best film:  As 2012 gets smaller in rearview mirror,  it becomes clearer that The Master is one of the best films of the 21st century. It is easily the best film Amy Adams has been a part of. The closest contenders (and there is some distance here) are Spike Jonze’s Her and David O. Russell’s American Hustle.



Adams plays Peggy Dodd in Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece. She plays the wife of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Lancaster. She is not given as much space to work as PSH (or Joaquin Phoenix of course) but hers is a crucial supporting part – and it is a 180% turn from her trademark naïve sweetheart role – so this gives her some range padding as well.



best performance:  American Hustle and this is highly debatable with her work in Arrival, The Fighter The Master and even Junebug which was her big coming out in 2005 (after stealing some scenes from Leo in Catch Me If You Can in 2002). Her role in American Hustle is complex – a showcase role. She is pairing accents with a character going through changes and being dishonest with other characters for large parts of the film. This is her one lead nomination among her many.



American Hustle –  Amy Adams (her best work – and she is one of the best of her generation) takes the baton for the voice over from Christian Bale (David O. Russell is doing Scorsese – and doing it well here outdueling Scorsese in 2013). Russell has a Welsh actor (Bale) doing an American accent, and an American actor (Adams) doing a British accent. This film is about crime, uses multicharacter voice over narration, and it has an extensive needle-drop pop/rock soundtrack. This is Goodfellas, Casino, Boogie Nights, or The Wolf of Wall Street (also 2013). Russell even freezes on Louis C.K.’s Stoddard Thorsen character in one scene.



stylistic innovations/traits:  Many of her roles/films feature her trademark wide-eyed optimism or naiveté.  This is warranted and she is superb at playing this type of character (Doubt, Enchanted, Junebug, Catch Me If You Can) but she can show her versatility by playing against type as well just fine (The Fighter, American Hustle, Nocturnal Animals). She certainly has the respect of the academy with six Oscar nominations. Her depth is a strength here. One could easily argue any number of a half dozen other performances (Her stands out as another worth praising outside of her top five- and this one came in her best single year : 2013) belong on that top five list below. She has fourteen (14) archiveable films already.



directors worked with:   David O. Russell (2), Adam McKay (2), and then once with Steven Spielberg (1), Paul Thomas Anderson (1), Mike Nichols (1), Spike Jonze (1), Denis Villeneuve (1) and Joe Wright (1)



Adams here in The Fighter from 2010 – one of her two important collaborations with David O. Russell



top five performances:

  1. American Hustle
  2. Junebug
  3. The Fighter
  4. Arrival
  5. The Master



archiveable films

2002- Catch Me If You Can
2005- Junebug
2006- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
2007- Charlie Wilson’s War
2007- Enchanted
2008- Doubt
2010- The Fighter
2012- The Master
2013- American Hustle
2013- Her
2016- Arrival
2016- Nocturnal Animals
2018- Vice
2021- The Woman in the Window