A show-stealing performance in a feature debut, the lead in a film where he has every credit and an actress playing dual roles in a wild comedy.

Here are our picks for the Best Lead Performances in a Comedy Movie in 2021.

5.) Cooper Hoffman (Licorice Pizza)

The first of Paul Thomas Anderson’s strokes of casting brilliance is the use of Cooper Hoffman, the son of frequent PTA-collaborator Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Right from the opening scene, he wins you over with his confidence and straightforwardness as Gary, an aspiring acting and business hustler. Hoffman is brilliant as the teen looking for fresh schemes to make some money and deal with his crush on Alana. The way he looks at her is perfect, so relatable as many a guy has looked at a woman they like just like that.

– Ashley Hobley

Licorice Pizza Review

“Cooper Hoffman, the son of Philip Seymour Hoffman, is sensational.”

4.) Kristen Wiig (Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar)

Wiig plays both the villain and hero in Barb and Star; Kristen Wiig’s commits to two very outlandish and comic book-like characters, with one being a riff on a typical Bond villain, and the other an SNL character in larger form. Star is a dreamer, loud and often oblivious to what’s going on around her, but lovable all the fewer thanks to Wiig and the chemistry she has with all of her co-stars.

– Dylan Blight

3.) Emma Stone (Cruella)

Although purists of the 101 Dalmaion Story are left shook by Cruella and Emma Stone’s portrayal of Estella/Cruella. Stone delivers such a fun, loud and vibrant performance full of plenty of laughs, shocking and devilish moments. If you haven’t watched Cruella yet, and you do find yourself confused about whether it’s okay to like her in this film, don’t worry, it’s okay; this isn’t the same character you’ve seen before.

– Dylan Blight


Cruella (Blu-Ray)

2.) Alana Haim (Licorice Pizza)

The second of Paul Tomanas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza casting masterstrokes sees him casting Alana Haim, from the band Haim, as his female lead. As the 25-year-old woman trying to figure out what to do with her life while also dealing with this connection she has with Gary, Haim is really something special. There is an incredible naturalness to her performance that you can’t look away from while being brash, sweet and endearing. A very impressive debut.

– Ashley Hobley

Licorice Pizza Review

“Alana Haim, the youngest of the sisters from the pop-rock band Haim, is amazing in the role.”

1.) Bo Burnham (Bo Burnham: Inside)

On top of the catchy songs, the beautiful cinematography and funny jokes, Bo Burnham also delivers an amazing performance. The slow decline of ‘Bo’ over his isolation period hit close to home and felt very real and raw. With experience performing on stage, it isn’t surprising that Burnham is able to do some of his skits and bits in one take, but some of these required impeccable timing, like the reaction video where he starts reacting to himself or “That is How The World Works” where he is joined by Socko. Pulling something like that off is incredibly impressive as is this entire project.

– Ashley Hobley

Dylan Blight and Ashley Hobley compiled this Top 5 list. The movies nominated must have had a theatrical release in a cinema, VOD or on a streaming platform within December 27th 2020 – December 27th 2021.