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    Ranking Every Emma Stone Film Performance From Best To Worst

    Including Cruella.

    Say "Hi" to actress, singer, Oscar winner, new mom, and legend of the silver screen Emma Stone.

    ABC / Via gph.is

    She will be the subject of today's article.

    Sony Pictures Releasing / Via gph.is

    If you've been living under a rock, Emma Stone (born Emily, actually) is hilarious and talented. She is one of those people who looks amazing as a blonde, brunette, and redhead. She's been nominated for three Oscars and five Golden Globes. Leonardo DiCaprio might think she's weird, she's BFFs with Jennifer Lawrence, and one time she slipped in grape jelly. She used to date Andrew Garfield and once voiced a dog on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. She is an icon, and we must stan.

    And so in honor of her tremendous talent and the release of Cruella this weekend on Disney+, I'm ranking every single one of Emma Stone's incredible film performances.

    Disney+ / Via gph.is

    As with my rankings of both Anne Hathaway and Margot Robbie, I will be ranking Emma's film cameos and voice-over roles. However, her appearances in documentaries, shorts, commercials, and TV shows are off limits. (Sorry, Maniac!)

    Also, this ranking is based solely on Emma's performances and NOT the movie as a whole.

    So let's begin!

    Lionsgate / Via gph.is

    27. Irrational Man (2015) — Jill Pollard

    Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone chat on campus
    Sabrina Lantos/Sony Classics/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Okay. I do not believe that Emma Stone is capable of giving a bad performance, but this movie. WOOF. First, it was written and directed by Woody Allen, who has been accused of sexually abusing his 7-year-old daughter and who married his girlfriend's daughter, who is 35 years younger than him. Second, the protagonist Abe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a philosophy professor in a midlife crisis who decides to murder someone just for kicks and giggles. Third, said washed-up professor has an affair with a student (Stone) and then tries to murder her. Emma is trying her darndest to sell this affair as not creepy, and I’m sure she was just enamored to work with the famed director, but I’m sorry, no one could make this horrific dialogue look good, and this movie is straight from hell. Emma should never have taken this role.

    26. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016) — Claudia Cantrell

    Emma Stone dancing in a music video
    Universal Pictures

    It really speaks volumes about just how atrocious the cringey dialogue of Irrational Man is that a five-second cameo as a pop star with a song entitled “Turn Up the Beef” in a Lonely Island spoof movie is actually better. Emma does what is asked of her and doesn’t spend 90 minutes trying to make us believe that she's attracted to a homicidal professor.

    25. The Rocker (2008) — Amelia

    Emma Stone, Rainn Wilson, Josh Gad, and Teddy Geiger backstage at a concert
    Fox Atomic/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Only Emma’s second film role, her turn in this Rainn Wilson film about a washed-up rock star joining a high school band is more slight than bad. Emma plays one of Rainn’s bandmates, and she doesn’t have to do much except pretend to strum a guitar and look annoyed at his childish antics. A solid performance that will lead to much bigger things in the future.

    24. Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011) — Hannah Weaver

    Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling laugh in bed
    Ben Glass/Warner Brothers/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Okay okay okay. I know this isn’t going to end well for me and that SO MANY people love this movie, BUT to them I would say, “Literally every plotline in this film is highly problematic, and Emma Stone doesn’t get to do that much in it.” Please don't drag me on Twitter. This is the first of her collabs with Ryan Gosling, and while there is some chemistry, I just wish Emma had more of a plot than falling in love with a douchey guy. Everything in her performance just feels a little forced, which is strange, as we love Emma for how natural she makes everything feel.

    23. Gangster Squad (2013) — Grace Faraday

    Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling at a nightclub bar
    Wilson Webb/Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Another movie where Emma plays Ryan Gosling’s hot girlfriend and doesn’t do much else. In this classic gangster movie, Emma is dating the mob boss (Sean Penn) and then gets wooed by Gosling, and so, naturally, drama ensues. Emma's role lacks depth here, except that she seems to be attempting a very lite transatlantic accent from time to time. It’s not bad, but it’s just sort of strange, especially since Emma does not often entice by weird accents. She’s much more of a sucker for strange glasses.

    22. Marmaduke (2010) — Mazie

    Four dogs standing in a field
    Josh Lederer/20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

    The common denominator in Emma Stone’s lesser performances is that the directors aren’t utilizing her full talent, as is the case with this film based on the Marmaduke comic strip. While the live-action dog movie is a comedy starring comedians like George Lopez and Owen Wilson, the film is unaware that Emma Stone is also COMIC GOLD. She voices the straight-dog (if you will) and doesn’t get to flex her comedy muscles. Let Emma be funny! That’s where she shines. Here, I’ll show you.

    21. Movie 43 (2013) — Veronica

    Kieran Culkin grabbing Emma Stone's hand across a grocery store register
    Julie Platner/Relativity Media/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Exhibit A: Emma is in one segment of this bonkers anthology movie in which 14 directors created 14 different segments starring what seems to be the entire CAA payroll. Emma is in a brief grocery store scene with our beloved Roman Roy (aka Kieran Culkin) where the two graphically discuss sex over the store’s intercom. Gross, campy, and hilarious, Emma does more here in five minutes than she did in the entirety of Gangster Squad.

    20. Friends With Benefits (2011) — Kayla

    Emma Stone giving a thumbs up
    Sony Pictures Releasing

    Exhibit B: Emma pops into this Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis rom-com briefly in the films first minutes as Justin’s girlfriend who dumps him. While it’s a show-up-to-the-theater-late-and-you-missed-it moment, Emma delivers banter and proves that if you give her some runway, she will steal any scene.

    19. Superbad (2007) — Jules

    Emma Stone and Jonah Hill in home ec class
    Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Once upon a time there was a little movie about two high school boys trying to lose their virginity that became such a sensation it launched a half-dozen actors to stardom. Emma Stone, in her first-ever film role, was one of those actors (although she’d previously appeared on TV shows like the cancelled-too-soon, race-across-the-country drama Drive.) Playing Jonah Hill’s love interest/your classic popular-girl-hosting-a-party, Emma jumps off the screen, even if she is a bit overpowered by the boys. While not quite her breakout, this role certainly gave her enough steam to land her more roles.

    18. Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) — Wichita

    Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, and Emma Stone stand in a field with guns
    Jessica Miglio/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    I adore the Zombieland franchise, and Emma is an integral part of the zombie-killing gang with Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin, but ultimately she isn’t asked to do that much in this sequel. In a cast of all stars (including Zoey Deutch in an over-the-top turn as Jesse Eisenberg’s new girlfriend) Emma somehow fades into the background a bit. Watching this does make me crave an Emma Stone witty action film though. Like, how come she hasn’t played a spy yet? Who must I speak to about this?

    17. Magic in the Moonlight (2014) — Sophie Baker

    Emma Stone in a sailor outfit
    Sony Classics/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Ugh. Another Woody Allen movie. Yes, she somehow signed up for two of these monstrosities. And while as a whole, this film is also poorly written and focuses on a neurotic older man falling in love with a younger woman (again Emma), Emma’s role as a fortune-telling shyster is more interesting than a role as a smitten college student. I wish I could have ranked this lower, but Emma does a decent job polishing this turd.

    16. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) — Gwen Stacy

    Emma Stone cleaning Andrew Garfield's wounds
    Niko Tavernise/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Baby’s first mega-franchise! Coming off a string of successes, Emma landed the female lead in Marvel’s first reboot of the Spider-Man franchise, starring her soon-to-be-boyfriend Andrew Garfield. While the role (mostly playing a high school crush) is not an extremely demanding one, she exudes leading lady professionalism. Dye her hair red, and she could have played Mary Jane as well. Heck, she could have played all the parts and made it a one-woman show.

    15. The Croods (2013) - Eep Crood

    Eep leaning on a stone wall
    20th Century Fox/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Emma Stone has a highly distinctive raspy husk, which begs the question: Why isn’t she starring in animated voice-over films every day till Sunday? To date, the Croods series, where she plays a cavewoman trying to find a life for herself outside of the cave is her only animated role. She brings a lot to these films even if we can’t see her wide eyes. Pixar, get your act together and give Emma a call. She can do a voice in Inside Out 2: Outside In.

    14. The Croods: A New Age (2020) - Eep Crood

    Eep and Guy stare into each other's eyes
    Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    I had a hard time deciding which of these she was better in, but decided to rank the sequel higher as she gets a bit more chance to play kooky.

    13. Zombieland (2009) - Wichita

    Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin look into the sky with guns
    Glen Wilson/Columbia/Courtesy Everett Collection

    When you think about Zombieland’s premiere, it’s hard to remember how much of a nobody Emma Stone was, and pre-The Social Network Jesse Eisenberg as well for that matter. But working closely with her onscreen sister Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) to con the survivors of a zombie apocalypse, Emma showed she was a master of sarcasm and worthy of cult classic status.

    12. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) — Gwen Stacey

    Emma Stone on a giant gear
    Niko Tavernise/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    So the second (and final) Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movie is MUCH WORSE than the first, but it’s higher on this list because Emma’s Gwen Stacey has a bit more to do here emotionally. Her and Spidey take a break from dating, and then he woos her back. She’s matured past high school girlfriend, she’s sorting through her feelings for Peter, and she’s giving us one of the most memorable deaths in the entire swath of Marvel movies.

    11. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) — Allison Vandermeersh

    Emma Stone and Matthew McConaughey laugh at a bar
    Ron Batzdorff/New Line Cinema/Courtesy Everett Collection

    We’re about to reach the big leagues of leading-lady films for Emma, but first let’s take a look at what I believe to be her best small role. In this Matthew McConaughey/Jennifer Garner reimagining of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Emma plays Matthew’s dorky high school girlfriend, returned to guide him on the first stage of his romantic journey. Bedecked with braces, an acid-washed jacket, and a perm, Emma is full-on manic comedy queen. She doesn’t get enough chances to push the dial to 11, but when she does, it’s pure gold. Don’t believe me? Just watch her SNL sketches.

    10. Aloha (2015) — Allison Ng

    Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone look at a computer
    Neal Preston/Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Okay. I know what you’re thinking: How did the movie in which caucasian Emma Stone plays a Chinese Hawaiian character make it so far up this list? And to that I say 1) her casting is wildly problematic, 2) the movie as a whole is very chaotic, and 3) even Emma’s apology for starring in it can’t really save this film. BUT Emma (whitewashing aside) is doing something interesting here as the chipper, eager-to-please Air Force handler assigned to escort Bradley Cooper around Hawaii. She is by far the best part of this meandering muddle of a film, and she’s giving viewers a fun energy I haven’t seen elsewhere from her.

    9. Paper Man (2009) — Abby

    Emma Stone and Jeff Daniels hold a cutout link of people
    MPI Bedia Group

    Another day, another movie where Emma Stone is paired with a much older leading man. In this little-seen independent film in which Jeff Daniels uses his imaginary superhero friend (Ryan Reynolds) to get through life, Emma plays the 17-year-old girl who helps get his life back on track. Thankfully, it is not romantic like the Woody Allen duology, but it’s still a little strange. This was Emma’s first foray into drama though, and she executes the roll perfectly as an angsty, depressed teen.

    8. The Help (2011) — Skeeter Phelan

    Emma Stone drives a convertable
    Dale Robinette/Walt Disney Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    I swear this is the last problematic movie on this list (I think?). At the time this film was released, The Help was a MASSIVELY successful book, and so landing the lead role was a massive success for Emma. With her frizzy hair and big glasses, Emma stumbled all around Jackson, Mississippi, chatting up maids in her southern drawl (a rare accent for her). She does some nice work in the movie but is a bit overshadowed by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, and Bryce Dallas Howard, all of whom are given more interesting characters to play. Good job for working within your means though, Emma!

    7. The House Bunny (2008) - Natalie

    Anna Faris and Emma Stone stand in a sorority house
    Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Wow, is The House Bunny a funny movie, and in a cast of hilarious women (Anna Faris, Kat Dennings, Kiely Williams), Emma is KEEPING UP. One of the dorky sorority sisters whom Anna’s former Playboy bunny takes under her wing, Emma gets to lean into her big-glasses nerdy side, while also playing her signature cute everygirl. She’s funny, she’s relatable, and she gets a makeover montage. You really couldn’t ask for much more.

    6. Cruella (2021) — Cruella de Vil

    Emma Stone wears a fashionable military jacket
    Laurie Sparham/Disney+/Courtesy Everett Collection

    In a career where she has mostly played girlfriends and girls next door, Emma has very rarely got to play out-of-the-box characters as batty as Cruella de Vil. Here she’s got a split personality, a deep-throated British accent, the iconic black-and-white wig, and 700 beautiful costumes. She’s strutting across the sets and eating up the scenery in campy full-drag madness that even gives Emma Thompson a run for her money. Will this get Emma an Oscar nomination? No. But does it look like she was having a hell of a lot of fun? Absolutely.

    5. Battle of the Sexes (2017) — Billie Jean King

    Emma Stone holding a tennis racket
    Melinda Sue Gordon / Fox Searchlight / Everett Collection

    We’ve got five movies left, and Emma was nominated for a Golden Globe in every one of them (so it looks like the HFPA got at least one thing right). On paper, her turn as famed lesbian tennis icon Billie Jean King had "Oscar" written all over it. She had the mullet-y haircut, the giant glasses (I'm telling you she loves them, folks), and, of course, the sweatbands. While the Academy didn’t go for this understated performance (a bit overshadowed by Steve Carell as her competitor Bobby Riggs), it is nonetheless award-worthy. I’m surprised we haven’t seen Emma in another biopic since.

    4. La La Land (2016) — Mia Dolan

    Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dance in Los Angeles
    Dale Robinette/Summit Entertainment/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Her first Oscar win! (And I say first because I’m positive there will be more.) In Damien Chazelle’s musical about an actress and jazz pianist who falls in love in Los Angeles, Emma Stone is dazzling. She is singing; she is dancing; she is giving us the dictionary definition of “triple threat.” Her audition sequences are utterly incredible. So why, you ask, isn’t it #1? Well, because Emma Stone is so freaking talented that she has three even-better performances.

    3. Easy A (2010) — Olive Penderghast

    Emma Stone walks through classmates wearing a bright red "A"
    Adam Taylor/Screen Gems/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Sometimes you watch a movie starring someone you’ve never heard of and immediately go, “Wow, they are destined to be a star.” The entire world had that feeling collectively after watching Emma Stone in this modern retelling of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Emma brings every ounce of her everygirl charm, she rattles off whip-smart dialogue with the comedic timing of a veteran, and she shows you she can nail a dramatic scene. Not since Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries have we witnessed such a Hollywood A-list coronation. Everything you love about Emma Stone is in this film.

    2. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) — Sam Thomson

    Emma Stone holds flowers in a hospital
    Alison Rosa/Fox Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

    Birdman seemed like a departure for Emma, who up until then had primarily starred in comedies, and yet here she was in this weird experimental drama playing the recovering addict daughter of a washed-up actor. But playing against type paid off, and Emma landed her first Oscar nomination. Her scathing, poison-laced, single-take monologue ripping her rather to shreds early in the movie is the stuff of Oscar clip legend, and the look on her face in the closing shot carries the film’s conclusion on its back. In Birdman, Emma shook what audiences expected of her and launched herself into a new strata of actors demanding to be taken seriously.

    1. The Favourite (2018) — Abigail Masham

    Emma Stone sits in an ornate chair
    Yorgos Lanthimos / Fox Searchlight / Courtesy Everett Collection

    The reason why this is Emma Stone’s best film performance to date is that her portrayal of the sneaky, vindictive, power-hungry lady’s maid perfectly synthesizes everything she does so well. Fast dialogue delivered effortlessly: check. Tearful dramatic moments: check. Deliciously wicked comedy: check. Emma Stone throws everything down on the table for this role, and the movie soars because of it. I’ve watched The Favourite multiple times, and every single time I’m blown away by just how good Emma Stone is at every aspect of acting. A legend.

    What's your favorite Emma Stone role? Let us know in the comments!

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