I’d like to thank D. Beth for inspiring this very post with her own illustrious list. It sure was a challenge, but I think I have narrowed down ten of my all time favorite actresses. If you would’ve asked my favorite actors, I can name those off without even thinking about it. I really had to sit and think about leading ladies though.
You see there are actresses that I love, but it may be the characters they played that I love even more. For example: Sarah Michelle Geller (Buffy), Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), Mariska Hargitay (Olivia Benson), and Gillian Anderson (Scully). There are a few up and coming actresses that I am really excited about. Eva Green was the only redeeming part of DARK SHADOWS. She was unbelievable in THE DREAMERS and I really look forward to her role in SIN CITY 2. I’ve been raving about Juno Temple for a while too. She blew me away in KABOOM and I don’t even need to get into her role as Dottie in KILLER JOE (best film of 2012). She will also have a role in SIN CITY 2 and the highly anticipated (by me) HORNS. These girls have long successful careers ahead for themselves. Then there are the classic leading ladies we have all come to love. Sisssy Spacek, Diane Keaton, and Isabella Rossellini are women who exist on a whole other level. They are timeless talent that just seems to get better with age. These ladies just barely missed the list.
Now on to my personal favorites:
10. Ellen Burstyn
Burstyn has been making films pretty much since the dawn of time. She was wonderful in THE LAST PICTURE SHOW. People really didn’t notice her great talent until she starred in the greatest horror film of all time, THE EXORCIST. Her role as Chris McNeil still gives me chills to this day. I’m a big Scorsese fan so I loved her in ALICE DOESN’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, a role she picked up an Oscar for. However, Burstyn really struck a chord with her tragic and disturbing role in REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. She really took her character, Sara Goldfarb, to the edge. Not a lot of women can do that.
9. Tilda Swinton
Nothing about Swinton is conventional which I think makes her incredibly appealing. She is a total enigma that fascinates and astounds me. I loved her in BROKEN FLOWERS and THE LIMITS OF CONTROL (two great Jarmusch films). She can do comedy very well, as seem in BURN AFTER READING. My favorite film of hers is WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, a film she was robbed of an Oscar for. She’s played a wide range of roles and I look forward to many more.
8. Toni Collette
Toni Collette is the kind of woman I want to be friends with. She’s smart, funny, talented, and beautiful. She does not fit the stereotypical Hollywood actress role, but she can sure as hell hold her own. I read somewhere that she was on a long list of actresses for the role of faux David Bowie’s wife in VELVET GOLDMINE. The producers wanted a bigger name with more sex appeal. Director, Todd Haynes said Collette faxed him a note in big bold letters that simply said, “I AM MANDY SLADE!” After that, the part was hers.
7. Jennifer Connelly
If Toni Collette is the kind of woman I want to be friends with, then Jennifer Connelly is the kind of woman I want to be. Technically a child star, she was only fifteen years old when she stared in a Dario Argento film. A pretty impressive start if you ask me. And what little girl didn’t want to be her in LABRYNTH dancing around with David Bowie? She really stood out in DARK CITY and held her own in REQUIEM alongside number ten. We won’t talk about the HULK because there are plenty more good films Jennifer Connelly has been in. There's plenty more to come I am sure.
6. Monica Bellucci
I’m pretty sure Monica Bellucci is the most gorgeous woman on the planet. She has played a variety of roles from Mary Magdalen to Dracula’s Bride. She may be most known for her chilling and brave role in one of the most infamous films of our time, IRREVERSIBLE. Any woman who can tackle a film like that and come out of it with little psychological damage is stronger than I am. Besides her beauty, Bellucci is a fantastic actress who is not afraid to lose herself in a character.
5. Uma Thurman
I simply have to include the muse of my favorite director. It’s hard to think about Uma before QT. She has done other forgettable romantic comedies, but nothing nearly as spectacular as Beatrix Kiddo or Mia Wallace. I will admit that as awful as BATMAN & ROBIN is, Uma may be the only saving grace as Poison Ivy. I really look forward to her in Lars Von Trier’s upcoming NYMPHOMANIAC. She was also married to Gary Oldman for two years which makes her ten times cooler.
4. Frances McDormand
Uma is to QT as Frances is to The Coens. Frances McDormand can do anything including marry a Coen. It seems like every movie I enjoy, there’s always an appearance by Frances McDormand. I loved her in ALMOST FAMOUS and MOONRISE KINGDOM. She excels at comedy like few other women I have seen. Her humor is much more sophisticated than other comediennes around now. She’s not snarky or self deprecating, she’s just funny. Even her dramatic roles are incredible. McDormand is a great and consistent actress.
3. Winona Ryder
Winona is my Goth sister from another mister. From the moment I met Lydia Deetz, I wanted nothing more than to be her. She perfected the troubled angst ridden teen role which I was playing out in real life as well. Johnny Depp got a “Winona Forever” tattoo; I mean how much cooler can you get? Did you know that the school in HEATHERS is called Westerberg High because of Paul Westerberg who was the singer of Winona’s favorite band, The Replacements (also my favorite band). Sure she’s done some crappy films like AUTUMN IN NEW YORK. But she also did REALITY BITES, DRACULA, BLACK SWAN, THE TEN, MERMAIDS, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, and pretty much every Tim Burton film. I will forever admire and envy Winona.
2. Sherilyn Fenn
Another of my favorite actresses is also an ex-girlfriend of Johnny Depp. I’ve had a girl crush on Fenn since her days on Twin Peaks. The character of Audrey Horn particularly stood out for me more than any other. While Donna and Laura were evolving from good girls to bad girls, Audrey was the bad girl gone good. She starred in one of the greatest 80s flicks of all time, THRASHIN’. Blohan should have taken notes from her before she too tried her hand at portraying Liz Taylor. I really loved Fenn’s 90s Showtime sitcom, Rude Awakening. I just think Sherilyn Fenn is such a refreshing charismatic actress. She’s had a long career in film & television that will continue to grow.
1. Parker Posey
What can I possibly say about Parker Posey that has not already been said? Parker Posey is an unbelievable actress who has regularly chooses smart and exciting roles. She is the queen of independent film (sorry Chloe Sevigny). She’s never been to rehab or jail, has never done nudity, and hasn’t had cosmetic surgery. Parker doesn’t make tabloid headlines, but her acting skills speak volumes. I love everything she’s been in from WAITING FOR GUFFMAN to HOUSE OF YES. She continues to impress and delight me.
And there you have it, my favorite leading ladies in film & television.
Air raid bitches!