My Favorite Female Supporting Performances of 2012

This was the toughest list I had to compile. It was rough. I thought lead female performances was bad… I had no idea.

I don’t really have all that much to say about these ones. It was hard enough trying to find them. There were a few truly standout ones, but for the most part, these are just ones I respected. Which — even so — respect is respect. And attention must be paid.

Here are my favorite female supporting performances of 2012:

1. Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables

I’m not gonna pretend. She fucking kills it. That scene of her singing was the single greatest scene I saw this year. The words showstopper are a fucking understatement. She’s only in the movie for like fifteen minutes and yet you feel her presence for a good half hour after she’s off-screen. It’s that strong a performance. It’ll be a travesty if she doesn’t win the Oscar for this.

2. Lizzy Kaplan in 3,2,1… Frankie Go Boom 

Shout out to her in Bachelorette as well. She had a great year of performances. I was gonna go with the Bachelorette performance, but I felt this one was the more impressive of the two. Her first scenes, when she’s hammered and trying to sleep with Hunnam — hands down, one of the best performances I saw this year. The two performances are very similar, and this one, I felt, gave her much more of a chance for pathos and was just a more touching performance. It was one of the most underrated performances of the year. She really did a fantastic job with this, and if more people saw this movie (which was also a very solid film in its own way), they’d know it too.

3. Judi Dench in Skyfall

Had to. She’s played M for 17 years, and this was her film. Relative to all the other films in the franchise, no film has featured M as prominently as this one, save maybe Casino Royale. She’s Judi, and this has been her role for the past seven movies. Gotta respect. This franchise, with her — they “did get one thing right.”

4. Emily Blunt in Looper

Straddling a lead role, but I feel like it’s firmly supporting. I thought she did a terrific job here. She earns major props for that single take scene of her chopping the tree stump. That shit’s no joke. That’ll fuck your arms up real good for a couple days if you’re not ready. But yeah, Blunt did a great job with it. It was a weak year, so she was one of the standouts for me.

5. Samantha Barks in Les Misérables

Her version of “On My Own” was absolutely spectacular. In a year like this — what stood out as much as that did? Not much.

6. Jacki Weaver in Silver Linings Playbook

I was pleasantly surprised when she got nominated for the Oscar. She didn’t have a lot to do in the film, but I believed the performance. And I like seeing Jacki Weaver in things, so — (I’m stretching, I know, but what can I do? There’s not much.)

7. Berenice Marlohe in Skyfall

I rest my case.

8. Sarah Silverman’s voice work in Wreck-It Ralph

This is what I’ve resorted to — voice work. Outstanding voice work, mind you, but still, voice work. She was terrific here. Some of the best Disney voice work I’ve heard in a while. I thought that deserved props.

9. Kerry Washington in Django Unchained

She doesn’t have too much to do, but she gets to speak German and have a couple of nice facial acting scenes. That’s more than enough for me. This year.

10. Dreama Walker in Compliance

She had a really tough role in this movie and she pulled it off real well. Ann Dowd got all the notices, but Walker was also just as good.

11. Doona Bae in Cloud Atlas

She was the emotional crux of the film. And she did a great job.

12. Kara Hayward in Moonrise Kingdom

Love me some Moonrise.

13. Kerry Reilly in Flight

She was solid in the film. Not as good as I was hoping (not that I was hoping until after I saw the film. I just was hoping I’d get some people to rally around for the Oscar category so I could pretend it was a strong year for supporting performances), but solid.

14. Susan Sarandon in Arbitrage

Another solid Sarandon performance.

15. Pauline Collins, Quartet

Terrific performance in a terrific film.

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