut.

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