The 19th Best Actress of All-Time: Deborah Kerr

  best film:   Three films vie for top slot in Deborah Kerr’s filmography. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp and Black Narcissus, both films from The Archers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, are masterpieces. These are the top two films from The Archers. However, Jack Clayton’s gothic horror 1961 film The Innocents is not far off either.     At just age 22, Kerr plays a trio of characters (Edith Hunter / Barbara Wynne / Angela 'Johnny' Cannon) in her first archiveable film- The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.     best performance:   It is

The 19th Best Actress of All-Time: Deborah Kerr2022-06-25T12:37:55+00:00

The 18th Best Actress of All-Time: Ellen Burstyn

  best film:   The Exorcist and Requiem for a Dream are nearly interchangeable here- and what a doubleheader of darkness this pair of films would make for. The Exorcist is stunning to look and a horror landmark, but Aronofsky’s American dream turned nightmare is passionately edited masterpiece in its own right.   smack dab in the middle of her run in the 1970s is Burstyn's work in The Exorcist- like most great films in the horror genre- from Rosemary's Baby to Hereditary- the performances are so important to the film- and Burstyn gives the best performance in the

The 18th Best Actress of All-Time: Ellen Burstyn2022-06-04T11:54:51+00:00

The 17th Best Actress of All-Time: Meryl Streep

best film:   Manhattan. This is far from being Meryl Streep’s signature role and film. Hers is a small role and she is no better than the fifth best - or most important - performance in the film. If one is seeking out Streep's best film where she plays a significant part- look to the best picture winner of 1978. The Deer Hunter is #227 on the all-time top 500 films list so at this level near the top of the best female actors of all-time- this category is still a weakness for Streep. Streep is fantastic in Michael Cimino’s

The 17th Best Actress of All-Time: Meryl Streep2022-05-28T13:01:04+00:00

The 16th Best Actress of All-Time: Frances McDormand

  best film:   Fargo Is currently the #1 ranked Coen Brothers film and they are simply one of the greatest auteurs since their debut in 1984 (also Frances McDormand’s debut).  So, there is obviously no blemish in this category for McDormand.  Moonrise Kingdom is not far off in this category and McDormand’s crazy good start to the 2020s (Nomadland, The French Dispatch) is an impressive stretch for any actor- let alone one in her sixties.   It is impossible to tell the story of The Coen Brothers or 1990s cinema without Frances McDormand and her Marge Gunderson Fargo character.

The 16th Best Actress of All-Time: Frances McDormand2022-05-21T12:14:12+00:00

The 15th Best Actress of All-Time: Monica Vitti

best film:   Michelangelo Antonioni is currently listed as the #11 film director of all-time and Monica Vitta is front and center in four of his best six films. All four of these films fall in the top 267 of all-time (with three in the top 120 and two in the top 100). Red Desert leads the way as the #40 film of all-time beating out L’Avventura. Being the solo lead in one of the best fifty films of all-time is a major resume-builder, as is being a big part of three of the best 120 films of all-time.  

The 15th Best Actress of All-Time: Monica Vitti2022-05-14T12:20:22+00:00

The 14th Best Actress of All-Time: Diane Keaton

best film:   The Godfather would be the easy choice for almost every actor in film history, so it is no surprise it is Diane Keaton’s strongest as well. But there is company here for at the top for Keaton- The Godfather: Part II is not far behind the 1972 original, and both Annie Hall and Manhattan land in the top 100 of all-time. So Keaton bests even Julianne Moore here. Still though, It is Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 crime opus that lands at the top here. Keaton’s part in the film, and series, is nowhere near as essential to

The 14th Best Actress of All-Time: Diane Keaton2022-05-07T18:31:47+00:00

The 13th Best Actress of All-Time: Faye Dunaway

  best film:   Chinatown wins out here but there is some healthy competition from Network and Bonnie and Clyde. Dunaway’s achievement in Chinatown may not be on par with Roman Polanski, Robert Towne (damn that screenplay) or Jack- but she is only a half-step back. She is simply stunning in the film - and of course - key to the unforgettable “Sister, Mother, Sister” slap scene with Nicholson.   Dunaway in Chinatown. She gets the iconic slap scene- but also a very tender scene earlier in the film in bed with Nicholson's character.   best performance:   Network

The 13th Best Actress of All-Time: Faye Dunaway2022-04-30T17:29:58+00:00

The 12th Best Actress of All-Time: Marlene Dietrich

best film:   Touch of Evil but it is not as black and white as it first looks. Josef von Sternberg is not as well regarded as Orson Welles and rightly so- but he is not far off and Marlene Dietrich is the star of von Sternberg’s best films including Morocco and Blue Angel. Josef von Sternberg is a big part of the history of film style-even if, again, his work cannot quite touch the muscular, eye-popping genius on display in Touch of Evil. Dietrich is certainly not the star of Touch of Evil- but she is pitch perfect in

The 12th Best Actress of All-Time: Marlene Dietrich2022-05-09T00:35:54+00:00

The 11th Best Actress of All-Time: Julianne Moore

best film:   Julianne Moore’s riches in this category embarrasses even other all-time great actresses. The fact that the answer is not Boogie Nights, Magnolia or The Big Lebowski is just astounding. The answer is Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. Julianne Moore plays the Janet Leigh in Psycho role so to speak in Children of Men- but she is still integral. Magnolia is not far off of course. Moore’s work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s opus is just to play one of the many petals on the flower- an incredible ensemble. Moore is acting with her hair on fire- sensational- she

The 11th Best Actress of All-Time: Julianne Moore2022-04-20T12:52:49+00:00

The 10th Best Actress of All-Time: Katharine Hepburn

best film:   Bringing Up Baby is Katharine Hepburn’s best film and despite decades of phenomenal work - it is not that close. The Philadelphia Story and The African Queen would be the closest, but this is not a category of strength for Hepburn. Yet, Bringing Up Baby is a comic masterpiece and the very best of the screwball comedy subgenre.   Hepburn is not only one of Hollywood's most decorated actors- but certainly gives one of the best comedic performances of all-time in Howard Hawks' Bringing Up Baby   best performance:   Bringing Up Baby again here but

The 10th Best Actress of All-Time: Katharine Hepburn2022-04-17T12:47:48+00:00

The 9th Best Actress of All-Time: Giulietta Masina

  best film:   Juliet of the Spirits edges out La Strada here.  In La Strada in the 1950s, Fellini is still heavily influenced by his neorealism roots (he worked on the writing for Rome, Open City and Paisan) and the two performances at the heart of La Strada (Masina and Anthony Quinn) are just more central to the film. By Juliet of the Spirits (eleven years later), Fellini is in full blown breathtaking expressionist mode.   Masina plays Giulietta Boldrini in Juliet of the Spirts - a film that deserves spot in the canon close to La Dolce

The 9th Best Actress of All-Time: Giulietta Masina2022-04-16T13:08:20+00:00

The 8th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Karina

best film:   Pierrot le Fou is the second-best Godard film and lands safely in the top 100 of all-time. Watching Anna Karina spar with Jean-Paul Belmondo in amidst the backdrop of Godard’s crazy, avant-garde world is such a privilege. A Woman is a Woman is probably next- but Godard and Karina collaborated for five (5) films that are must-see or better- and she also had tiny spot in Agnes Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7 as well.   Karina with the scissors, in red, in front of the Picassos as an immaculate cinematic painting from Pierrot le Fou

The 8th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Karina2022-04-15T13:24:48+00:00
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