Washington Post

The 12 actors I'm most thankful for in 2017

Issa Rae as Issa and Yvonne Orji as Molly in HBO's "Insecure." Foto: Anne Marie Fox, HBO

1. Dominique Fishback and Lawrence Gilliard Jr.: If the only worthwhile thing "The Deuce," George Pelecanos' and David Simon's show about the legalization of the sex industry in New York during the 1970s, had done was getting Fishback and Gilliard Jr. back on my television seasons, well, dayenu (in Hebrew, "it would have been enough.") But "The Deuce" did more than that. It created two indelible characters in Chris Alston - Gilliard's decent-but-hesitant New York City cop struggling with his department's culture of corruption as the Knapp Commission investigation begins to heat up; and Darlene - Fishback's sex worker, who over the course of the season transitions from street prostitution to the nascent pornography industry, combining sweetness and deep moral compromise along the way. One of the best elements of "The Deuce" is the way it creates space for its characters to be tender and vulnerable without demanding that they be either innocent or heroic. This tension is at its clearest in Chris and Darlene's storylines, and it's because Gilliard and Fishback do such remarkable work with their characters.

2. Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney: It drives me a little bananas that the rest of you haven't yet gotten to see what so far is my favorite movie of 2017, Craig Gillespie's emotionally intelligent, wickedly funny, deeply insightful "I, Tonya." I have been obsessed with Tonya Harding and the violent climax of her rivalry with Nancy Kerrigan my whole life, and yet Gillespie still managed to make me think about this period in American skating in new ways. That's largely thanks to this remarkable trio of actors. Playing Harding, her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, and her mother, LaVona Haring, Robbie, Stan and Janney are toxic without ever becoming less than human, hilarious without ever losing sight of the pathos and class anxieties of the case, and completely physically committed to their parts. They're all marvelous, but Robbie's ability to communicate the joy of great skating and the temptations of dissolution is something really special...

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