The 91st Best Actress of All-Time: Tatyana Samoylova

  best film:  There are two possibilities to the question of Tatyana Samoylova’s best film. The Cranes Are Flying trumps Letter Never Sent but that is a phenomenal pair at the top. Both films were made at the hands of director Mikhail Kalatozov and renowned photographer Sergey Urusevskiy. Sadly, Samoylova was not a part of 1964’s I Am Cuba to collaborate for a third time with Kalatozov and Urusevskiy.   Tatyana Samoylova at just the age of twenty-three (23) here in The Cranes Are Flying     best performance:   Samoylova plays Veronika in The Cranes are Flying

The 91st Best Actress of All-Time: Tatyana Samoylova2023-02-14T20:23:12+00:00

The 90th Best Actress of All-Time: Gwyneth Paltrow

  best film:  This is a fairly crowded category for Gwyneth Paltrow. The Royal Tenenbaums from Wes Anderson in 2001 takes the crown but David Fincher’s big breakthrough (Paltrow's too actually) film Se7en deserves serious consideration and respect – and Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr. Ripley is not that far back behind the top two. For Tenenbaums, this is Wes Anderson’s first real attempt at a diorama with the New York City apartment. His future endeavors would trade the apartment setting for a boat (Life Aquatic) train (Darjeeling), and hotel (The Grand Budapest). The results in 2001 are a

The 90th Best Actress of All-Time: Gwyneth Paltrow2023-02-20T15:39:19+00:00

The 89th Best Actress of All-Time: Judi Dench

  best film:  Judi Dench has been extremely prolific (she was in nearly twenty films between the age of 70 and 80) and has compiled a fine collection of archiveable films, but landing a role a role in a masterpiece has eluded her all these years. Still, Joe Wright’s woefully underrated Pride & Prejudice is just a step below that masterpiece level (Dench plays Lady Catherine de Bourg). Not far behind the 2005 Jane Austen adaptation is A Room with a View (1985), Skyfall (2012) and Belfast (2021). Indeed, it is quite telling of Dench’s longevity that her best

The 89th Best Actress of All-Time: Judi Dench2023-02-11T13:27:36+00:00

The 88th Best Actress of All-Time: Teresa Wright

  best film:  Teresa Wright is in three unassailable films that are at, or near, the masterpiece level. William Wyler’s deep focus spectacle The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) stands atop the list – but Alfred Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943) and the vastly underseen and underrated Track of the Cat (1954) by William Wellman are not far behind.     Teresa Wright in 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives. The best of her three remarkable collaborations with William Wyler     best performance:   There are but two options here. With all due respect

The 88th Best Actress of All-Time: Teresa Wright2023-02-16T12:44:21+00:00

The 87th Best Actress of All-Time: Maureen O’Hara

  best film: Maureen O’Hara is most often remembered around Christmas with Miracle on 34th Street or around St. Patrick’s Day with The Quiet Man, but her best single film is John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley (1941).  Ford was a great director for decades, but the greatest single stretch during that long, distinguished career was from 1939-1941 with Stagecoach, The Grapes of Wrath and How Green Was My Valley. John Ford did not open up often to talk about his work but on occasion he would call this his favorite of his own films. How Green Was My Valley won five

The 87th Best Actress of All-Time: Maureen O’Hara2023-02-14T12:26:25+00:00

The 86th Best Actress of All-Time: Saoirse Ronan

  best film:   Saoirse Ronan has seven (7) films in the archives and four (4) of them are right at or near the best of their respective year of release. That is an extraordinary ratio and four (4) films of this caliber makes this category a strength for Ronan. Atonement comes first chronologically in 2007.  This is Joe Wright’s (a vastly underrated technical master) finest hour – and Ronan plays Briony – a vital character.  But it is Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest (2014) that ultimately triumphs here in this category. Ronan plays Agatha – a small, but significant

The 86th Best Actress of All-Time: Saoirse Ronan2023-02-12T13:45:48+00:00

The 85th Best Actress of All-Time: Harriet Andersson

  best film:  Harriet Andersson was clearly Ingmar Bergman’s go-to female lead or protagonist in the early 1950s, but his best work would not come until later, so her two best films are actually Cries & Whispers and Fanny and Alexander. These are two films where Harriet’s contribution is more modest.  She is much more predominant in Summer with Monika, Sawdust and Tinsel and Through a Glass Darkly – which are all a tier or two below Bergman’s 1972 and 1982 among-the-best-of-their-respective-decade masterpieces.   Harriet as the sickly Agnes in the towering 1972 masterpiece Cries & Whispers

The 85th Best Actress of All-Time: Harriet Andersson2023-02-10T12:15:51+00:00

The 84th Best Actress of All-Time: Liza Minnelli

  best film:  Liza Minnelli’s best two films are both musicals and Bob Fosse’s 1972 effort Cabaret bests 1977’s Martin Scorsese's New York, New York. Fosse’s film took far more Oscars (8) than The Godfather (3) in 1972, including one for Liza and one for Fosse himself.     Liza at twenty-six (26) in Cabaret - her vibrant personality leaps off the screen.     best performance:   It is Cabaret one and New York, New York two again in this category for Liza. In Cabaret, Liza plays Sally Bowles – an absolute livewire. Liza’s obvious talent are

The 84th Best Actress of All-Time: Liza Minnelli2023-02-08T15:44:16+00:00

The 83rd Best Actress of All-Time: Patricia Arquette

  best film:  Patricia Arquette’s two best films could not be more different. Lost Highway (1997) is trip through the twisted mind of David Lynch – and Boyhood (2014) is maybe the coming-of-age film to end all coming-of-age films – a rewarding, elaborate project from Richard Linklater.   before Naomi Watts did it in Mullholland Drive in 2001 - Patricia Arquette gets the David Lynch doppelgänger treatment in 1997's Lost Highway   best performance:   Patricia Arquette is a fearless actor – and that muscle is on display in both of her best performances.  The two selections here

The 83rd Best Actress of All-Time: Patricia Arquette2023-02-06T12:29:53+00:00

The 82nd Best Actress of All-Time: Irène Jacob

  best film:  Irène Jacob has not one, but two masterpieces where she is front and center (as far as lead actors go) to choose from for this category. Forced to pick, Three Colours: Red may win out – but The Double Life of Véronique is essentially tied for that top position. In Three Colours: Red, Irene Jacob plays Valentine (yep, the color red again, and Krzysztof Kieślowski is not shy about it) - a genuinely good person (shown by Kieślowski as the only three in the trilogy to help the woman with the glass in the recycling). Valentine

The 82nd Best Actress of All-Time: Irène Jacob2023-02-07T11:52:39+00:00

Groundhog Day – 1993 Ramis

Groundhog Day is narrative bliss - one of the truly superior screenplays of the entire 1990s. Harold Ramis is no visual master behind the camera but his and Danny Rubin’s screenplay combined with Bill Murray’s work makes for transcendent cinematic art. It is rewatchable for the famous repetition (from Sunny and Cher on) and variation- the formal skeleton narrative splintering. I am not the first person to mention this but it’s part of the cultural language now- Groundhog Day translates to déjà vu. Ambivalent about the big broad “Weather Man” song opening performed by Delbert McClinton. The entire original

Groundhog Day – 1993 Ramis2023-01-25T20:30:30+00:00

The 81st Best Actress of All-Time: Ruth Gordon

  best film:  Rosemary’s Baby is superior to Harold and Maude, but they are both masterpieces. Roman Polanski’s momentous 1968 horror film will forever sit at, or near the top, when discussing the best films in the genre’s history. Harold and Maude has always been considered a cult classic and sort of anthem for the counterculture – and it is a comedy - but the filmmaking from Hal Ashby is Wes Anderson-level. Obviously this is decades before Wes – so one should probably say that Wes Anderson is Hal Ashby-like in his ambitious filmmaking in the comedy genre.  

The 81st Best Actress of All-Time: Ruth Gordon2023-02-01T13:42:18+00:00
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