The characters, actors, actresses, companies, people and robots that I consider to be the ‘stars’ of 2015. From Whiplash to Star Wars, these are the 15 ‘stars’ that have made an impression on me this year.
No. 15 – The Cast of Orange is the New Black
Let’s start as I don’t mean to go on, but this year the cast of the hit Netflix show were all excellent. Pennsatuckys journey from the most hated to the most loved character is an excellent one, and her friendship with Big Boo is the shows most unexpected. Elsewhere Poussey, Morello, Alex and Nicky build upon their excellent characters and delight us with their humour and heart. The best series yet.
No. 14 – Maisie Williams
I may not totally love a lot of the things that she’s been in this year, but she is clearly one of the biggest rising stars out there now. From Westeros, to a girls boarding school and into the Tardis, she’s had a hell of a year, and it’s clearly just the beginning. She’s the awesome poster child for the cyber generation, whether on Twitter or in her work, and she’s great at it all.
No. 13 – Carol Peletier
Whether you like The Walking Deads story plotting or not, you can’t deny that Carol may be the best written character in the whole show. Beginning in Season 1 as an abused housewife, after her husband is killed, and her daughter turned into a zombie, she becomes a ruthless, tough as nails badass. Which isn’t to say that she’s not a layered, complex and well rounded character, cause she most certainly is.
She’s the survivor, and the ruthless hero. She does what must be done. The stand out episode of the shows 6th season was her taking out the gang that invaded her small community, by dressing up as one of them and shanking them to death, plus the mercy killing of a friend, truly awe inspiring.
No. 12 – Baymax and BB-8
It was a tie. I just couldn’t choose between 2015’s two most adorable robots. BB-8 and his thumbs up, or Baymax and his drunk cat petting. Both are genius, both are hilarious and both are instantly loveable, without being over the top, whilst still importantly serving the plot.
No. 11 – Melissa Benoist
After catching our attention in the likes of Whiplash, Danny Collins and even Glee, Benoist has gone on to capture the imaginations of millions as Kara Danvers, aka Supergirl, in the hit US show of the same name. Her charm, positive attitude and excellent performances make her a great counterpoint to the other female led superhero shows out there, and there are sure to be many excellent things for her ahead.
No. 10 – The Girl on Fire
Jennifer Lawrence may be one of the biggest stars out there, but as The Hunger Games franchise wrapped up this Autumn, Katniss Everdeen is the one that should be honoured. In a year of such superb strong female characters, we forget that Katniss has been the very same for the past four years. Her strength of will and hard resolve have made her a role model for children all around the world. Whether in the books or in the films, its the Mockingjay that is the true inspiration.
No. 9 – Furiosa
The breakout star of the years most loved, and most universally praised as feminist movie of the year. She’s determined, ethical, smart, resourceful, tough and one heck of a shooter. She’s the leader of worlds, and who’d rather have another movie about her then Mad Max. I say that, but I’ve not seen the other Max films. Best bit? Furiosa attaching a chain to the imbedded face mask of the bad guy, throwing it into the tire, and watching his face tear off. She’s great.
No. 8 – Saoirse Ronan
Starring in one of the years best Films, Brooklyn, Saoirse gives one of the very best performances of the year. Her subtle, beautiful portrayal of a woman struggling to choose between her life back home or with her new love in New York is frankly breathtaking, and it’s one of the most captivating roles of the year. Her struggle is genuinely heartbreaking.
No. 7 – Michael Giacchino
He’s my favourite composer, and in 2015 he scored four big Films out this year, three of them are in my Top 25. Jupiter Ascending was unmemorable except for its dumbness, but Tomorrowland was a Film just for me. Its score was lovely, and nostalgic, whilst his score for Jurassic World also brought the childhood memories flooding back, he did the Welcome to Jurassic Park piece, and it was beautiful. Then he did Inside Out, and it was perfect. Bundle of Joy and Rainbow Flyer were the best of the very best. More good things please.
No. 6 – Netflix
This was the year that Netflix confirmed the future of broadcasting. They had produced excellent shows in the past, but not only did they make them better this year, but they just kept bringing out more and more, better and better new shows, until there just wasn’t time in the year to watch them all. From Master of None to Jessica Jones, and the excellent third season of Orange is the New Black, Netflix is the dominant TV producer of the year, by far. Amazon Prime ain’t far behind it too.
No. 5 – Kathleen Kennedy
She’s been behind many of the biggest Films of the past 30 years, but now she’s just stepping into a bigger spotlight as the woman behind the revival of the Star Wars franchise. She’s not just the new president of LucasFilm, but she’s the one who helped to get us The Force Awakens. Without her, the Film may not have been as excellent as it was, nor had the diversity that it did. She is in her 60’s, and is piloting potentially the highest grossing film and franchise of all time. Things are most certainly changing.
No. 4 – Aziz Ansari
He was excellent as Tom in Parks and Rec, and his stand-up has been hugely successful, but with his new Netflix show, Master of None, he’s broken down barriers, with the help of his co-writer Alan Yang, and tackled big subjects with ease. Racism, Sexism and the Elderly are all subjects that are handled with care and attention, whilst being funny and on point, they expose the problems that people face in society, and looks at them through the coffee filtered lens of an Autumnal New York. I cannot wait for more.
No. 3 – JJ Abrams
He was already one of my favourite directors, but with Star Wars, JJ has managed to pull off the most anticipated Film of all time with aplomb. The Force Awakens is a brilliant, beautiful and engaging Film, that has his name all over it, but still contains the heart of what makes Star Wars, Star Wars. He co-wrote the Film with Lawrence Kasdan, and they got so much right with the script, that even the smallest mistakes, barely even matter. Whatever he does next, he has a free pass from me.
No. 2 – Amy Poehler
Whether playing the perfect Leslie Knope in the final episodes of Parks and Rec, or Joy in the best Movie of the year, Inside Out, Amy Poehler has, on more than one occasion, proved to be one of the most important Actresses out there. Her other Film, Sisters, was a hoot, but it’s her contribution to two of the 21st Centuries greatest roles, that has given her a deserved impact on entertainment. She’s a strong, smart and hugely talented Woman, who reached surely the plateau of her career this year.
No. 1 – Rey
I may have banged on about her enough already, but Rey is not just the best thing about The Force Awakens, nor the best character of the year, but is one of the best female characters in pop culture, ever. It’s her impact that has and will determine her legacy, if the next films continue the excellent work of The Force Awakens, then it will practically confirm it.
I can feel the shift now, the way her Character is being viewed by the media, and by the fans. People love her, people adore her. Small children will grow up with HER as their role models, someone who isn’t slightly sexualised or romanticised, but is incredible, and independent, and everything that should be, and will be considered equal to Men.
Three times I’ve seen this film, and three times I have left it with so much love for Rey, more so than all the other amazing stuff. She is just the beginning, it’s not just The Force that has awoken.
Late extra – David Tennant as Kilgrave
A terrifying presence when he’s not on the screen, and a fearful presence when he’s on it. Charming, but unbelievably scary.
So there we go. What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my choices. I personally loved writing about all these amazing people, and I look forward to doing another one next year. Let me know what you thought. Thanks for reading 🙂