As the year comes to a close and the awards season draws closer, it’s apparent who the forerunners for glory are. However, they are far from the only people who wowed us with their portrayals this year. A lot of truly remarkable performances have flown under the radar in 2015. If you’re still catching up on your awards season viewing, there are some films that you must watch for the wonderful acting. And so, here are the 5 most understated performances of 2015:
Greta Gerwig in Mistress America
It’s easy to write Mistress America off as yet another cheesy film about a dysfunctional family. And that’s exactly what the film could have been, if it wasn’t for Greta Gerwig‘s stellar performance. Even while portraying such a character that could be easily disliked, the actress’ sincere performance added a whole new dimension to Brooke. This, combined with her ability to balance humor and drama, makes her’s one of the best performances of the year.
Michael Angarano in The Stanford Prison Experiment
We’re glad that Kyle Patrick Alvarez‘s take on The Stanford Prison Experiment is getting the recognition it deserves. However, if there’s one actor who isn’t getting nearly enough credit, it’s Michael Angarano. Though the actor’s past filmography has been less than award-worthy, he is perfectly menacing and convincing as the student on a power trip. His depiction of the prison guard is awe-inspiring and one that we won’t forget any time soon.
Brie Larson in Room
In Room, Brie Larson plays Joy – a woman who was kidnapped and impregnated at a young age. Faced with the challenge of creating a nurturing environment for her child in captivity, Joy turns their little shed into a beautiful kingdom. To say that Brie’s performance is anything less than exemplary would be a gross understatement. The actress pours her heart into a performance that is her personal best, and one of the best ones we’ve seen all year.
Emory Cohen in Brooklyn
It’s not easy to hold your own alongside a talented young actress like Saoirse Ronan. But if there’s one actor who has managed to do it, it’s Emory Cohen. In fact, he shows that while anyone can memorize and deliver dialogues, it takes a true star to establish a character before even uttering a single dialogue. If we didn’t know better, we could never have guessed that he was credited as a part of the supporting cast.
Alicia Vilkander in Ex Machina
We love Alicia Vilkander, but we had our doubts when we heard she would play an AI. However, it’s safe to say that the actress surpassed even the most optimistic expectations. In Ex Machina, Ava (played by Vilkander) blurs the lines between man and machine in a hauntingly beautiful performance. It’s safe to say that Alicia has had a great year, and her portrayal of Ava was arguably the highlight.
Fortunately for us, this isn’t the last we’re going to see of these underrated actors. And if their projects in 2016 are any indication, it looks like we have another great year to look forward to.