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It was a year of so many stellar screen performances that no list of 25 could possibly cover them all.
Hence such omissions as the expertly gauged interplay between Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, as distinctly different men of God, approaching one another with prickly caution and forging an unexpectedly deep connection in The Two Popes.
Absent, too, are star turns from some of the more overtly Oscar-baity showcases of 2019, among them Renée Zellweger's full immersion into the title role of Judy, creditably doing her own singing and zealously re-creating the iconic Judy Garland's stage performances during her tragic decline; and Cynthia Erivo's flinty determination in a less flashy, but also more dutiful biodrama, Harriet, about legendary Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.
Our top 25 instead recognizes work that harnesses movie-star luster with seemingly effortless megawatt intensity, like Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, or Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers; head-turning portrayals by newcomers like Tom Mercier in Synonyms, Taylor Russell in Waves and Chris Galust and Lolo Spencer in Give Me Liberty; and infinitely complex characterizations from gifted American actresses given the rare but welcome chance to carry a movie, like Mary Kay Place in Diane and Alfre Woodard in Clemency.
It was also a year of exceptional performances in international films, as evidenced by the representation of exquisite work in movies from Spain, Brazil and an especially strong contingent from France.
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