Sally Hawkins is a huge favourite here at FemaleFirst and is one of the best British actresses around at the moment.

Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine

She has seen her star rocket in recent years, with roles in British and American movies - resulting in a string of terrific performances and award nominations.

Hawkins returns to the big screen this week as she teams up with filmmaker Morgan Matthews for the first time for X+Y, a movie that has been winning over critics and audiences on the festival circuit over the last few months.

To celebrate Hawkins' return with X+Y - in which she gives another almighty performance - we take a look at the top three performances of her career to date.

- Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine hit the big screen in September 2013 and saw Hawkins team up with Cate Blanchett and director Woody Allen for the very first time.

The black comedy follows socialite Jasmine (Blanchett) whose life is turned upside down when she falls on hard times. She heads to San Francisco to stay with her sister Ginger (Hawkins) until she gets back on her feet.

Blue Jasmine is a terrific black comedy, and while it is Blanchett's performance that does take centre stage, Hawkins is terrific alongside her as the downtrodden sister.

Jasmine and Ginger a polar opposites - one is obsessed with status and privilege, while the other is only just keeping her head about water - and together, they make a terrific acting team.

While Hawkins already was well known before Blue Jasmine, this was the movie that really did help propel her star even further. The movie went on to be both a critical and awards success.

Hawkins bagged her first Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress - losing out to Lupita Nyong'o for 12 Years A Slave. This is one of Hawkins' best performances and really announced her in Hollywood.

Blue Jasmine

- Happy-Go-Lucky

Happy-Go-Lucky was the movie that really introduced me to Hawkins back in 2008, when she reunited with writer and director Mike Leigh - who she had worked with on Vera Drake - to take on the central role of Poppy.

The movie followed Poppy, a cheery, colourful, North London schoolteacher whose optimism tends to exasperate those around her. This movie was a break from the dreary topics that Leigh can focus on, instead looking at the lighter and more upbeat side of life.

Happy-Go-Lucky is a fascinating character study from Leigh, while Hawkins brings a real charism and energy to this role and her performance.

Happy-Go-Lucky may be a movie where nothing remarkable happens to the central character, but that does not stop this film from being a really fascinating and enjoyable watch.

Happy-Go-Lucky went on to receive a lot of attention in the U.S. and Hawkins picked up a Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical Golden Globe - this was the first Golden Globe win of her career.

She went on to receive a whole host of Best Actress gongs, including the Silver Bear, Satellite Awards, San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards, and Evening Standard British Film Peter Sellers Award for Comedy.


- Made In Dagenham

Another British movie where Hawkins excelled in a leading role came in 2010, when Made In Dagenham hit the big screen.

The movie was based on the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where the female workers walked out in protest of sexual discrimination and demanding equal pay.

Nigel Cole was in the director's chair for the film, while Hawkins took on the central role of Rita O'Grady alongside Bob Hoskins, Geraldine James, Rosamund Pike, and Miranda Richardson.

Made in Dagenham is an inspirational story of women's rights and women fighting for better pay and working standards for themselves. Hawkins may not have a major physical presence, but that does not stop her from delivering a very strong performance.

It is a fight on two fronts for Rita - not only is she lobbying the government, but she has to convince her husband that she is doing the right thing, despite the strain that is putting on the family. Rita is torn between what she must do and trying to provide for her family - a balance that Hawkins strikes beautifully.

Hawkins would go on pick up Best Actress nominations at the British Independent Film Awards, Satellite Awards, and Evening Standard British Film Awards.

Made In Dagenham

Other great Sally Hawkins performances come in Paddington, An Education, Submarine, and Vera Drake.

X+Y is out now.

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