Friday, December 12, 2008
20 Favorite Film Femmes (Right Now)
I just had to get in on the 20 all-time favorite actresses meme that originated at The Film Experience. Trouble was, narrowing an all-time list proved to be too difficult. So instead I cheated and decided to name my favorite actresses working right now. That means no Grace Kelly, obviously. It also means that someone like Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio doesn’t make the list either, because it’s been too long since she’s delivered a performance worth getting excited about.
So here’s a list of actresses who get me excited to go to the theater right now. Favorite performances listed in parenthesis.
Amy Adams (Junebug)
Having not yet seen Doubt, which arrived in town today, Adams is still more promise than proven. But Junebug alone is reason enough to be excited for what’s to come.
Cate Blanchett (Notes On A Scandal)
In the parenthesis above, I could have put “Just About Everything.”
Helena Bonham Carter (Conversations With Other Women)
See Blanchett comments. Ditto.
Rose Byrne (Sunshine)
Sleeper pick! Byrne’s most robust work is in the otherwise mediocre Wicker Park. But in a tiny role in Sunshine I can’t take my eyes off her. I’m convinced she has a classic performance in her. It’s only a matter of time.
Eva Green (Casino Royale)
Think The Dreamers is memorable? Green is unforgettable in Casino Royale. The strength of Quantum Of Solace is the way Vesper’s spirit hangs in the shadows, serving as Bond’s Rosebud. We never see Vesper, sadly, but she’s always there.
Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married)
An accomplished career already, and her best days are ahead. Versatile. Fearless.
Diane Lane (Unfaithful)
Her Unfaithful performance is one of my all-time favorites. Oh, and she’s sexy as hell!
Q’orianka Kilcher (The New World)
Yep, she makes the list on the strength of one performance – a performance that happens to be another of my all-time favorites. When Kilcher finally shows up in another film, I’m there.
Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights)
Even when she’s just average, she’s fantastic. Tremendous range!
Samantha Morton (In America)
Perhaps my favorite actress working today. She’s the highlight of Synecdoche, New York, and her Mary Stuart was the best part of Elizabeth: The Golden Age (take that, Cate!). Not to be overlooked? Code 46.
Michelle Pfieffer (Dangerous Liaisons)
If not for the magic she generated in Stardust, one of my all-time darlings wouldn’t have made the cut. But her Catwoman in Batman Returns remains one of the sexiest cinema creations ever. And then there’s Dangerous Liaisons, The Age Of Innocence …
Natalie Portman (Beautiful Girls)
She’s been turning in memorable performances all her life. I’m not sure she’ll ever get a better part than in Beautiful Girls, but I’m hopeful that her best work is ahead. Best performance no one ever talks about? Cold Mountain.
Susan Sarandon (Bull Durham)
She’s still got it.
Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient)
I’ve Loved You So Long is a reminder of great talent that I hadn’t begun to forget. Must see her more!
Tilda Swinton (The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe)
An actress we’re starting to see more of here in the States, to my great delight.
Audrey Tautou (Amelie)
She makes me grin like a garden gnome.
Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2)
Maybe the most underrated actress working today. The physicality of the Kill Bill films tends to overshadow the memory of her emotional vulnerability.
Rachel Weisz (My Blueberry Nights)
She’s enchanting in The Fountain. She’s heartbreakingly tragic in My Blueberry Nights.
Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind)
Has she ever turned in a poor performance?
Robin Wright Penn (Unbreakable)
Lucky to be on this list, per the Mastrantonio rule. But she actually made me consider seeing Beowulf. That’s saying a lot!
So, Cooler readers, let’s see some favorite actress lists – all-time or of-the-moment. Who did I overlook?