The 55th Best Actress of All-Time: Charlize Theron

  best film:   Mad Max: Fury Road. As good as Charlize Theron is in Monster (won the Academy Award in 2003) she is not on this list without Mad Max: Fury Road. Theron’s work is Sigourney Weaver in Aliens but in a slightly better film - one of the best of the 2010s decade - and a clear masterpiece.  There is no second film to debate here - the closest film, and it is quite a distance away, is David Leitch’s 2017 film Atomic Blonde.   Theron’s performance is physical with her nearly six-foot tall frame swinging her

The 55th Best Actress of All-Time: Charlize Theron2022-11-27T15:02:06+00:00

The 54th Best Actress of All-Time: Jodie Foster

  best film:   Taxi Driver is the answer here over The Silence of the Lambs. Jodie Foster plays Iris Steensma in Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece and her role is no cameo- she received a well-deserved Oscar nomination for her work here and this is a difficult (and showy) role that easily could have gone wrong. Jodie’s Iris is the most controversial part of this controversial film. Jodie steals some scenes from De Niro- or at least spars equally- that is Robert De Niro in 1976-  in the prime of his career,  with young not-quite-fourteen Jodie Foster. This is a strong

The 54th Best Actress of All-Time: Jodie Foster2022-11-27T15:00:41+00:00

The 53rd Best Actress of All-Time: Isuzu Yamada

  best film:   Isuzu Yamada is a bigger part of Throne of Blood - but Yojimbo is the better film. Kurosawa’s 1961 film is yet another Kurosawa masterpiece from an artistically fertile period from the great master that started in the 1950s and extended into the early 1960s. One could easily write 1000 words on the cultural impact and cinematic influence of Yojimbo. Certainly, without Yojimbo, there would not be A Fistful of Dollars which was the breakthrough film for both Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood (two of the best 100 directors of all-time and one top 25 actor). Yojimbo leads

The 53rd Best Actress of All-Time: Isuzu Yamada2022-11-21T13:31:44+00:00

The 52nd Best Actress of All-Time: Jane Fonda

  best film:   The problem here for Jane Fonda is not Klute, which is an excellent film and Jane's best. The problem is the lack of competition for Klute regarding this category. There is not a really good option for that runner-up or second-best film. This category is a weakness for Jane- no doubt about that. Klute is Alan Pakula’s first film in the paranoia trilogy- an important piece of the New Hollywood 1970s American cinema.     Fonda as Bree Daniels cloaked in Gordon Willis' darkness in Alan Pakula's Klute     best performance:  Jane Fonda

The 52nd Best Actress of All-Time: Jane Fonda2022-11-21T04:29:56+00:00

The 51st Best Actress of All-Time: Sigourney Weaver

  best film:   Sigourney Weaver was just a few years away from becoming a star in Alien when she made her film debut in 1977 as one of Woody Allen’s dates in the masterpiece Annie Hall. Weaver is barely in Annie Hall of course though, so the best real answer to the question of Weaver’s best film is Ridley Scott’s Alien. Scott’s film, the first one, is the best film in the series Weaver is most associated with. Both of James Cameron’s films featuring Weaver (1986’s Aliens, and 2009’s Avatar) deserve special consideration here as well.    

The 51st Best Actress of All-Time: Sigourney Weaver2022-11-15T13:57:34+00:00

The 50th Best Actress of All-Time: Lauren Bacall

  best film:   The Big Sleep is right there near the top as one of the best film noir entries, but Douglas Sirk’s Written on the Wind is a virtual deadlock tie. The Big Sleep was slightly higher on the last top 500 films of all-time update so that will live here for now, it may flip with the next update.     Bacall had some trouble finding her footing after her four collaborations with Bogart in the 1940s (and these were four of her five first films- and all before the age of 25), but one surefire

The 50th Best Actress of All-Time: Lauren Bacall2022-11-12T14:43:00+00:00

The 49th Best Actress of All-Time: Uma Thurman

  best film:   Pulp Fiction is a seminal film in the one hundred plus year history of narrative cinema and a fine choice to have as the best film for any actor. Uma’s other collaboration with Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill, is also a masterpiece (though not on the level of Pulp Fiction) so clearly a candidate for this category.  Pulp Fiction is a three-pronged masterpiece— magnificent writing (on par with or superior to the great works of say Ingmar Bergman, Billy Wilder or say the works of Charlie Kaufman), tour de force direction behind the camera (the dance contest sequence,

The 49th Best Actress of All-Time: Uma Thurman2022-11-08T20:49:21+00:00

The 48th Best Actress of All-Time: Rachel Weisz

  best film:   The Favourite from Yorgos Lanthimos takes the top slot here for Rachel Weisz.  No cinephile should be surprised to read afterwards that Cries and Whispers (a visually bold, vicious tale involving three women from Ingmar Bergman) and The Draughtsman’s Contract (Peter Greenaway- acidic, absurdist, black comedy) were important texts to Lanthimos. The Favourite is masterpiece of auteur driven formal and aesthetic choices (wide angle lens, natural lighting, slow motion photography, tracking shots down the corridor) featuring 2018’s best acting (Weisz part of the three-headed monster in the lead with Emma Stone and Olivia Colman) and equally remarkable writing. Darren Aronofsky’s

The 48th Best Actress of All-Time: Rachel Weisz2022-11-05T12:36:02+00:00

The 47th Best Actress of All-Time: Audrey Hepburn

  best film:   My Fair Lady and it is not terribly close with her second best film (which could be Funny Face or Charade). Audrey often outperformed the films she was in (Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s) but My Fair Lady is a glowing exception. It is so handsomely mounted on a large canvas (65mm- and stunning) by George Cukor and of course Rex Harrison is perfection in the co-lead role. Hepburn does not sing here (and Harrison does) but she is near his equal overall in the film and this is a major feather in her cap.  

The 47th Best Actress of All-Time: Audrey Hepburn2022-11-04T00:48:07+00:00

The 46th Best Actress of All-Time: Julie Delpy

  best film:   Before Sunset is the peak of Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy even if it is not by a wide margin- all three of these films (and one can only hope for at least one more as the three principals are alive and working) are remarkable. The other prime candidates here for this category are Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers and Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours: White.     best performance:  Before Sunset. Much of the same here as the above category as the three films in Linklater’s trilogy with Julie Delpy starring opposite Ethan Hawke are the gold, silver

The 46th Best Actress of All-Time: Julie Delpy2022-10-31T21:10:06+00:00

The 45th Best Actress of All-Time: Hanna Schygulla

  best film:   There are two potential answers here. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) from Bela Tarr is the answer in the strictest sense. Hanna Schygulla plays Tünde Eszter and she is fantastic in her limited screen time opposite Lars Rudolph. If one was to consider only the films where Schygulla contributes a larger amount to the greater result of the film,  it would be 1979’s The Marriage of Maria Braun here as the answer.  This is the first film in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s BRD trilogy, which is really the great German auteur’s most artistically fertile stretch.   Hanna Schygulla

The 45th Best Actress of All-Time: Hanna Schygulla2022-10-26T14:59:45+00:00

The 44th Best Actress of All-Time: Kirsten Dunst

  best film:   Melancholia from enfant terrible Lars von Trier takes the top prize over Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and The Virgin Suicides take third and fourth place in the category respectively. Dunst gives the best performance in three of these top four films. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she is part of the talented ensemble (including Mark Ruffalo and the perfectly creepy Elijah Wood) backing up leads Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.  Melancholia is a massive masterpiece.  There may not be a better opening eight minutes in cinema history than

The 44th Best Actress of All-Time: Kirsten Dunst2022-10-25T15:17:03+00:00
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