I’m sure we can all agree, 2015 has been a great year for films, and with only a few weeks to go, I’ve been thinking – which actor’s had the best year? I’m not talking about paychecks, I’m not talking about awards, I’m talking about whose complete body of work, and their performances within them, have been the best overall. There are no real rules, but the more big roles they’ve had, the better chance they have, and if any roles this year have had an impact on the future of their career, that will help too! So without any further ado… Let’s meet the nominees!

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Alicia Vikander

This time last year, I, and most people, had never heard of Swedish actress Alicia Vikander. Then, a few weeks into January, we got to see Ex Machinaa film that is without question one of the best this year, and her performance was what many believed to be the highlight – myself included. Since then, she’s barely spent any time off our screens, appearing in no less than five wide releases, including Testament of Youth, the hugely underrated The Man From U.N.C.L.Ethe fantastic Burntand the one she won’t want me to mention, Seventh Son. She’s also an early tip for next years awards season, with her role in The Danish Girland she has five more films lined up for next year, including the as yet untitled Bourne 5. 

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Jeff Daniels

Without exaggeration, Jeff Daniels could be considered for two best supporting actor awards nominations this year. One of those nominations being Teddy Sanders in The Martianand the other being John Sculley in Steve JobsEven though they were his only films this year, the fact that both of them were such significant characters and stellar performances means that he thoroughly deserves consideration. He’s also been cast in parts 3 and 4 of the Divergent series, but we’re yet to see if that’s a blessing or a curse.

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Ryan Reynolds

Who would’ve seen this coming? Once the butt of many jokes, Ryan Reynolds is quickly becoming an actor that can be counted on for delivering in every role. The performance that most stands out would be his triple role in The Voicesbut he also proved himself to a lot of people in Woman in Gold, Mississippi Grind, and the highly underrated Self/lessHe’s also got a little project on the on way by the name of Deadpool

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Michael Péna

Péna’s year got a real kick-start when he pretty much stole the show in Ant-Manas the fast talking, slightly dense, but ultra lovable Luis, a character many people hope returns. He also showed audiences what he could do in Vacation, The Vatican Tapes and perhaps best of all, The Martian. Anyone can see the diversity he’s capable of, and that’s all in the space of one year.

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Jesse Plemons

Known to most people as Todd from Breaking Bad, Jesse Plemons is starting to make a niche for himself as a solid character actor. He hasn’t been the star of any films this year, but he has appeared in three critically acclaimed films, and played major roles in two of them. His most notable role was as Kevin Weeks in Black Massbut he was also great in The Programand had a small role in Bridge of Spies. In the TV world, he’s landed a role in season 2 of Fargo, although there are no other big projects on the horizon.

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Lake Bell

Some people reading this still may not know who Lake Bell is, but she’s been very busy this year. Two of her roles this year have shown just how much range she has, those being Man Up, where she played the slightly manic lead in a romantic comedy, and No Escape, a very serious action thriller. She also appeared in Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of camp, BoJack Horseman and Axe Cop. She’s also playing an obese cat in 2016’s The Secret Life of Pets, so that’s a thing…

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Chris Hemsworth

One of the biggest stars on the planet (just look at those guns), 2015 might have been his best year yet. Let’s get the obvious one out-of-the-way, Avengers: Age of Ultronit’s one of the biggest films of all time, and it had plenty of great Thor action. On top of that, He’s playing the lead in the upcoming In the Heart of the Seahad a hilarious (if brief) role in Vacationand starred in a film I liked, but most people didn’t, BlackhatHe also has possibly the biggest upcoming slate of anybody on this list, with The Huntsman: Winter’s War (a franchise that’s now named after him), the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot, and of course Thor: Ragnarok

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Paul Bettany

Bettany has been acting for years, but 2015 could prove to be a bit of a game changer for his career. He appeared on-screen in a Marvel film for the first time in Avengers: Age of Ultronhad a small but funny role in Legendand was the comedic stand out in an otherwise not great film, MortdecaiThis year also sees him making his directorial début, in the form of Shelter.

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet has had a very varied year. She started with possibly her weakest film, Insurgenta film she still managed to be good in, and a film that’s still part of a fairly big franchise, no matter what you think of it. Things only went up from there, with her excellent supporting performance in Steve Jobsand what is possibly her best performance this year, playing Tilly Dunnage in The Dressmakertwo of our favourite films of the year!

Which Actor Had the Best Year in 2015? (What’s the Deal?)

Oscar Isaac

Another actor a lot of people hadn’t heard of before this year, and another actor that appeared in Ex Machina, Oscar Isaac is going to end 2015 with a much bigger fan base than when he started it. He also appeared in A Most Violent Yeara film that got him some awards buzz, starred in TV series Show Me a Hero, and he’s appearing in a little upcoming film called Star Wars – The Force AwakensAs well as more than likely appearing in a few sequels to Episode VIIhe’ll be appearing in X-Men: Apocalypse next year, playing the big bad guy.

Which actor do you think has had the best year in 2015? Are there any actors you think we missed that should have been on this list? Share any thoughts in the comments.