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Shailene Woodley: Her best performances so far

Vanity Fair and Juicy Couture "Vanities" 20th Anniversary Party - Arrivals

For my money, there are few up and coming actresses in Hollywood more exciting to watch than Shailene Woodley. In a relatively short period of time, Woodley has managed to work her way up the A-list, becoming someone whose mere presence in a film is something to be excited about. She’s been snubbed for Academy Award attention at least three times now, for The Descendants, The Fault in Our Stars, and The Spectacular Now, though her time is coming soon enough, perhaps even this year for her supporting work in the biopic Snowden. She’s also been able to anchor a big blockbuster franchise, taking the lead in the Divergent films, which continue this week with The Divergent Series: Allegiant. One thing is for sure, she’s one of the best that the industry has to offer…

Here now are Woodley’s best performances to date:

5. Divergent
4. The Descendants
3. White Bird in a Blizzard
2. The Spectacular Now
1. The Fault in Our Stars

the descendants george clooney shailene woodley 600x318
As a bonus, here’s a bit from my Spotlight on the Stars piece that I did on her a few years ago:

Woodley got her start on television with various guest starring roles. Programs like Crosing Jordan, The District, Everybody Loves Raymond, Jack & Bobby, The O.C., Without a Trace, and others gave her a beginning, which of course any young actor or actress needs. Luckily for her, she’d only need a few years before landing a starring role on the show The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Besides raising her profile, it also caught the attention of filmmaker Alexander Payne. The rest, as they say, is history.Her introduction to film came in Payne’s movie The Descendants, where she announced her presence with quite a bit of authority. Playing George Clooney’s troubled teenage daughter, Woodley immediately received awards attention, leading to speculation that she’d receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. While that didn’t come to pass (which was considered a mild surprise and a snub), she did get a Golden Globe nomination, cementing her as someone to watch out for. She was officially on her way to the A-list with just one theatrical credit to her name. That’s really something…

She’s since managed to consistently deliver better and better work in projects like The Fault in Our Stars as well as The Spectacular Now. Both how showcased her in awards worthy performances. Woodley is I’m sure probably best known for Divergent, the franchise she leads and helped make a hit out of. It’s a decent enough movie, raised up by her strong work. It was the start of a whole series of films, building up to Insurgent and now Allegiance. By the time this wraps up next year with Ascendant, she’ll likely be a superstar and perhaps even an Oscar nominee, if not better than that.

She’s also shown a whole new side to herself (both literally and figuratively) with the coming of age story White Bird in a Blizzard. Not only is it the most sexually explicit work of her young career, it’s also the quirkiest, requiring her to give a performance that she’s yet to give before. As you’d expect, she’s excellent in the role, though frankly she’s excellent in everything. This is another case though, like with Divergent, where she raises up the project by being a part of it. That’s hard to do at an early age, but she seems more than capable of doing it, and doing it really well.

SHailene Woodley 2014 Hollywood Film Awards 600x312
Just to wrap things up, I wanted to reiterate that Woodley is something special in the industry and a real superstar in the making. Whether Snowden turns into a contender or not, I fully expect her to be an Academy Award nominee within the next few years. Between her strong work in Oscar worthy fare and her leading role in things like The Divergent Series: Allegiant, she’s dominating Hollywood. Underestimate her at your own peril. I’m sure I’ll be updating this best of list very soon with more of her performances worthy of acclaim, so consider this just a placeholder article for now…

Be sure to check her out in The Divergent Series: Allegiant, in theaters this weekend, as well as Snowden, later on this year!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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