From some lawyers a wizard, a wizard at chess and a time-traveller, these our favourite leading performances in a dramatic role for 2020. An absolute stellar year with a varied list of performances and characters.
Here are our picks for the Top 5 Leading Performances in a Drama Series.
5.) Lisa Vicari for Dark: Season 3
The third and final season of Dark introduced a brand new twist for Lisa Vicari‘s role as Martha Nielsen. A new version of the character that is a time traveller and the equal to the show’s lead, Jonas. And in one season Vicari had to carry and develop as much pain, history and drive that we’d come to learn about Jonas over the past two seasons. A true testament to her acting abilities that Vicari pulled it off.
– Dylan Blight
4.) Bob Odenkirk for Better Call Saul: Season 5
Every year Bob Odenkirk tops his previous year’s performance as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman. 2020 was no different.
During Season 5 of Better Call Saul, Jimmy officially transitions into the Saul Goodman character and with that came a new side to Oderkirk’s performance. In the episode titled “Bagman”, we see a near-defeated Saul struggling to survive in the desert, but his love and desire to get home to Kim shine through. It’s a powerhouse episode for Odenkirk. The rest of the season is just as phenomenal. If Bob Odenkirk doesn’t win an Emmy for this show before it ends, I’ll be highly disappointed.
– Dylan Blight
3.) Anya Charlotra for The Witcher
Geralt may be the titular Witcher, and Henry Cavill may be the biggest named star on the show, but it was Anya Charlotra and her portrayal of Yennefer of Vengerberg that shone brightest in the first season. You couldn’t help but be impressed as you watched Yennefer go from a ridiculed hunchback to one of the most powerful sorceresses in the continent, showing the various sides to her from her lust for power and beauty to her regret of what she sacrificed to get it.
Charlotra proved herself to be an equal to Cavill, with the two sharing great chemistry in their interactions together. In one of our many discussions about the show, I said that she reminded me of Emilia Clarke in the first season of Game of Thrones. We can only hope she stays on that same trajectory, maybe without the divisive final season…
– Ashley Hobley
2.) Rhea Seehorn for Better Call Saul: Season 5
Kim Wexler is the breakout character from Better Call Saul. When Kim was introduced in the first season, it was hard to see her relationship with Jimmy/Saul going far, especially as we know the dark road Jimmy is headed down. However, in Season 5 some real spanners were thrown into the works as Kim Wexler is not only moving down that same dark path as Jimmy but seems like she could be the one driving them both now into making terrible decisions.
Rhea Seehorn has always given an excellent performance as Kim Wexler each season. Still, her nuanced and breakout performance in Better Call Saul: Season 5 shot the character further into the spotlight. Kim was my favourite character in Season 5, without a doubt. But I also fear for where Kim could be headed next season. Either way, I’m excited to see Rhea Seehorn continue to deliver one of TV’s most underappreciated performances.
– Dylan Blight
1.) Anya Taylor-Joy for The Queen’s Gambit
Anya Taylor-Joy’s star has been on the rise for a while now, with her performances in Emma, Split, Thoroughbreds and The Witch drawing praise. But it is her turn as the orphaned chess prodigy Beth Harmon that has made her arguably a household name. The Queen’s Gambit became Netflix’s most-watched scripted miniseries in four weeks and Taylor-Joy deserves her fair share of the credit.
While she delivers Scott Frank’s dialogue perfectly, it is often the silent moments where Anya Taylor-Joy is best. Whether she’s letting her frustration slowly build over as she prepares to lose, casually waiting between turn while playing young Soviet prodigy Georgi Girev or narrowing her eyes as she plots her final checkmate, Anya Taylor-Joy made you want to keep watching Beth’s rollercoaster ride as she hits the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.