Emma Stone has enjoyed an upward-trending career ever since her big screen debut in 2007's comedy classic, Superbad. That mountainous climb continues with this year's awards season musical juggernaut, La La Land. Stone's onscreen achievements, both past and present, are enough to devote December's Movie List of the Month to her finest performances (November's List).
Honorable Mention: Superbad and Zombieland
#5. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)
Directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa delivered one of the decade's finest romantic comedies with Crazy, Stupid, Love. Lead stars Steve Carell and Julianne Moore consume an enormity of the film's running time, but Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone displayed an undeniable onscreen chemistry that made their side-stepping love story an absolute joy to experience. It wasn't the grandest platform to showcase her talents, but Stone seized the opportunity with another career-propelling performance.
#4. The Help (2011)
Within the same year, Emma Stone enjoyed a larger leading role in the Best Picture Nominee, The Help. Tate Taylor's Civil Rights drama battled through a successful awards season run that sadly overlooked Stone's rangy turn. The film instead resulted in Globe and Oscar Nominations for Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain, while Octavia Spencer reigned victorious at both ceremonies. But despite Stone's failure to capture the recognition which she deserved, her role in The Help will always stand as a pivotal point in her career arc.
#3. Easy A (2010)
One of my largest guilty pleasures is the 2010 teen comedy, Easy A. Stone stars as a straight-laced high school girl who unfortunately finds herself caught in a wide-spreading lie that alters her image into the new school "trollop". There's never a break in the comedy and Stone's winning turn landed her a first Golden Globe Nomination. Easy A demanded the spotlight for its lead star and served as a cornerstone role that finally earned Stone more dramatic opportunities.
#2. Birdman (2014)
Best Picture Winner, Birdman, from acclaimed filmmaker Alejandro G. Inarritu, steamrolled through the Academy Awards for its original story, brilliant director and accomplished acting. Yet, the film's most unforgettable performance came from supporting actress, Emma Stone. Her scarred and emotionally battered character works wonders on the big screen and unforgivably took the backseat to an awarded veteran, Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) at the Oscars. Stone's turn left a deeper impression, but, as often the case, the awards season isn't always fair.
#1. La La Land (2016)
Finally, you'll have to see it for yourself to believe it, but Emma Stone has saved the best of her abilities for her most recent portrayal in Damien Chazzelle's mystical new endeavor, La La Land. Not only does she consume the audience with an affable and endearing character, her musical attributes demand a whole new level of appreciation. The effectiveness of Stone's performance is as impacting as her role in Birdman, yet her widely written character allows for a more fully developed persona. She captures your attention and she captures your heart in 2016's finest achievement, La La Land. Like I said, you'll just have to see it for yourself.