Taylor Swift pens touching tribute to Sadie Sink for EW’s Entertainers of the Year

Taylor Swift honors Sadie Sink for EW’s 2022 Entertainers of the Year: ‘A force to watch and a pleasure to know’

The Grammy winner shares a piece she wrote honoring the Stranger Things and The Whale star, whom she directed in All Too Well: The Short Film.

By Taylor Swift December 12, 2022 at 08:00 AM EST

Though she’s just 20 years old, Sadie Sink has been running up that hill to Hollywood’s A-list since her regional theater debut in Texas at age 7. The past decade culminated in a 2022 rivaled by few: Not only did Sink serve as the emotional center of Stranger Things 4, she also toured the festival circuit for her acclaimed work as Taylor Swift‘s leading lady in the short film All Too Well, and went toe-to-toe with Brendan Fraser in The Whale — racking up some trophies (and a Stella McCartney campaign) along the way.

Entertainers of the Year

Sadie Sink; (inset) Taylor Swift

| Credit: Getty Images

Sadie Sink is a remarkable presence on screen, on stage, and on set. While watching the monitors during the filming of the short film we made together, I often found myself transfixed by the effortlessness and complexity of her performance. Scratch that, because it didn’t feel like a performance at all. Her grief, her hope, her loss — it all felt real.

I often tell people that Sadie’s face is so transparent, you can even see the thoughts she almost has. After over a decade of work, as the internet would say, this year “Sadie Sink’s rent was due.” She helped bring “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush back into the cultural spotlight with a harrowing performance as Max Mayfield on Stranger Things season 4. Max’s conflicted sorrow, regret, and resentment was potent and piercing in her portrayal, a slow burn that simmered with intensity. Even when despondent, Max’s fury was palpable from beneath layers of hurt. It was an evolutionary turn for the character, helmed gracefully and tastefully by an artist who knows how to extensively prepare and fully commit.

She continued to show audiences this level of versatility and emotional dexterity, next rising to the challenge of playing Brendan Fraser’s complex and defiant estranged daughter Ellie in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Ellie is a character for whom years of rejection and confusion has calcified into rage, and Sadie threaded the needle with the exact attention to detail such tumult calls for. Darren said of working with her, “Sadie is as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel. She’s a firecracker of emotion and a complete professional.”

I remember being lucky enough to witness those exact emotional fireworks sparking throughout our shoot, when she took on the role of a lovestruck, then lovelorn young woman I named “Her” in All Too Well: The Short Film. When she went head-to-head with Dylan O’Brien in an explosive argument scene, I decided to shoot the rehearsal on a whim. Good thing, because Sadie lit up that kitchen fight with ad-libbed lines, improvised twists and turns, and all with riveting nuance. The rehearsal is what ended up in the film, a one-shot battle that I didn’t have the nerve to cut down in the edit. Because EVERYTHING was captivating.

She is a force to watch and a pleasure to know. I’ll continue to feel just as lucky to watch from afar as she lights up the screen, tells new stories, and shows us new sides of herself: multifaceted and brilliant, dark and unhinged, twinkly and full of promise. This artist contains multitudes, and we get to look on as she courageously unveils them. Everyone say, “Thank you, Sadie.”

More EW Entertainers of the Year 2022:

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