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 hips like John Wayne in the desert. Her eyes (often accentuated by the black war paint) tell the story and George Miller, deftly, refuses to bog her character (and the film) down with speeches.



best performance:  Mad Max: Fury Road wins in a landslide here as well. It does not matter what she did before, or what she does after, Theron’s Furiosa is what she will remembered for.  Her work in Atomic Blonde is actually closer to her work in Monster for the second slot than Monster is to Fury Road for this category’s gold medal.  Theron reshapes and contorts herself in Monster, but her Furiosa shines like a beacon- her physicality, those eyes, and it is a more layered, nuanced performance than the action genre ever gets to see. It is an action film acting performance for the ages, and frankly, leaves Mr. Tom Hardy (a brilliant actor himself), in the dust.



stylistic innovations/traits:   Theron is 5’10 and stunningly beautiful but she shows off her range more often than her looks.  And she uses that tall frame to play a badass more often than she preys upon it as the fashion model type romantic role. Theron is maybe the female actor most known for wild weight swings (Monster, Tully, and then swinging the other way for plenty of work in action films as well) for roles like Robert De Niro or Christian Bale. There were some lean years during her prime after Monster when she failed to find her footing, but she ended the 2010s decade as one of the great actors of the past ten years with her work in George Miller’s masterpiece being the game changer.



2017’s sneaky strong film Atomic Blonde – 1980s Berlin-chic, drenched in neon in every scene -nods to Refn’s Drive



2003’s Monster- Theron’s transformational performance as serial killer Aileen Wuornos



directors worked with:    Jason Reitman (2), Woody Allen (1), James Gray (1), Ridley Scott (1), and George Miller (1)



top five performances:

  1. Mad Max: Fury Road
  2. Monster
  3. Atomic Blonde
  4. Young Adult
  5. Tully



archiveable films

1998- Celebrity
1999- The Cider House Rules
2000- The Yards
2003- Monster
2009- The Road
2011- Young Adult
2012- Prometheus
2015- Mad Max: Fury Road
2017- Atomic Blonde
2018- Tully
2019- Bombshell