The Ford On Film Awards 2017: Best TV Actress and Best TV Actor
It’s been nearly a week since the start of the Ford On Film Awards 2017, and after proclaiming The Leftovers to be the Best TV Show of the year, it’s now time to turn towards the people who make each show so memorable and diverse, the Best TV Actors and Actresses of the year.
Given hours of time to lovingly craft and perfect their roles, each of the talented performers I’m highlighting today have given stunning performances; whether hero or villain, leading role or supporting cast, they have delivered memorable performances, stole the show, and proved themselves worthy of any number of awards and nominations. They are both close categories, although Best Actor in particular was tough to decide. In the end, two particularly special talents stood out more than anyone else to claim the roles. Without further ado, here are the Ford On Films Awards 2017 for Best TV Actress and Best TV Actor:
Best TV Actress:
Jessica Biel – Cora Tannetti, The Sinner
Murder mystery The Sinner came and went with relatively-little fanfare, but it was a solid miniseries with a great, ambiguous central performance from Jessica Biel. Why did she stab a man to death in broad daylight? Is she a monster, or a victim? Biel is convincing in both roles, and her intense, committed performance keeps the central question intriguing to the end.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead – Nikki Swango, Fargo
While Ewan Macgregor was great in the dual role of warring twin brothers in Fargo season 3, his spotlight was often stolen by Mary Elizabeth Winstead as the take-no-shit ex-convict Nikki Swango. Early episodes show her as a wise, wisecracking mastermind, but it’s the second half of the season, when Winstead becomes a vengeance-seeking badass, that is particularly great. The most unlikely action heroine of the year, Nikki deserves her own spin-off.
Kristen Bell – Eleanor Shellstrop, The Good Place
Kristen Bell playing a foul-mouthed, antisocial drunk who accidentally goes to Heaven and has to hide her true identity is the best kind of Kristen Bell. Not since Veronica Mars has Bell been given such a great role, and she nails it, hilarious and heartfelt even when she’s being a dick. Even when surrounded by one of the best supporting casts currently on television, Bell keeps The Good Place perfectly grounded, nailing every joke with perfect timing and endless charisma.
Elizabeth Moss – Offred/June, The Handmaid’s Tale
Personally, I found The Handmaid’s Tale too upsetting to be truly gripping. However, one thing that kept tuning in was Elizabeth Moss’ sensational performance as Offred/June. Broken yet defiant, Moss’ performance carries The Handmaid’s Tale and makes sure every scene is laced with slow-burning horror. Moss is terrific at portraying a victim of unimaginable horrors, yet her emotional performance ensures even her smallest victories feel triumphant. Will she top her outstanding work here in the next season? I hope so.
Carrie Coon – Nora Durst, The Leftovers
The Leftovers was never the most mainstream show, but it’s still baffling that Carrie Coon received almost no plaudits for her performance as Nora Durst – grieving mother, sarcastic lover, and the heart and soul of The Leftovers. From secretly getting a Wu Tang Clan tattoo to crying under hotel sprinklers to delivering a gorgeous monologue in the show’s last ever episode, Nora was given her finest scenes throughout season 3, and Coon made sure each of them was unforgettable. If awards voters are too stupid to recognise Carrie Coon as the best TV actress of 2017, I guess it’s up to me. Between this and Fargo, Carrie Coon was the definitive TV actress of the year.
Best TV Actor:
David Thewlis – Varga, Fargo
Often wasted in nothing roles or mediocre films, David Thewlis showed why he’s still one of the best British actors of his generation as the chilling Varga in Fargo. Wearing grotesque prosthetic teeth and talking in an eerie, questioning drawl, Thewlis gives his most repulsive performance since 1993’s Naked.
Bob Odenkirk – James McGill, Better Call Saul
Another year, another great performance from Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, the good-natured but morally-questionable lawyer at battle with his fastidious brother Chuck. As the prequel to Breaking Bad, we know Better Call Saul is ultimately a downward spiral into all-out criminality, but Odenkirk is so great at showing Jimmy’s pain and wounded pride that his inevitable descent into chaos is still going to hurt.
Justin Theroux – Kevin Garvey, The Leftovers
Though perhaps more famous for shredded abs and meme-worthy penis, Justin Theroux’s performance in The Leftovers has quietly been one of TV’s best in recent years. He was in suffering mode for the show’s last season, slowly losing his mind and willing to sacrifice himself for the good of the world in devastating scenes. While he made for an excellent sparring partner with Carrie Coon, his season highlight was clearly The Most Powerful Man in the World, in which he inspired genuine sadness by meeting and killing his presidential doppelganger.
Ted Danson – Michael, The Good Place
Like any entry about The Good Place, I want to avoid giving away too much detail because the genius of the show is in its many twists and turns, with characters often changing into something totally different than we first imagined. And then there’s Michael, Ted Danson’s utterly wonderful portrayal of a Good Place ‘architect’ and the most delightfully eccentric character around. His performance in Season 2 has been great so far, but his best moment comes in the Season 1 finale, in which he unleashes the most unforgettable laugh of the year.
Kyle MacLachlan – Dale Cooper/Evil Coop/Dougie Jones – Twin Peaks: The Return
As Dale Cooper/Evil Coop/Dougie/, Kyle MacLachlan gave a performance for the ages. To flit between pure evil, blissful ignorance and force of pure good so casually is remarkable, but MacLachlan goes beyond that. He creates such detailed, recognisable characters despite only changing his hair or costume, making you fully believe you’re seeing multiple people on-screen. With the warmest smile and the scariest eyes, MacLachlan was the hero, villain and comic relief of Twin Peaks: The Return, giving not just the best television performance, but perhaps the best performance of 2017 full stop.
Congratulations to Carrie Coon and Kyle MacLachlan for their deserved Best Actress and Best Actor wins. In a year of terrific TV performances, they both gave all-time great performances, and richly deserve any awards that come their way. Join me tomorrow where I’ll be handing out the award Best TV Episode. It’s bound to be competitive!
By Harry J. Ford
Follow Ford On Film on twitter: @Ford_On_Film
Like Ford On Film on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FordOnFilm/