Anna Kendrick’s 5 Most Perfect On-Screen Musical Performances

by Stacy Lambe 7:05 AM PDT, May 14, 2015
Playing Anna Kendrick’s 5 Most Perfect On-Screen Musical Performances

There’s no doubting Anna Kendrick is talented. In the course of her 17-year career, the actress has gone from the breakout in Broadway’s High Society to an Oscar-nominated presence on the big screen, escaping the clutches of the Twilight franchise with standout roles in Up in the Air and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

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However, Kendrick truly shines when she gets to showcase her musical prowess in such films as Into the Woods, The Last Five Years, and the Pitch Perfect franchise.

Ahead of the release of Pitch Perfect 2, which has us in aca-anticipation about what standout numbers Kendrick will get to do, we look back on her five most perfect on-screen musical performances. 

5. “No One Is Alone,” Into the Woods

While we strived only to include solo numbers, we couldn’t overlook this duet with Late Late Show host James Corden. The ballad is an emotional moment in the fanciful story of intertwined fairytales, allowing Kendrick to add depth to the song’s lyrics. “It’s really performance driven,” director Rob Marshall said of the song, which he chose to film up close on both Kendrick and Corden.

4. “On the Steps of the Palace,” Into the Woods

Kendrick’s big solo number in the crowded ensemble musical adaptation comes early in the film. Given that it’s Stephen Sondheim and the lyrics were updated to give the Cinderella role more autonomy, Kendrick achieved no small feat. It’s a technical performance that should be applauded for its execution. (Start video at :48.)

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3. “A Summer in Ohio,” The Last Five Years

Perhaps the most whimsical and fun entry on the list, “A Summer in Ohio” is Kendrick at her happiest. You can practically hear her smile -- and see it on screen -- as she belts out her character’s play on words. Kendrick is at her best when she acts kooky. (If there’s any doubt, see her amazing Twitter account.) Plus, who knew Ohio could be so much fun?!

2. “Cups,” Pitch Perfect (the film version)

The hit from the first Pitch Perfect movie became such a massive success that it was remixed and released as a single in the summer of 2013. But here, we’re showing our appreciation for the film version, which features Kendrick’s vocals and cup-slapping abilities. By now everyone’s heard the tale of how it evolved from a 1931 Carter Family record into a viral sensation when Lulu and the Lampshades performed it with a set of cups. Then it became a massive hit when Kendrick did it again during Beca’s audition to be a Barden Bella. (As if she wasn’t going to get in!)

1. “The Ladies Who Lunch,” Camp

While “Cups” truly is a special moment on screen, it’s Kendrick’s very first film that still gets us excited. In the indie comedy about theater camp, Kendrick plays the ambitious young Fritzi, who eventually gets her competitor sick in order to sing during a showcase. In her co-star’s moment of weakness, Kendrick steps in to take on one of Sondheim’s most popular numbers, “The Ladies Who Lunch,” originally performed by Elaine Stritch. She’s so commanding that she even makes you want to rise! How about that for screen power?