Female superheroes have been around almost as long as the genre itself, with Wonder Woman paving the way for a diverse group of characters as far back as the 1940s. On television, she also established a foothold alongside characters like The Mighty Isis and Electra Woman in the 1970s. Unfortunately, as superheroes disappeared from television in the 1980s, so too did these initial, beloved characters. With the big expansion of superhero television in the 21st Century, female superheroes returned, and it is nearly impossible to think of a series without a key superpowered woman in the cast. Granted, very few headline a series currently, there is only one female-led superhero show but their contributions often keep their shows running.But who are the best on television right now? And is it their abilities, life experience, or strength of will that makes them great? Here are seven of the greatest female superheroes on television right now who prove it is a combination of all three factors that sets them apart from the rest.Supergirl Supergirl 90%(Photo by Jordon Nuttall/The CW)Debut in Comics: Action Comics #252Abilities: flight, super strength, super speed, invulnerability, heat vision, x-ray vision, super hearingCertainly the most powerful of the female superheroes on television, Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) also boasts the most diverse set of abilities. On a physical level, she can dish it out easily, but Kara’s most important power is often her sense of hope and empathy. She never wants to get into a brawl – in fact, she prefers to avoid it – and would rather make a foe her ally. This sometimes works out, as when Livewire (Brit Morgan) helped out on Kara’s mission to Fort Roz last year. And other times, as with season 3 nemesis Reign (Odette Annable), Kara s appeals may fail to warm an evil heart, which forces a fight. Nonetheless, Kara s opponents often mistake her hope as a weakness instead of the bedrock of her strengths.Syd Barrett Legion 91%(Photo by Prashant Gupta/FX)Debut in Comics: n/aAbilities: body switchingLet’s face it, Syd (Rachel Keller) has not had an easy go of it on FX’s Legion. When we meet her, she lives in extreme isolation, thanks to her cruel mutant ability – any skin-to-skin contact will see her consciousness transferred to the body of the person touching her. Nonetheless, she manages to find some semblance of a life with the people at Summerland and David Haller (Dan Stevens). Then he disappears for a year. During that time, she learns to control her ability as the Summerland group ally with Division 3, the government agency previously engaged in hunting them. And once David resurfaces and she learns his role in the coming apocalypse, she resolves to either heal him or kill him. David escalates things by trying to restore their previous love affair and assaulting her, but despite the complete betrayal, Syd bounces back and rededicates herself to the one action guaranteed to save the world. That resiliency, especially in the world of Legion, is a superpower in its own right.Black Canary Arrow 86%(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW Network)Debut in Comics: Flash Comics #86 (as Dinah Drake)Abilities: sonic cry, advanced combat trainingDinah Drake’s (Juliana Harkavy) sonic cry certainly came in handy when Team Arrow needed a new member to replace the deceased Black Canary, Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy). She also proved a worthy opponent to Laurel s villainous Earth-2 counterpart, Black Siren (also Cassidy). But even if she was not a meta, Dinah would certainly be worthy to stand alongside the team as an accomplished fighter. With her staff, she’s almost unstoppable. She also has superb strength of character, as exemplified by her willingness to work with Black Siren – now pretending to be the Earth-1 Laurel and operating as the Star City District Attorney – and even moving past her culpability in the death of Dinah’s ex-boyfriend Vincent (Johann Urb). That strength takes on many forms, even as recently as this week’s episode, in which she finally admitted to the team that she can no longer use her cry. Though reluctant, her willingness to share illustrates her continued growth and is yet another reason why she will continue to be the Canary long after Team Arrow disintegrates as noted in the 2040 flash-forwards.Polaris The Gifted 79%(Photo by Ryan Green/Fox)Debut in Comics:The X-Men #49Abilities: magnetic manipulationSure, Lorna Dane (Emma Dumont) may have spent most of the second season of The Gifted allied with the very questionable Inner Circle, but her willingness to admit her mistake in this regard puts her back on the right side, even if she stayed away from the remaining Mutant Underground characters. From the series first moments, Lorna was portrayed as one of the most powerful mutants around, thanks to an ability that can stop bullets, open fences, and even bring down an entire airplane, killing all of its passengers. That last point certainly set up a heel-turn, but as the show’s second year progressed, Lorna saw the downside of her actions and the horrifying real intent of Inner Circle’s plan to create a mutant homeland. Nonetheless, she acknowledged her errors and resolved to make amends. That resiliency is part of what makes Lorna one of the most interesting characters on the show, and doubly so as she remains strong while combating a chronic mental illness. Should the show continue in the Disney era of X-Men properties, it will be interesting to see how she juggles the roles of hero and mother. She would probably say they are the same thing.Killer Frost The Flash 89%(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW)Debut in Comics: Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #19 (as Caitlin Snow)Abilities: ice generation and manipulationThis is a strange one, as Killer Frost is traditionally a villain. But The Flash took her on a curious journey as viewers discovered she is a distinct personality from her host, Dr. Caitlin Snow (Danielle Panabaker) – one dedicated to protecting Caitlin above all other concerns. Nonetheless, the pull toward selfish acts and quick answers was strong (see her alliance with Savitar in season 3), but as she and Caitlin learned to share one body, Frost also learned empathy. And then, she was seemingly gone for a time, and the absence affected Caitlin and the fans more acutely than anyone could predict. She eventually resurfaced with a resolve to be more of a team player she s a far cry from the woman who walked away from Team Flash at the end of season 3. Meanwhile, in the current season, her powers prove uniquely effective against Cicada (Chris Klein) as she is immune to his power-dampening dagger. It s a good thing she decided to work with the group, otherwise their few successes against the meta serial killer would not have been possible.Elasti-Woman Doom Patrol 97%(Photo by DC Universe)Debut in Comics: My Greatest Adventure #80 (as Elasti-Girl)Abilities: limited shape changing and mass exchangeRita Farr (April Bowlby) is a ways from admitting this to herself, but she has the strength to lead a superhero team even one as dysfunctional as a the Doom Patrol. On a purely physical level, she must have Supergirl levels of strength to maintain her human form. When out of control, she is a giant rolling mass capable of occupying an entire city block. Keeping that form in check requires tons of strength, to say nothing of mental fortitude. Sure, she still slips from time to time with so much of her power devoted to retaining her idealized shape, the slightest emotional upset can weaken her resolve but that’s the real challenge she faces in the first season of the show: accepting those mistakes as part of her path to becoming a strong and capable woman. Along the way, she might even figure out how to use her gelatinous form to stretch like her comic book counterpart. At that point, she will be more formidable than even Jane (Diane Guerrero) or Robotman (Brendan Fraser).Zari Tomaz DC's Legends of Tomorrow 89%(Photo by Dean Buscher/The CW)Debut in Comics: Shazam! #25 (as The Mighty Isis)Abilities: air manipulationWhen Zari (Tala Ashe) first joined the Waverider crew, she was sarcastic, reluctant to engage, and more of a hindrance to the mission than an asset. In short, she was a Legend in the making. She abused the ship’s food replication system to snack endlessly and played video games constantly in lieu of getting to know anybody. Nonetheless, she would also call out the other Legends for being slackers, and after getting caught in a time loop, she learned to care about them. She also began to involve herself in the mission, particularly once the group discovered the Air Totem that generates her abilities was tied to their opponent, the time demon Mallus. By the point the Legends found the other totems and unified them into a giant Cuddle Me Beebo doll to fight Mallus, she was definitely a member of the team. In the most recent season, Zari has continued to grow, taking on more responsibilities and even mentoring new recruit Charlie (Maisie Richardson-Sellers). Well, mentoring after a fashion. And while she continues to grow as a hero or as much of a hero as a Legend can be she still finds time to snack.Like this? 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Universal’s new high-octane thrill-ride Nobody brings together some of the most formidable names working in action cinema today: John Wick writer Derek Kolstad, Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller, Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2 director David Leitch (who is a producer), and, of course… Bob Odenkirk!? That casting is kinda the punchline of this movie about a seemingly regular Joe named Hutch Mansell, a suburban family man suffering from some serious middle-age malaise, whose former life as a take-no-prisoners badass is re-awakened after a home invasion.In this exclusive and extended sit down, Odenkirk – up till now best known as a deft comedian and for his work in Breaking Bad and prequel series Better Call Saul – reveals how his own personal experience with home invasions inspired the idea for the film and the character of Hutch. Plus, the actor goes deep on the movie’s demanding action sequences, including an absolutely brutal encounter on a bus, and channeling the rage of a man whose safety, and that of his family, has been violated.Nobody is in theaters March 26, 2021. On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.
(Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)It seems not even a pandemic can stop awards season. Some films like Dune are still a question mark to finish in time for a theatrical 2020 release, but with the Academy extending the window for eligibility and allowing films to bypass a theatrical roll-out, the show will go on even if the show is virtual. Bringing back our series of Ridiculously Early Oscar Predictions, we start the 2020-2021 awards season with the gentlemen. We admit it s a little early, but this isn t exactly a normal Oscar year.Our early Best Actor predictions list is still a bit tenuous, as several films have yet to be screened by critics groups and voters before the February deadline for Oscar submissions. No matter what happens, the upcoming season will make history as the first in which films will not have to screen in theaters to contend for Hollywood s top prize, which sets up some intriguing possibilities for what films could break through and snag a nomination. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced earlier this summer that the Oscars would be postponed by two months to April 25, 2021, and extended-release date eligibility rules to February 28, 2021, in addition to allowing streaming-only submissions and making all eligible films available on the Academy screening library, forgoing the typical Oscar voter screenings.Despite being already dubbed The Netflix Season by many of those in the know, fierce competition is a-brewing for 2020. A number of the films likely to be in the conversation have already screened and earned Tomatometer scores, and pundits are already singling out the major standout performances in them. Our list does include performances nobody has seen, but for which pre-release buzz and expectations are high. With that said, some on this list may end up in the Supporting Actor category.Whether we like it or not, the campaigns are quietly underway, the conversation has started, and we re now ready to join it. If history and basic math tell us anything, it is that most of these names won t make it to Oscar night, but we re pretty confident many of them will be right up there in awards chatter. So please read on as we break down our ridiculously early picks for 2020 Best Actor contenders.Don t agree with our picks? Have at us in the comments.Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah (2021) 96%LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya are two of the most electrifying young actors in Hollywood. Working with acclaimed directors like Denis Villeneuve, Rian Johnson, Destin Daniel Cretton, Jordan Peele, Steve McQueen, and Ryan Coogler (who serves as a producer on Judas and The Black Messiah), both actors have amassed impressive filmographies and varied work in just a few short years. After working together for Jordan Peele s Oscar-Winning masterwork Get Out, Stanfield and Kaluuya reunite here to portray two pivotal if not well-known names from the Black Civil Rights movement. Stanfield plays William O Neal, a petty criminal-turned-informant who agrees to work for the FBI to take down Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), the leader of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. Catapulted into the conversation by a fiery new trailer, the film has all the right pieces to make a deep run, come awards season. A tragic true-life tale with sociopolitical undertones featuring a former Best Actor nominee is the stuff Oscar campaigns are made of. The only question mark now is whether or not the film which has an unspecified 2021 release date will premiere before the February deadline to be eligible for 2020 accolades.Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods (2020) 92%There have been dozens of Vietnam War films over the years to compete for Oscars, but none like Da 5 Bloods, Spike Lee s follow-up to his Oscar-winning hit BlacKkKlansman. The film features stand-out performances from Clarke Peters, Norm Lewis, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Chadwick Boseman, and Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors, but the most actorly performance belongs to Delroy Lindo, who s likely to compete for the Best Actor prize. As the bombastic member of Da 5 Bloods tasked with returning to Vietnam to bring home the remains of a comrade lost during the war and perhaps a hidden fortune Lindo is transformative. Despite a career that spans nearly five decades and over 70 credits, it s surprising that Lindo has never been in the awards conversation, and his role here as the Trump-supporting Vietnam vet with PSTD is his best shot. Spike Lee is coming off his Oscar win for BlacKkKlansman, and his cachet with voters has never been higher. With its timely message, the film could be a huge play for Netflix, which is assumed to do well in this streaming-friendly season.Timothée Chalamet, Dune (2021) 89%Jacqueline ColeyIn the four short years since he broke out into the mainstream with his Oscar-nominated performance in Call Me By Your Name, Timothée Chalamet s name has percolated in the awards conversation. This year he has the enviable position of having two films that could earn him a nomination: Wes Anderson s The French Dispatch and Denis Villeneuve s Dune. His turn in Dune, however, is what we re banking on for him and Arrival director Villeneuve to weave some Oscar magic, with a long-awaited adaptation of the award-winning science-fiction novel by Frank Herbert, poised to be a far cry from David Lynch s much-derided 1984 adaptation. Villeneuve has been on an unbeatable streak with critics and has a proven track record for crafting genre films that capture voters attention, scoring nominations for four of his last five Certified Fresh features, though he failed to secure an acting nomination for Amy Adams in Arrival. It stands to reason that if Dune lives up to even half of its hype, it could equal the accolades of George Miller s Mad Max: Fury Road and perhaps top it with an acting nomination for Chalamet. Starring alongside Oscar Issac, Zendaya, Jason Mamoa, and Javier Bardem, Chalamet is currently in Budapest filming re-shoots; a trailer is expected by the end of the month, and Villeneuve recently said that Dune could be this generation s The Lord of the Rings, so anything is possible.Anthony Hopkins, The Father (2020) 98%(Photo by Sony Pictures Classics)Since The Father s debut at the Sundance film festival earlier this year, Anthony Hopkins has been penciled in at the top of just about every Best Actor tip sheet by awards prognosticators. Still Fresh at 100% on the Tomatometer, the film, which is based on a French play, has seen acclaimed adaptations for Broadway, the London West End, and the French stage, and in each iteration, the actor playing the titular Father has taken home the best acting prize. Adapted and directed by the original playwright, Florian Zeller, the film is a poignant and disturbing journey through the deterioration of a man s mind. Suffering from Alzheimer s, an aging man stubbornly refuses his daughter s aid despite the grown evidence he is losing his grip on reality. A difficult watch, Hopkins work is incomparable with Gregory Ellwood of The Playlist calling it his best work this century. It should bring Hopkins back into the Lead Actor conversation following his supporting nomination last year playing retired Pope Benedict for The Two Popes, and it could be the role that brings him back to the winner s dais for the first time since he won in 1991 as the iconic and terrifying Hannibal Lecter in Jonathan Demme s The Silence of the Lambs.Andrew Garfield, The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021) 66%Televangelists Tammy Faye Bakker and her husband Jim were two of the most salacious personalities of the 1970s and early 80s, and this drama, based on the award-winning documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker, chronicles their rise and very public fall. The story, filled with drugs, fraud, sexuality, and, of course, Jesus, is as legendary as it is incredulous and should place both Jessica Chastain (as Tammy Faye) and Andrew Garfield (as Jim) on the lips of many prominent voices in awards punditry. It also doesn t hurt that it was directed by Michael Showalter, who was in the director s chair for the 2017 Oscar-nominated film The Big Sick. This is another film without a solid release date, so it could be pushed back to 2021, but it will likely still screen in time for the 2020 season. Keep an eye out for an I, Tonya-styled campaign strategy for the previously nominated Garfield and two-time nominee Chastain.Ben Affleck, The Way Back (2020) 84%Ben Affleck has been unfairly maligned as mediocre despite two Oscars and acclaimed work in award-winning films, including Shakespeare in Love, Argo, Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone, and The Town. Following some personal and professional hardships, Affleck kicked off the year with a celebrated performance that mirrored his personal struggles. The newly single father of three plays Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball phenom who never lived up to expectations and buried his pain at the bottom of a bottle. Forced to take a coaching job at his alma mater years later, he focuses himself on helping the young team, which might be his final shot for redemption. It was a surprisingly well-received entry during the typically lackluster releases of January, and critics raved about the film s feelgood story arc and Affleck s heartfelt performance. Currently rated Certified Fresh at 83% on the Tomatometer, the comeback drama has a built-in awards-friendly storyline, based on true events that are similar to the recently sober star s own personal battles with alcohol exactly the type of narrative strategists love to parrot to voters during the season.Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020) 89%(Photo by Netflix)Produced by Steven Spielberg and written and directed by Oscar-winner Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7 was thought to be a surefire awards contender for Paramount earlier this year. However, difficulties arising from COVID-19 prompted Paramount to sell the film to Netflix, giving the streaming giant yet more ammunition for an impressive haul in what many are dubbing the Netflix Season. The story of seven men charged with inciting a riot outside the Democratic convention in 1969 as part of a larger protest to the Vietnam War is another film tailor-made for awards in an election year. It features key figures from the time, including Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton (the center of the aforementioned Judas and The Black Messiah) as well as political activist Bobby Seale and famed members of the Chicago 7 Abbie Hoffman and Tom Hayden. Hoffman and Hayden are played by Oscar nominee Sacha Baron Cohen and Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne, respectively, and both men are poised to rise above the already stacked cast that includes Succession s Jeremy Strong, Micheal Keaton, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Willliam Hurt.John David Washington, Tenet (2020) 70%At several points in the past few months, there was some question whether or not Christopher Nolan s latest psychological action film, Tenet, would even reach theaters; as of now, it looks like it will, at least internationally. Never in doubt from a production standpoint, as the film has been long finished, the only question was if the global pandemic would prevent the film being screened in theaters. As Nolan is a staunch advocate of the theatrical experience, it was unlikely that it would shift over to a streaming platform or VOD, especially since Nolan has gone on record to say the films is most designed for the audience/big-screen experience. Appearing alongside our next Batman, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debecki in what seems to be a mind-bending Inception-style action flick, the star of the film is John David Washington, who looks to achieve what he was unable to garner for his breakout film, Spike Lee s BlacKkKlansman. The plot of Tenet has been kept tightly under wraps even the name of Washington s character, which is currently listed as the protagonist but expectations are high, as Nolan, like Dune s Denis Villeneuve, is a director known for his ability to rack up Oscar nominations for genre films. As last year s Best Actor prize went to a role-based off a comic book character, it s reasonable to believe that this year, an exceptional performance from a genre thriller could do the same.Tom Hanks, News of the WorldIf it s Oscar season and Tom Hanks is in a movie, he s likely in the conversation. However, his Supporting Actor Oscar nomination last year for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood was his first in nearly 20 years. After flirting with a nomination for Sully, The Post, and Captain Phillips, Hollywood s favorite dad is back in in the conversation with two pictures: Greyhound, in which he plays a captain for the third time, and News of the World, where you guessed it he plays yet another Captain. Hanks earned positive reviews for Greyhound, which he also wrote, but his best shot at a Best Actor nomination is likely for Paul Greengrass adaptation of the 2016 novel News of the World. Written by poet and author Paulette Giles, the novel set off a bidding war when it was optioned in 2017, eventually landing at Universal pictures. Unlike Netflix and smaller streamers, large-scale studios like Universal might be at a bit of a disadvantage at voting time, as their tried and true method for promotion cocktail parties, Q As, and craft showcase events will no longer be viable in the days of COVID-19. After three straight years with a favored film in the Best Picture race (Get Out, Green Book, and 1917), one of which was a winner, it will be interesting to see how Universal and the other large studios fare in the new landscape, and the Oscar push for News of the World and Hanks, in particular, will be a strong indication of whether or not they can stay nimble and adapt when forced to find innovative ways to reach voters.Also in contention: Gary Oldman MankLiam Neeson Ordinary LoveDenzel Washington The Tragedy of MacbethBenicio Del Toro The French DispatchMatt Damon StillwaterAnsel Elgort West Side StoryMichael Fassbender Next Goal Wins