Oscar season is upon us, which means studios are working overtime to ensure that their films get duly recognized by the appropriate awards bodies in the lead up to the Academy Awards. With the fall film festival behind us, we already have our frontrunners (hello, A Star Is Born), and the next two months are about the major contenders jockeying to get into the conversation. There’s always room for a spoiler or two (hello, Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World), but by and large a lot of the chess board has already been set.
Which is why I wanted to take a beat to highlight some great performances from 2018 that aren’t in this frontrunner conversation at the moment. It’s easy to get bogged down with what’s expected, but it’s important to remember that Academy voters don’t start making their choices until January 5th, which means there’s still a lot of time for folks to watch those screeners and consider who deserves to be on their ballots. A lot of this, sadly, depends on how much money a studio can spend on campaigns—it stands to reason that the more you see ads touting Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game, the more likely you are to remember his name when it comes time to fill out your ballot.
So before things get too settled, here are 15 truly great and somewhat underrated performances from 2018 that deserve to be part of the Oscar conversation.