Women Who Dare

Chastain, Robbie, McDormand, Hawkins, Stone

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BY: Claire Connors

Let’s go ahead and call it: 2017 is the Year of the Woman…hitting back. Hard. After seemingly endless accounts of sexual abuse, harassment, and mistreatment of women at the hands of powerful men in the entertainment industry, the chickens have come home to roost. And nothing shows that power most effectively than strong female roles in cinema. Here are the five performances we find the most daring, courageous, and downright dazzling so far this year.

We’ve already acknowledged Margot Robbie‘s near-perfect portrayal of skater Tonya Harding, but it bares repeating: she is so insanely over the top in I, Tonya, it will be her game changer in terms awards and future roles. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

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Our favorite feminist, actor Jessica Chastain, has been wowing us ever since her poignant turn as Celia Foote, a lonely, liberal-minded Marilyn-wannabe in the groundbreaking civil rights era movie, The Help (2011). A year later in Zero Dark Thirty she played the lead CIA operative in the 10-year search for the most wanted man in history, Osama bin Laden. Both roles got her Academy Award nods. In her newest, Molly’s Game, she portrays a real-life sexy, savvy poker game producer for the rich and richer. Will 2017 be Jessica’s lucky year at the Oscars?

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The delicate Sally Hawkins is in the odd position of possibly being nominated for two roles this year. In the biopic Maudie, she plays Maude Dowley, a beloved Canadian folk artist with severe arthritis and in Guillermo del Torro‘s The Shape of Water, she’s a mute janitor who falls in love with an amphibious science experiment. Both performances are breathtaking. We’ll be holding our breath on Oscar night.

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If there’s one thing that the hilariously dark film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has taught us: do not fuck with Frances McDormand. This actor came to kick ass and chew gum…and she’s all out of gum. Ever since her first-ever role in the Coen Brother‘s debut, Blood Simple (1984), playing a sexy adulterer, we’ve been hooked. So have the Coen’s, who created her Oscar-winning role, Marge Gunderson, in 1996’s Fargo. We’re not the betting type, but if we were, our money would be on Frances for Best Actress this year.

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Our final entry is Emma Stone, last year’s winner for Best Actress in La La Land. We loved her intensity and physicality in the real-life drama Battle of the Sexes, about the tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. But what stands out, and gives Emma a deserved spot in this list of daring women, was her tender portrayal of Billie Jean as she discovered who she was as a loving, sexual person.

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