While it’s great to watch a performer dominate an electrifying leading role, what is even more enticing is watching an actor shine in a role that has less screen time or less to do but makes the part stand out. In what has been quite a year for supporting performances, these are the women in supporting roles that stood out with their brave, thrilling portrayals in films released in 2022.
10. Rachel Sennott, Bodies Bodies Bodies
In Bodies Bodies Bodies, Rachel Sennott plays an unlikable, Gen Z clout chaser who tries to keep up with the latest TikTok trends while crying that she’s an ally. Sennott’s character, Alice, leans into the hypocrisy of acknowledging social issues without taking any action which should be infuriating to witness, yet Sennott’s timing and delivery make this character a fun watch.
9. Gabrielle Union, The Inspection
While Gabrielle Union’s role in The Inspection is of an absentee mother, Union makes quite the impression. Union plays Inez French, the unsupportive mother who rejects her son due to his sexual orientation. Her character is hard to watch, yet you miss her presence on screen as soon as she’s gone. While she is polarizing, Union finds grace to play her with despite her shortcomings.
8. Isabella Rossellini, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is one of the most heartfelt films of 2022 and at the center of the heart of the film is Isabella Rossellini. She plays Connie, Marcel’s grandmother, and brings so much soul to the film. Connie reminds Marcel and the audience about the importance of living your life despite any obstacles that may present themselves and the reason for the gut punch it provides is Rossellini’s delivery.
7. Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Everything Everywhere All at Once is all about the multiverse and characters that change their appearance and personalities across various universes yet keep their core the exact same. While many of the performers in the film have this task presented, Stephanie Hsu stands out with this narrative. In a film with veteran actors, Hsu is a relative newcomer and steals the scene at various points of the film.
6. Kristen Stewart, Crimes of the Future
Perhaps one of the best at delivering unsettling dialogue, Kristen Stewart was born to be in a David Cronenberg film. In Crimes of the Future, Stewart plays Timlin, an uptight, skittish government employee who has a bit of a freaky nature. Her performance is skittish and unsettling but cranked all the way up. While it could be infuriating for some to watch, Stewart truly delivers one of her best performances to date.
5. Lashana Lynch, The Woman King
Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King has one of the best ensembles of the year, but Lashana Lynch is a standout in the film. Lynch has some of the greatest screen presence of any actor working today and in The Woman King she gets to flex that strength throughout. She provides comedic relief when needed, but is also a strong teacher. Lynch is given so much to do in the film, but it never feels too much.
4. Jessie Buckley, Women Talking
Women Talking is an ensemble film at its core, but Jessie Buckley delivers a powerhouse performance worth singling out. Buckley plays Mariche who is one of the more complicated characters in Women Talking as she is one of the women not ready to leave the colony. It is hard to side with her argument as an outsider. Buckley clearly is able to identify where her character’s pain comes from and plays her with such anger, yet heart it is impossible to look away from her.
3. Jennifer Ehle, She Said
In She Said, Jennifer Ehle delivers one of the most heart-wrenching performances of the year. Ehle plays Laura Madden with so much courage, love, and warmth you can’t help but get emotional about what is discussed on screen. Ehle truly brings home the performance by not making you pity Madden but rather understand her.
2. Claire Foy, Women Talking
While she isn’t the only actress from Women Talking on this list, Claire Foy stands out alongside an outstanding ensemble, partially because she is among the more confrontational of the group. Being a bigger performance does not automatically make it better, but Foy brings so much power and righteousness to her rage on display in Women Talking. Foy’s performance always feels proportional and grounded in reality.
1. Nicole Kidman, The Northman
For most of The Northman, Nicole Kidman is on the outside of the story. She doesn’t seem to have much to do other than be the ice queen to either of her on-screen husbands. But once you get to the third act, you understand why Kidman was cast in the film. She delivers one of the most twisted, wild performances of the year with a demented monologue. Kidman excels at the manic delivery needed in the moment. Robert Eggers perfectly allows Kidman to be the focus of her main scene and her chaotic, unsettling performance take the spotlight.
Lives in LA with her husband, daughter and dog. Misses Arclight, loves iced vanilla coffees.
Favorite Director: Darren Aronofsky