8. Jennifer Lawrence, 'Silver Linings Playbook'
As we enter the umpteenth year of J.Law hysteria, it can be easy to forget what inspired all the hoopla in the first place. Revisit Silver Linings Playbook, in which Lawrence plays Tiffany, a recent widow who's mourning her dead husband but also battling ongoing issues with depression. That describes the character, but not the way the young actress portrays her, which is as a combustible, brittle woman who doesn't know whether she's coming or going — empowered by her attractiveness and sexuality but also afraid of what falling in love with a new man (Bradley Cooper) might mean. It's not often that the movies produce a "troubled" character this layered and vibrant, and Lawrence's livewire performance typifies what's so tremendous about her acting: It feels urgent, compelling and lifelike without ever feeling fussed-over or a fluke. The backlash is coming, but SLP will be here to remind us why it wasn't all hype.