FearlessRiOT’s Year-End Top 10: Favorite Actresses of 2015

December is probably my favorite month of be year. This is not just because Christmas has always been my favorite holiday; it is also because it is time the perfect time for reflection. It’s the right time to look back on the year that was and celebrate what made that year so great. And while 2015 has actually been a catastrophic year in the world of politics and social justice and things are only getting uglier in those fields, it’s been a whirlwind year in entertainment And that’s what I’m here to look back on. I will take up three weeks this month to look back on my favorites in entertainment this year; and since I am FearlessRiOT, it will all obviously be in countdown form. Last week, I tackled my favorites in pro wrestling, this week I’ll tackle music, and next week will see me take on acting, along with the bonus field of celebrities on social media. Hope you enjoy this week’s installment! 

Of all the year-end acting awards, this was the easiest one to put together. With the TV show list, I had trouble deciding where to put what show while I had trouble even thinking of ten actors I’ve watched this year to put on the actors list. Now you see why I decided to do all of these last. but the actress’ list turned out pretty good, I think. I don’t know if any of these performers will find their way to the Emmy and Oscar stage soon (with the exception of one person who already has an Emmy and has been nominated for an Oscar twice), but for 2015, they kept me entertained at least.  So let’s get into it: my Top 10 favorite actresses of 2015.

#10. Rose McIver

Rosa McIver

First of all, I just want to point out that this Australian beauty was once a Power Ranger. Yup, she once donned the yellow suit to kick some Mighty Morphin ass….OK, she was in the R.P.M. season, but you get it. So how does one make their resume even more awesome? By playing a zombie, of course! While I read that she’s also been in a few short films this year, I can’t find any of them anywhere. But until I do, I can just enjoy what I’m seeing from her on one of the CW’s latest creations, iZombie. Y’all know I love my smartass, badass female characters, and Olivia Moore fits the bill enough to be one thing zombie-related that I actually enjoy.

#9. Viola Davis

Viola Davis

How To Get Away With Murder is a very popular show on ABC’s Thursday night line-up. Despite how well done it is though, I can’t seem to fully get into it for some strange reason. Maybe it’s because courtroom shows (especially fictional dramatic ones) just aren’t my genre of choice or maybe I’m just not super into every storiy. But if I can appreciate anything on the show, it’s the lead actress, the very talented and inspirational Viola Davis. The Oscar nominee added an Emmy to her mantel and it’s not hard to see why. Her performance on the show certainly warrant the praise (and the chance to deliver a powerful acceptance speech), whether I love the show or I don’t.

#8. Zendaya

Zendaya

Two Disney Channel actresses make the list this year, and we’re tackling one of them now. Zendaya is one of the true positive role models for young girls; not only does she always promote positivity to her fanbase and the world at large (I will literally get into that down the road), but at 19, she also has the lead role in her own TV show. She stars as K.C. Cooper, and super-perfect-yet-ultra-sassy teenager (with a silly friend, because of course) who recently found out her parents are spies; she also becomes a spy, become Disney Channel’s 2010’s live-action POC version of Kim Possible in the process.

#7. Eliza Taylor

Eliza Taylor

Let me be perfectly clear here; I could have put ANY of the young actresses on here to represent The 100. Yes, I am dead serious about that; Marie Avgeropoulos as evolving warrior Octavia, Alycia Debnam Carrey as ruthless leader Lexa, Lindsey Morgan as the intelligent Raven. But I decided to go with the show’s main star: Australian actress Eliza Taylor as noble fearless leader Clarke Griffin. She’s imperfect, she does make mistakes, and she does make the difficult decisions when there is no other option. But that’s the beauty of the fact that everyone on the show is painted with a shade of grey, even the main protagonist who just wants two things: everyone to get along and for her people to be safe.

#6. Elizabeth Gillies

Elizabeth Gillies

I missed Elizabeth Gillies so much after Nickelodeon decided to just cancel Victorious out-of-the-blue in 2013. Since then, she’d appear in a straight-to-DVD film with KeKe Palmer titled Animal and a Lifetime movie titled Killing Daddy, which landed her at #6 on this list last year. However, this year, we’d see her finally make her grand return to television as GiGi, daughter of a past-his-prime rockstar on the FX comedy show Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll. Everyone on the show is hilarious in their own way, and early-20-something GiGi is no exception; she brings the funny and also brings the pipes with every musical performance.

#5. Kat Dennings

Kat Dennings

She may not be a favorite of Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic), but she’s still very much one of my favorite actresses going. Dennings was #1 on my year-end actresses list for the last two years in a row, but this year, she has been dethroned. When it come down to it, she wasn’t as active this year; no new Thor movie or anything. That said, her charisma is still one of 2 Broke Girls’s greatest ingredients. Also, a couple of her previously filmed fare dropped on DVD this year: To Write Love on Her Arms (where she flexes her underrated dramatic acting talents) and Suburban Gothic. Oh, and she totally killed on Drunk History.

#4. Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson

Did you know that Taraji P. Henson was previously nominated for an Academy Award? That shows that she has legitimate acting chops and she’s displayed it in numerous comedic and dramatic (and musical) mediums over the years. But the role that has quickly become her signature character came in the form of the FOX drama series Empire. Who wasn’t a fan of Cookie Lyon? Does she love to talk? Yes, and what she has to say is usually always golden. Can she always be trusted? Maybe not, but she’s doing what she needs to do for success. Can she pack a punch? Let’s as Anika. Can she win an Emmy? …Maybe next year.

#3. Dove Cameron

Dove Cameron

This is the second Disney Channel star to appear on the list, and as far as her roles in 2015 goes, she had two that you definitely heard of and another one that you might have or might not have. While her appearance in the Hailee Steinfeld-lead Barely Lethal may not have been so big since she was a supporting cast member at best, her two Disney Channel roles this year definitely were. She entered 2015 as the star of my guilty pleasure show of the year Liv and Maddie where she plays both of the titular characters, and her Disney reign continued with her role as the purple-haired daughter of Maleficent in Descendants.  

#2. Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler

While the world dreads the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency, I’m still waiting for Leslie Knope to rise up out of fantasy land, drag him back to reality, and snatch that presidency. Leslie Knope is one of the great comedic television characters of our time, but while Parks & Recreation came to an end, Amy Poehler continued to be excellent elsewhere; and while she was a main cast member on the NetFlix show Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and recently starred in Sisters with BFF Tina Fey, I think Poehler’s biggest acting achievement in 2015 was her stellar voice acting as Joy in Inside Out.

#1. Skyler Samuels

Skyler Samuels

I am so glad to see Skyler Samuels back on-screen. One look on her iMDB page and you’ll notice she’s cameo’d on almost every TV show from yours and my childhood and she also previously had a lead role in a TV show I wish lasted longer than it did, ABC Family’s (or FreeForm’s) The Nine Lives of Chloe King. After a few years under the radar, she picked up two notable roles in 2015: fashionista BFF Jess in the comedy film The Duff and one of the central characters of Scream Queens, Grace. These two projects must be great exposure for the blonde actress, an while she plans to return to college full-time, hopefully this isn’t the last we see of her.

Honorable Mentions:

+ Meghan Ory

You have no idea how happy I was to see Red pop up on Once Upon A Time again; we’d been begging to see Meghan Ory dawn the red cloak again and we got out wish in my favorite episode of the season to date. On a minor sidenote, she also had a Hallmark Christmas movie.

+ Ashley Benson

Normally, I would feature Troian Bellisario or Lucy Hale when spotlighting my favorite Pretty Little Liars stars. This year, I’m giving the nod to Ashley Benson; not just because I’m come to terms with how funny Hanna Marin is, but also cause she looks like one of the bright spots of Pixels.

+ Elizabeth Olsen

She is on here exclusively for Avengers: Age of Ultron. While Black Widow‘s portrayal in the superhero sequel was a huge disappointment (ask my sister for further analysis), I left the movie wanting a Scarlet Witch movie; she was my favorite part of the whole thing aside from Thor‘s hammer.

+ Willa Holland

How about some love for Speedy! Yes, this season of Arrow sees Oliver’s little sister get in on the superheroing, and sure it goes to her head a bit at first, but she’s one of my favorite characters on the show, so I’m hooked regardless. Also, how many near-death experiences can one girl survive?

+ Jennifer Lawrence

Yup, she’s still making movies with Bradley Cooper. It’s like they ave a lifetime commitment to making these things. But no, Jennifer Lawrence makes it on this list because she wrapped up the Hunger Games franchise this year. Gonna miss that thing.

+ KeKe Palmer

So KeKe Palmer is gonna be in that Grease Live! musical; I haven’t even seen the movie, so I’d be totally lost watching a live TV performance of it. But before that, she was playing controversial character Zayday on Scream Queens. On the bright side, she survived till the end.

Which actresses did you enjoy watching in 2015? Hit me up on Twitter @FearlessRiOT or leave a comment below. Stick around for more Year-End Top 10s!

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