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The Best Amy Adams Performances

Amy Adams has become somewhat of an awards season staple with Oscar Nominations in 4 of the last 8 years. She makes a huge return in 2016 with a pair of vastly different films in the sci-fi drama, Arrival, and the mind-bending psychological thriller, Nocturnal Animals. Therefore, since Adams could be primed for another Oscar run for her role in this month's science fiction release, November's Movie List of the Month examines the finest work of her career (October's list).

Honorable Mention: Big Eyes, DoubtEnchanted, and The Muppets

#5. Junebug (2005)

Phil Morrison's original indie drama, Junebug, proved to be a catalyst for Amy Adams' career. The film follows an art dealer (Embeth Davidtz) and her new husband (Alessandro Nivola) as they travel back to his home southern town where she meets his family and pregnant sister-in-law (Adams). Amy Adams knocks her southern accent out of the park and shines in her wholesome, albeit it talkative, role. The film is decent enough, but it's Adams' strong work that landed her a first Oscar Nomination.

#4. The Fighter (2010)

The story of boxer "Irish" Mickey Ward propelled a successfully union with filmmaker David O. Russell. The Fighter highlights the career of Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his drug-addict brother (Christian Bale) who helped train him on his road to a title. Amy Adams gives a fine supporting turn as Ward's rough-around-the-edges girlfriend. Although The Fighter brought home Oscar wins for both Christian Bale and fellow supporting actress, Melissa Leo, Adams was also nominated herself for the impressive performance.

#3. Arrival (2016)

After catching Denis Villeneuve's new cerebral sci-fi effort, Arrival, at this year's Philadelphia Film Festival, it became impossible to leave the latest work from Adams off this list (review here). She stars as a linguistics expert whose summoned by the U.S. Military to help communicate with an alien species shortly after their vessels begin appearing in a dozen cities throughout the world. While the extent of success regarding her performance is still left to be determined, I was extremely pleased by her onscreen work. Low on science fiction and high on drama, Arrival's artsy venture into the genre is undoubtedly catapulted by her lead performance.

#2. American Hustle (2013)

In her second collaboration with David O. Russell, Amy Adams delivers one of the finest performances of her career. American Hustle tells the true story of a con man (Christian Bale) and his girlfriend (Adams) who are forced by an unpredictable FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) to bring down a slue of corrupt politicians. Adams' character is caught in a love triangle and the cloudiness of her intentions become a huge selling point in the film. She was magnificent enough in the film to capture her most recent Academy Award Nomination, but she still managed to walk away from Hollywood's biggest awards show as a statue-less talent.

#1. The Master (2012)

Finally, we arrive at the best showing of Amy Adams' career. Many actors and actresses dream of working with director Paul Thomas Anderson, and Adams took full advantage of their collaboration in 2012's The Master. While its been wildly speculated that the film is loosely based on the life of charismatic leader and originator of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard - which one would be hard pressed to argue against considering the overlapping similarities with the film's main character - Adams stars as the wife of a cult leader (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who brainwashes a vulnerable Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) and takes him under his wing. Although The Master represents a sluggish character study that's short on thrills and heavy on subtle nuance, Adams offers a ranging turn as a strong and an empowered co-conspirator of the cult. Outside of a trio of towering performances, The Master offers very little else. Yet, it can't be overstated that the work of Adams is nothing shy of brilliant.


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