Today is International Women’s Day so what better way to celebrate it than put together a collection of my 20 favourite actresses. I don’t do much on this blog anymore but I wanted to make sure this came out. I have done a Top 20 Actresses list before but I like to do a new one every year or so because of how opinions change and people’s talents change. So here we go.
Honourable Mentions (#20 – #11):
20. Carrie Fisher (Favourite Performance: Star Wars)
It is such a terrible shame that she’s no longer with us because she defined a generation of strong women as Princess Leia and gave us plenty of great comedic roles throughout the 80s and 90s. She always brightened up the screen.
19. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Favourite Performance: 10 Cloverfield Lane)
Quickly becoming the Queen of genre film, MEW is someone you can trust. Even if it’s a crappy Die Hard sequel, you’ll never not enjoy seeing her pop up on screen. With 10 Cloverfield Lane’s success, she’s just going to be an even bigger star.
18. Lena Headey (Favourite Performance: Game of Thrones)
With plenty of roles in indie films over the years, Lena Headey made the world pay attention in Game of Thrones.
17. Alicia Vikander (Favourite Performance: Ex Machina)
Someone few people knew about until she exploded in 2015 and won an Oscar for one of her many celebrated roles that year.
16. Sigourney Weaver (Favourite Performance: Aliens)
A legend of action movies. Sigourney Weaver is another like Carrie Fisher in which she played one of cinema’s strongest female characters and was also very memorable in a comedy with Dan Aykroyd in it.
15. Naomi Watts (Favourite Performance: Mulholland Drive)
Naomi Watts is someone who always gives it 100%. David Lynch took her out of the unknown and helped her give one of the best performances of all time in Mulholland Drive yet she always seems like she’s still trying to prove herself.
14. Kristen Wiig (Favourite Performance: Bridesmaids)
Maybe my favourite female comedian ever, Kristen Wiig is always wonderful to watch even if it’s in a not so funny film. Her blend of awkwardness and over-the-top humour is brilliant and she even managed some dramatic heft in Bridesmaids and Welcome To Me.
13. Laura Dern (Favourite Performance: Wild At Heart)
Like Watts, Laura Dern is a David Lynch favourite and she’s excelled every time she’s worked with him. Oh and then there’s Jurassic Park you might have seen her in. 2017 looks like it’ll be a great year for her too with her appearing in Lynch’s Twin Peaks revival and the new Star Wars.
12. Sarah Paulson (Favourite Performance: The People V O.J. Simpson)
For someone who’s mostly considered a TV actor, Sarah Paulson is unbelievably talented. Her Marcia Clark was some of the best acting on TV ever and she’s creeping into film finally with a supporting role in Carol and the upcoming Ocean’s Eight.
11. Cate Blanchett (Favourite Performance: The Aviator)
Do I have to explain how fantastic Cate Blanchett is? She’s the ethereal wonder of cinema’s most artistic pictures.
10. Julia Roberts (Favourite Performance: Pretty Woman)
Someone who’s simply a delight, Julia Roberts is someone who can make me enjoy a rom-com. Her joy is just infectious and when she does dramatic work she proves she’s not just a one-trick pony.
9. Kristen Stewart (Favourite Performance: Clouds of Sils Maria)
If she was anywhere near a list like this a few years ago you’d be laughed off the internet. Ever since Twilight ended however, Kristen Stewart has become one of the most consistently great actresses working. And let’s not forget her great child performance in David Fincher’s Panic Room.
8. Emma Stone (Favourite Performance: La La Land)
Someone who entered the fray by elevating generic comedies, Emma Stone has evolved so much in recent years with her Oscar nominated role in Birdman and Oscar winning role in La La Land. You get the picture she’s just getting started too.
7. Amy Adams (Favourite Performance: Arrival)
You’d kind of expect someone of this talent to have an Oscar by now. Amy Adams never seems to be able to disappoint.
6. Audrey Hepburn (Favourite Performance: Breakfast At Tiffany’s)
Like Julia Roberts, the word “delight” feels perfect for Audrey Hepburn. One of cinema’s classic beauties, Hepburn could charm the grinch in a heartbeat. It’s impossible not smile when she’s being quirky and impossible not to cry when she brings her emotional weight to the table.
5. Jessica Chastain (Favourite Performance: Zero Dark Thirty)
Someone who really should have won an Oscar (Jennifer Lawrence beating her is just silly). Jessica Chastain is fierce and vulnerable. She can play pretty much anything.
4. Natalie Portman (Favourite Performance: Black Swan)
Natalie Portman may have struggled with the Star Wars prequels, but she’s one of the greatest actresses imaginable. I loved her performance in Closer and really had my mind blown by her in Black Swan. Even though I love Emma Stone so much she’s on this list, she shouldn’t have beaten Portman in Jackie.
3. Eva Green (Favourite Performance: Casino Royale/Penny Dreadful)
She’s often over-the-top but rarely in a bad way. She commits fully to every role and it’s pure brilliance to watch. She’s the best and most layered Bond girl and gave one of the best TV performances ever in Penny Dreadful. How she never even got an Emmy nomination for it is unbelievable.
2. Julianne Moore (Favourite Performance: Boogie Nights)
Julianne Moore’s been one of the best for decades now. She’s one of those actresses who brings respect to everything she does.
1. Rooney Mara (Favourite Performance: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo/Carol)
Rooney Mara is just something else. She’s so young in her career yet so mature in her performances. In just a few scenes in The Social Network she stole my attention and then took us to a whole new level with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. For someone who is working so much, she’s always able to make every role something special and her stunningly subtle performance in Carol deserved a lot more praise than it got.
So what do you think? Who are your favourite actresses? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!