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4 Favorite Ladies of Cinema in 2011 - 12 Days of TMA

Today for our 12 Days of The Movie Advocate series, we're looking at our 12 favorite ladies in cinema of 2011.

Ryan's List:

4. Emma Stone as Emma Stone in Real Life

Emma Stone! She’s so funny! Don’t you think you’d be best friends if you ever met? Like, you run into her at a bar or something and you both happen to order the same drink – something kind of old-timey and nostalgic. And you have a laugh about how no one orders them anymore, but they remind you of your grampa, and then somehow it comes out that you’re both from Illinois*, and isn’t that funny? So you stay at the bar all night, even after all the friends you came with have left, talking about Illinois and drinking Manhattans until finally the waiter comes over and says, “so… can I get you anything else?” in that tone they use when really they just want you to leave because it’s closing time and there’s still so many lemons to cut. So you pay the tab and leave, and you’re standing there on the sidewalk, knowing you’re probably not really best friends with Emma Stone, but for that one night you were best friends with a movie star, and you can’t wait to tell all your other, pedestrian friends that she was actually so nice and normal and fun! So you say goodbye to Emma Stone, and hug sort of awkwardly like the end of a middle-school date. And when you start walking home you’re barely around the corner when you start to text someone about it but you stop, thinking that telling everyone about it right away cheapens it somehow. Makes it less real. But then suddenly your phone buzzes in your hand and it’s a text from Emma Stone – you exchanged numbers earlier never thinking either of you would ever use them – asking you if you want to have brunch the next day? It’s sort of a business thing, but it could still be fun, plus, there’s mimosas, so whaddya say? And then suddenly you are friends with a movie star, and you start getting nervous that you’re gonna fuck it up so you should call in that Xanax prescription now while you’re thinking about it. Don’t you think that sometimes? Best Part: Every scene with her and Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love. I was so ready to hate that movie and was then completely charmed.

3. Rooney Mara as Lisbeth in the trailer for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The actual movie hasn’t come out yet, so I put her in with a little trepidation, especially since I found the books about as dull as a Subway sandwich; but her hair is so crazy! And the bleached eyebrows OMG! And she was good in that one scene of The Social Network, so the odds are good! Best Part: Bleached eyebrows! Motorcycles!

2. Kristen Wiig as Annie in Bridesmaids

Actually, Bridesmaids and Melancholia would make for an incredible double feature, now that I think of it. Call it “Reasons Not To Get Married”. I tried to think of a performance that was a little less “mainstream” - perhaps a little more underseen (Michelle Williams and Shirley Henderson in Meek’s Cutoff both come to mind), but Wiig is just so damn funny and effortlessly WEIRD as the lead in a blockbuster summer comedy I can’t leave her out. Best Part: Annie’s drunken airplane meltdown tour-de-force centerpiece.

1. Kirsten Dunst as Justine in Melancholia

This is maybe my favorite performance of any lady, ever, in the history of film. Dunst fucks, yells and cries her way towards the apocalypse, taking her whole hapless family along for the ride. She’s as beautiful as broken porcelain, and Lars Von Trier knows exactly how to direct her. I hope they develop some kind of Allen/Keaton relationship, but with more crying and inappropriate sex. Best Part: Justine hikes up her wedding dress and fucks her bosses’ hot young assistant in a golf course sand trap during her own wedding reception. My hero! I should also mention that Charlotte Rampling as Justine’s mother gives one of the all time best wedding toasts of all time.

*I am not from Illinois, and I don’t think Emma Stone is, either.

Justin's List:
4. Alison Pill – Midnight in Paris/Goon

One of my new favorite supporting actresses since I saw her awesome turn as Kim Pine in last year's Scott Pilgrim. Allison Pill has since shown up in two of my favorite movies from this year, as Zelda Fitzgerald in Midnight in Paris, and as the love interest in Goon. Those three roles show great range. I'm super excited to see what she does next, and to hopefully see her in a leading role.

3. Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids was a revelation. You need to see it. Kristen Wiig is one of the great comedians of this generation.

2. Melodie Sisk – Vacation!

Melodie Sisk is the cool one at the party that will steal your girlfriend away when you're not looking. I wanted another chance to rep Zach Clark's incredible existential beach movie. Vacation! is hugely deserving of a wide audience and a cult following and Sisk is a big part about why the movie works.

1. Tilda Swinton – We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk about Kevin was my favorite new movie of the year. Tilda Swinton gives the performance of her life here.

Luke's List:

4. Jodie Foster - The Beaver, Carnage

Okay, so a lot of props go to Jodie for braving the waters and making a low budget movie staring one of the most hated men in Hollywood right now: Mel Gibson. I wanted more from the movie, but I love risks, and Jodie Foster, a women not really known for directing, or really being very visual at all. It's as though she doesn't need anyone to look at what she's doing, and that sort of confidence is hard to find basically anywhere. She's just a solid, unflappable woman, and I love her for that, and I always will. I haven't seen Carnage yet, but it looks brilliant, and can't wait for it.

3. Saoirse Ronan - Hanna

Dang. She gave me shivers in Hanna. I haven't seen her in all the other movies in which she's been nominated for many awards for her performances, but I can definitely see what I've been missing. Add my name to the list of people who are 1) interested in seeing where her career goes, and 2) hoping that she doesn't get burned out and is actually having fun.

2. Jessica Chastain - The Tree of Life

While basically everyone plays a minor role in this movie other than Hunter McCracken, Jessica's performance continues to stand out to me. Her ability is such that she made the entire movie more engrossing, her comfortable, natural performance was warming and soothing. She was also in 6 other movies that came out this year, which makes a little bit of sense when considering that she probably filmed most of her scenes in The Tree of Life over a the last 3 years, but that only kind of makes up for it. Dang, she's working hard, and it's good to see that she's getting recognition.

1. Kirsten Wiig - Bridesmaids

Kirsten Wig co-wrote and then starred in one of the best movies I've ever seen, and that movie is Bridesmaids. I was wary, because of Judd "You-Don't-Mess-with-the-Zohan" Apatow's name tied to it, but I was convinced by my friend Beth that it would be worth it, and it totally was. I think it's a turning point in not only American Comedies, but American Cinema in general. It's funny, smart, and doesn't pander to the audience. I can't say I'm much of a fan of her on SNL, but let's be honest, I haven't liked SNL since I was 10 and watching the Sandler/Farley era SNL skits, so that's not really saying anything. Thank you Kirsten Wig. (oh, and I would have mentioned the obviously brilliant Melissa McCarthy, but since I'm too desperately in love with Gilmore Girls, it would kind of seem a little biased).

Josh's List:

4. Elle Fanning - Super 8

Fanning's turn in "Super 8" is getting well deserved award buzz. She was brilliant in the film, showing a versatility the Potter brigade wish they had at her age. Watch for her down the line.

3. Michelle Monaghan - Source Code

Monaghan has a charm and easy beauty that directors look for in amuse. She was great in "Source Code" which proved to me she was more than just a face.

2. Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids

Funny and beautiful. Nuff said.

1. Kat Dennings - Thor

She wasn't really all that great in "Thor" but I really just wanted an excuse to search for pictures of her. I call that 15 mins. well spent.

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