The 36th Best Actress of All-Time: Elizabeth Taylor

  best film:  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a crucial film and role for Elizabeth Taylor. Young prodigy Mike Nichols came along to work with established stars and power couple  Taylor and Richard Burton at just the right time. The film is brilliant, but his category is a weak spot for Taylor’s case on this list. Nichols’ film (and this is his second or third best film right there with Carnal Knowledge after The Graduate is the clear number one) does not quite compare with some of the heavyweight best films other female actors have on their resume.

The 36th Best Actress of All-Time: Elizabeth Taylor2022-09-26T15:13:49+00:00

The 35th Best Actress of All-Time: Natalie Portman

  best film:  Black Swan is spectacular enough to debate here with Heat. Natalie Portman was just fourteen years old in 1995 at the time of Heat’s release and she plays a smaller part in Michael Mann’s ensemble epic crime saga. Though Portman is solid in her role, there are at least a half dozen actors who make more of an impact on Heat’s brilliance.     best performance:    Natalie Portman gives one of the best performances of the 2010s decade in Black Swan. Cinema history has just ten (10) or eleven (11) real decades to draw upon- so

The 35th Best Actress of All-Time: Natalie Portman2022-09-24T12:40:55+00:00

The 34th Best Actress of All-Time: Setsuko Hara

  best film:  Yasujirô Ozu made at least four masterpieces and Setsuko Hara was in all four of them (Late Spring, Early Summer, Tokyo Story and not to confuse things with the names, The End of Summer), so this is no slam dunk. Tokyo Story ultimately comes out on top as it lands as one of the top ten of all-time. This film is rightfully taught in just about every introduction to cinema art college class (though the focus is way too often on Ozu's humanity- and not the artistic aspects of the film). Tokyo Story is the artistic

The 34th Best Actress of All-Time: Setsuko Hara2022-09-22T23:24:45+00:00

The 33rd Best Actress of All-Time: Naomi Watts

  best film:  David Lynch moved his nightmare vision from suburbia (Blue Velvet) to Hollywood to create one of finest films of the 21st century in Mulholland Drive. Since Mulholland Drive is one of the finest films of the 21st century, this gives Naomi Watts (who is brilliant in the lead) a leg up on just about every actor of her generation (and younger). Birdman from Alejandro G. Iñárritu certainly deserves some consideration here as well but at the end of the day, Watts’ best film is Mulholland Drive.     Watts carved out her place in film

The 33rd Best Actress of All-Time: Naomi Watts2022-09-20T20:56:00+00:00

The 32nd Best Actress of All-Time: Emily Watson

  best film:  This is a very strong category for Emily Watson. Breaking the Waves from Danish enfant terrible auteur Lars von Trier certainly looms as one of the art form’s truly great films, but Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love gives Watson two sure-fire top 100 of all-time films. Breaking the Waves relies more heavily on Watson. And as far as top twenty-five (25) films of all-time - the only film in this class that leans on their female lead actor as much or more-  is Falconetti in The Passion of Joan of Arc.     sliding doors

The 32nd Best Actress of All-Time: Emily Watson2022-09-18T13:03:30+00:00

The 31st Best Actress of All-Time: Gong Li

best film:   This feels like a dead heat between Raise the Red Lantern and 2046- both are masterpieces with strong arguments for this slot. Forced to choose, Raise the Red Lantern may be ever so slightly superior- and of course Gong Li is a much more important piece to Yimou Zhang’s film than WKW’s.  Gong Li will always be tied to the Fifth Generation of Chinese filmmakers- Yimou Zhang and Kaige Chen- so in a way it is very fitting that her best film is the best film to come from this movement.     from Raise the

The 31st Best Actress of All-Time: Gong Li2022-09-15T20:57:22+00:00

The 30th Best Actress of All-Time: Nicole Kidman

  best film:   Nicole Kidman’s best two films are Eyes Wide Shut from Stanley Kubrick and Moulin Rouge! from Australian auteur Baz Luhrmann. It would be difficult to find to more dissimilar films- a tribute both Kidman’s brave role choices and her range as an actor. Ultimately, it is Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s final film, that ends up Kidman’s single strongest overall film. Eyes Wide Shut also marks Kubrick’s first film since 1987’s Full Metal Jacket– just a crazy long incubation period. Kidman and costar (and husband at the time) Cruise should get some credit for the endless preparation

The 30th Best Actress of All-Time: Nicole Kidman2022-09-14T22:49:11+00:00

The 29th Best Actress of All-Time: Maria Falconetti

  best film:   The Passion of Joan of Arc is so formally flawless and stylistically audacious at the same time. It is one of the 15-20 films one could legitimately, and somewhat objectively, call the greatest film of all-time at this point. Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece is at or near the peak of the artform in terms of virtuoso editing, camera angles, camera movement,  minimalist mise-en-scene, and yes—screen acting.     the French actor is remembered by one performance and one name: "Falconetti"     best performance:  Falconetti's work in The Passion of Joan of Arc

The 29th Best Actress of All-Time: Maria Falconetti2022-09-10T15:14:24+00:00

The 28th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Magnani

best film:   Rome, Open City. Realism has a description for both films and performances since the inception of the medium and artform- around since the beginning of narrative cinema some thirty years or so prior to Roberto Rossellini’s masterpiece. But the World War II (and post) Italian Neo-Realism is a real artistic movement, and it is significant. Rome, Open City is the beginning of this movement and the movement’s first masterpiece (and still a formidable companion to The Bicycle Thieves which arrived three years later). For Anna Magnani, there is really no competitor in this category as much as

The 28th Best Actress of All-Time: Anna Magnani2022-09-08T19:21:50+00:00

The 27th Best Actress of All-Time: Tilda Swinton

  best film:   This is not an easy one. It is sort of fun to just go down the list to survey Tilda Swinton’s full filmography. It does look like The Grand Budapest Hotel is the single best film. There are many other prime candidates. Near the top of the list is Moonrise Kingdom. Tilda has just a few minutes on screen in her collaborations with (to date) Wes Anderson but she is certainly making herself part of the greater good in Wes' ever-expanding ensemble universe. Though they may be a half-step below The Grand Budapest Hotel, both Orlando

The 27th Best Actress of All-Time: Tilda Swinton2022-09-07T21:12:25+00:00

The 26th Best Actress of All-Time: Bette Davis

  best film:   Joseph Mankiewicz’s All About Eve has a wickedly cynical screenplay. Mankiewicz's writing is stunning. It is so witty- he is throwing one-hundred miles per hour the entire time, cutting like a razor- very Billy Wilder-like or Aaron Sorkin-like.  This is Mankiewicz in his prime (back-to-back wins for Best Screenplay and Best Director at the Oscars in 1949 and 1950 for A Letter to Three Wives and this). The performances from Anne Baxter to Thelma Ritter (Davis and Ritter are such a dynamic duo- spitting fire) to George Sanders and Celeste Holm are electric- but it is

The 26th Best Actress of All-Time: Bette Davis2022-09-05T14:55:43+00:00

The 25th Best Actress of All-Time: Sissy Spacek

best film:   JFK from Oliver Stone. Other films in the mix include Brian De Palma’s Carrie and Terrence Malick’s sublime debut Badlands. JFK is one of the most ambitious films of the 1990s. JFK is a major artistic landmark when talking about the history of film editing. It has been mentioned that that there are 3000+ shots that comprise the film. The cast is massive (at least six Oscar winners by my count- including Sissy Spacek), the running time is 3+ hours, it features the work of both composer John Williams and cinematographer Robert Richardson as well. The supporting cast (surrounding

The 25th Best Actress of All-Time: Sissy Spacek2022-09-06T17:09:40+00:00
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