Top 10 Film Actresses
Women in Hollywood have enjoyed some of the richest contracts ever given to actors in cinema over the last few years. From Julia Roberts to Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston and Jodie Foster, these stars of Tinseltown have become some of the most powerful actors in the world.
The void between the quality and quantity of roles for men and women is diminishing leaving actresses in Hollywood unprecedented power. Looking at the highest paid actors and actresses from last year, a top 10 list traditionally dominated by men, reveals Kristen Stewart, Cameron Diaz and Sandra Bullock above Ben Stiller, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Downey Jr. Indeed, many critics’ top 10 films of 2011 have female dominated movies at the top of the pile including Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine, Saoirse Ronan in Hanna, and Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Here’s a look at some of my favourite actresses.
10. Nicole Kidman
One of the most powerful female actors in Hollywood, Nicole Kidman has been starring in movies since childhood. Although spending much of her young life in Australia, she was actually born in Hawaii. Known for her private life as much as her public film career, the ending of her marriage to Tom Cruise has allowed her films to come fully into focus. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the 2002 film The Hours.
9. Halle Berry
Halle Berry was the first African-American actress to win the Academy Award for her 2001 performance in Monster’s Ball. She is best known for her roles in James Bond film Die Another Day, playing Bond Girl Jinx, and as recurring character Storm in the X-Men movies.
8. Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston may not be the most versatile Hollywood actress but she is a major Hollywood star and commands multimillion dollar deals for every movie she appears in. She is most well known for her television work appearing in massive hit comedy Friends. Since the show ended she has played similar wife and girlfriend roles in many commercial hits including Marley and Me, Bruce Almighty, Along Came Polly, and recently Wanderlust.
7. Zooey Deschanel
Zooey Deschanel has emerged as the finest young actress of her generation and all signs point to her being one of the most prominent Hollywood stars for years to come. She has mixed humorous roles with more dramatic work, often finding quirky eccentricities in the characters she portrays. The great thing about a good actor is that they are appealing even in films that are far removed from quality cinema. For example, her performance in Yes Man was the best thing about a very ordinary film. However, huge hit and critically acclaimed (500) Days of Summer has put her among the Hollywood elite.
6. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is one of Hollywood’s most consistent performers. Whether appearing in small art films or huge, commercial hits, she always delivers strong, powerful performances. She achieved critical acclaim with her early roles in The Deer Hunter and Kramer Versus Kramer, winning the Best Actor Oscar for the latter. She has taken on roles in all sorts of films from comedy (Death Becomes Her) to hard-hitting drama (The Deer Hunter) to musicals (Mamma Mia) to action (The River Wild).
5. Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren spent years perfecting her craft away from Hollywood. The British-born actress of Russian-English descent played many roles in London theatre productions and on UK television. She became a very popular face on British TV playing cop Jane Tennison in the acclaimed series Prime Suspect. Mirren took on several film roles during the 1990s including some small American films. It wasn’t until Gosford Park, however, that she would become a major Hollywood player. Since then she has appeared in a series of big Hollywood productions. Although, her best performance may well have come in the 2006 British film The Queen.
4. Jodie Foster
A quiet and understated performer who made a big splash in Hollywood when she appeared as a child prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster has mixed dramatic roles in niche films with mainstream feminine power figures. Her most remembered role is in Jonathan Demme’s film The Silence of the Lambs. She also had lead roles in Panic Room and The Brave One. Most recently she was excellent in Roman Polanski’s Carnage.
3. Reese Witherspoon
One of the most beautiful actresses in the world, Reese Witherspoon has plenty of talent to go with her good looks. She has great range as an actress, and has made excellent choices in terms of the films she has made. Playing the ditzy blonde in Legally Blonde was a way to poke fun at herself while making a universally appealing comedy. Her quirky performance in Alexander Payne’s Election stands out as one of her best, while she won the Oscar for her role in Walk The Line.
2. Sigourney Weaver
Sigourney Weaver is one of the most commanding and authoritative female actors in Hollywood. She was the first actress to receive acclaim for a role that transcended female stereotypes in Ridley Scott’s Alien. She returned to the same character for three sequels, solidifying herself as Hollywood’s toughest female actor. She has performed in drama, horror, and comedy, always giving authenticity to her character. Most notably, her roles in Gorillas in the Mist, Working Girl, and of course, the Alien series, stand out.
1. Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts is the most recognized female Hollywood star in the world. She has the commerciality of Jennifer Aniston and the acting ability of Meryl Streep. Like Steven Spielberg making commercially viable films and receiving critical acclaim, Roberts makes big films and consistently delivers strong performances. She is most remembered in her role as a high-class hooker alongside Richard Gere in Pretty Woman. But her best performance came in Steven Soderbergh’s Erin Brockovich, for which she won the Academy Award.
Daniel Stephens feeds his unhealthy obsession with the top 10 list by overseeing proceedings at Top10Films.co.uk as founder and editor.
Please check out Daniel Stephens film website at www.toptenfilms.co.uk for top 10 film lists and reviews.