|1. Ingrid Bergman|
|2. Liv Ullmann|
|3. Juliette Binoche|
|4. Barbara Stanwyck|
|5. Lillian Gish|
|6. Jeanne Moreau|
|7. Catherine Deneuve|
|8. Anna Karina|
|9. Giulietta Masina|
|10. Katharine Hepburn|
|11. Julianne Moore|
|12. Marlene Dietrich|
|13. Faye Dunaway|
|14. Diane Keaton|
|15. Monica Vitti|
|16. Frances McDormand|
|17. Meryl Streep|
|18. Ellen Burstyn|
|19. Deborah Kerr|
|20. Judy Garland|
|21. Mia Farrow|
|22. Ingrid Thulin|
|23. Maggie Cheung|
|24. Julie Christie|
|25. Sissy Spacek|
|26. Bette Davis|
|27. Tilda Swinton|
|28. Anna Magnani|
|29. Maria Falconetti|
|30. Nicole Kidman|
|31. Gong Li|
|32. Emily Watson|
|33. Naomi Watts|
|34. Setsuko Hara|
|35. Natalie Portman|
|36. Elizabeth Taylor|
|37. Scarlett Johansson|
|38. Gena Rowlands|
|39. Kate Winslet|
|40. Kinuyo Tanaka|
|41. Cate Blanchett|
|42. Emma Stone|
|43. Alida Valli|
|44. Kristen Dunst|
|45. Hanna Schygulla|
|46. Julie Delpy|
|47. Audrey Hepburn|
|48. Rachel Weisz|
|49. Uma Thurman|
|50. Lauren Bacall|
|51. Sigourney Weaver|
|52. Jane Fonda|
|53. Isuzu Yamada|
|54. Jodie Foster|
|55. Charlize Theron|
|56. Vivien Leigh|
|57. Holly Hunter|
|58. Shirley MacLaine|
|59. Jean Arthur|
|60. Carey Mulligan|
|61. Bibi Andersson|
|62. Helen Mirren|
|63. Isabelle Huppert|
|64. Claudia Cardinale|
|65. Janet Gaynor|
|66. Joan Fontaine|
|67. Marion Cotillard|
|68. Amy Adams|
|69. Michelle Williams|
|70. Claudette Colbert|
|71. Simone Signoret|
|72. Grace Kelly|
|73. Laura Dern|
|74. Joan Crawford|
|75. Vanessa Redgrave|
|76. Glenn Close|
|77. Isabelle Adjani|
|78. Zhang Ziyi|
|79. Penelope Cruz|
|80. Shelley Winters|
|81. Ruth Gordon|
|82. Irène Jacob|
|83. Patricia Arquette|
|84. Liza Minnelli|
|85. Harriet Andersson|
|86. Saoirse Ronan|
|87. Maureen O’Hara|
|88. Teresa Wright|
|89. Judi Dench|
|90. Gwyneth Paltrow|
|91. Tatyana Samoylova|
|92. Susan Sarandon|
|93. Audrey Tautou|
|94. Thelma Ritter|
|95. Anne Bancroft|
|96. Anne Dorval|
|97. Helena Bonham Carter|
|98. Hilary Swank|
|99. Kim Novak|
|100. Anna Paquin|
What’s gonna be your next project after this?
@M*A*S*H- I am going to do the 2022 page. I am just waiting on a few movies I have not had a chance to catch yet. Then I will do the top 100 male actors update. I do not want to jinx it, but it should not take as long.
Nice list drake. Love all the new additions
@Big chungus- Appreciate the kind words- thanks
The list is so great. Thanks for your work.
@KidCharlemagne- Thank you- so nice of you to say
Supreme methodology for evaluating careers. Emphasis on quality of films, and it’s not about how talented you are, it’s about how that talent manifests into a collection of performances (which is another thing I strongly agree with, looking beyond just peak and looking at total body of work). I catch slack myself for using similar logic in things even beyond the arts (like sports). Certainly the best actress ranking I’ve come across by far. Really enjoyed reading through all the pages, thanks for putting it together
@Matthew- So happy to hear you enjoyed it- sorry it was so drawn out. Thank you for the encouragement here – always look forward to your comments.
Great work on the list Drake. What’s next? Any chance on the top 500 expanding to a 1000 or a directors update? Always keen and interested in to what happens next in this website. The best film resource out there by far
@Joel- Thanks Joel- much appreciated! The goal is to have the 500 expanded to 1000 and updated by the fall after doing the male actor side. And then I’ll probably spend the next year or more working on the directors pages and updating those.
@Drake – can’t wait to see all these, been waiting on that top 1000 for a while. Great work revamping this list I’ve loved following it every 2-3 days.
@Harry- Appreciate that Harry- thank you. I had some long delays in 2022 so hopefully the updates fly out quicker in 2023 and beyond.
Decided to drop the performance list or just postponing? If I recall correctly you were on the fence about that one
@Matthew- I am putting it together now- or finalizing. I’m planning to send out this weekend.
So here’s a summary of the changes from the previous best actress list.
18.Helena Bonham Carter(97)
Biggest movers within the list
1.Kirsten Dunst[78->44(UP 34)]
1.Hanna Schygulla[79->45(UP 34)]
3.Tilda Swinton[57->27(UP 30)]
4.Natalie Portman[55->35(UP 20)]
5.Cate Blanchett[60->41(UP 19)]
5.Bibi Andersson[80->61(UP 19)]
7.Emma Stone[58->42(UP 16)]
7.Penelope Cruz[95->79(UP 16)]
9.Jodie Foster[69->54(UP 15)]
10.Anna Karina[20->8(UP 12)]
Biggest downfalls within the list
1.Liza Minelli[51->84(DOWN 33)]
2.Anne Bancroft[64->95(DOWN 31)]
2.Susan Sarandon[61->92(DOWN 31)]
2.Audrey Hepburn[16->47(DOWN 31)]
5.Janet Gaynor[37->65(DOWN 28)]
5.Jane Fonda[26->54(DOWN 28)]
7.Hilary Swank[71->98(DOWN 27)]
7.Shirley MacLaine[31->58(DOWN 27)]
9.Marion Cotillard[44->67(DOWN 23)]
10.Amy Adams[46->68(DOWN 22)]
Stayed the same
@Malith- Thank you for putting this together! Wow
Would you include MIchelle Yeoh in the top 100 now that she has EEAAO?
@Chee Wai Lee- I had the opportunity to include Michelle Yeoh after seeing EEAAO. I think she’s close. I think there’s an argument to be had that she should be between 85-100– but there are another dozen or more actors in the same situation. I think she is missing one more rock solid performance in one of the better films of the year.
Have you got a record of Michelle Yeoh’s archivable films?
@DeclanG- Just two films in the archives right now- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Everything Everywhere All at Once. There’s still some work to day- I have not seen Supercop yet, or the Woo-Ping Yuen films.
You might wanna check out the above link to a list from a Chinese critic (though in Chinese, it shows the ranking along with photos of the actress). He was excited that you ranked Liv Ullman so high cuz Liv is his favorite. He ranked her at 16th though. He feels Yeoh needs 2 good performances in 2 good movies before including her in his top 100,
@Chee Wai Lee- Very cool- thanks for sharing. I was able to browse through
Wow! It’s finished. Nice job. Sometimes I write little notes and information about movies once I’ve watched them (thanks to your site) and always surprised by how long it takes. Great respect for the work you put in and always enjoy visiting the site.
@Bullweather – Very nice of you to say- and thank you for checking back.
Not putting much weight on resumes like you do, I would go:
1. Liv Ullman
2. Katharine Hepburn
3. Jeanne Moreau
4. Ingrid Bergman
5. Monica Vitti
6. Bette Davis
7. Anna Magnani
8. Setsuko Hara
9. Hanna Schygulla
10. Emily Watson
But this list is 100% one of the best things on this website so far
@Nikola- Thank you for sharing this
Btw have you guys seen the tspdt update? It’s not final but I’m really impressed with it. I was afraid this s&s thing will ruin it but it’s honestly the best yearly update I can remember. Any significant change I see I find myself agreeing with it for the most part. Kubrick’s unbearable worship is starting to slow down. Spielberg is in free fall finally after being insanely overrated throughout the years. Tarkovsky, Bergman, Bunuel, Kieslowski, Antonioni, Pasolini are climbing as they should. It’s insane how in general I agree with majority of changes I see for any individual film. Almost everything that should go up is going up and vice versa..The only thing I’m not sure about is why all the films past year 2000 dropped significantly. Mullholland Dr, Tropical Malady, In the Mood for Love are some of the biggest drops on the list. There is some kind of adjustment there obviously..
@Nikola- I did see that it had updated, but since the big update is pending I have not really combed over it.
Drake, have you watched Mikio Naruse’s films? His muse is Hideko Takamine.
@Chee Wai Lee- Yes, in December 2022 and January 2023 I was able to catch 15 Naruse films including a few with Hideko Takamine.
where would you rank Takamine versus Setsuko(34), Tanaka(40) and Yamada (50+?)?
@Chee Wai Lee- Takamine would be a ways off the list
Great work and Great website Drake, soo many great actresses on this list. One observation that I find fascinating is the lack of black actresses, not that there should be just because of their race. But it does raise a question do directors find it hard to create roles for actors/actresses from a different race or perspective ?
@Emab- Thank you for visiting the site and the comment. I’m hopeful this will change over time now that so many of the more talented auteurs in the past few years (led by Steve McQueen but he is not alone surely) are black. But your question is legit.
That generous of you to say there is a lack of black actresses. There isn’t a single one included. Quite shocking
Who would you remove and add? Just curious
I haven’t watched many female-centric films. So I can’t say really.
thank you so much for your beautiful work. I enjoy reading it, although i didn’t comment until now.
Do you plan to expand your top 250 greatest directors list?
@2 H.B.- Thank you for the kind words and for visiting the site. I do plan to expand the 250 directors list. There are a few other things I want to update first- but I’m hoping to start later this year on the directors’ updates
Great! I’m also very excited to see all your other projects.
Thank you for your work!
Crazy to me that janet leigh isn’t on this
Neither Marilyn Monroe
So according to this list the best actresses to never be nominated for an Oscar:
1. Jeanne Moreau(French)
2. Anna Karina(Danish-French)
3. Giulietta Masina(Italian)
4. Monica Vitti(Italian)
5. Mia Farrow(American)
6. Ingrid Thulin(Swedish)
7. Maggie Cheung(Hong Kong)
8. Maria Falconetti(French)
9. Gong Li(Chinese)
10. Setsuko Hara(Japanese)
11. Kinuyo Tanaka(Japanese)
12. Alida Valli(Italian)
13. Hanna Schygulla(German)
14. Julie Delpy(French-American)
15. Isuzu Yamada(Japanese)
16. Bibi Andersson(Swedish)
17. Claudia Cardinale(Tunisian-Italian)
18. Zhang Ziyi(Chinese)
19. Irene Jacob(French-Swiss)
20. Harriet Andersson(Swedish)
21. Maureen O’Hara(Irish-American)
22. Tatyana Samoylova(Russian)
23. Audrey Tautou(French)
24. Anne Dorval(Canadian)
25. Kim Novak(American)
Given many of these are foreign actresses the best foreign language actresses to be nominated for Oscars:
1. Ingrid Bergman(Swedish)-7 Nominations, 3 Wins
2. Liv Ullmann(Norwegian)-2 Noms
3. Juliette Binoche(French)-2 Noms, 1 Win
4. Catherine Deneuve(French)-1 Nom
5. Marlene Dietrich(German-American)-1 Nom
6. Anna Magnani(Italian)-2 Noms, 1 Win
7.Charlize Theron(South African-American)-3 Noms, 1 Win
8.Isabelle Huppert(French)-1 Nom
9.Marion Cotillard(French)-2 Noms, 1 Win
10.Simone Signoret(French)-2 Noms, 1 Win
11.Isabelle Adjani(French)-2 Noms
12.Penelope Cruz(Spanish)-4 Noms, 1 Win
CONGRATULATIONS on the updated list Drake! It’s really great. I do stand for a lot of the changes you got around to making here. Even though I’ve been commenting a lot more scarcely in the past year, I still regularly check your blog. It’s been consistently one of the best out there and a very valuable source both of information and of inspiration for me. Yes, this is an appreciation post. Keep it up.
@Geore- Always a pleasure to hear from you George. Thank you!
I’ve been lurking on this website since 2017, and this is my first comment. I want to say thank you as your website has helped me understand film immensely better than before.
I’ve enjoyed following the top 100 female actors and look forward to the 100 male actors list. I’m particularly interested in where Brad Pitt lands after being #23 on the previous list. I was going over his filmography this morning, and it’s unbelievable. He’s added three MS or higher films (I have Babylon as an MS/MP after one viewing) since the previous list.
@Ian- Lurking- haha. Love it. Well thank you for visiting the site all this time, your kind words, and the comment here. I’m interested to see the same thing about Pitt.
Such a magnificent list! Swinton and Blanchett seem to be fiercely battling it out for being the actress with most films in the archives- although the average quality of Swinton’s movies is better imo, which might give her the upper hand.
@FilmFan- Thanks for the comment and visiting the site