Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No.16: Margot Robbie

To celebrate the last decade 2010-2019 we are counting down the best actresses and discussing some of their most notable and memorable performances of the last decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team have selected 30 actresses. Entry No. 16 is Margot Robbie, and writer Nicole Ackman discusses Robbie’s career over the last decade.

By Nicole Ackman

Margot Robbie is one of the brightest young actors in Hollywood today. In 2019 alone, Robbie played Sharon Tate in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Allison in the thrilled “Dreamland,” and Fox News employee Kayla in “Bombshell.” She starred in eighteen films between 2010 and 2019, cementing herself as a rising star. 

From playing Naomi in “Wolf of Wall Street” (2013) to Harley Quinn in “Suicide Squad” (2016), she has picked exciting projects that push boundaries. She has acted in period dramas, thrillers, and even lent her voice to the animated film, “Peter Rabbit” (2018). While Robbie is undoubtedly beautiful, she’s also proven herself to be much more than a pretty face, garnering Academy Award, BAFTA, SAG, and Golden Globe nominations. 

Robbie is originally from Queensland, Australia and attended Somerset College to study drama. She moved to Melbourne to pursue an acting career while in her late teens and quickly was cast in an array of television series over the next year including “Neighbors” and “Pan Am.” In addition to her acting career, Robbie is also a producer on several films including “I, Tonya” (2017). 

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Margot Robbie in Once Upon a Time …in Hollywood (2019) © Sony Pictures Entertainment

Margot Robbie is one of the brightest young actors in Hollywood today…She starred in eighteen films between 2010 and 2019, cementing herself as a rising star. 

Robbie received her first Academy Award nomination for playing the lead in “I, Tonya” directed by Craig Gillespie. She truly disappears into the role of Tonya Harding, the American figure skater, best known for the controversy around the attack on her rival Nancy Kerrigan. She’s almost unrecognizable as Tonya and looks remarkably awkward in the teenage scenes. She truly is the one who makes the movie’s post-modernist mockumentary-style work as she demonstrates the abuse and mistreatment she suffered at the hands of her mother and husband and her blinding ambition to be the best. She also shines in the ice-skating scenes and has the perfect presence to be believable as an Olympics-level figure skater. 

One of Robbie’s best performances of the decade is in the largely-overlooked “Mary Queen of Scots” (2018) directed by Josie Rourke. She portrays English monarch Elizabeth I as a foil to her cousin, Mary Stuart, played by Saoirse Ronan. The film depicts Elizabeth before, during, and after her bout of smallpox that left her face scarred and caused her to wear heavy white makeup for the rest of her life. Robbie is stunning in the role, rotating between the cold composure Elizabeth espoused in public and her natural fiery temper. Robbie’s acting skills are particularly powerful in scenes in which Elizabeth’s insecurities about her unmarried and heirless status in the face of her cousin’s marriage and childbearing shrine through. 

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Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots (2018) © FOCUS FEATURES LLC.

Robbie’s best performance of 2019 undoubtedly comes from “Bombshell,” in which she plays a young reporter trying to make her mark at Fox News as sexual harassment allegations swirl around Roger Ailes. In many ways, the film would have benefitted from being entirely centred around her heartbreaking portrayal of a woman raised on the Fox ideologies who is forced to discover the dark side underneath. She would deserve her Oscar nomination for the phone scene she has towards the end of the film alone. There’s a beautiful rawness to Robbie’s performance, both in her emotional and vulnerable scenes and in her commitment to Kayla’s cheery conservatism.  

One of Robbie’s best performances of the decade is in the largely-overlooked “Mary Queen of Scots” (2018) directed by Josie Rourke.

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Margot Robbie in Bombshell (2019) © Annapurna Pictures

Robbie has some exciting projects on her slate for 2020. She’s voicing a character in “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway” and producing “Promising Young Woman” which stars Carey Mulligan. She’s also returning to the role of Harley Quinn, but in a film centred around her character, “Birds of Prey,” on which she is also a producer. And, of course, she is in the running for the Best Supporting Actress award at the Oscars next month for her role in “Bombshell.” Robbie seems primed to continue being one of Hollywood’s “it girls” — and a powerful producer of exciting films. 

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