Best Actress of the Decade, Entry No. 8: Saoirse Ronan

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 decade. With the help of Film Twitter, the ITOL team has selected 30 actresses. Writer Caz Armstrong examines Saoirse Ronan career over the last decade, and discusses some of her most memorable roles.

By Caz Armstrong

Saoirse Ronan is a firm favourite with ITOL. She has already has four Oscar nominations under her belt, with her latest being for Best Actress in Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” (2019).

Ronan is passionate about progressive change in society, campaigning for equal marriage, abortion rights, ending domestic violence and the gender pay gap.

Let’s take a look at some of her key roles from the last decade:

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014)

Saoirse Ronan Grand Budapest
Saoirse Ronan in “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (2014)

In Wes Anderson’s classic comedy she plays a baker called Agatha who hides tools in pastries to help prisoners to escape. Ronan’s ability to deliver the sharpest of deadpan comedy is a perfect match for any Wes Anderson film.

This film won 56 of the 160+ awards it was nominated for, including 4 Oscars, 5 BAFTAs and a Golden Globe.

“Muppets Most Wanted” (2014)

Saoirse Ronan Muppets Most Wanted
Saoirse Ronan in “Muppets Most Wanted” (2014)

In Wes Anderson’s classic comedy she plays a baker called Agatha who hides tools in pastries to help prisoners to escape. Ronan’s ability to deliver the sharpest of deadpan comedy is a perfect match for any Wes Anderson film.

This film won 56 of the 160+ awards it was nominated for, including 4 Oscars, 5 BAFTAs and a Golden Globe.

“Brooklyn” (2015)

Saoirse-Ronan Brooklyn
Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn” (2015)

Directed by John Crowley, Ronan plays an Irish girl Ellis who emigrates to New York. She longs to put down new roots but is also drawn to her old country.

The depth in Ronan’s performance really makes you feel her isolation and being pulled in different directions. She delivers some complex feelings around belonging and immigration in an emotionally honest and clear way.

“Lady Bird” (2017)

Saoirse Ronan Lady Bird
Saoirse Ronan and Beanie Feldstein in “Lady Bird” (2017)

Recently named the ITOL number 1 film of the decade, Lady Bird is another coming of age story. Directed by Greta Gerwig, this film shows the final few months of Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson’s high school days and her move to college.

Ronan’s performance will bring tears as quickly as laughter as she encapsulates so much about being a teenage girl – feeling like an outsider, trying to fit in, being independent and making your own choices, but ultimately missing your family when you do strike out on your own.

“Little Women” (2019)

Saoirse Ronan (Finalized)
Saoirse Ronan in “Little Women” (2019)

Teaming up with Greta Gerwig again, Ronan has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in “Little Women”. She personifies the headstrong independent Jo March that women and girls have looked up to for over a hundred years. No small task given how revered the text is, but she brings a fresh approach for both new audiences and dedicated fans.

My favourite moment of the film was when Jo rails against society’s treatment of women as though love is all they are good for. Then bursts out that she’s so very lonely. This balance between independence and the need to be loved is real for millions of women around the world and I really felt this line was delivered with incredible emotional honesty.

Take a look at our companion piece reviews of “Little Women” to see what a lifelong fan and a first timer made of the latest adaptation.

Teaming up with Greta Gerwig again, Ronan has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in “Little Women”. She personifies the headstrong independent Jo March that women and girls have looked up to for over a hundred years.

We will soon be treated to two more Saoirse Ronan films. “Ammonite” (release date TBC) is a Victorian-era lesbian drama about the relationship between a fossil hunter (Kate Winslet) and a convalescing woman (Saoirse Ronan).

Both actresses are also due to star in “The French Dispatch” (release date TBC). Directed by Wes Anderson, this film is about journalists for an American Newspaper living in France. Timothee Chamalet is also due to appear, having performed alongside Ronan in both “Lady Bird” and “Little Women”.

I will be watching out for both of these films and any other projects Ronan has on the cards. She has a powerful ability to play humour as well as deep emotions, cementing her place as one of ITOL’s favourite actresses.

What’s your favourite performance from Saoirse Ronan? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

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