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I already did a Top Ten post this week, but it was featuring all male actors so I felt I needed to do another one – almost like a “part two”…this time featuring my top ten favorite women actors.
This will follow the format of my previous post (and please check that one out HERE if you haven’t already) which consists of The Good (The best role), The Bad (The worst role), and The Sexy (A racy photo because….hey, they are celebrities right? And yeah, I did it for the guys, too). Keep in mind that this is a list of my own favorites, and it is subject to change over the years.
In any case – let’s get on with it!
10. HALLE BERRY
This was a tough spot for me. I love Halle Berry…I mean, I LOVE her. But she just narrowly missed being dropped off my list in favor of someone else, like Rosario Dawson. I say that because Halle hasn’t really done much lately. And she falls into last place mostly for that reason – but her performances, when they are good, are amazing. She’s played a mutant hero, a cat burglar, a psychiatrist, and an air stewardess…among other things. Some of them were amazing, some of them weren’t. I hope that she returns to what she does best and gets involved with another great project like Monster’s Ball.
09. MERYL STREEP
If you’re talking about actresses, Meryl Streep is almost literally the best technical actress we have in the country. She’s been in countless amazing films, which is why she’s on my list. However, she hasn’t really done much amazing work in recent years, which is why she dipped down a few spots from where she’d normally be. Most of her good work was about a decade ago or earlier. Still, she is a force to be reckoned with and she won’t be going anywhere soon. She’s played an unhappy wife, a mediocre actress, an immigrant fleeing from war-torn Europe, and a nun. She’s got range, for sure.
08. ZIYI ZHANG
Ziyi Zhang has enjoyed international fame ever since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon first dropped in theaters. She displayed a very polished acting style, even at such a young age – and she has only improved on it in recent years. She is very skilled, and she can play both peaceful and warlike roles. She’s played a kung-fu master, a felon, a geisha, and even a servant. Being so young, she still has a lot of performances to crank out – and I think she has real potential, which is obviously why she’s on my list.
07. NICOLE KIDMAN
I’ve always had a big crush on Nicole Kidman, so I had to decide why she deserved to be on my list. The fact is, this lady can act. She’s portrayed everything from a ghost, to a grieving widow, to the famous photographer Diane Arbus, to Virginia Woolf. She sure has had some stinkers in her career, but when she is on point – she is on point (can we all just take a moment to appreciate her four-minute long monologue in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut? Holy snaps.) This lady is a classic beauty and cranks out some great performances, which is why she is on my list. (The crush doesn’t hurt, either) The only reason she’s a bit low on my list is, because, again – she hasn’t done a whole lot recently of note.
06. UMA THURMAN
Uma won my heart with her role as The Bride in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. I’d seen her before in other things, but those two films sealed the deal. The reason she’s so high on my list is because of her versatility for a woman with such a unique look and acting style. She can, on the one hand, play the nervous naive woman – but in the next she’ll snatch your eye from its socket. She’s portrayed everything from a vengeful bride, to a bumbling mother, to an exploited ingénue, to Medusa. She’s got the chops to hold her own on just about anyone on this list.
05. SUSAN SARANDON
Susan Sarandon, for me, is enjoyable in almost anything she’s in – from Rocky Horror Picture Show right down to the Mother Lover music video by Lonely Island. She always seems really mischievous when she’s not in character, and her acting is some of the best around. She’s played everything from a murderous outlaw, to a baseball groupie, to a nun, to a casino dealer. Though she only has one Oscar, she’s been nominated a bunch of times.
04. NATALIE PORTMAN
I never really thought Natalie Portman would be such a successful actress. She was in Star Wars, so I thought maybe she’d be typecast into those sorts of roles. But I was wrong. Natalie has starred in some of my favorite films. She’s portrayed everything from a sexy stripper, to a space queen, to a ballet dancer, to a pregnant teen. One of her most recent performances, in the film Black Swan, absolutely skyrocketed her toward the top of my list. (Plus her Natalie Portman Rap is great.)
03. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron. What’s not to love about her? She’s badass, she can be dramatic, and she hasn’t really done a lot of bad movies. She’s played everything from a serial killer, to a futuristic rebel assassin, to a lawyer’s wife, to a jungle girl. Charlize Theron is so high on my list because she’s still churning out quality material and she’s still relevant. She’s the total package.
02. JULIANNE MOORE
Julianne Moore is a very talented actress who I am always interested in watching on the big screen. Her roles are usually subtle, focusing on mental shifts as in her breakout film Safe. Or, at least those are the ones she’s best at. However, she can also play in comedies, and she’s not bad as an action heroine either. Julianne has portrayed everything from 1950’s housewives, to a porn star, to one half of a lesbian couple, to a self-centered actress. She’s certainly one of my favorites.
01. HILARY SWANK
We all knew Hilary Swank was going to be a talented actress back when she did Boys Don’t Cry. She seems to have a track record of either getting an award or being relegated to DVD-only. Such extremes. With Hilary’s performances she has not only made me actually feel, but she’s also made me believe that she is those characters. She’s played everything from a homesteader in the 1800’s, to transgendered hate crime victim Brandon Teena, to an aspiring boxer, to a white teacher working with inner-city youth. From her heartbreaking performance in Million Dollar Baby, to her subtle shift in personality in The Homesman, Hilary Swank is my favorite actress. It’s always a surprise to see what role she’ll take next. The fact that she does sometimes have stinkers shows her courage because she goes for something that’s not a sure thing, something she hasn’t done before – and I applaud her for that.
So, with that you have my own personal Top Ten Favorite Women Actors. This list is, of course, subject to change over the years for me, but right now – these ladies are my top ten. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. And now, here are some honorable mentions.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Mila Kunis, Julia Roberts, Rosario Dawson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Amanda Seyfried, Katey Sagal, Betty White, Sandra Bullock, Whoopi Goldberg
Graduated from Saint Joseph's College Of Maine with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts - Creative Writing as well as Stonecoast, a low-residency MFA program through University of Southern Maine. Has several screenplays, a novel, graphic novel and a memoir all in development.