We're psyched to recap our favorite actors of 2011 for one selfish reason: With Christmas break upon us, we can finally ball up with a pack of Twizzlers and a cup of tea, and watch all of our favorite films on the couch. Here are the scene stealers we'll Nexflix over and over again...
BIGGEST STAR TURN (FEMALE): MICHELLE WILLIAMS IN MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
She's been amazing onscreen before (Blue Valentine and Dawson's Creek were equally addictive), but the 31-year-old's startling resurrection of Marilyn Monroe was so incredible, we almost suspected Williams' channeled the film icon with help from an evil psychic. This is Williams' Black Swan moment - as soon as they announce Oscar hopefuls in January, nobody will even remember who else is nominated.
BIGGEST STAR TURN (MALE): RYAN GOSLING IN DRIVE.
This is the only violent movie we've ever watched without covering our eyes. Bryan Cranston's brilliant bad-luck mobster was one reason. Gosling's total package of brooding, anger, and hope was the other. Nevermore will we confuse this guy with Ryan Reynolds...
MVP: ROONEY MARA IN GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO AND TANNER HALL
It's a funny coincidence that both of Rooney Mara's breakout roles this year- as a boarding school student in Tanner Hall and then her turn as the stone-cold hacker Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- didn't require much dialogue. But that doesn't matter, because this girl can express more emotion with one blank stare than
anyone else we know. We named her our Most Likely To Succeed last year because of her Social Network scenes, and we were right- Rooney has shot straight to the top.
BEST INGENUE: FELICITY JONES IN LIKE CRAZY
The British actress and her costar Anton Yelchin improvised most of their lines during this fall's romance drama with only a 50-page plot outline. It's a risky method, sure, but it worked thanks to Jones's performance. Her character Anna's perky
talkativeness dwindles into awkward silences as she and Jacob's relationship becomes more strained, making the couple's love story so painfully realistic, we almost hated her American rival Jennifer Lawrence (something that's normally impossible!).
BEST TEAMWORK: THE KIDS OF SUPER 8
Joel Courtney, Riley Griffiths, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills, and Elle Fanning proved age is nothing but a number in Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abram's supernatural blockbuster, keeping the film from swaying too far into kitschy special-effects territory with scenes of quirky humor (zombie makeup, anyone?), issues like absent parents, and that memorable first-crush intensity. Is it weird that we wish we were friends with them?
MOST FEARLESS: THE WOMEN OF BRIDESMAIDS
Dear Kristin Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Ellie Kemper, Rose Byrne, and Maya Rudolph: Thank you for being mean, insecure, outspoken, gross, demanding, and horribly wrong. Thank you also for being beautiful, smart, cool, funny, inspiring, sensitive, and perfectly right. And thank you for doing all of it in the span of this year's most hysterical film. Girl power lives!
BEST IMPORT: MELANIE LAURENT
The "Coolest Girl in the World" competition just got a new entry in the form of Melanie Laurent, the Tarantino darling from France who wowed in Inglorious Bastards and then made us laugh and cry and hate life and love movies in Beginners, where she more than held her own opposite Ewan McGregor. Nous sommes obsédés!
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: ELIZABETH OLSEN
Next year, she stars opposite Dakota Fanning, Robert DeNiro, and Glenn Close in three separate projects. And she's only 22...
MEDALS OF IT-GIRL HONOR
Saorsie Ronan for her blazing performance in Hana, Hailee Steinfeld for nabbing Claire Danes' old part in Romeo + Juliet, Juno Temple for killing it in Dirty Girl, Chloe Moretz for being an age-appropriate starlet in Hugo, Annaleigh Tipton for erasing all memories of Top Model in Crazy Stupid Love, Jessica Chastain for co-starring in absolutely everything and doing it well, and Abigail Breslin for bravely flashing Sarah Jessica Parker (and all of Grand Central Station!) in New Year's Eve.
Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe
Ryan Gosling as The Driver
Felicity Jones as Anna
Elle Fanning as Alice
Rooney Mara as Fernanda
Melanie Laurent as Anna
Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, Marcy, May, and Marlene