2018 Oscar Best Actress: Top 15 Frances McDormand Performances, From Fargo To Three Billboards

Frances McDormand is unarguably one of the greatest actors operating in Hollywood today and has contributed countless memorable performances in her career to date. Here are 15 examples of Frances McDormand at her best.. 

1. Abby, Blood Simple (1984)
McDormand’s first film role was in this low budget independent film and it would prove to be a landmark moment for both her personal life as well as for film history.

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2. Mrs. Pell, Mississippi Burning (1988)
This is the film that really made McDormand into a star and earned her a first Oscar nomination.

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3. Marge Gunderson, Fargo (1996)
McDormand’s performance in this cult movie is one of the top 5 greatest female performances in film history. 

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4. Dr. Molly Arrington, Primal Fear (1996)
This film is probably best remembered for launching the career of Edward Norton who received an Oscar nomination for his first film role, but McDormand shows great intelligence and insight that plays a crucial supporting role in the film. 

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5. Bunny, Lone Star (1996)
McDormand plays the mentally ill ex-wife of the lead character played by Chris Cooper. She and the rest of the cast were highly praised for their performances. It was a particularly strong group and features an early performance by Matthew McConaughey.

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6. Miss Clavel, Madeline (1998)
Some critics found McDormand to be too much of a comic in this role, but others think her performance was just right. You can’t please everyone! 

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7. Elaine Miller, Almost Famous (2000)
McDormand’s portrayal of Elaine Miller in this movie is one of the most fascinating maternal figures in film history. 

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8.  Doris, The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
McDormand’s performance gave a whole new lease of life and complexity to the cliché “cheating wife in a suburban drama”. 

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9. Jane, Laurel Canyon (2002)
If you need proof of McDormand’s range, look no further than a quick comparison between her maternal characters in Almost Famous and Laurel Canyon.

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10. Glory Dodge, North Country (2005)
McDormand received her fourth Oscar nomination for this story set in the iron mining business of rural Minnesota. 

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11. Jane, Friends with Money (2006)
McDormand stole Jennifer Aniston’s thunder in this movie, after playing a professionally successful workaholic. 

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12. Guinevere Pettigrew, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
One of McDormand’s best and most overlooked performances came in this charming film from 2008.

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13. Linda Litzke, Burn After Reading (2008)
Her turn as a profoundly stupid fitness trainer is perhaps her best comedic turn. 

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14. Olive Kitteridge, Olive Kitteridge (TV mini-series, 2014)
Having to capture the evolution of a character over a quarter century is a daunting task for any actor, but McDormand comes through with flying colors, as the character’s seemingly impenetrable emotional wall is cracked bit by bit while the cruelty of the passing years keep showing their scars.

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15. Mildred, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)
She won the best actress award at the Golden Globes for her excellent performance in this film, and who knows, maybe there is an Oscar to come. 

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