Let us now praise famous men and women – namely, the ones who gave us the year's best big-screen performances that stuck with us for days, weeks and in many cases, months after we left the theater. The two dozen actors listed below cracked us up, choked us up, thrilled us, scared us and moved us. But more than anything else, they reminded us of what the medium is capable of when you turn a camera on someone and let them aid in telling a story.
And what's particularly impressive is that, unlike some years past, 2016 offered up jaw-dropping, Rudy-clap–inspiring work from all over the movie-based map. Yes, the usual suspects, likely Oscar nominees and people whose names are preceded by "Sir" are present and accounted for (one of whom scored a double-whammy with not one but two list-worthy turns). But so are numerous comedians, newcomers, several folks who you never dream of seeing on this type of round-up in the past and even – gasp – a kid from a big sound-and-fury superhero blockbuster. Movie stars nestle next to first-timers and theater bigwigs; reliable heavy hitters found fertile ground in the most unusual of places. Some folks had to carry a whole movie on their shoulders, while others left their mark in supporting roles and one, maybe two key scenes. All of the actors included here, however, made it a good 12 months to sit in the dark with strangers. These were the 25 performances from 2016 that we keep giggling over, get weepy remembering and can't stop talking about.