One of the most successful projects in Film Experience history was the half decade review of top actors and top actresses of the Aughts (2000-2005). The plan is to revisit in a few years for an official "best of decade" but in the meantime let's check in with our former top 20 this is part one #20 through #11 [part 2: #10 through #1]. How've they done since the list was published? Will they yet pull rabbits out of hats or is their magic hour over?
[FWIW: La Streep and Jake Gyllenhaal's Sister were both outside the top 20 in the fall of 2005 --remember this was only counting film work done between 2000 and mid 2005-- but have been so busy and excellent these past two years that they're easily jostling for top ten ranking when the decade is done]
"the movies are always better for her presence"
Since the list was published we've seen her projected on MoMA's walls and she's swung a nifty double blade as the icy queen in The Chronicles of Narnia . The immediate future looks solid: A supporting role (possibly Oscary?) in Michael Clayton, a gig opposite Brad & Cate in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and even a possible stab at my favorite Shakespearean actress role (Lady MacBeth) in Come Like Shadows with Sean Bean. But with so many actresses coming on strong it'll be tough for her to hold position.
"so potent is her screen presence that the audience will let her get away with murder"
Apart from a controlled performance in A Mighty Heart (review), the movie career is a whisper while the personal life (thanks to the press) is ever shouting. The question with her ranking is whether or not she'll start focusing on movies. She's currently filming Wanted (for the director of the Russian series Night Watch) with the ubiquitous James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman. She's also got a Clint Eastwood picture on the fast-track: The Changeling. The rest is all rumor. She gets plenty of offers. Will she ever say yes.
The Lovely Laura Linney
"what this actress sometimes lacks in surprise she more than makes up for with consistency"
Just two months after the actress list was finalized, Linney amazed us again in The Squid and the Whale. The films after that haven't set the cinema on fire (Breach, The Hottest State, Man of the Year) though people say she's superb in the underseen Jindabyne. Next up: The Nanny Diaries and The Savages. Judging by the trailer of the latter it looks like a master class in comic delivery with dramatic bite. We shall see. I suspect she's moving up this chart by decades end but I worry... no matter how terrific or popular any actress is, the mid 40s seem to be the trouble spot with Hollywood. That's when Pfeiffer vanished, when even Streep couldn't find great roles and when the Oscar parts stopped coming to Glenn Close.
"one of the silver screen's MVPs"
Speaking of worrying... Holly should have screenplays written for her, her choice of plum roles, and star perks offered without question -- especially after what she did with The Incredibles (2004) and thirteen (2003), neither of which would have come off so magically in lesser hands. Instead things have been quiet and she'll be dropping in the ranks on this list. She is turning to television right about now. Say it ain't so. She may be a tiny woman but she's big screen all the way. Damn you Hollywood! She even shares your name. Show her some love.
"her mystique is overpowering"
Maggie has already announced retirement (I'm sensing a theme here. uh oh) She hasn't made a picture since the list was published. Goodbye catsuits and noodle runs *sniffle*
"tremendous (if haphazardly applied) talent"
Uma neared the top ten on the strength of the Kill Bill saga alone. We've since seen her "flaunt it" as Ulla in The Producers (she was game though the film was gamey) and bomb in My Super Ex-Girlfriend. Next she'll be doing some heavy dramatic lifting for In Bloom. Will she be in the Actress Oscar race? I'm hoping she barrels into the top ten but her career is so uneven she could also fall dramatically.
"paints her characters with vibrant colors and leaves you wanting more"
She isn't considered a bankable star but the audience always seems to fall in love with her confrontational chutzpah, don't they? In the past two years she's co-starred with Charlize Theron twice, once for an Oscar nomination (North Country) and once, well, not (Aeon Flux). She was a bundle of enjoyable rage in Friends With Money just last year. Frances' next film will offer her a co-starring role (title character even!) with Amy Adams in Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day which takes place in the 30s and is about a governess (McDormand) and the actress she works for (Adams). She'll then have a role in next year's Coen Bros picture (she's a regular and of course a Coen by marriage) Burn After Reading. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and John Malkovich are also starring.
"a model of sturdy excellence and bravery"
France's ballsiest actress is still headlining films at 54 (they revere their legendary actresses more than we do obviously) but I'm getting behind in my viewing even as she's slowing down a bit after a very busy few years. Since the list came out she's Private Property and Gabrielle have made it to US theaters. I'm guessing she slips a few to several notches in the final ranking.
"majestic presence: still a world great"
Iconic Deneuve (the oldest actress in the top 20) had a rather stunning run from 2000-2002 when US theaters showcased six of her films (though some were made in France in the late 90s) and most of them were very strong indeed. The second half of the Aughts has been the polar opposite, a Deneuve drought. She had a small role in Kings and Queen (the film is terrific) and will reunite with that film's director, Arnaud Depleschin, and most of its cast for Un conte de Noel but she'll probably be out of the top 40 by decade's end unless the pictures she is making in France make it across the sea.
"needs about two seconds of screen time before inspiring hosannas and Oscar talk"
Joan Allen had a killer 2005 (Off the Map, Upside of Anger, and Yes all saw release) but otherwise it's been a rough decade with only the Jason Bourne films to showcase her acting gift and formidable presence. She brings it as Pamela Landy but expect a dramatic fall on the list.
The top 20 will look very different come 2010.
For more on these ten actresses, chase the labels below