2016 was a year of excellence for women in the realm of acting, and these ten characters had some of the best talent alive portraying them (see 2015 list here).
10. Felix Dawkins/Jordan Gavaris (Orphan Black)
Jordan Gavaris provided much needed comedic relief during one of the darkest seasons of ‘Orphan Black’ to date. His portrayal as Felix (and his crazy half-sister Adele) had some of the best one-liners of the year.
9. Bodega Cat/A$AP Rocky (Animals.)
Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky’s contribution on ‘Animals.’ was minimal, but it’s still noteworthy for someone with little acting experience. Rocky delivered a rap about finding food as a cat in the gritty streets of New York.
8. Hector Campos/Ismael Cruz Cordova (Ray Donovan)
‘Sesame Street’ veteran Ismael Cruz Cordova took his acting resume to left-field with his scantily clad role on the fourth season of ‘Ray Donovan’. Most of Cordova’s scenes were with the great Lisa Bonet, which graciously introduced him to an entirely new audience.
7. Lee Harris/Adina Porter (American Horror Story: Roanoke)
While Adina Porter’s acting resume is highlighted by her role as Lettie Mae Thornton on ‘True Blood’, her inclusion on ‘Roanoke’ was a no-brainer. Given her success in the ‘American Horror Story’ franchise this year, I’m sure she’ll return for many seasons to come.
6. Jimmy McGill/Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Bob Odenkirk’s portrayal of Jimmy McGill continues to impress critics and ‘Breaking Bad’ fans alike on ‘Better Call Saul’. The second season saw the titular character inch closer to his dark side, a transition that has been unmatched in 2016 acting.
5. Cruella De Vil/Victoria Smurfit (Once Upon A Time)
Irish actress Victoria Smurfit’s role as the new ruler of the Underworld continued Cruella’s alcohol-induced comedy on ‘Once Upon A Time’. The fifth season didn’t see Cruella come back to life in the real world, but her true character’s essence shined brightly alongside Greg Germann as Hades.
4. Molly Carter/Yvonne Orji (Insecure)
Yvonne Orji’s resume is the lightest of all the actors on this year’s list, but her presence on HBO’s ‘Insecure’ is one of the greatest supporting roles of all-time. Molly Carter started off as a punching bag for single black women jokes on the show, but her cynical attitude towards life painted an extremely realistic portrayal of all single women worldwide.
3. Cersei Lannister/Lena Headey (Game Of Thrones)
Lena Headey’s role as Cersei Lannister reached new heights in the critically acclaimed sixth season of ‘Game Of Thrones’. The infamous “walk of atonement” that Cersei endured may have been a low point for the character, but it was a high point for portraying women in a more uplifting light on the show.
2. Marcia Clark/Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson)
There are some roles that are made for certain actresses, and this reigned true with Sarah Paulson’s portrayal of Marcia Clark on ‘American Crime Story’. After watching the first season of Ryan Murphy’s new crime series, it was an undeniable fact that Paulson deserved every acting award imaginable for this role.
1. Misty Knight/Simone Missick (Luke Cage)
Simone Missick’s breakout role as Misty Knight on ‘Luke Cage’ is the single best acting performance of 2016. Knight’s humor paired with her unapologetically black catchphrases (“skee-wee on outta here”) is the most entertaining acting performance from a Netflix Original series.