Brad’s Top 10: Best Actresses Under 25
You know what they say about opinions? They don’t count until you’ve shared them in a blog post. I kid, I kid. They say that everyone’s got one. I completely agree, but not everyone’s taken the time to write ’em down and slap a little multimedia on it. With that in mind, I approach my definitive (at least as it pertains to me) top 10 list of the best actresses under 25 working in film today.
Mind you, I did not factor in things like Oscar nominations because I truly believe that 99.9% of Oscar-nominated child performances are quite gimmicky and not indicative of range or sustainability (anyone remember Keisha Castle-Hughes?). I am only choosing to profile actresses that continually do complex adult work, Academy recognition or not. Also, I apologize for the lack of diversity on this list; I hate to be all Vanity Fair because I truly enjoy great actresses like Meagan Good, Kerry Washington, Brenda Song, Naomi Harris, Eva Mendes, and Audra McDonald, but alas, they are all over 25. Anyway, here’s my top 10:
10. Shailene Woodley/Elizabeth Olsen
Ok, this one’s a two-way tie because I don’t believe that each girl has truly demonstrated what they can do. That being said, The Descendants might be my favorite film of the past 10 years and Woodley is certainly a big reason for that, while Martha Marcy May Marlene and Olsen’s performance in it, not to mention her scenes with the brilliant John Hawkes, still haunts me.
9. Emma Watson
I generally like to see an actor play more then one role before I consider them a true talent for the ages, and in terms of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a film I adored, I just wasn’t that impressed by the comely Brit. However, the eight Harry Potter films were certainly a brilliant testament to Watson’s natural charm and ability.
Best Performance: The trailer for Bling Ring (No really, either of the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows films).
8. Chloe Grace Moretz
I wouldn’t have let my kid play the part, but if ever there was a true breakthrough on this list, it would have to be Chole Grace Moretz and her obsenely entertaining Hit Girl in 2010’s Kick Ass. Though as buzzy as that role was, it was her amazing turn as a vampire in 2010’s Let Me In that really showed what this girl can do. Simultaneously terrifying and heartbreaking, this should have been an Oscar nominated performance.
Best Performance: Let Me In– I believe I’ve said it all.
7. Elle Fanning
There’s a lot of talented young actresses on this list, but the Drew Barrymore Award for capturing the hearts and minds of a generation of youngsters goes to Ms. Elle Fanning. Sure her sister broke through first, but this girl’s got a natural beauty and fiercely honest screen presence that has allowed her to soar to much greater hights. From Phoebe in Wonderland through Super 8, and most recently Ginger and Rosa, there really is something about Elle.
Best Performance: Somewhere – a Sophia Coppola heroine to rival Dunst’s and Johansson’s.
6. Evan Rachel Wood
I’ll admit, Evan’s had her share of questionable moments (True Blood, The Ides of March, anyone?), but the talented actress of Thirteen, Pretty Persuasion, The Upside Of Anger, King of California, Across The Universe, Mildred Pierce, (I could keep going…) will, I believe, prove to be the Parker Posey of her generation, and that’s a damn good thing!
Best performance: Easily The Life Before Her Eyes. This might be the best performance by a teenage girl ever on celluloid (and yes, I’m including Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver).
5. Emma Stone
Prior to being the most irrritating and incongruous part of 2011’s The Help, I would have put this girl at number one, but since that role, she’s subsequently gone forgetably blonde, started repping Revlon and is now in danger of joining the ranks of Olivia Wilde/Zoe Saldana/Kate Bosworth in terms of nameless model blandness. However, this is the girl that popped in Superbad, shined in Zombieland, and stole all of our hearts in Easy A. Now, after stealing the 2012 Oscars as well with her brilliant comic timing and providing enough chemistry with Andrew Garfield to almost justify the gratuitous new Spiderman trilogy, she’s back in the game.
Best Performance: Easy A – No young actress can touch this girl when it comes to dry wit and sarcastic comedy.
4. Jennifer Lawrence
It’s always easy to hate on the girl with the most cake, but this time, at least it’s deserved; the cake, that is. With brilliant Oscar-nominated performances in Winter’s Bone and Silver Linings Playbook, not to mention elevating the overated Hunger Games film above the dreck of Twilight, Lawrence has the movie star appeal and talent of actresses three times her age.
Best Performance: The red Calvin Klein dress at the 2011 Oscars. (I tease, definitely Silver Linings Playbook).
3. Mia Wasikowska
Surprised that she’s above Lawrence on my list? Well then you haven’t seen In Treatment, The Kids Are All Right, Jane Eyre, or Lawless. Plus she gets points for helping even Nicole Kidman look alive with grit in February’s Stoker.
Best Performance: Jane Ayre – Fassbinder’s other best costar, besides his johnson, in 2011.
2. Saoirse Ronan
Ok, when I first saw Joe Wright’s gorgeously melodramatic Atonement, I thought, wow, another young Brit robbed of their youth to be groomed for Shakespeare. But then I found out that Ronan’s not even a Brit, she’s a plucky Irish lass with a charismatic tough streak and a penchant for diversity that rivals any of her peers. Don’t believe me, watch her play Michelle Pfieffer’s spoiled Apatow-ish L.A. daughter in Amy Heckerling’s otherwise forgettable 2007 film, I Could Never Be Your Woman.
Best Performance: Hanna – in which Saoirse kicks ass, and plays a Fin, accent and all.
1. Juno Temple
You might be disagreeing with me right now, but while she doesn’t yet have the heat of JLaw, this girl is building a fearlessly diverse resume that bears striking resemblance to another brilliantly earthy super-Brit, Kate Winslet. Beginning as a child in films like Atonement and Notes on A Scandal (hands down the best Lifetime movie ever) through indies Greenberg, Dirty Girl, and Little Birds, and now with her starring work in the dark fairy tale, The Brass Teapot, Temple continues to shock and surprise with her bold choices.
Best Performance: Killer Joe – you will be obsessed like I am after seeing her go-for-broke performance.
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