27 Dec

Welcome to the 3rd. article in our five week series on Women in Hollywood.

By Open Book

With the Oscar’s looming, we wanted to list our Top 10 favorite leading lady performances of 2011. Of course some of the actresses we selected may not get nominated for an Oscar. However, we want to recognize and support the women who took a chance and captured our attention this year. So without further ado here are our Top 10 best leading lady performances of 2011.


1. Viola DavisThe Help

2. Michelle WilliamsMy Week With Marilyn

3. Charlize TheronYoung Adult

4. Rooney MaraThe Girl With A Dragon Tatoo

5. Tilda SwintonWe Need to Talk About Kevin


6. Kristen WiigBridesMaids
7Kate WinsletCarnage
8. Jodie FosterCarnage
9. Gisèle Casadesus- My Afternoons with Margueritte


10.    Elle Fanning- Super 8


Please join us for our open discussion all this week to find out why these actresses made our list. Plus we would like to know what female performances caught your attention this year and why?


  1. Comic Relief December 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM #


    Even though it may take a million years for the Globes, Academies, etc. to do the same; I really like the way this list includes comediennes and women from action movies. After all they’re acting too.

    It’s scary but; …….. Okay, I’m going to follow you out on a limb. One…two… three…….

    Though women do APPEAR in a lot of good films this year, the number of films featuring women doing inspiring performances is pretty low. I’ve said this other places so I am resisting saying this again but here goes. More often than not they verbally help move the narrative along, act as window dressing, or plot-wise figure as part of the collateral damage in some narratives. Women seemed to have scored excessively well in supporting roles this year but this is not the topic.

    Someone else will have write in behalf of Kyra knightly, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain etc.

  2. Comic Relief December 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM #

    It’s no surprise dramatic performances would feature the lion share of the best performances.

    Since this performance seems to have already been neglected I wanted to make sure other film enthusiasts consider “Young Adult” by Charlize Theron. George Clooney could learn a lot from her and Leonardo this year, (or Denzel Washington from previous years) if you want to win a best picture award try playing a villain. If unnecessary, place your charisma is the closet, store the good looks under the bed, and let someone else play the discernible good guy/gal.


    This movie takes typical a-lister assets and makes them look like weaknesses. I will not spoil the movie, but I think it took a lot of guts to transition from mildly detestable to where her character concludes the movie. Charlize is too cool for school and maybe this is why she hasn’t received many nominations.

    Thanks OB.

    • Littlebells December 27, 2011 at 5:02 PM #


      Going on broken sleep throughout the night, so help me out with what you were pointing out to me. 🙂 haha!!!

      • Comic Relief December 28, 2011 at 11:56 AM #


        Sorry for being way too subtle.

        Since you have done, I believe 3 articles on Hollywood Beauty, here’s a movie where the actress uses her attractiveness to make a statement about: (I’m going to try to restrain the spoilers) how physical beauty can challenge philosophical flexibility, how physical beauty can inhibit social responsibility and empathy, and how obsession with physical beauty can be a refuge from empirical reality.

        In short, I thought you would be impressed.

        I will try to be clearer the next time.

        • Littlebells December 28, 2011 at 12:06 PM #

          No, no, it wasn’t you, it was me! I’m more clear headed today and get what you were you were addressing. 🙂

          If I get a chance to see the film, I will. It is amazing how people rely on beauty so much and how it eventually backfires.

          Thank you for the suggestion!

          • Comic Relief December 28, 2011 at 12:11 PM #


            • Comic Relief December 28, 2011 at 12:15 PM #

              the laugh refers to:

              “…how people rely on beauty so much and how it eventually backfires…”

  3. ozzie20 December 27, 2011 at 7:43 PM #

    I want to see Elle Fanning in Super8 to see if she’s as good as her sister. From the clips I’ve seen, she does appear to be as good. Of course if I had received this for Christmas I would know this for sure, alas Santa did not bring it to me, lol! 🙂

    • Littlebells December 27, 2011 at 8:53 PM #


      I think Elle did a fantastic job and she is just as good or better than her sister. I don’t think you will be disappointed. 🙂

      • ozzie20 December 27, 2011 at 9:43 PM #

        Brilliant! Hopefully, I’ll be buying it myself soon, so I can see for myself. I can’t wait now!

    • Comic Relief December 28, 2011 at 12:07 PM #


      I would give Santa a break, because of the US’ tough economy he had more presents to deliver (state side) this year.

      In regard to Elle, she has a little more time on screen in “We Bought a Zoo” and that’s currently in theatres.

      As with most things, I agree with LB’s assessment regarding her acting.

  4. Littlebells December 28, 2011 at 10:45 AM #

    Ok, so incase anyone needs help as to “What movies came out 2011?”, here’s a great link:

    I’m working on my list of actresses…

    • Littlebells December 28, 2011 at 11:51 AM #

      Actresses I loved this year:

      Octavia Spencer–The Help
      Mia Wasikowska–Jane Eyre
      Jessica Chastain–The Help AND The Tree of Life
      Saiorse Ronan–Hanna

      Ok, there weren’t too many to honestly pick from this year. But maybe that’s because I’m actually paying more attention to roles/characters/movies this year.

      And yes, I realize The Fighter was last year, but I thought Amy Adams did a tremendous job and had a terrific character!

      • Open Book December 28, 2011 at 5:19 PM #

        Oh I like your list LB.

        Mia Wasikowska–Jane Eyre
        Saiorse Ronan–Hanna

        Great! Great! performances.

        • ozzie20 January 3, 2012 at 6:42 PM #

          I can’t believe I forgot about Siaorse Ronan! She was brilliant in Hanna.

    • Comic Relief December 28, 2011 at 12:13 PM #

      Great page.

      • Comic Relief December 28, 2011 at 12:13 PM #

        Great list.

  5. Open Book December 28, 2011 at 5:37 PM #

    I selected these women as my top 10 because I thought they took on roles outside of what were use to seeing them portray. For example Jodie Foster in a comedy! Also, Charlize Theron beautifully/ugly character in “Young Adult.” Elle Fanning was an unexpected surprise in “Super 8.” She really captures your attention from beginning to end in this film.

    Now I totally forgot and should have added, Mia Wasikowska–Jane Eyre & Saiorse Ronan–Hanna to my list as well. I thought they both did an amazing job this year.

    • Littlebells December 28, 2011 at 6:04 PM #

      Carnage did not make it to my theaters, but I really look forward to renting it! I love the cast and loved the trailer. I agree it is great seeing Jodie Foster in a comedy.

  6. Open Book December 28, 2011 at 5:42 PM #


    Are there any films coming out next year you are looking forward to seeing in theaters? If so what film and actress?

    • Littlebells December 28, 2011 at 6:25 PM #


      Have you happened to see Tree of Life? I know that doesn’t answer your question, but I had to know. I rented it a few weeks ago and was deeply moved. I’ve never seen a film written, directed, or filmed quite like it. I finished the movie speechless…

      Ok, films coming out this year….checking…checking….No. No, no, no…I just saw that Star Wars: Phantom Menace is supposed to come out in 3D. Noooo!!!! K, back to checking…

      “Man on a Ledge” (possibly): Elizabeth Banks is playing the negotiator, I believe. I like her a lot and remember her on SCRUBS. Now to see her in things like this and The Hunger Games…good for her!

      “Big Miracle”: Drew Barrymore taking on a serious role that has some real substance is appealing.

      “The Hunger Games”: Elizabeth Banks AND Jennifer Lawrence. Particularly Jennifer. I’m saddened to see she won’t be continuing on with the trilogy, but we all need to do what’s best for each of us. I really hope they don’t ask anyone else who’s big into franchises…*cough* I look forward to Jennifer’s performance!

      Will be back with more. 🙂

      • Littlebells December 28, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

        “Dark Shadows”: Helena Boham Carter AND Michelle Pfieffer

        “Darling Companion”: Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, and Elizabeth Moss

        “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World: Keira Knightly (I don’t think I’ve ever seen her in a comedy) and Melinda Dillon. I loved Dillon in “A Christmas Story”, “Harry and the Hendersons” and “Close Encounters”.

        “Prometheus”: Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace

        “Django Unchained”: the cast and director (Quentin Tarantino) are incredible…

        “Les Miserables”: Anne Hathaway and I’m pretty dang sure it’s going to be a musical version!!!!! YIPEE!!!!!

        “The Great Gatsby”: Carey Mulligan

        Aaaaand scene…

        • Open Book December 29, 2011 at 5:39 PM #


          Carey Mulligan “The Great Gatsby” Yes!! Yes!!

          Charlize Theron “Prometheus”

          U picked some great ones……

          I’ve not seen “The Tree of Life” yet. That’s on my list.

  7. Sony January 8, 2012 at 10:56 AM #

    I know that I’m much too late for this party but I just wanted to
    a) show you my new avi (I hope it works): I’m from Munich so I chose a view of the towers of our most famous cathedral
    b) to add the name of Kirsten Dunst to the list above; I only saw trailers from “Melancholia” but I thought her performance was really good and she deserved her best actress award at Cannes. I admit that I’ve liked her since “Interview with the Vampire”.
    Moreover I hope that you all had great holidays and I wish you all the best for 2012!

    • littlebells January 8, 2012 at 11:43 AM #

      I love your avi!!!! And the party is always going. 🙂

      • Sony January 8, 2012 at 1:03 PM #

        Thank you so much, LB (hugs)

    • Open Book January 8, 2012 at 8:25 PM #

      Ahh! Love your new AVI Sony.

      Happy New Year!

      I would really like to see Melancholia too.

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