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.
best performance: James Cameron’s Aliens may be slightly inferior overall to its predecessor as film art but Weaver’s performance itself is superior in the sequel. In Alien, she plays the Janet Leigh or Jamie Lee Curtis victim of a horror film-like monster/killer who is stalked. It is impressive reactionary horror acting- but still – in the sequel Weaver’s performance has everything including the arrival of a full blown action hero – and one of the finest action heroes in cinema history at that.
stylistic innovations/traits: Weaver is a towering six foot one inches tall (taller than either Uma Thurman or Charlize Theron) and was a Hollywood blockbuster goddess in the 1980s. She got her start with a cameo in Annie Hall (a fun film to track famous cameos). She helped carry a successful franchise and appears in money juggernauts like Ghostbusters and Avatar. Her three best performances come between 1979 and 1986. She could garner the audiences’ sympathies (certain Aliens) but could also excel (and steal scenes) at playing very icy, spiritually ugly characters as well including the embodiment of arrogance (Working Girl) and the personification of jaded malevolence (The Ice Storm).
directors worked with: James Cameron (2), Ivan Reitman (2) and then Ridley Scott (1), Mike Nichols (1), Roman Polanski (1), Ang Lee (1) Peter Weir (1), Woody Allen (1) and Noah Baumbach (1).
top five performances:
- The Year of Living Dangerously
- The Ice Storm
- Working Girl
|1977- Annie Hall|
|1983- The Year of Living Dangerously|
|1988- Working Girl|
|1994- Death and the Maiden|
|1997- The Ice Storm|
|2011- Cedar Rapids|
|2011- The Cabin in the Woods|
|2017- The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)|