Not sure anyone could have guessed at the start of the year that this list would feature two women from an African historical action epic, a woman playing multiple roles in multiple films and two of the stars of a certain teen vampire franchise. But here we are.

Here are our picks for the Top 5 Leading Performances in a Dramatic Movie Role.

– Ashley Hobley

5.) Thuso Mbedu

The Woman King

After leading the critically acclaimed Prime Video mini-series The Underground Railroad, South African actress Thuso Mbedu makes her film debut in The Woman King. As one of the latest women to attempt to join the Agoije, Mbedu’s Nawi acts as our introduction to the world of this all-female warrior unit.

Mbedu proves to be up to the task of tackling the film’s many action sequences and also going toe-to-toe with Viola Davis as a possible connection between their characters is revealed. The is no doubt that Thuso Mbedu is a rising star and a name to keep an eye on in the next few years.

– Ashley Hobley

4.) Robert PATTINSON

The Batman

The sixth actor to put on the cape and the cowl for a film, Robert Pattinson’s version Bruce Wayne and Batman is vastly different to those that came before. Far more of a reclusive figure, Pattinson’s Bruce is awkward and introverted, still reeling form the loss of his parents all these years later. It is a far cry from the charming Bruce Wayne of Nolan’s films.

But as Batman, he is a force of nature. Brutal and driven to achieve his goal: vengeance. So much of his performance is about his bodywork and physical presence, with him spending a majority of the film in the suit. When he steps out of the darkness that first time with his heavy footsteps, you knew you were in for something special. Working fantastically with Jefferey Wright’s Jim Gordon and with palpable sexual tension with Zoe Kravitz’s Selena Kyle, I can’t wait to see Pattinson suit up again.

– Ashley Hobley

3.) Mia Goth


Mia Goth played both Maxine and Pearl in and Pearl respectfully in 2022. The dual role in X being hidden made for a shocking revelation for those watching it in the opening weeks. Maxine is this lively star-struck young girl searching for a way to make it big in Hollywood, and Pearl is the washed-up old lady with the same dream. Having her play both roles adds an extra duality to the character’s two sides of the coin, while having a prequel in Pearl release the same year and being just as good, and in some eyes, a better film, is just a testament to Mia Goth in the lead in both films. 

– Dylan Blight

2.) Kristen Stewart


In SpencerKristen Stewart became the Princess of Wales like none other before. In a performance less focused on the superficial drama, or the romance of her life, Spencer portrays Diana at a crossroads. In the lead-up to her leaving Charles, Kristen Stewart gets to play Diana in fear of what will happen to her if she makes the choices she’s thinking about. She’s in fear of the Royals, though, and this adds a thrilling element to the film, as it begins to feel like a horror movie, and Stewart is seen looking over her shoulder and in fear of those around her at all times. It’s one of Stewarts’ best performances and the best on-screen portrayal of Princess Diana. 

– Dylan Blight

1.) Viola Davis

The Woman King

Viola Davis has been regarded as one of the best actresses currently working for a while now, and her turn here in The Woman King should make sure that reputation will remain. As the General Nanisca of the Agojie, she is an incredibly physical presence who holds her own in her numerous action sequences, an impressive feat for a woman of her age which makes you question if DC screwed up by having Amanda Waller behind a desk.

But it’s in the dramatic moments where Nanisca is dealing with her long-buried trauma where Davis shines. Seeing this clearly powerful woman struggle for words and be vulnerable for the first time in years was moving to watch. A stunning performance by one of the best at doing it.

– 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 between December 27th 2021 – December 27th 2022.