2018 Performance Overview – Female (Lead/Supporting)

Just yesterday, I posted my favorite male performances from the past year and now it is time for my favorite female performances from 2018. And just like with the list yesterday there are listed in no particular order. If anyone is missing from the list that is more than likely because I did not see the performance in question.

REGINA HALL & SHAYNA MCHAYLE in Andrew Bujalski’s Support the Girls

If you’ve seen it, you know why. If you have not, you should. McHayle (Junglepussy) also released one of the best albums of this year.

MICHELLE PFEIFFER in Andrew Dosunmu’s Where is Kyra?

It was great seeing Pfeiffer back, turning in a great performance and a messy one, at that.

2018 Performance Overview - Female (Lead/Supporting) 3
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L-R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) in Marvel’s Black Panther.

DANAI GURIRA, LUPITA NYONG’O, and LETITIA WRIGHT in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther

Also an easy one.

RACHEL MCADAMS in John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein’s Game Night

A great, classic comedic performance.

HELENA HOWARD in Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline

A tour-de-force, as they say. Her performance is the film and vice versa.

DERAGH CAMPBELL in Antoine Bourges’s Fail to Appear

The perfect balance of conviction and uncertainty while quiet and unassuming, she is somehow able to get these two opposing states to coalesce into a compelling depiction.

NAOMI SKWARNA & CLAIRE ARMSTRONG in Daniel Warth’s Dim the Fluorescents

The chemistry they display, their ability to play off of each other in banter, suggests a lengthy history of partnership as if they’ve been honing their craft in concert for years and this is the culmination of those efforts.

KIKI LAYNE & REGINA KING in Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk

Yes, King is great. Although, I feel like Layne’s performance is getting overshadowed. It’s such a subtle, expressive turn built mostly around shifting body weight like you can track the joy or anguish course through her body.

TONI COLLETTE in Ari Aster’s Hereditary

An emotionally exhausting performance that saves an otherwise mediocre film.

SAKURA ANDÔ in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters

I keep wanting to say that she is the best actor working today and her performance here brought me even closer to that proclamation.

LILLY JANDREAU in Chloé Zhao’s The Rider

She is responsible for much of the film’s levity but also provides a tremendous amount of warmth in the scenes she shares with her brother.


Davis is in classic form while Debicki takes the viewer on this impressive evolution over the course of two hours.

BHREAGH MACNEIL in Ashley McKenzie’s Werewolf

Much like Gillis’s performance in the same film, MacNeil’s is so rooted in realism that it is difficult to witness.

ANAÏS DEMOUSTIER in Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s Pauline Enslaved

Demoustier just about traverses the entire spectrum of human emotion within the circumstances of waiting for a text.

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