Another year, another year-end list. I promise it's different and fun. 2022 has been full of great shows, maybe more great shows than great shows or movies. Narrowing it down to a select few is an almost impossible task, but this list of the best performers of 2022 is both serial and frivolous with two categories: movies and TV, and a few bonuses if you're tough enough at the end.
My criteria was simple: I narrowed it down to the main offerings, but also included supporting shows along with those that cut the main offerings. I chose shows that I liked and that I felt were refreshing for both the overall performance and the actor. From Cate Blanchett to Jon Hamm to Jon Bernthal, here are the best shows of 2022, IMO for those who watch and write about movies and TV:
Cate Blanchett, Tar
Cate Blanchett's decisions regarding Tarr led to Lydia Tarr's fate. Blanchett has been an actress for decades and has won two Oscars. He played an eclectic cast during those decades, including Queen Elizabeth I, a dwarf from Middle Earth, Katharine Hepburn and Bob Dylan. But none of these performances were as transformative as Blanchett's portrayal of Lydia Tarr, the famous singer-songwriter who suffers a minor mental breakdown that nearly ends her illustrious career. Blanchett hides behind Lydia Tarr's idiosyncrasies, her poses, sharp hands and piercing eyes. His intimidating demeanor brought the character to life in a way that had many people convinced that the completely fictional character was a real person they had never heard of. Work force!
Austin Butler , Elvis
Before I saw Elvis , I asked myself, "Who is this Austin Butler guy and why is everyone so obsessed with him?" It doesn't take long for the film to see why Denzel Washington would fight for this man. He has the natural charisma of an old Hollywood actor, the looks and body language that fit Elvis, and most importantly, the modern, no-holds-barred touch needed to star in Baz Luhrmann's wacky, wacky films. It's also Butler's proof that Tom Hanks' messy, so-bad, good performance.
Colin Farrell, Batman and the Banshees by Inisharin
In the first quarter of 2022, Colin Farrell gives a performance in The Batman that no one knew he was capable of. In a very serious and sexy movie, Farrell is neither serious nor sexy. Farrell plays legendary villain Penguin as if he were the Muppet version of Joe Pesci (that's a compliment). In the second half of the year, Farrell delivers his opposite: a ruthlessly witty and emotionally vulnerable portrait of a sweet, animal-loving Irishman whose best friend suddenly decides he doesn't want to be friends anymore. Her expressive eyebrows are more expressive than ever. It's Pharrell's best performance to date, and even more impressive than his performance in The Batman.
Michelle Yeh , everything is all over the place at once
Michelle Yeoh had a busy schedule, doing everything and everywhere at the same time. His performance requires a super-awareness, as almost the entire film hinges on his decades-long career as an action star. It was meant to be the emotional heart of a busy, complex and unpredictable story. If both don't work, then the whole movie won't work. Yeh presents both at the highest possible level, with a natural, mentally vulnerable yet physically strong performance that grows in suspense and complexity with each passing hour. Oh, and he also had to get serious about hot dog sticks. Only adults can.
Getting to know Jon Hamm Fletch
Jon Hamm's post- Mad Men career hasn't gone as well as one might have hoped, Jon Hamm might have gone. The Emmy Award-winning lead actor in one of the greatest TV shows of all time tried admirably to translate his unique, energetic charisma and undeniably good looks into other leading roles, even Confess , Fletch. A perfect match for a quirky but charming (if quirky) investigative reporter, Hamm has finally found his sweet spot: Hamm is at his best when he's funny and likable.
Jon Bernthal , we own this town and the bears
In 2022, Jon Bernthal is full of energy. Bernthal can play big characters that are borderline caricatures with such precision that they are as big as they can be, but at the same time original and accurate. In We Own This Town , Bernthal plays the brave Sergeant Wayne Jenkins, who is sentenced to 25 years in prison. Bernthal plays it with all his personality, without judgment and with the relentless energy needed for a limited-edition cop series. For her tiny, brief appearance in The Bear , Bernthal brings so much energy that it almost feels like she's setting your screen on fire. It hurts how small her role is, but her presence is huge, and she won't be leaving the show whether or not she reappears.
Amanda Seyfried, abandoned
Seyfried's performance in The Dropout is no longer invention: it did win an Emmy, after all. But the performance is so good that it absolutely bears repeating how good it is. TV specials based on recent events are inevitable at this point on Peak TV (everything is adapted), but Seyfried's sarcastic, funny, sensitive yet highly critical performance (and rightly so) makes up for her being the founder of Theranos , Elizabeth Holmes. The title is central to the story. If you skip that, you're basically missing something.
Olivia Cooke, Dragon House
In House of the Dragon , Olivia Cooke plays the adult version of Alicent Hightower. Cook certainly fits the role, but his best trick is his composure. While Alicent certainly suffers from trauma throughout the season, including but not limited to losing her son in sight to her nephew/best friend's son, Alicent lets it go in the final episode. Cook gives an emotionally explosive performance as she is convinced she will die at the hands of the dragon's fire, and her face and body reveal Alicent's years of trauma and anguish after being forced to give birth by her father, the Queen. Well, at first, at its best. Dates with a hostage friend and the closest thing to a sister.
All , white lotus
It doesn't take much to explain: from Jennifer Coolidge shooting a group of gays and then falling off a yacht to Tom Hollander's silent threats to Theo James and Megan Fahey, which somehow make Cameron and Daphne the friendlier characters. Everyone in The White Lotus gave memorable performances worthy of a new season for their characters.
Everything, the stairs
The entire cast of the HBO Max series, including Toni Collette, Colin Firth, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sophie Turner, Juliette Binoche, Parker Posey (who portrays gay sex with a Southern accent) and Rosemary DeWitt, should receive an EGOT. surcease
Donkey, Banshees from Inisharin
Jenny Donkey is the best friend of Padrick (Colin Farrell). Big spoiler here, but Jenny chokes to death on Colm's (Brendan Gleeson) finger. I screamed at the TV when it happened and was so upset that I encouraged Padraic to kill the dog in the pen as revenge. Oscar for that ass please.
Jen Shah and Lisa Barlow, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
For starters, reality TV has a performance element, and two of the cast members of Bravo's The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City have turned it into an art form, albeit for very different reasons. Last year, actress Jane Shah was arrested and charged with money laundering and wire fraud for her involvement in a telemarketing scam. Shah pleaded not guilty to both charges days later, and for more than a year maintained his complete innocence to the show's crew and audience. The catchphrase heard before every episode of the current season of the series is: "The only thing I have to do is watch Shah." In July 2022, Shah pleaded guilty. If you want to base your own legal drama, Vulture has a great guide. Shah will be sentenced on January 6, 2023.
On the other hand, Lisa Barlow was just a reality TV star. The self-proclaimed "Queen of Sundance" and CEO of Vida Tequila knows how to tell stories and prioritizes her audience looking good over looking good. Barlow has also proven to be a fast food influencer. If you, like many others, have been bombarded with Wendy's commercials featuring a dark-haired white woman promoting Peppermint Frosty, you've seen Lisa Barlow's influence without even realizing it.