2015 has almost come to a close and it has been a great film year with some wonderful movies and terrific individual performances. Which actors have really stood out for you over the last twelve months?

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything

We take a look back over the last movie year at some of the actors who really have excelled on the big screen, enjoyed critical and commercial success, or who have been part of more than one successful film. A whole host of actors have been truly terrific in 2015, but we look at the ones who have really stood out for us here at FemaleFirst.

- Eddie Redmayne

The Theory of Everything was one of the first film to hit the big screen back in January and it was the movie that sent Eddie Redmayne's star rocketing Redmayne was no stranger to big and small screen roles, but his performance as Stephen Hawking was the film that turned him into a star and a real acting heavyweight.

We have only seen Redmayne in one other film this year, but The Theory of Everything is the performance that still h as everyone talking - he really was sublime as Hawking in the biopic directed by James Marsh. The movie was based on the memoir by Jane Hawking and followed the relationship between Stephen and Jane as he is diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

Not only did Redmayne undergo a stunning physical transformation in the film, but he also delivers a wide range of emotions that we had never seen from him before as an actor. Not only did he capture Hawking's fighting spirit, but we also saw his frustration and devastation at different points in his life.

The Theory of Everything was one of the most talked about movies at the beginning of 2015 and Redmayne's performance one of the most celebrated. He was the toast of the awards circuit as he picked up a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award and Bafta for Best Actor. The movie also saw him nominated for his first Oscar... an award that he would go on to win.

And it looks like Redmayne is going to kick off 2016 with another award-worthy performance as he is set to return The Danish Girl. Redmayne is already in the Best Actor race at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards and is a hot favourite to be in the Oscar mix for the second consecutive year; Tom Hanks was the last actor to win two years in a row for his performances in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump in the mid-nineties.

Redmayne has been filming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - the latest novel by J.K. Rowling to be adapted for the big screen. Redmayne will take on the central role of Newt Scamander as he teams up with filmmaker David Yates. The movie will be released in November 2016 and is set to be another huge hit for the actor.

Eddie Redmayne

- Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal is a favourite here at FemaleFirst and he has delivered some truly wonderful performances during his stellar career... and 2015 has been another vintage year for the Oscar-nominated star.

Ok, so Accidental Love was a bit of a low-point but overlooking that, he has delivered a trio of wonderful performances in Nightcrawler, Southpaw, and Everest. Nightcrawler hit the big screen at the beginning of the year and saw Gyllenhaal play Louis Bloom, who muscles into the world of crime journalism in order to find work.

Nightcrawler sees Gyllenhaal undergo an amazing physical transformation - dropping twenty pounds. It is a creepy and unnerving performance from the actor that is up there with one of his best. The movie and his performance were met with acclaim and Gyllenhaal went on to pick up Best Actor nominations at the Baftas, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Later in the year, Gyllenhaal teamed up with filmmaker Antoine Fuqua for the first time for boxing drama Southpaw - which is one of my favourite films of the year. We have been treated to some great boxing movies over the years and Southpaw is another gem. While it has all the great fighting moments that you would expect from this genre of film, Southpaw is also a father and daughter story that really will tug at your heartstrings.

It was another magnificent physical transformation for Gyllenhaal, as he looked every bit the fighter from the opening moment to the closing credits. It was another critical hit for the actor and is one of the best boxing movies in recent years. Gyllenhaal returned to the big screen in September as he starred as part of the ensemble cast of Everest, which looked at the biggest climbing disaster on the mountain.

2015 has been a great year of critical acclaim and box office success for Gyllenhaal and he is set to return to the big screen next year with Demolition. He has also completed work on The Man Who Made It Snow and Nocturnal Animals.

Jake Gyllenhaal

- Tom Hardy

When it comes to British actors, there isn't anyone working in Hollywood at the moment that is better than Tom Hardy. I have been a huge fan of Hardy for many years and 2015 has been another great year for the popular actor.

We may have all been disappointed that Hardy had to walk away from the role of Rick Flagg in the upcoming Suicide Squad, but there were plenty of other movies for us to get excited about this year. Child 44 and London Road were two of the other films he starred in this year, but his big success was Mad Max: Fury Road.

It has been thirty years since we have seen a Mad Max film on the big screen and 2015 saw Hardy take on the role of Max Rockatansky for the first time as he teamed up with director George Miller. Mad Max: Fury Road remains one of the mot acclaimed blockbusters of the year. It is a movie that is action-packed and never gives the audience time to take a breath.

Mad Max: Fury Road has not only been a critical and commercial success, but it has already been named Best Film by the National Board of Review and has been nominated for Best Picture - Drama at the Golden Globes. Could the movie find itself in the Oscar race come the beginning of 2016? I think it could well be in the mix.

Hardy returned to the big screen in September to play both Ronnie and Reggie Kray in gangster film Legend, a movie that was to bring Hardy more acclaim for his central performance. The actor gives an amazing double performance in the film and Legend is one of the best British films of this year.

More success will be coming Hardy's way in the New Year as he is set to star alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the Revenant, which sees both actors team up with filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu for the very first time. The movie has already been whipping up a storm and is set to be a major player during the awards season. Hardy has also been filming TV mini-series Taboo.

Tom Hardy

- Michael Keaton

We have seen Michael Keaton star in movies such as Beetlejuice, Batman, and Batman Begins during his career, but the last few years have not been a huge success of the actor... all that changed at the beginning of 2015. We had seen him in RoboCop and lending his voice to animation film Toy Story 3, but there has not been much in the way of critical acclaim.

Keaton teamed up with filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu at the beginning of 2015 with Birdman, which is one of the most acclaimed movies of the year. This is a movie that has revitalised Keaton's career as his performance was met with critical acclaim and award nominations. For me, his performance was the best of his career and it was wonderful to see him back on truly top form.

Keaton was in the Best Actor mix at the Oscars, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Baftas - while he picked up the Best Actor - Comedy/Musical award at the Golden Globes, he lost out to Eddie Redmayne at the other major award ceremonies. It was the first Oscar nomination of his career.

Keaton is already enjoying success with upcoming Spotlight - which won't be released in the UK until the end of January. The movie sees him team up with Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Live Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci in a film that follows the true story of Boston Globe journalists who uncovered a child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. This is another film that is creating some awards buzz at the moment.

Keaton has also completed work on biopic The Founder, which tells the story of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc - Keaton is set to take on that central role alongside Linda Cardellini, Nick Offerman, Patrick Wilson, and Laura Dern.

Michael Keaton

Other actors who have had a terrific 2015 include Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, and Chris Pratt.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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