Our Favorite Performances from the Cast of Ocean's 8

Our Favorite Performances from the Cast of Ocean's 8


Sandra Bullock, Gravity

I could have easily picked Speed to highlight in Sandra Bullock’s career (one of the best star-making performances in one of the best action movies of the ‘90s). But I had to go with the one performance of Bullock’s that has it all for me —  a woman pushed to her limit in a tense thriller that has to use her wits to save herself. In Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, Bullock plays astronaut Ryan Stone, who floats hundreds of miles above Earth, desperate to touch ground again. Cuarón’s Oscar-winning direction would be nothing without Bullock and her emotional trajectory. She’s smart, funny, and determined; her character embodies a lot of what we’ve seen Bullock do best in her career, reaching all the way back to Speed, and it’s a reminder of how incredible she is as a performer. - Marcelo Pico

The Aviator

Cate Blanchett, The Aviator

Before Martin Scorsese’s 2004 Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator I was only passingly familiar with Cate Blanchett. I'd known who she was, of course, but as far as I remember I never saw her in anything. Well, turns out her performance as the legendary Katherine Hepburn was a great way to be introduced. Like the best of actors, Blanchett didn't just do a simple impression of a well-known public figure, sure made Hepburn her own, infusing her with the charm and grace that Blanchett is now best known for. Her chemistry with DiCaprio, especially when his Hughes is being exceedingly standoffish, is a wonder to behold, showing her innate strength as an actress. A highlight of a performance in a picture that's filled with them, Blanchett won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, her first of two Academy Awards thus far (the second being Blue Jasmine), and deservedly so, as it's one for the ages. – Matt Curione

The Intern

Anne Hathaway, The Intern

With films like Rachel Getting Married, Colossal, Brokeback Mountain, Les Misérables, Interstellar, The Princess Diaries, and The Dark Knight Rises, Anne Hathaway has built an impressive career with a range of surprising, authentic performances. But for me, her role as Jules in the Nancy Meyers workplace comedy The Intern provides the best expression of Hathaway’s persona. The Intern was Hathaway’s first starring role after her “hiatus” following her Oscar win in 2013. And it’s a movie that works as a metaphor for the pressures put upon her as a movie star and actress. Her character, Jules, is pulled in different directions, held to impossible standards, and trying to be perfect at everything. Hathaway gets to be funny, exasperated, vulnerable, and tough, and Hathaway’s own “try-hard” reputation is a perfect match for Jules. Having to balance all these roles in a system that is built for failure is something Hathaway can relate to and her performance is heartfelt and charming as a result. – Manish Mathur

12 years a slave

Sarah Paulson, 12 Years a Slave

Co-stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o may have been the more recognized actors of 12 Years a Slave, but the work from Sarah Paulson should not be overlooked. Paulson’s Mary Epps has a far more frightening presence than her husband Edwin, played by Fassbender. She is more than aware that he has been carrying on an (admittedly one-sided) affair with slave Patsey, but rather than directing her anger towards her straying spouse, all of her seething wrath goes towards the other woman. (There is one instance where she throws a decanter at Patsey’s face seemingly unprovoked.) The few times she is onscreen shows how, even though she is living in a man’s world, especially in an era of segregation, Mary can and will instill fear into those who dare to enrage her. Edwin may be the one who runs the plantation, but Mary is the one responsible for keeping everything in check. – Anna Long

Sweeny Todd

Helena Bonham-Carter, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

When it comes to iconic stage musical performances, it takes a lot to top Angela Lansbury’s amazing take on Mrs. Lovett in Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. It also takes tremendous courage to even attempt the role, something that Helena Bonham-Carter did swimmingly in Tim Burton's 2007 film adaptation. Still one of his best movies, this adaptation isn't an exact copy, cutting out a good amount of the stage show; Burton makes it a wonderful horror/musical with great songs and blood to spare. Playing opposite Johnny Depp’s Oscar nominated Sweeney Todd, Bonham-Carter more than holds her own, from her hilarious renditions of “Worst Pies in London” and “By the Sea” to her heartbreaking part in “Not While I'm Around”, she gives a tour-de-force musical performance in one of the better Sondheim adaptations that fans have gotten so far. She's a treasure and an actress who's always worth seeking out, as her filmography clearly shows. – Matt Curione


Rihanna, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is full of exciting visual delights. The inspired world is home to some awe-inspiring sights, not the least of which are the creatures. One of the most visually dazzling species shown in the film is the shape-shifting Glamopod, of which we see one, Bubble, played by Rihanna. Bubble is an exotic dancer in one of space station Alpha’s seedier locales, taking full advantage of her shape-shifting abilities (and Rihanna’s dance skills). It’s one the movie’s best sequences; we all know that Rihanna can dance, what’s more surprising is that she later ends up being the key to the film’s most emotional scene. The scene, tonally reminiscent of the opera scene in The Fifth Element, sees the star more vulnerable than she’s ever been onscreen, and does well to inspire everything after it. – Marcus Irving

A Wrinkle in Time

Mindy Kaling, A Wrinkle in Time

Can we just declare 2018 the year of Mindy Kaling? As excited as I am to see her among Sandra Bullock’s fabulous Ocean’s 8 crew, I knew I had to seize this opportunity to write about Kaling’s first big movie of this year, the unjustly underrated A Wrinkle in Time. As Mrs. Who, a member of the cosmic trio that sends Storm Reid’s Meg Murry halfway across the universe to find her father, Kaling delivers a warm, soothing performance that couldn’t be farther from The Office’s shallow Kelly Kapoor or Inside Out’s disgusted, er, Disgust. Introduced among towers of books like a good witch in a fairy tale, Kaling creates a personality for a character who speaks entirely through quotations (from William Shakespeare to Lin-Manuel Miranda) and makes it look easy. I hope that A Wrinkle in Time will eventually get the young following it deserves, and that they find Mrs. Who as delightful as I do. – Kayleigh Hearn

Neighbors 2

Awkwafina, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising

A rising star in Hollywood, Awkwafina has a music career and plenty of work on television. Before her scene-stealing appearances in Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, she appeared in the 2016 sequel Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, playing Christine, a member of the rowdy sorority who move next to Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne’s characters. Her role is essentially a bit part, but she makes the absolute most of it, providing one-liners and standing out amongst the sorority group. It’s a wonderful start of what’s bound to be a long, fruitful career. - Marcelo Pico

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