10 Actresses I would watch in just about anything

Top10ActressesBnr

As part of a continuation to the Top 10 Actors I’d See in Anything post, I figure I’d do the same list for the fairer sex. If anything, my love for actresses seem to be more constant than for actors, not sure why but aside from some new discoveries, I’ve been a fan of most of these actresses for a decade or longer. Again this idea originated with Abbi at Where the Wild Things Are Blog. The same as the actors, it’s not that I’d watch them in literally anything because there are some movies with them in it I haven’t seen and probably never will. But having their name in a certain film would certainly make me more inclined in watching them.

Here they are ranked from bottom to top so #1 is my MOST favorite:

10. Kristin Scott-Thomas

Top10Actresses_KST

Ever since I saw her as Fiona in Four Weddings & A Funeral years ago, I’ve always been fond of the English actress. There is an air of mystery about her, as well as a certain sadness, which made her perfect for her Oscar-nominated role in The English Patient. She’s always wonderful to watch in anything, even in bit parts in lesser-known films like The Heir Apparent, Mission: Impossible, Easy Virtue, Nowhere Boy, etc. Her dramatic talent is irrefutable, but I think she’s got comedic chops too, as she displayed in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. I’d love to see this lighter side of her in other movies. Wish she’d gotten more leading roles, instead of being cast in awful movies like Bel Ami against sub-par leading man Robert Pattinson.

Favorite Role: Fiona in Four Weddings and A Funeral
Least Favorite Role: Virginie in Bel Ami

9. Carey Mulligan

Top10Actresses_Carey

The first thing I noticed about miss Mulligan is her soothing speaking voice in Never Let Me Go. I already liked her even before she showed up on screen. There is a pleasant countenance about her that I like, as well as a certain childlike innocence that she displayed in An Education. Even when she plays unsympathetic characters like Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby and the acidic-tongued Jean in Inside Llewyn Davis, you can’t totally despise her. When I saw her in Never Let Me Go, I somehow didn’t realize she was Kitty Bennet in Pride & Prejudice! She’s quite a chameleon. Can’t wait to see her in Far from the Madding Crowd next year.

Favorite Role: Kathy in Never Let Me Go
Least Favorite Role: Jean in Inside Llewyn Davis

8. Jessica Chastain

Top10Actresses_Jessica

I mentioned in this post a couple of years ago that miss Chastain sort of came into my cinematic view pretty suddenly. I hadn’t heard of her even six months prior to that, and seems that in an instant she churned out four very distinct performance within the span of a couple of years: The Debt, Tree of Life, Coriolanus and The Help. Then she impressed me once again in Zero Dark Thirty, displaying strong dramatic chops that’s entirely different from the other roles I’ve seen previously. Seeing her in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby sealed it for me that she has to be on this list. I think she’s absolutely beautiful, but in an unconventional way. She’s the kind of actress who I think gets even more interesting the longer you look at her. Can’t wait to see her in crime drama A Most Violent Year opposite Oscar Isaac!

Favorite Role: Eleanor Rigby in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
Least Favorite Role: N/A

7. Marion Cotillard

Top10Actresses_Marion

What is it with French women that made them so beguiling? Miss Cotillard certainly has screen charisma that appeals to both sexes, and though she’s impossibly beautiful she’s not Bimbo-like at all. Like Kristin Scott Thomas, I also find her a bit mysterious which adds to her appeal. I guess I find people with *sad* eyes more intriguing, perhaps it’s that tortured-soul quality I find very appealing in men as well. She gave such a heartfelt performance in Inception, and she’s my favorite performer even in the all-star cast musical NINE. In fact, her two musical renditions are superb as she shows not only her dramatic prowess, but also her amazing vocals & dancing ability.

Favorite Role: Adriana in Midnight in Paris/Luisa in NINE
Least Favorite Role: Miranda in The Dark Knight Rises

6. Sandra Bullock

Top10Actresses_Sandra

Like a lot of people, I first noticed Sandra in Speed and I’m instantly a fan. Whether it’s action stuff like The Net, Demolition Man, or rom-coms like While You Were Sleeping, Forces of Nature, Two Weeks Notice, The Proposal, etc. Sandra is so watchable. Though she also excels in serious dramas like The Blind Side and Gravity, I think I like Sandra most in comedies as she’s just so darn lovable in them. I don’t think Miss Congeniality would’ve been as watchable without her in the lead. She’s also hugely entertaining in interviews and her fun, down-to-earth personality absolutely shines in candid conversations. She’s one of those rare movie stars who seem so approachable that you could imagine her as your best friend!

Favorite Role: Annie in Speed/ Lucy in While You Were Sleeping
Least Favorite Role: Kate in The Lake House

5. Emma Thompson

Top10Actresses_Emma

I think I’ll always be a fan of Emma given my undying love for 1995’s Sense & Sensibility. I’ll always be grateful for her amazing screenplay and her lovely performance as Elinor Dashwood. Before that, I’ve already liked her in Much Ado About Nothing and The Remains of the Day. Her segment in Love, Actually with Alan Rickman is my fave of the entire film, and she’s wonderful in Stranger than Fiction and in the romantic drama Last Chance Harvey. Her comic-relief performance in Harry Potter is a lot of fun to watch, too. Her latest role in Saving Mr Banks shows she definitely should’ve gotten more leading roles. Playing someone so uptight and controlling seems so far away from her laid-back and goofy, but then again, Emma has a knack for playing eccentric characters.

Favorite Roles: Elinor in Sense & Sensibility
Least Favorite Role: Sarafine in Beautiful Creatures

4. Dame Helen Mirren

Top10Actresses_Helen

Though I had seen Dame Mirren in Gosford Park, it’s not until The Queen that she REALLY came to my attention. She truly won me over with that performance and so every time I saw her name attached in something, I’d want to check it out. Since then she’s impressed me in State of Play, The Debt, The Last Station, and even the goofy action comedy RED & RED 2 where she displayed her bad-assery as a femme fatale. She’s the best thing about the Hitchcock film adaptation as Alma Reville, even her animated character Dean Hardscrabble in Monsters University is fun to watch! Can’t wait to see her in a thriller opposite one of my fave British thespians Alan Rickman in Eye in the Sky!

Favorite Roles: Queen Elizabeth in The Queen
Least Favorite Role: N/A

3. Dame Judi Dench

Top10Actresses_Judi

Like Helen Mirren, I became familiar with Dame Judi in her latter works. In fact, it’s her most mainstream role as M in Goldeneye that got my attention. She outshone practically every male actor in that role previously, and she delivered such a scene-stealing performance she upstaged even Mr Bond himself! I have to say part of me wish she had been M in earlier Bond films as I’d love to see him going toe to toe with another theater thespian Timothy Dalton as 007!

Since then, I’ve seen Dame Judi in a variety of roles: biopics like Mrs. Brown, My Week with Marilyn and Philomena; and a fair share of literary adaptations like Hamlet, Pride & Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and her 8-minute Oscar-winning performance in Shakespeare in Love. I LOVE her in the lovely drama Chocolat, as well as in the ensemble comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Recently I saw her in Ladies in Lavender, teaming up again with her real-life BFFs Maggie Smith after nearly 20 years (in A Room with a View). I always enjoyed seeing them together, so I can’t wait to see the ‘Marigold hotel’ sequel!

Favorite Roles: Queen Victoria in Mrs Brown, M in Bond movies
Least Favorite Role: N/A

2. Emily Blunt

Top10Actresses_Emily

 

Though she didn’t get the lead role, it’s safe to say that miss Blunt was the breakout star of The Devil Wears Prada. She’s so deliciously devious in her comic turn that was so fun to watch. But I think it’s her performance in the lesser-known Jane Austen Book Club as a French teacher that made me a fan. She’s my favorite character in the film and I really sympathize with her despite her flaws.

Finally I saw her in a leading role in The Young Victoria and once again I absolutely adore her. Interesting that she plays the same character that Judi Dench played in her later years in Mrs. Brown, which is also my fave role she’s done. Emily stuns even in bit parts, i.e. playing Tom Hanks’ young lover in Charlie Wilson’s War. Since then I’ve seen Emily in a variety of roles: The Adjustment Bureau, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Looper, and most recently Edge of Tomorrow. She had a more action-packed roles in the last two films, perhaps in an attempt to shed her English-rose image. I think she fits well in drama, comedy or action, which shows her versatility and on-screen appeal.

Favorite Roles: Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria
Least Favorite Role: N/A

1. Cate Blanchett

Top10Actresses_Cate

Ahhhh… the Great Cate. I absolutely love this woman. Similar my first intro to Carey Mulligan, I too fell for Cate’s soothing narration in The Lord of The Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. I LOVE her as Galadriel, perhaps one of the most famous characters she plays in her illustrious career.

What I LOVE about the Melbourne-born thespian is her chameleon ability to play virtually ANY role from all walks of life. Whether it’s a fearless Irish journalist (Veronica Guerin), working class ex-heroin addict (Little Fish), troubled NY socialite (Blue Jasmine), a wounded wife shot on an overseas trip (Babel), an English monarch (Elizabeth) or Hollywood royalty (as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator), there’s NOT a role Cate couldn’t pull off. She can do any accent flawlessly, and her voice is just so pleasant to listen to. Ok so I still haven’t seen her in her Oscar-nominated role as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There, but no doubt she’s also convincing in portraying the opposite sex.

Borrowing from my Birthday Tribute post, Cate is one of those rare artist who’s got the perfect combination of beauty and brains… she is luminous and stylish on the red carpet, but yet she’s not afraid to look plain or even ugly on screen, unlike many other vain what-so-called ‘actors’ who won’t take on a less-than-glamorous role for fear of ruining their image. No matter what she looks like in a given movie, one can expect an amazing depth and intelligent charisma she consistently projects on screen. There is also this chameleon-like quality that makes her perfectly suitable of any genre, from quintessential costume drama to contemporary thriller. Combine that with her knack for accents, Cate is without a doubt one of the most versatile talents working in Hollywood today.

Can’t wait to see her in Kenneth Branagh’s life-action adaptation of Cinderella’s wicked stepmother next year!

Favorite Roles: Galadriel in LOTR, Veronica Guerin
Least Favorite Role: Irina Spalko in Indiana Jones & The Crystal Skulls

 …

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Ok I’m not ranking these, this list is in alphabetical order as it was tough enough ranking my top 10! I’ve been a fan of most of these for a while, but there are some newbies added based on their performances this past year (Mbatha Raw & Pike). A lot of the actresses here hugely underrated, but just like a lot of my male crushes, I guess I have a penchant for the under-used and under-appreciated ones. Anyway, here they are in my fave role each of them has done so far:

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  1. Helena Bonham Carter
  2. Angela Bassett
  3. Eva Green
  4. Rebecca Hall
  5. Gugu Mbatha-Raw
  6. Julia Ormond
  7. Rosamund Pike
  8. Saoirse Ronan
  9. Maggie Smith
  10. Kate Winslet

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So that’s my list folks! Feel free to name your own picks of actresses you’d watch in practically anything 🙂

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56 thoughts on “10 Actresses I would watch in just about anything

  1. That is a great list… for me… let’s see…

    Jena Malone (of course)
    Scarlett Johansson (unless it’s w/ some hack director like Michael Bay which she won’t ever work again)
    Marion Cotillard
    Carey Mulligan
    Jessica Chastain
    Kate Winslet
    Anne Hathaway (unless it’s some lame rom-com)

    That is all so far…

    1. Ha..ha.. I knew you’d have Jena at the top 😉 I was gonna put Scarlett on my Honorable Mentions, which is quite something considering I wasn’t fond of her even a year or so ago. I’m not a huge fan of Hathaway, though she’s good in some roles.

  2. Wow, I had so much fun reading this post, Ruth! What a great list of ladies you have here. Cate Blanchett as your number one; I didn’t even realize she was in so much! I would agree that I was introduced to her from LOTR, and she’s brilliant in it. I also love Emily Blunt, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson . . . oh whatever, I think I like everyone on your list! And I would agree that certain movies, like Miss Congeniality, wouldn’t have been as good, much less worked as well, had it not been for Sandra Bullock. I prefer her comedy to drama, even though she’s good in both. But she’s comes across as so sincere, so hilarious, and so down-to-earth, it’s difficult not to like her. Even in a movie like The Proposal, that has such a throw-away plot and is downright ridiculous, is seemingly entertaining with her in the lead. Great post, Ruth!

    1. Hi Kris! I’ve always been a longtime fan of miss Blanchett. She’s just so classy and so talented. She’s just brilliant in everything, even in her lesser-known stuff she’s always brilliant. Bullock is a class act all the way and she’s just so fun to watch! Her joy is infectious and it shows in her films. Yep, I only watched The Proposal because of her, and I agree the plot is just silly but because of her it’s still watchable.

  3. You have a sophisticated list and I couldn’t agree more. The only one I wouldn’t make my top 10 is Cary. I’d easily rather watch Natalie Portman or Kate Winslet or Viola Davis. 🙂

  4. Ted S.

    I like all of the actresses on your list there, especially Bullock since she used to be my favorite actress. I remember I’d watch her movies all the time but after she appeared in some bad movies, Crash being a prime example, I haven’t paid attention to her work much. In fact Gravity was the first movie of hers that I’ve seen in a long time.

    Personally I don’t pay attention to actors or actresses anymore, if a movie’s story line interests me then I’d see it. I think the actresses I’ve seen most from their work are Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Kathy Bates and Michelle Pfeiffer, had a big crush on her after I saw Batman Returns, lol.

    1. Hi Ted! Glad we’re both fans of Bullock. I haven’t seen her in anything for a while before Gravity either. But even in so-so movies she’s always watchable.

      I wish I could be more neutral about actors, but I always have my faves (esp the Brits) but my admiration for actresses are generally pretty consistent.

  5. LOVE this list! Yes to all (almost). Cotillard is my #1, easily. I’ll watch her in anything. Winslet used to be my #1, but she has made some awful choices in recent years. Still, her name does get my attention. Blanchett, Morton, Fanning (Elle), Mulligan, Washington, Johansson, Scott-Thomas, Williams, Binoche, Hathaway…UGH, so many to love and watch over and over!

    1. I feel the same about Winslet but she still warrants being on my Honorable Mentions. I like Scarlett more and more, she might make my top 25 😉

  6. Real solid choices all around here, Ruth. I personally especially like Carey Mulligan, been kinda following her career a bit lately, or at least noticing her in a lot more roles ever since I discovered her in Drive. 😛

  7. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    You’ve pretty much gone down the roster of notable talent.

    Some are nice to watch. Others have presence and depth.

    Never understood the attraction of Marion Cottilard. Nice to look at. About half an inch deep compared to Emma Thompson, Judi Densch and Dame Helen.

    Emily Blunt and Ms. Chastain have the wherewithal and chops for illustrious futures. There’s a young woman from Essex, Tamzin Outhwaite. Who caught my eye years back with imports, ‘Red Cap’, ‘Hotel Babylon’ and recently, ‘New Tricks’. Also, Aussie Anna Torv from FOX’s ‘Fringe’ and HBO’s ‘The Pacific’.

    Still waiting for a breakout role for Ellen Page.

    1. Hello Kevin! Not a fan of Cotillard eh? I think she’s lovely but hey, to each their own. Glad you’re a fan of most of the Brits I listen here. Oh I think I saw Torv in one episode of Fringe. Agreed she’s quite a talented actress. Wow I didn’t know she’s Australian but those folks tend to be a master of doing accents.

  8. Stu

    Great picks Ruth. A lot of quality there and nice to see so many Brits and other Europeans. I would definitely pick Blanchett, Cotillard, Mulligan and Winslet. Um…off the top of my head…Meryl Streep (still!), Amy Adams, Samantha Morton, Charlotte Gainsbourg. Used to really like Naomi Watts too but not sure I’d watch her in absolutely anything. I’m thinking of Diana primarily!

    1. Hi Stu! I like Streep in most things I see her in, but for some reason she’s not the kind of actress that would get my butt on the seat just on her name alone. Oooh I like Samantha Morton, I do think she’s so underrated. I almost put Naomi Watts on my Honorable Mentions but lately I haven’t been interested in any of her films, including Diana.

  9. Totally agree on so many of these – Dench, Mulligan, Chastain, Blunt.

    My faves:
    Catherine Keener
    Eva Green
    Jennifer Lawrence
    Renee Zellweger
    Amy Adams
    Drew Barrymore
    Whoopi Goldberg
    Sigourney Weaver
    Meryl Streep
    Kathy Bates
    Samantha Morton
    Jennifer Garner
    Jennifer Connolly
    Emma Stone

    1. Hello Dan! Wow, no shortage of faves eh? Which ones of these would make your top 10? Oh I like Keener, Weaver, Adams, Morton and Connolly, those would make my top 25 I think 🙂

    1. Hi Abbi! Thanks for such a great idea for a blogathon. LOVE Sandy, always have. Btw, I might participate in your other blogathon about movies everyone loves but you 🙂

    1. Hey there Alex! Glad to hear we share some faves here. It’s rare to see that sense of mystery that KST posses, plus she’s just one amazing actress!

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  11. Ooh, YES to all of these! Awesome list, Ruth! I still need to watch Belle, but I’m intrigued to see Gugu Mbatha-Raw on your honorable mentions.

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  16. I really enjoyed your list. Just thought I’d let you know that you wrote up one of Sandra Bullock’s movies slightly wrong. The title is “While You Were Sleeping”.

    I would probably add in Tilda Swinton to the top 10. She’s amazing.

    Agree about Emily Blunt in The Jane Austen Book Club. She was really good.

    1. Hello Stella, welcome to FC! Thanks for pointing out the typo, I’ve fixed that now. Oh Tilda is a great actress, I’d watch her in most things, but I still have a lot of her work I still need to see.

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