The Best Performances of 2021

Some performances have stuck with me throughout the entire year. They touched me because of their vulnerability on screen or just bringing their A-game for the entire season. I’m unpacking all of my favorite performances of 2021.

Kathryn Hahn

Kathryn Hahn deserved all the awards for her performance in Wanda Vision. It took quite a few episodes until anyone suspected her of being the villain. She played her part so well through the ages of sitcoms, and then when she revealed herself, we just loved her character even more. And her battle with Wanda was epic. Agatha is one of the reasons I wanted a second season of Wanda Vision, but I’m so happy that she’s getting her own mini-series: Agatha: House of Harkness. It’s what we all deserve.

Kathryn Hahn Best performances of 2021

Elizabeth Olsen 

Wanda Vision sure did pack in a lot of female power. Elizabeth Olsen was also outstanding in the mini-series. I’ve seen Elizabeth in many dramas, but I had no idea how funny she could be too. It was so much fun watching Wanda throughout the various decades of sitcoms, then to have her really dive into the depth of her despair. Elizabeth, like Kathryn, deserved more love from the award shows, and I wish I could see more of her in this world. Luckily, we will see her soon in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Elizabeth Olsden Best performances of 2021

Anthony Mackie 

Anthony Mackie really owned the leading man role in The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. He was also great as a partner with Sebastian Stan. These two were absolutely hilarious together. As well as being an action-packed series, the show delved into the African American experience. Bucky Barnes (Sebastian) wanted Sam Wilson (Anthony) to become the new Captain American, but he couldn’t understand why Sam wouldn’t take up the mantle. Anthony did such a fantastic job explaining the complexities of following in Steve Rogers’s footsteps. Then that speech, at the end, was absolutely incredible. I cried. He’s transcended what Captain America is. Anthony is taking this Marvel franchise into its next chapter. I can’t wait to see what he does with this character. 

Anthony Mackie Best performances of 2021

The Entire Cast of Roswell, New Mexico 

As I mentioned in The 10 Best Shows of 2021 article, this season of Roswell, New Mexico, was on another level. All of the cast were on top of their game. They must all be given a shoutout: Jeanine Mason, Nathan Parsons, Michael Vlamis, Lily Cowles, Michael Trevino, Tyler Blackburn, Heather Hemmens, Amber Midthunder, Steven Krueger, Quentin Plair, Kayla Ewell and Cassandra Jean. This cast has such great chemistry together. There were so many great one-on-one character moments. And Nathan (Max Evans and Jones) played two very different characters. He was superb with both of them. Since day one, I’ve loved Kyle Valenti (Michael), but there was just something about him in this season. He was so selfless, and the writers had us shook over his character a lot. I wish the awards shows could have recognized even just one of them. I can’t gush enough over how much I loved season three. It’s because of the incredible cast. 

Roswell, New Mexico Best performances of 2021
(The CW)

Jason Sudeikis

Jason Sudeikis’s deserved his Emmy win after his performance in this season of Ted Lasso. He was still hilarious, like in season one, but he brought a new depth to the character. We saw a more vulnerable side to Ted (Jason) and watched him work through his anxiety. I’m glad that the storyline went this way because how could he not be feeling all different kinds of things when he left his home, wife and son to coach a sport that he knows nothing about. We really got to understand Ted and what he was going through, and that’s all thanks to Jason. He’s known for his comedy, but he has a lot more depth to him as well. Bring on season three already. 

Jason Sudeikis Best performances of 2021
(Apple TV+)

Jared Padalecki

I was thrilled that Jared Padalecki was back on my screen with not too much of a gap. I watched Jared as Sam Winchester for 15 years, so I needed to fill that hole, and he did. Cordell Walker (Jared) is nothing like Sam, and that’s absolutely fine. I love this character for Jared. It gives him something new to work with. He’s giving us the action while also having such great family moments. In the first season of Walker, he portrayed so many emotions as he was a man that lost his wife, just got back from undercover and was trying to be a single parent while also being a Texas Ranger. That’s a lot of range to work with, and he did it so well. Season two is off to a great start too. Jared has definitely found himself a great role to take on after Sam Winchester. 

Jared Padalecki Best performances of 2021
(The CW)

What were your favorite performances of the year? Tweet me @PrimetimeDrama or @MandyTTCarr or comment below.

Mandy Carr

Editor and Founder, Primetime Addiction

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