The doe-eyed, feature-packed belle, Emma Stone has contributed some of the most iconic characters to the Hollywood film industry. Her onscreen presence is so strong that one knows almost immediately how she’s more than a pretty face. In honor of her most recent Academy Award nomination, here are 10 of her best performances in movies (in my opinion).
Crazy, Stupid, Love
Portraying fun-loving comfort characters on screen takes more than you’d think. But if there’s one person who knows how to get the job done, it is Emma Stone. Playing Hannah, alongside Ryan Gosling’s Jacob, she effortlessly exudes confidence, grace, and strength. Hannah is not a pick-me girl and she makes men work hard for the pursuit of romance, which is very refreshing in a romantic comedy. It is also one of those movies that defined a very notable distinction in her career. Ryan and Emma together were so easy on the eyes. Though the movie wasn’t exactly all about them, their charisma most definitely stole the limelight.
Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Emma Stone’s acting versatility was put in the spotlight in Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). She plays the titular supporting role of Sam, Riggan Thomson’s daughter and a recovering druggie. Sam’s vulnerability and raw emotion were perfectly brought to light. It is, to this date, considered one of her most challenging roles. This also happens to be the first time she was acknowledged by the Oscars, winning her first-ever nomination. Stone exhibited her immaculate range by playing an ‘unconventional’ character that elevated her rank in the eyes of filmy gurus.
Emma Stone as a 17-year-old high-school girl? Now, that’s something you don’t see every day. Playing the lead role of Olive Penderghast, in Easy A, Stone flashes all of her gifted innocence and breathtaking charm, making Easy A one of the most well-received teen films. I mean how many cinephiles do you know who do not sing the Sunshine Song in the shower? Talk about impact.
Black comedies seem to be the niche in which Emma Stone proves her skills as a wicked-good actress. Playing Abigail Hill in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favorite, Emma packs a punch of humor, loyalty, and that much-needed edge that makes The Favorite, a fan-favorite. This collaboration is nothing short of dreamy. It is one of my favorite creative takes on beautiful slash cruel characterizations. I will never (ever!) stop talking about the fictitious world created by Lamthimose and how perfectly Emma fits in like the last piece of the puzzle.
Firstly, it is not easy to share screen space with someone as talented and intimidating as Emma Thompson. That’s when you need someone promising to play one of the most beloved Disney villains An outcast with a knack for fashion design. Estella/Cruella is a go-getter and will do anything to leave her (evil) mark in the world. Bruised by trauma, Cruella/Estella couldn’t have been done by anyone other than Stone herself. From the innocent girl who wears glasses and holds her sketchbook, to a merciless diva who serves style and wickedness, she delivered more range than most actors acquire in their entire career. It remains one of the most iconic live-action remakes of time.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Now this is supposed to be a superhero film. But let’s not forget how brilliant you need to be if you are to draw everyone’s attention despite not being the superhero yourself. The blunt-banged, sweet yet fierce Gwendolyn “Gwen” Stacy is the primary love interest of Peter Parker (played by Andrew Garfield) in the Amazing Spider-Man series. She’s a level-headed smart girl, who doesn’t think twice before helping her loved ones. The filmmakers knew what they were doing when they decided to cast Emma Stone for this. It is not very hard to guess how gut-wrenching it is to lose the most lovable characters of all time and traumatize the audience forever. The way she sparkled up this role can truly make her win the award for ‘Best Ever Spiderman Girlfriend’. And I know you do not disagree.
Post-apocalyptic horror-comedy Zombieland was graced by Emma’s feisty character, Wichita, aka Krista. She’s Little Rock’s older sister and is the epitome of a smart bad girl. I think playing ‘intelligent’ characters comes naturally to her. Emma shines as a fighter and leader who loves her sister deeply. Again, this role set the ground for some of the major roles she would pick up in the future and is, therefore, a stepping stone for her journey to become what she is today.
Emma’s voice-acting in the adventure-comedy film The Croods just added another layer of splendor to her career. Eep, is certainly ahead of her time. She’s the curious eldest daughter of Grug and wants to explore the world, outside of her measly cave. Eep is a strong damsel, who’s certainly not in distress. Just thinking about Emma’s quirky voice makes us nod to the fact that she is the right person to do justice to be a part of this one-of-a-kind family.
La La Land
Emma Stone played the role of the very vibrant, creative, and misunderstood Mia Dolan in Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-nominated feature, La La Land. Mia is the embodiment of almost every other girl, who wants to hit the Hollywood jackpot. Apart from the fact that this got her an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, there isn’t anything like this she has ever done. Sure complex characters are hard to nail, but if you thought simple characters are easy to portray, you were in the dark. The beauty of the film doesn’t just lie in the stunning set designs and concepts. The jaw-droppingly uncomplicated acting of both Ryan and Emma makes this feature hard to forget.
Now here’s a character that is anything but simple. Just from its conception, Emma Baxter is one of the most intricate characters that have ever been pinned down. This seemingly naïve, yet smart woman is brought to life by a mad scientist and she embarks on a journey of self-discovery, in Poor Things. Emma’s aloofness and growth, as the movie progresses, is a job well done by Stone. All eyes are on her now as she is headed towards another Oscar with a nomination for this role.
Undoubtedly, Emma Stone knows her ways of bagging a good script. All of these movies showcase her true abilities as an actor. You may come to these for the plot, but you will stay for Emma Stone!