The Dozen Greatest Actresses Currently Working in the MoviesOur friends at Flickhead challenged DaRK PaRTY to provide a list of our favorite actresses. We pondered this question for a good long while (more than 15 minutes anyway) and we've compiled a list of the 12 actresses we find the most compelling in Hollywood. We decided to limit the list to a dozen -- so let the debate begin about who is missing from the list (Judi Dench and Annette Benning come immediately to mind). We also decided to focus on living actresses and those who work primarily in English - so we left off several excellent French and Chinese performers. Please let us who you would remove or add to the list.
Born: May 14, 1969
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Best Movie: “Elizabeth” (1998)
Underrated Movie: “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999)
Worst Movie: “The Gift” (2000)
Cool Movie Quote: “Go back to your rathole! Tell Philip I fear neither him, nor his priests, nor his armies. Tell him if he wants to shake his little fist at us, we're ready to give him such a bite he'll wish he'd kept his hands in his pockets!” – From “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007)
Snap Judgment: Blanchett is one of those actresses that becomes completely absorbed in a role. She also takes chances and refuses to be typecast. That’s why you’ll see her playing Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There” (2007) and then the evil Nazi villain Irina Spalko in “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” (2008). She’s an actress – not a movie star.
Born: April 30, 1982
Birthplace: Point Pleasant, New Jersey
Best Movie: Levity (2003)
Underrated Movie: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Worst Movie: Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
Cool Movie Quote: “You smell like sex.” – From “Levity” (2003)
Snap Judgment: Dunst is an intense actresses willing to go out on an emotional limb. She should continue to take edgy independent roles in movies like “Levity” (2003) and “The Cat’s Meow” (2001) and stop playing it safe with the safe roles in the “Spiderman” movies (although her Mary Jane Watson often steals the scenes in which she’s featured). She’s a beauty, but she’s real depth.
Born: November 19, 1962
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Best Movie: Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Underrated Movie: Sommersby (1993)
Worst Movie: Maverick (1994)
Cool Movie Quote: “Well detective, there are matters at stake here that are a little bit above your pay grade. No offense.” – From “Inside Man” (2006)
Snap Judgment: Jodie excels at playing strong women – from the hard-as-nails doer in “Inside Man” (2006) to the heroic mother from “Flightplan” (2005). She is always fascinating to watch even in bad movies like “Maverick” (1994) and “Nell” (2002). She’s one of those actresses that make any movie she’s in better.
Born: June 20, 1967
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii
Best Movie: “The Hours” (2002)
Underrated Movie: “Cold Mountain” (2003)
Worst Movie: “The Stepford Wives” (2004)
Cool Movie Quote: “What we have lost will never be returned to us. The land will not heal - too much blood. All we can do is learn from the past and make peace with it.” – From “Cold Mountain” (2003)
Snap Judgment: Nicole Kidman is one of those surprising actresses. She is so beautiful that you don’t expect the power of her performances. Her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in “The Hours” (2002) was masterful. She also soared in “Cold Mountain” (2003) and “The Others” (2001). She needs to stay away from comedies like the awful “Bewitched” (2005).
Born: December 3, 1960
Birthplace: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Best Movie: “The End of the Affair” (1999)
Underrated Movie: “The Hours” (2002)
Worst Movie: “The Forgotten” (2004)
Cool Movie Quote: “You know that ringing in your ears? That 'eeeeeeeeee'? That's the sound of the ear cells dying, like their swan song. Once it's gone you'll never hear that frequency again. Enjoy it while it lasts.” – From “Children of Men” (2006)
Snap Judgment: Julianne Moore moves quickly from acting in really good movies to really bad ones. But she’s always fun to watch. She’s a bold actress and she’s always willing to take chances from sci-fi movies like “Children of Men” (2006) and “Blindness” (2008) to period pieces like the powerful “The End of the Affair” (1999) and the underrated “Far from Heaven” (2002).
Born: April 29, 1958
Birthplace: Santa Ana, California
Best Movie: “The Age of Innocence” (1993)
Underrated Movie: “The Fabulous Baker Boys” (1989)
Worst Movie: “Frankie and Johnny” (1991)
Cool Movie Quote: “It's the so-called "normal" guys who always let you down. Sickos never scare me. Least they're committed.” – From “Batman Returns” (1992).
Snap Judgment: Pfeiffer may be one of the most beautiful actresses of all time, yet she never let that hold her back. In fact, she used her beauty as a character trait in her underrated performance in “Hairspray” (2007). She has excelled at portraying strong women with a streak of vulnerability in movies like “Age of Innocence” (1993) and “A Thousand Acres” (1997).
Born: October 29, 1971
Birthplace: Winona, Minnesota
Best Movie: “Little Women” (1994)
Underrated Movie: “The Crucible” (1996)
Worst Movie: “Autumn in New York” (2000)
Cool Movie Quote: “I'm Pam Dawson, virgin school nurse from Westchestertonfieldville, Iowa.” – From “Mr. Deeds” (2002)
Snap Judgment: Ryder gets a bad rap and went through a terrible stretch of not finding work and being forced to act in movies like “Mr. Deeds” (2002) and “A Scanner Darkly” (2006). But among the bombs are some amazing performances in “Girl, Interrupted” (1999), “The Crucible” (1996) and “The Age of Innocence” (1993).
Born: October 4, 1946
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Best Movie: “Dead Man Walking” (1995)
Underrated Movie: “The Client” (1994)
Worst Movie: “Speed Racer” (2008)
Cool Movie Quote: “If only we were amongst friends... or sane persons!” – From “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975)
Snap Judgment: Sarandon is one of the best actresses of her generation. Few actors in Hollywood have the range and the talent that she possesses. She has dazzled in films like “Igby Goes Down” (2002), “Bull Durham” (1988), “Thelma & Louise” (1991), and the amazing “Dead Man Walking” (1995). She even had the audacity to appear with Billy Bob Thornton in “Mr. Woodcock” (2007).
Born: June 22, 1949
Birthplace: Summit, New Jersey
Best Movie: “Out of Africa” (1985)
Underrated Movie: “Marvin’s Room” (1996)
Worst Movie: “A Prairie Home Companion” (2006)
Cool Movie Quote: “Thank God I got sober now so I can be hyper-conscious for this series of humiliations.” – From “Postcards from the Edge” (1990)
Snap Judgment: Streep is probably the best actress ever with two Oscar wins (and she should have won at least two more). She’s one of those actresses who simply becomes her on-screen personae. Her highlights include the wonderful “Mamma Mia!” (2008), “Lions for Lambs” (2007), “Adaptation” (2002), “Ironweed” (1987), and “Heartburn” (1986).
Born: April 15, 1959
Birthplace: London, England
Best Movie: “Sense and Sensibility” (1995)
Underrated Movie: “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006)
Worst Movie: “Primary Colors” (1998)
Cool Movie Quote: “Because it's a book about a man who doesn't know he's about to die. And then dies. But if a man does know he's about to die and dies anyway. Dies- dies willingly, knowing that he could stop it, then- I mean, isn't that the type of man who you want to keep alive?” – From “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006)
Snap Judgment: Try not to cry when you watch Thompson in the sensational “Sense and Sensibility” (1995). Thompson is a subtle actress and it’s easy to overlook her as among the best. But here is a woman who has starred in films like “Love Actually” (2003), “In the Name of the Father” (1993), “Much Ado About Nothing” (1993), and “Howards End” (1992).
Born: October 8, 1949
Birthplace: New York City, New York
Best Movie: “The Ice Storm” (1997)
Underrated Movie: “Aliens” (1986)
Worst Movie: “Ghostbusters II” (1989)
Cool Movie Quote: “When they first heard about this thing, it was "crew expendable". The next time they sent in marines - they were expendable too. What makes you think they're gonna care about a bunch of lifers who found God at the ass-end of space? You really think they're gonna let you interfere with their plans for this thing? They think we're - we're crud. And they don't give a fuck about one friend of yours that's - that's died. Not one.” – From “Aliens 3” (1992)
Snap Judgment: No actress plays tough better than Weaver. She’s the Clint Eastwood of actresses. But she often gets typecast as Ripley, the pugnacious fighter from the Alien movies. Weaver has a lot of range as evident by her stunning performances in films like “The Ice Storm” (1997), “Half Moon Street” (1986), “The Year of Living Dangerously” (1982), and “Tadpole” (2002).
Born: October 5, 1975
Birthplace: Berkshire, England
Best Movie: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)
Underrated Movie: “Little Children” (2006)
Worst Movie: “The Life of David Gale” (2003)
Cool Movie Quote: “Too many guys think I'm a concept, or I complete them, or I'm gonna make them alive. But I'm just a fucked-up girl who's lookin' for my own peace of mind; don't assign me yours.” – From “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)
Snap Judgment: Winslet is a force of nature and another actress that becomes completely imbedded in character. She tears up scenery and she’s hard not to watch. She has done understated in “Finding Neverland” (2004), romance in “Titanic” (1997), and even period pieces in “Hamlet” (1996).
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Labels: Acting, Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson, Jodie Foster, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer, Movies, Nicole Kidman, Sigourney Weaver, Susan Sarandon, Winona Ryder