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Jennifer Lawrence: Her best performances so far

There are few brighter stars in Hollywood than Jennifer Lawrence. Ever since she broke through with her Academy Award nominated performance in Winter’s Bone, and especially once she starred in The Hunger Games, the A-list was a foregone conclusion for her. Lawrence is young, ambitious, talented, and a refreshingly honest presence in the industry. With a new starring role in Red Sparrow hitting this week, now is the perfect time to remind ourselves of just how good she really is. Below you’ll find her best performances, at least in my humble opinion, with a little bit about how she became the toast of tinseltown. Suffice to say, Lawrence is an icon, plain and simple.

We can jump right off with her ten best performances to date:

10. House at the End of the Street
9. Red Sparrow
8. Passengers
7. Like Crazy
6. Joy
5. The Beaver
4. American Hustle
3. Winter’s Bone
2. mother!
1. Silver Linings Playbook

Honorable Mentions: The Hunger Games (notably Mockingjay: Part 1) and X-Men (notable X-Men: First Class) franchises


Here now is a bit from a Spotlight piece on her a few years ago, with additions to bring it up to date:

Lawrence first got her start, like many young up and comers, on television. Guest spots on Cold Case, Medium, and Monk began her career, though I first noticed her when she landed one of the main roles on The Bill Engvall Show. It hardly gave her a strong outlet for her talents, but she was compelling to watch even then. There were also supporting parts in films like The Burning Plain and Garden Party, but Lawrence was still clearly someone you didn’t pay too much attention to. That was about to change though, and in a really big way too.

She became a star on the rise with Winter’s Bone, a small indie that wound up being nominated for a quartet of Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Lawrence. Her personality and newcomer on the scene vibe made her an instant A-lister in the making, which doesn’t even take into account how great she is in the movie. She was not only well deserving of that Actress nomination, she also wasn’t far off from being deserving of the win. Her Oscar glory wouldn’t be too far away, but it was a great launch to her leading actress career.

Lawrence then shined in key supporting parts in would be awards contenders The Beaver and Like Crazy before breaking through to the masses with her scene stealing turn in X-Men: First Class. That put her in her first blockbuster, though that next year would really be the one to make her the Jennifer Lawrence we know today. She ably led the horror flick House at the End of the Street, but it was a pair of other roles that really made her an A-list star with a capital A.

With the combination of The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook, Lawrence not only proved that she could be a box office draw (both became absolute smash hits), but a trusted leading lady as well. The former is a strong blockbuster that succeeds in large part to her screen presence, while the latter shows off her talents in a whole new realm. She won many a heart, including those of the Academy, as she scored a Best Actress win at the Oscars for that part. She was officially in the stratosphere.

The last few years have seen her work somewhat selectively, with sequels The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and another big awards player in American Hustle chief among them (American Hustle got her a third Academy Award nomination, one she came within an eyelash of winning for too). There was also the long delayed drama Serena, which finally saw the light of day and left no impact. Particularly with those blockbusters, she’s managed to only increase her power and status in the business. You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger A-list actress these days than Lawrence.

Since then, she again delivered as Katniss Everdeen in the final Hunger Games franchise outings, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, as well as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Lawrence again teamed with filmmaker David O. Russell and got another Oscar nomination for Joy, along with another Bryan Singer mutant flick with X-Men: Apocalypse. Throw in the science fiction romance Passengers and last year’s underrated gem mother! with Darren Aronofsky, and you have us up to date. Red Sparrow hits tomorrow and is an interesting test of her star power. The film is on the weaker side, but she’s reliably great. She keeps it from sinking into total mediocrity.


All told, Lawrence is perhaps the biggest female star in Hollywood, and you can argue she just might be the industry’s biggest star overall. Going forward, whether she makes Red Sparrow another franchise, continues to be nominated for working with Russell, or does something completely different, she should see her status unchallenged. She’s a true A-lister and that won’t be going away anytime soon. Besides that, more of you should really give mother! a chance, as it was among 2017’s very best works. Here’s to more Lawrence performances worth praising, as well as a continued upward trajectory for a career that’s been skyrocketing from the start. I for one can’t wait to see even more from her going forward, and I know I’m not alone…

Be sure to check out Lawrence in Red Sparrow, opening in theaters everywhere this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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