With the new year just started, it’s time for us movie fans to look ahead to the future of cinema. More than ever before, we’re seeing great films emerge from the unexpected, whether it’s an indie gem or a major studio production. We’re also seeing more great performances from incredible character actors and actresses. So while we wait for Netflix to release all of our favorite series, here’s a look back at some of the best performances from the past year.

15 Most Memorable Movie Performances Of 2019

The past year has been a thrilling one for movie fans. We’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see some incredible performances from all kinds of movie stars, whether they’re known for their on-screen chemistry or for their dramatic turns. We’ve seen a wide array of emotions, whether it’s fear, anxiety, or even joy. We’ve seen characters evolve over the course of the year, whether it’s through conversations, monologues, or even through a hug.

All of these factors make for some incredibly memorable performances that we’ll be talking about for years to come.

Here are 15 of the most memorable performances from the past year.

15. Logan Marshall-Thomson (20th Century Women)

Logan Marshall-Thomson’s performance as Kay as Goldie Tate in 20th Century Women is, quite simply, phenomenal. After breaking up with her boyfriend Thom, Logan decides to create a movie to tell him exactly how she feels. Using a camera, a notebook, and a dreamy-eyed naiveté that evokes the early days of amateur cinema, Logan sets out to make her voice heard above the din of the 20th century. While some critics have slammed the former child actress for her brimming-with-energy turn, we’ve got to say, we’re pretty sure we’d all fall in love with Kay first and foremost.

Not to mention that she’s one of the few actresses this year who managed to nail an American accent. We can’t praise Logan’s performance enough. She’s so good that she makes us question what it would have been like if Kay had actually gotten to say the things she wanted to say in the first place.

14. Elizabeth Olsen (Marquise)

Speaking of questioning what might have been, we’ve been pondering Elizabeth Olsen’s role in Marquise ever since we first saw her in the Netflix series. With her hair in waves, luminous skin, and steely blue eyes, Elizabeth Olsen is exactly the kind of actress that makes us yearn for bygone era of film stardom. Marquise is the story of a newlywed wife haunted by the ghost of her late husband, Philippe. In a way, Elizabeth Olsen embodies the role of Charlotte, the wife of Philippe, bringing to mind an entirely different time in history. In a way, we feel that we’ve known her all of our lives, even though it’s been only a few years since we’ve seen her on the big screen.

The comparisons between the two are obvious, but also fun. While we watch Olsen navigate the tricky waters of widowhood, we’re reminded of when she was a young, aspiring actress dreaming of one day landing her big break. While we watch Philippe’s ghostly influence creep in and take hold of Charlotte, we’re reminded of how much we miss seeing Elizabeth Olsen on the big screen.

13. Toni Garrn (Midsommar)

Speaking of comparisons, we can’t talk about memorable performances from the past year without mentioning Toni Garrn’s portrayal of Florence, the wife of an American inventor. In Midsommar, Florence is the epitome of a supportive wife, doting on her husband’s every need while also trying to navigate the complexities of a traditional Indian marriage. Toni Garrn’s restrained performance is perfect for the typically mild-mannered Florence.

Garrn gives us a glimpse into the inner workings of a marriage that is both traditional and modern at the same time. In many ways, Midsommar is Florence’s story, and it’s one that we hear multiple times over the course of the film. The character’s journey is as much about her as it is about her husband, as she comes to understand the meaning of ‘family’ and ‘responsibility’ in a way that is both unique and relatable.

12. Alissa Wilkinson (Little Women)

Another performance that we keep coming back to is Alissa Wilkinson’s portrayal of the feisty Jo. When she’s not stirring up trouble for her sisters, Jo is usually found working hard as the family’s governess. It’s a demure yet spirited performance that is both captivating and heartwarming. While we watch Jo’s life unfold on-screen, we’re reminded of just how much we miss our friend Alissa.

Alissa is, by nature, a very private person, which makes it all the more moving to see her portray such a large-scale character. With a career spanning several decades, Alissa has proven herself time and time again, giving us memorable performances in films such as Gosford Park, Notting Hill, and The Sweet Life. However, it’s important to note that she shies away from overly dramatic or loud scenes. Her reserved nature makes her an ideal fit for the role of such a mild-mannered individual. In fact, we often times wonder if she even wants to stick her neck out there and become the famous movie star that she could be.

11. Awkwafina (The Farewell)

Speaking of reserved, our next pick is also a bit of a cultural departure for our usual movie stars, but one that we think is essential for any fan of the stage. Often times, you’ll see Awkwafina, best known for her viral meme raps, playing characters that are either the complete opposite of her or characters that she doesn’t even bother trying to hide her lightness or edginess towards. In The Farewell, she gives a heartbreaking performance as an American student who returns home for her grandmother’s funeral, only to discover that her family has been lying to her. Awkwafina’s candor is captivating as she lays bare all of the lies that have been told her by those that she loves most. It’s a performance that is as raw as it is real, and one that proves once again why she’s become such a prominent figure in the rap scene, as well as a leader in the fight against mental health stigmas.

10. Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker)

The year 2019 was a banner one for Helen Mirren. Not only did she have a part in the biggest film of all time, as seen in the recently released Disney classic, Toy Story 4, but she also managed to snag a few critical and commercial victories, most notably at the 89th Academy Awards, where she won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Leisure Seeker. In the film, Mirren plays a successful businesswoman who is bored of her luxurious lifestyle, so she sets out to have as much fun as possible, with an unexpected (and highly profitable) result.

While the other actresses on this list have played some remarkably memorable roles, it’s Helen Mirren’s turn that really sticks out for us. From her work in The King’s Speech to her Academy Award-winning performance in The Leisure Seeker, it’s been a banner year for the legendary actress.

9. Lili Reinhart (The Littlest Salesperson)

Yet another Oscar-winning performance! This time, it’s for Best Supporting Actress, as well as one of the more prominent roles for Lili Reinhart in a while. In the dark comedy The Littlest Salesperson, Reinhart plays a grumpy, yet lovable, antique shop owner who is forced to deal with a steady stream of customers who all want to buy expensive things for cheap. It’s an incredible performance that has won the actress a devoted following, not to mention an Academy Award and a Golden Globe nomination. The film also marks the debut of one of our favorite contemporary comedians, John Mulaney. Together, the two shine in their new film, offering hilarious banter and some fantastic chemistry.

Reinhart’s performance is pitch-perfect, giving us a character that is endearingly human. While some might consider her gruff exterior a put-on, we think it’s just the actress’ natural enthusiasm for the part. She sellsie-a-sie, while also managing to make us believe that she could be friendly and inviting. For instance, she sings ‘Hey Jude’ with such conviction that it actually feels like she’s trying to sell us on-screen, as opposed to the other way around.