Top 10 Memorable Performances by Margot Robbie: A Personal Ranking

Margot Robbie is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding movie stars of our time. Her exceptional acting skills have catapulted her to unprecedented heights, featuring in superhero blockbusters and award-winning dramas. Over the years, she has cemented her position as one of the most dependable actors in Hollywood, with a knack for stealing the spotlight from her costars. Margot has worked with some of the industry’s biggest directors, including Wes Anderson, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino, to mention a few. With her latest lead role in Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” it’s only fitting to recognize Margot Robbie’s greatest performances to date.

FOCUS, Margot Robbie, 2015. ph: Frank Masi//©Warner Bros. Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

The movie “Focus” released in 2015 is a light-hearted crime thriller featuring actors Margot Robbie and Will Smith. Both play the roles of flirtatious con artists, whose sizzling romance complicates their work that requires layers of dishonesty. Robbie’s character hides her intentions so well, that it remains unclear whether she is oblivious to everything or a criminal mastermind with bluffing skills. Despite keeping her motivations and feelings concealed, Robbie’s performance is likable and commanding. “Focus” is a fun and breezy movie that can be watched on Hulu.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 13: Margot Robbie attends the New York premiere of "Asteroid City" at Alice Tully Hall on June 13, 2023 in Ne

Robbie’s brief appearance in Wes Anderson’s latest movie, Asteroid City, is a crucial part of the film’s emotional climax. Despite having only a few minutes of screen time, her character plays an essential role in depicting several levels of fiction, including a play within a play on a television program. Robbie portrays an actress who was cast as the deceased wife of Jason Schwartzman’s protagonist but was ultimately cut from the final version of the central play. Her character emotionally recites dialogue from her discarded scene to Schwartzman, perfectly encapsulating the film’s central theme that we can find beauty and complex catharsis in the stories we create, even if they’re artificial and we don’t fully comprehend them. To watch the movie, you can purchase it on Amazon Prime Video.

Babylon

The film Babylon, directed by Damien Chazelle, features Margot Robbie as the lead actress Nellie LaRoy, a talented but volatile rising star struggling to adapt to the sound era of Hollywood. Robbie’s natural movie star charisma shines through in her portrayal of Nellie, capturing the character’s magnetism and vulnerability both on and off-screen. Despite her numerous mistakes, we can understand why people are drawn to Nellie. Some of the film’s standout scenes rely heavily on Robbie’s acting abilities, such as when she surprises the film crew by crying on camera or when she tries to conceal her mounting frustration during a difficult scene with sound. Although the movie is plagued by overcrowding, Robbie’s performance adds a much-needed element of controlled chaos that enhances the story rather than detracting from it. You can catch Babylon on Amazon Prime Video and Paramount+.

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

In her role as Queen Elizabeth I in the historical drama, Mary Queen of Scots , Margot Robbie underwent a major physical transformation. With a face caked in pale makeup and stiff wigs that are hard to distinguish from reality, Robbie plays the intimidating antagonist with sinister motivations in one of her most daunting roles to date. Despite having limited screen time, she portrays Elizabeth as a complex and puzzling character, whose relationship with Mary, played by Saoirse Ronan, is multifaceted and suggests an underlying warmth beneath their conniving exterior. Catch Mary Queen of Scots on Amazon Prime Video.

Bombshell

Margot Robbie earned her second Oscar nomination for her role in the drama Bombshell , directed by Jay Roach. The movie delves into the issue of sexual harassment and assault at Fox News during the 2016 election. Unlike her co-stars Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman, who play real-life figures Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, respectively, Robbie’s character is a composite of multiple people. Robbie’s character starts as a determined and enthusiastic newcomer to Fox News, referred to as “anchor Barbie” by Kate McKinnon’s character. As the plot unfolds, Robbie’s character becomes visibly distressed and reclusive as she endures more pain and abuse. This is one of Robbie’s most impressive performances to date. To watch Bombshell , head over to Hulu.

BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN) Copyright: © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Claudette Barius Caption: (L-r) MARGOT ROBBIE as Harley Quinn and ELLA JAY BASCO as Cassandra Cain in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “BIRDS OF PREY (AND THE FANTABULOUS EMANCIPATION OF ONE HARLEY QUINN),” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The movie Birds of Prey (2020) gives actress Margot Robbie a chance to redeem her character, Harley Quinn, after the disappointment of the movie Suicide Squad in 2016. The spin-off film is much stronger in terms of overall quality, which is partly due to Robbie’s consistent performance. It’s a challenge to transfer Harley Quinn, who was originally created for a cartoon children’s show, into live-action entertainment. Nevertheless, Robbie adeptly balances her character by giving her a larger-than-life charisma without being too excessive. Additionally, the fight scenes that showcase Harley’s graceful physicality make her one of the most captivating and visually stunning combatants in modern superhero movies. To watch Birds of Prey, check out Max.

Mary Cybulski/©Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

In Quentin Tarantino’s film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Margot Robbie portrays Sharon Tate. The movie pays tribute to the Hollywood of Tarantino’s youth while showcasing Robbie’s ability to maintain the character’s pure and innocent nature. Despite being portrayed as an icon, Robbie’s Tate is humanized by highlighting the mundane aspects of her life. In one scene, she seeks recognition at the cinema screening her latest movie, yet even then, she remains soft-spoken and gentle. The audience’s prior understanding of Tate’s tragic fate adds significance to the character’s seemingly insignificant everyday life, making it an enjoyable performance to watch. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood can be viewed on Starz.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, Margot Robbie, 2013. ph: Mary Cybulski/©Paramount Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection

Robbie gained recognition in the American film industry by portraying Naomi, the lively and youthful spouse of Jordan Belfort in Martin Scorsese’s tragicomic movie, The Wolf of Wall Street. The protagonist’s absurd ascent and downfall are best portrayed through the lens of his romantic interest. Their relationship initiates with a ludicrous yet plausible wave of desire and devotion, which quickly degenerates into a chaotic state of drug-fueled excess and mistreatment, rightfully driving Naomi away from her spouse. Robbie’s accent from Brooklyn is ideal for the exaggerated portrayal of her character while also serving as a rehearsal for a comparable tone she later adopts for Harley Quinn. You can watch The Wolf of Wall Street on Amazon Prime Video or Paramount+.

Margot Robbie as Barbie in 'Barbie'

Robbie seems to be a perfect fit for the role of Barbie in the upcoming 2023 film. Her resemblance to the typical “Barbie” image is not the only reason she’s fit for the role, but also because of her ability to challenge and transform those qualities while still embodying them. The movie follows Barbie as she embarks on a journey to escape existential dread and cellulite, only to realize the harsh reality of how society treats women, as highlighted by America Ferrera’s character. During Barbie’s realization of patriarchal standards, the narrator breaks the fourth wall, pointing out the irony of having a conventionally attractive and successful actress like Robbie contemplating feelings of inadequacy. Nevertheless, Robbie’s casting is perfect because no one can live up to the stereotype, and she manages to convey Gerwig’s themes of girlhood, independence, and displacement while staying true to Barbie’s idealized doll persona. You can catch Robbie’s performance in theaters upon the release of the film.

I, TONYA, Margot Robbie, as Tonya Harding, 2017. ph: Frank Masi/© 30West/courtesy Everett Collection

Margot Robbie’s portrayal of Tonya Harding in the 2017 movie “I, Tonya” was a turning point in her career, earning her an Oscar nomination. The role showcased Robbie’s ability to portray multifaceted characters, with her Tonya being both funny and intense, as well as serious and fragile. Robbie’s strength lies in her willingness to take on complex and unlikable characters, much like the unconventional stars of the 1970s. As Harding, she masterfully balances ferocity and sympathy, challenging the audience’s allegiance and complicating the legacy of a figure often dismissed as a scandalous villain. “I, Tonya” remains Robbie’s most impressive performance to date.

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