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

The 24th Best Actress of All-Time: Julie Christie

  best film:   Technically, it is Nashville but that is not just a small part- it is literally a cameo as she plays herself- Julie Christie. She says hi basically and that is it (though Altman’s use of cameos are a bit more fun than others) so Nashville does not count.  With Altman’s masterpiece out of the running, the question of Julie Christie’s best film is left to three potential films: Doctor Zhivago, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and Don’t Look Now. These are three superior films with distinct voices from their auteurs (David Lean, Robert Altman, and Nicolas Roeg).

The 24th Best Actress of All-Time: Julie Christie2022-09-03T17:02:21+00:00

The 23rd Best Actress of All-Time: Maggie Cheung

  best film:   In the Mood for Love is a massive achievement for Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung and of course, WKW. The two leads are utterly brilliant, and this is the clearly crowning achievement in their illustrious careers. Their characters are dense- they love each other, and it is an earned love, but they are also hurting from their failing marriages. The film’s form is as good or better than any film in cinema history—it may be my go-to example now when discussing film form—along with Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc, Ozu and Tokyo Story, and the combined

The 23rd Best Actress of All-Time: Maggie Cheung2022-09-06T17:10:24+00:00

The 22nd Best Actress of All-Time: Ingrid Thulin

  best film:   Cries & Whispers. Ingird Thulin is in five Ingmar Bergman films from 1957 to 1972 (Bergman was at the height of his powers, in particular, during this stretch) so she is loaded with options here in this category. Wild Strawberries, Winter Light and The Silence all warrant consideration. Even Visconti’s The Damned (also during that era- from 1969) would give a cinephile reason to pause on this category. But, ultimately it is Bergman’s 1972 crimson-soaked masterpiece (his fourth film in color- and this one won the Oscar for cinematography for Sven Nykvist) that wins out.  Bergman

The 22nd Best Actress of All-Time: Ingrid Thulin2022-09-06T17:11:16+00:00

The 21st Best Actress of All-Time: Mia Farrow

  best film:   Rosemary’s Baby edges out Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors. Polanski’s masterpiece is one of the milestones of the horror genre. This is a genre filled with awe-inspiring female lead performances- and none more so than Mia Farrow (at the young age of twenty-three).   1968 with only a few credits under her belt, hot young director Roman Polanski cast Mia Farrow in the all-important lead performance in Rosemary's Baby     best performance:   Rosemary’s Baby. It is one of the all-time most underrated performances coming from perhaps the all-time

The 21st Best Actress of All-Time: Mia Farrow2022-09-06T17:11:43+00:00

The 20th Best Actress of All-Time: Judy Garland

best film:   The Wizard of Oz is a masterpiece and one of the all-time greats for both fantasy films and musicals. The story and performances (nobody in the rest of the strong supporting cast is anywhere near Garland in terms of her achievement here) are key to the film’s success. It is a wonderful film to get lost in. Meet Me in St. Louis and A Star is Born are second and third in this category- but this is clearly her best.   In Hollywood's Golden Year of 1939, seventeen (17) year-old Judy Garland became a star in The

The 20th Best Actress of All-Time: Judy Garland2022-09-06T17:12:08+00:00
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