Talitha Bateman – Annabelle: Creation
As a young girl suffering from polio and a demonic haunting, Bateman continues the Conjuring franchise’s run of stellar lead female performances.
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
Instantly an icon of cool & beauty, Gadot’s Wonder Woman also revealed a human side with a range of emotions, all while handily putting any fears about a female driven superhero film to rest forever.
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
In a performance driven completely by her nuanced, evocative facial expression and body language, Hawkins still comes across as very natural.
Salma Hayek – Beatriz at Dinner
As an impoverished woman trapped at a dinner party with the upper crust, Hayek hits every beat perfectly, from light comedy to burning indignation to a bone-deep sorrow.
Sylvia Hoeks – Blade Runner 2049
As the implacable replicant Luv, Hoeks turned in one of the best villainous performances of the year, finding a surprising vein of repressed emotions and turmoil inside the character.
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The legend gives a performance no one else could have as a vengeance-seeking, grief-stricken, foul-mouthed mother, showing us a woman at her most pitiable and her most monstrous.
Haley Lu Richardson – Columbus
Richardson breaks out big with this star-making indie performance that is minimal, stark and deeply, deeply felt.
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
Ronan is career best as she disappears completely into her part as a disaffected girl struggling through her senior year in high school
Jessica Rothe – Happy Death Day
Rothe nails everything from incredibly broad comedy to extreme terror to ultimate badass all while remaining likable and commanding the screen with incredible charisma.
Bria Vinaite – The Florida Project
Vinaite is a ferocious, compelling force of nature in her film debut as a struggling single mother.
Ana de Armas – Blade Runner 2049
De Armas gives a wonderful performance as a computer simulation that slowly awakens to a world of human emotions.
Betty Gabriel – Get Out
Even in Get Out’s great ensemble, Gabriel stands out with an intensely creepy performance as a maid with a dark secret.
Michelle Pfeiffer – mother!
Pfeiffer roars back with a vengeance in this passive-aggressive monster of a role and she’s never been as wicked or as funny.
Katherine Waterston – Alien: Covenant
In a franchise ruled by strong women, Waterston wasn’t afraid to show her vulnerability, sorrow and terror and her performance does a lot toward grounding this heady sci-fi film.
Robin Wright – Blade Runner 2049
Wright turned in two stellar supporting film performances in 2017 and her turn as a hard-nosed police officer in Blade Runner 2049 was the most memorable.