_READ: The Ten Best Contemporary Actresses According to Listologists

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Thanks to 0dysseus, lukeprog, Rushmore, Conall, buddy, russa03, wit*chazel, SA, AJDaGreat, stumpy, Critico, JohnnyW, marygabucan, dgeiser13, lbangs, grandpa_chum, Cosgrove, Penny

Meantime you should know how it goes. Every listologist can (but doesn't have to!) give votes to the 7 (according to him/her) greatest actresses.

N.B.: They must still be alive and making films.

Deadline: June 30

The Actors List

For any further questions, write a comment.

Thanks in advance.

1922

P.S.: You can post your suggestions here below or send them by e-mail. (If you decide for the second way, then please indicate your listology ID.)

Thanks once more to those who voted in the first poll!!!

Jodie Foster
Holly Hunter
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Natalie Portman
Meryl Streep
Hilary Swank
Maura Tierney

Naomi Watts
Monica Bellucci
Hilary Swank
Cate Blanchett
Nicole Kidman
Ellen Burstyn
Holly Hunter

First off welldone on the Actors list, glad to see Murray so close to victory, oh and Carrey for that matter..ok to the matter at hand:

Zooey Deschanel
Jodie Foster
Winona Ryder
Natalie Portman
Kirsten Dunst
Leelee Sobieski
Gwyneth Paltrow

Julianne Moore
Emanuelle BĂ©art
Isabelle Huppert
Laura Linney
Maggie Cheung
Gong Li
Sandrine Bonnaire

Okay, I only have 5 right now. I have 3 more but I need to decide which ones make up the last two. In the meantime, here are my first 5:

1) Cate Blanchette
2) Hilary Swank
3) Toni Collette
4) Scarlet Johanssen
5) Christine Baransky

No problem. Take your time.

Thanks to all of you very much!

Kate Winslet
Frances McDormand
Holly Hunter
Naomi Watts
Cameron Diaz
Ziyi Zhang
Kirsten Dunst

You have excellent, excellent taste...

Not that I want to discuss (or even think about) how I came to watch Charlie's Angels but it more than reaffirmed my opinion of Cameron Diaz. She truly is a fantastic actress. All right, everyone! Settle down and be quiet...

In a movie jam-packed with silli-, stupid- and hopeless- nesses Diaz is the only actor who makes you forget that you are watching a horrible movie. She actually makes you believe that there is a dumb blonde named Natalie walking the earth and kicking big butts... Speaking of which, how in the world did Diaz manage to pull off (so to speak) knockin' it to Sir Mix-A-Lot? Not even Maggie Smith could do that. Somehow Cameron Diaz on Soul Train is much less painful than Lucy Liu as a computer expert or Drew Barrymore as... well, anything.

Being able to transcend when surrounded by an awful movie (or awful acting, directing, fx etc) is the sign of a truly great actor. I've said before that I'm interested to see what kind of roles Diaz takes on in a decade or so. Until then I'll be glad to see her in any movie... but not Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle . Not even Maggie Smith could make me want to watch that.

On a completely different subject: I think that Natalie Portman is getting short-changed in the vote count. It's difficult for beautiful people to get the credit they deserve for being great actors. I wish I had that problem.

Yet, Portman was not able to transcend when surrounded by the awful Star Wars prequels. And, she said in an interview that if she doesn't like a project, then she doesn't try her best. (Naturally, I can't find the link.)

I should've waited before casting my votes. I love Holly Hunter, but she is being overrated by this survey.

Hey, hey. You still can change your votes if you want to. No problem.

Nah, I don't think I should be trying to doctor the outcome that way. I chose as I chose.

Well, doesn't your second sentence explain your first? I think it's fine that she's fantastic when in a film she's invested in. I loved her in Garden State and Closer, and she came very close to making my list. In fact, I may still swap her in.

I agree with you about Holly Hunter.

At least I think that... One shouldn't try to game the system. You get to pick your favourite seven and that's it. If you try to cast "make up" votes then you are (sorta) getting to choose between a dozen or more actresses. It's one of the things that I really like about this parlour game: everybody has seven votes, not ten or more, to arrive at a "Top 10". Either that or I'm going to change all seven of my votes to "Meryl Streep".

With the exception of Harrison Ford I thought that Portman has done the best job of acting her way through the horrible dialogue, inexplicable hair, overpowering special effects and horrific directing of the Bearded Lord Lucas. "Hold me like you did on Naboo," indeed.

I thought Ewan McGregor survived Lucas' prequel scripts the best. And AJ, if a lack of investment by Portman in the prequels explains her poor performances, I don't approve. She should always be playing her A game. And I just didn't think her A game in Closer and Garden State was as impressive as you did.

In The Professional, Portman was "the pretty girl who can cry" and that's still all I've seen her do really well. I think my own list reflects that I appreciate flexible actors. Naomi Watts was so good in Mulholland Drive that she tricked me into thinking she was a bad actor until she blew me away in the "audition" scene and I later realized the earlier piece of her performance was part of a complex psychological character role. I've since seen her playing very different characters in The Ring and 21 Grams with chilling emotional intensity, and in I Heart Huckabees (and, I suspect, as Ann Darrow in King Kong) with a bit more silliness.

Monica Bellucci got my vote despite being wasted in the Matrix sequels and Tears of the Sun. Her presence in Malena and Passion of the Christ and especially her... endurance in Irreversible floored me, and I can't wait to see her as Queen Mirror in The Brothers Grimm.

My vote for Hilary Swank needs no explanation. The others on my list have likewise impressed me in diverse roles. Blanchett has admittedly gotten flashy, fascinating roles in The Talented Mr. Ripley, Lord of the Rings, and The Aviator (among many others), but other actors have gotten great roles and not fared so well. Kidman's resume is also diverse and impressive: Eyes Wide Shut, Moulin Rouge!, The Hours, Cold Mountain, and Dogville. I can't wait to see her in Birth because so far she's been better in each new role. I actually haven't seen Burstyn in too many filmes, but she was good enough in Requiem for a Dream to make the list. Can't wait to see her under Aronofsky again in The Fountain. And of course, Hunter in Crash, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Thirteen, and The Incredibles.

Maggie Smith is solid in every role and she's only getting better, but like her friend Judi Dench, she plays roughly the same character in every film.

But since every actor seems to fail in Lucas's prequels, couldn't we assume that it's Lucas's fault? That he has no idea how to direct his actors, and that it's hard to sound any good reciting that idiotic dialogue anyway? I mean, I could understand why she wouldn't even be able to "play her A game" in those kind of conditions.

In addition, I think playing the same kind of role is not always the actor's fault. I mean, actors start to play a role so well that casting directors automatically think of that actor when a role fits the niche. For example, I'm not sure if the role in As Good As It Gets was specifically written for Jack Nicholson, but the character is the sort of smarmy, funny-yet-tragic, emotionally-distant-yet-clearly-has-a-heart character that he's played so often, that studio executives may have only seen Nicholson in the role.

But c'mon man, did you see the scene where she's talking to Clive Owen in the strip club in Closer? The scene where she and Jude Law are quizzing each other on themselves? Her hilarious first scene in Garden State? She can do a lot more than just be pretty and cry; the characters she inhabits are just fascinating.

Agreed.

Natalie Portman in Closer . It'll be a long time until we see a better acting performance. Without her the entire movie would have imploded. I can't think of anyone else who could have mastered a role that had such a high degree of difficulty. (Ms. Streep has, admittedly, aged out of the role.) Even when she's not on screen her character stays in the back of the mind and frames the performances given by Clive Owen, Jude Law and Julia Roberts.

I normally dislike movies about good-looking people having problems... and that's one of the reasons why I am usually, surprisingly, delighted with Ms. Portman. She made the entire movie work for me. I still can't believe it nor can I figure out how she did it. I was absolutely determined to dislike her after she made her stunning entrance. I do my best to try and hate movies made with/in the male gaze. I just couldn't help myself. I blame her.

Fascinating indeed.

Ah, I see. That is very interesting, 0dysseus (once more :)).

But still that doesn't make me change my mind about Cameron Diaz. Uh.

Cheers. Nice opening.
Of my choices you give great praise to the one i'm thinking of changing. Lost in Translation and The Man Who Wasn't There have me wondering if i like Scarlett Johansson more.

If you really want to change, let me know.

I agree with you on Charlie's Angels, but lately my opinion of Miss Diaz has gone down...

c'mon! It could be good... except... maybe... then... there's always the... Kid Rock factor... ohhh, rats. run!

Here are my 7 faves:
1. Cate Blanchett
2. Julianne Moore
3. Nicole Kidman
4. Julia Roberts
5. Maggie Cheung
6. Monica Bellucci
7. Holly Hunter

My choices are:

Juliette Binoche
Ellen Burstyn
Anjelica Huston
Meryl Streep
Hilary Swank
Kathleen Turner
Sigourney Weaver

Pfft, hard one. Lot of up and comers I don't think are quite ready yet to be included, but could be in a few years (months?).

Ellen Burstyn
Maggie Smith
Judi Dench
Jennifer Connely (no love for her?)
Kate Winslet
Diane Keaton
Susan Sarandon

Jennifer Connolly (How has she not gotten any votes yet?)
Laura Linney
Frances McDormand
Meryl Streep
Uma Thurman
Naomi Watts
Kate Winslet

Disclaimer: I've only seen Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. If I had seen her in more films, I might've voted for her.

Here's my seven:

Annette Bening
Charlise Theron
Gwyneth Paltrow
Holly Hunter
Meryl Streep
Sharon Stone
Susan Sarandan

Holly Hunter
Julianne Moore
Judy Davis
Laura Linney
Miranda Richardson
Sarah Polley
Frances Mcdormand

oh change my Sarah Polley vote for Samantha Morton please.

Kathy Bates
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Frances McDormand
Samantha Morton
Sissy Spacek
Sigourney Weaver
Kate Winslet

Johnny Waco

I have my last two now:

Natalie Portman
Joan Cusack

I would just like to point out that Natalie Portman now has 3 votes from people of great taste and discernment... not 2.

Thank you. Thank you very much. Given that I live in England and love (to distraction) both The Barenaked Ladies and spicy caesars, it's been a very long time since anyone said I had either taste or discernment.

Jennifer Connelly

Christina Ricci

Naomi Watts

Kate Winslet

Maggie Gyllenhal

You still have two votes to give (if you want to).

Hmm...Juliane Moore and Emily Watson.

Julianne Moore almost made my list, and I replaced Gyllenhall with Hunter at the last second for my list. Now I'm wishing I hadn't. Emily Watson (and Samantha Morton, whom Dan suggested) I love to watch, but I think I'm more enamored with their cuteness than their acting ability (though both are certainly good).

Emily Watson will forever be on my list after I saw Breaking the waves. She was Brillaint and as for Moore she always does a stellar job.

OK, here's my list. I don't know if I'm completely satisifed with its completeness but it'll have to do for now...

Cate Blanchett
Nicole Kidman
Laura Linney
Frances McDormand
Samantha Morton
Kate Winslet
Zhang Ziyi

How in the world am I supposed to do this?

I've been pondering all day long. I've been ruthless. I've been brutal. Still, darn it all, my list is at nine!

I will continue to pare as well as I possibly can. Every cut after 14 hurt like the dickens...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Okay, first let me offer my deepest, sincerest apologies to Joan Allen, Cate Blanchett, and Samantha Morton...

In alphabetical order:

Catherine Deneuve (No votes yet?)
Marcia Gay Harden
Holly Hunter (Over-rated? What can she not do?)
Isabelle Huppert
Meryl Streep
Hilary Swank
Naomi Watts

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

I think people must think of Catherine Deneuve as more of a classic actress than a contemporary one; her peak was long ago. Granted, I've only seen her in Belle de Jour (and wasn't incredibly impressed). I'm actually more surprised that yours is the first vote for Marcia Gay Harden. She came veeery close to making my list.

Holly Hunter is great, but at the time Luke and I posted (i.e., before marygabucan voted for Kate Winslet and dgeiser13 voted for Kate Winslet and Frances McDormand), she was the unquestioned winner with 6 votes, with no one else even getting 5. I'm not sure she deserves that status.

You could be right, but I suspect most people just didn't think of Catherine Deneuve, period. I hope I'm wrong; her recent work qualifies her, even if we only count her work from the last decade.

I'm still not sure it is possible to over-rate Holly Hunter, unless she is smoking Meryl Streep, perhaps...

And yup, I am also surprised I am the first to mention Ms. Harden...

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ah, but she is smoking Meryl Streep!

I should check out some of Deneuve's recent stuff. I know I need to see Dancer in the Dark. Anything else you'd recommend?

"Ah, but she is smoking Meryl Streep!" ...and hence is overrated. What is everyone else smoking?

Remember the rules of Thespian Thunderdome: "Two men enter, Meryl leaves. Two men enter, Meryl leaves. Two men enter..."

Overrating Holly hunter?! HAH! point out a performance where she doesn't convince you she's the best actress currently working.

Always

Take a look for yourself. I didn't intend to say that Holly Hunter wasn't an excellent actress. What I meant to say was that I just happen to think that there's one who's better.

"Two men enter..."

Jamie Lee Curtis
Hope Davis
Laura Dern
Holly Hunter
Hilary Swank
Lili Taylor
Dianne Weist

Lily Taylor and Dianne Weist they were among my last cut, i really like Hope Davis too.

ok i can understand someone as terrible as paltrow getting votes, cause she has a following... but christina ricci!!!!??? my god, she is horrid, i've yet to be convinced of one line of dialogue she has recited.

Two words: "Buffalo '66".

What I want to know is, who the hell is voting for Monica Bellucci? She's been passable in one (1) film and one film only.

And I would suggest that the people voting for Ms. Swank take a look at the work she's done outside of her two Oscar-winning roles. She's effective, yes, but only within a very limited range of roles.

I actually liked her in insomnia... that and million dollar baby are all I have to go by really... and she only makes it for lack of decent actresses.

Which films have you seen her in?

Well, sucks that I missed the actor poll, but at least I can pitch my hat in here:

(In no particular order)

Isabelle Huppert
Emmanuelle Beart
Jodie Foster
Chloe Sevigny
Patricia Clarkson
Emily Watson
Nicole Kidman

Dammit... scratch Jodie Foster and replace her with Julianne Moore. How'd I forget her?

Oh Jodie, 5 years ago you would be on my list.

I'm surprised no Summer Phoenix or Bjork.

Bjork's not really an actress, per se -- Lars turned her off that for good. And I think Summer's stunning, one-of-a-kind performance in "Esther Kahn" may have been a fluke; in the other films I've seen her in, her odd awkward quality is a liability rather than an asset.

The problem I have with Chloe sevigny is that she tends to play a character the same way even when her character does'nt call for it. she shows no variation.

I'm a little late to this shindig, but it looks like I'm still within the deadline, so here are my choices:

Meryl Streep
Cate Blanchett
Judy Davis
Holly Hunter
Juliette Binoche
Uma Thurman
Kate Winslet

I love Kate Winslet. No, let me rephrase...I worship Kate Winslet. She inspires me. Above all else she makes the audience feel passionately along with her when she performs. There is always a tangible connection.