Vulture Emma Stone has said that her role model as an actress is Diane Keaton , which makes total sense: In the span of a decade, she has gone from a first-time movie actress in Superbad to one of the most popular performers in the world, not to mention an Oscar winner.
Related Stories Best Actress Watch: But it is obvious that ten years in, she is just getting started. Look where Keaton went after her first decade in film.
We omitted bit parts — even though we love her in Popstar: Even without them, this is quite a bit to pack into ten years. Stone gets a thankless, off-brand role as a moping member of a teenage rock band that drafts a former drummer from a Metallica-esque group Wilson to fill in so they can play their school prom. Stone escapes with her dignity intact, barely, from the wreckage. Of her three collaborations with Gosling, this one is easily the worst.
She gets to break up with Justin Timberlake and then leave the movie all together. Stone has since apologized for her part in the whitewashed casting, satirizing herself during a SNL skit in which she auditions for Star Wars based on her ability to play Asian characters. Paper Man A rambling, moody, mostly dull middle-aged-white-guy-in-crisis movie about a blocked writer Jeff Daniels with an imaginary superhero friend Ryan Reynolds , Paper Man only comes to life when Stone is onscreen as a teenage girl who befriends this sad-sack after losing her twin sister.
Daniels is morose and whiny and Reynolds is hammy and over-the-top, which allows Stone to steal the movie, giving it its only modicum of zest and soul. One is a cruel but admirably strange joke on homeschooling starring Watts and Liev Schreiber, and the other is a gonzo scene in which Stone and Kieran Culkin exchange supercharged sexual banter in a grocery store over the intercom. Unfortunately, the comic-book gods must be fed, and thus, the lousiness of the rest of the movie and the end of a franchise flirtation that, all told, Stone is probably pleased to be rid of.
This was right before the McConaissance, back when he was still mailing in stuff like this. When the movie is looking for a final joke beat at the end, it goes back to her, the one person who consistently provided them. This is where Stone perfected her adorkable persona just as major stardom beckoned.
This was her first movie role. Like several Stone roles, Crazy, Stupid, Love. Zombieland This is another supporting role, but Stone brings her no-nonsense, brash-but-so-fun persona to the next level as one of the few survivors of a zombie holocaust, foraging throughout the landscape with Jesse Eisenberg, Abigail Breslin, and Woody Harrelson. And Bill Murray, of course.
She makes this minor part into a major one, walking into a funky, off-kilter comedy and ramping it up into something soulful and warm. You get to watch a star being born. The film is a feminist parable that can sometimes be too rah-rah — favoring sentiment over nuance — but Stone supplies the heart, showing us a woman fighting for equality but also wrestling with her sexuality, getting involved with a beautiful hairdresser Andrea Riseborough but keeping the relationship under wraps for fear of angering fans and promoters.
In future years, Battle of the Sexes may be the movie we point to where Stone pivoted away from her more adorable roles to something a little more grown-up and weary. Impressively, she knows when to step aside and cede to her co-stars, giving Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, and Jessica Chastain the room they need to lead the movie … before reeling it back in to keep the movie centered.
Birdman was a major changeup for Stone: She plays Olive, a precocious, misfit year-old who lies about losing her virginity, which suddenly makes her unexpectedly popular.
Hollywood is full of starlets, but none have just the right combination of wide-eyed optimism, snarky wit, and gal-next-door sweetness that Stone brought to the performance. Which moment in this nostalgic, bittersweet musical won her the Best Actress Oscar? Was it when she and Gosling tap-dance in the Hollywood Hills, or when they swirl among the stars at the Griffith Observatory? That applies to Mia as much as it does Stone, who, with La La Land, turned her lovable, indomitable spirit into something timeless.
Follow them on Twitter or visit their site.