Oscar winners. Emmy winners. Golden Globe winners. Rising stars and veteran performers. The female voice is being heard loud and clear on the big screen and the small, with quality roles for women becoming far more prevalent. Discover these leading ladies and more in-store this month as part of JB Hi-Fi’s selection of wonderful women to watch.
This awesome Aussie has taken Hollywood by storm, and her committed performance as disgraced Olympian figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya received well deserved Oscar and Golden Globe nominations in 2018. I, Tonya may be Robbie’s show, but co-star and Oscar-winner Allison Janney almost steals it from her as Tonya’s foul-mouthed, chain-smoking mother, LaVona.
Brilliant as Peggy in Mad Men, Elisabeth Moss took it to the next level with her heartbreaking portrayal of the oppressed but resilient Offred in The Handmaid’s Tale, for which she received a Golden Globe and Emmy. The gruelling series sees her in the company of two other great women to watch – Aussie Yvonne Strahovski as her harsh keeper Mrs. Waterford, and the always wonderful Ann Dowd as the authoritarian Aunt Lydia.
Television receives the royal treatment in The Crown and star Claire Foy gives a majestic performance as the young Queen Elizabeth II, who must navigate the complexities of the monarchy. The versatile actress also proved she could throw herself into the action, slipping into the role of hacker Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web. “Claire is fantastic and emotes in a way that not a lot of actors are able to do,” director Fede Alvarez told STACK. “She has very few lines so it’s all about getting things done and showing her emotion through her actions.”
A worthy winner of the Best Actress Oscar last year for her performance as the robust Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – a role written specifically for McDormand, and the heartbeat of the film. She’s a feisty, foul-mouthed force of nature in a boiler suit, whose grief has solidified into a diamond-hard determination to see justice done. But she’s also capable of compassion at the most unlikely moments, and it’s her unpredictable nature that drives this pressure cooker drama.
Octavia Spencer is always a joy to watch and duly received the 2012 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Southern maid Minnie Jackson in The Help, bringing comic relief to some heavy themes. The film also gifts strong roles to the marvellous Jessica Chastain and Viola Davis. Spencer is also a highlight of another civil rights era drama, Hidden Figures, playing one of the beautiful minds that had a vital role in NASA’s space program during the 1960s, and backed up by fellow leading ladies Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monáe.
A female Doctor Who had been teased since the end of Tom Baker’s era, and in 2018 it finally happened! Broadchurch star Jodie Whittaker took to the role of TV’s iconic time traveller with gusto and was instantly recognisable as the Doctor. Gender became irrelevant. “I approach every scene and encounter as completely brand new,” Whittaker told STACK. “It felt like the right thing for this Doctor, and really liberating for an actor stepping into a role that’s been played before.”
This Aussie rising star joins Julia Ormond and Rachael Taylor in Bruce Beresford’s critically acclaimed period drama, Ladies in Black. The then 17-year-old won the 2018 AACTA Award for Best Lead Actress for her performance as a bookish schoolgirl who takes a holiday job in a prestigious Sydney department store in 1959, where she is awakened to a world of possibilities by her co-workers. Just as the ‘ladies in black’ on the high-fashion floor have a big influence on her character, Rice’s co-stars were equally inspiring. “I was the youngest one, but I just felt so comfortable on set,” she told STACK. “I was excited to go to work every day. It really was just like working in a department store with four incredible women.”