One of the most successful projects from Film Experience history was the mid decade review of Actors and Actresses of the Aughts (2000-2005). The plan is to revisit in a few years for an official "best of decade" list. In the meantime let's check in with our top 10. When we looked at 20 thru 11 we were reminded that the film world moves quickly... it already looked out of date. This particular lineup (10-1) feels more contemporary. That's either a nod to their collective dominance as talented stars or their younger median age. It's probably both. Hollywood still isn't kind to 40something women.
How have these ten women managed their careers since the list was published in the fall of 2005?
"always makes the most of her material, even in thankless roles"
Toni has kept up a remarkable work pace for a long time now while rarely letting stock roles feel stock. And she's added rock singer to her busy schedule, too. The stamina on this woman! Her career is still missing that true against-type breakthrough that would serve as corrective eye surgery for Hollywood. They still only see her as "unattractive unhappy girl" (as is evidenced again by her work in Evening and The Dead Girl). Luckily Toni shrugs off such limited views with her expansive talents. Wasn't she great in Little Miss Sunshine? Prediction: She'll fight to keep this top ten spot.
"her best performances have a fascinatingly still quality"
Whoa nellie! Scarjo has become the very definition of ubiquitous. Since hitting this top ten she's made match Match Point, The Prestige, The Black Dahlia, Scoop, a Justin Timberlake music video and posed for many advertisements, leading me to believe that she's cloned herself. I'm not sure the ubiquity is doing her favors. What once read as mystique seems to now read as "wrong for this role" Because I like her, I'll blame this one on Hollywood who, having succumbed to their insatiable lust for her, wants her to appear in every movie. She has two movies coming out in 2007 (The Nanny Diaries and The Other Boleyn Girl) and three more scheduled, including a reunion with Woody Allen (Midnight in Barcelona). But I suspect she'll do something great again soon and be in movies for the long haul.
"her semi retirement is causing me actual grief"
It is now officially "Pfeiffer Week" on the blog, sponsored by the happy news that she is on the big screen for the remainder of the summer (Hairspray and Stardust. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you). New movies mean she'll hold her position ~ though she'll always be #1 to me.
"the next Meryl Streep"
Cate and I have broken up. I know you think we should get back together but I exhausted her with my ultra specific demands and she exhausted me with her technique --we weren't right for each other! Since the list was compiled two years ago we've seen her in Little Fish, Babel, The Good German, and Notes on a Scandal. I liked her best in Hot Fuzz. She made me giggle with instant recognition and then she was mercifully gone a minute later... which is really unlike her. Even after announcing that she'd take time off from her annual Oscar assault she kept announcing new films.
"when she returns to roles worthy of her, she'll regain her place atop any actress list"
The bad film parade continues: Trust the Man, Freedomland, Next. ARGH. We hope that Children of Men [are you sitting down? You need to be sitting down: Julianne Moore is in a GOOD movie! one of the year's best] signifies a change in direction. Upcoming lead roles in Savage Grace (solid reviews at Cannes) and Blindness (great book) and a supporting spot in I'm Not There for her greatest collaborator writer/director Todd Haynes, indicate she realizes she's moved too far from the type of pictures that won her her fame. Still... until I see evidence that she hasn't forgotten how to play anything outside of disturbed and/or childless mothers, I'm going to worry. I'm going to worry a lot.
"The magic and the alien grandeur of this actress comes from the way that she seems forever concealed."
Morton has made several movies recently but none of them seem to be in release. The next one you will be allowed to see is The Golden Age (Cate Blanchett's rival queen) Will she snag another Oscar nom?
"the sparkliest young actress working"
My most controversial choice in the initial list and her detractors have only multiplied since the publication date. She's the young actress everyone loves to hate. She wasn't playing it safe with Marie Antoinette, taking on a character that only emphasized what already turns people away. But I'm not blind. I get the hate. I'm as bored with her work in Spider-Man 3 as you are and as she is. Pull it together Kiki. Time's a wastin'! She's making a comedy next How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (with Simon Pegg from Hot Fuzz) and I think that's a smart move. She hasn't brought the funny in a good long while and she can.
"I love Kate Winslet. No, let me rephrase...I worship Kate Winslet"
Kate doesn't work enough for my taste but she does choose her projects carefully. You have to respect that. She recently tried romantic comedy (The Holiday) a genre she hadn't dabbled in and then did what she does best: slightly bohemian feminine angst in Little Children. Next up: Reuniting with Leonardo DiCaprio for Revolutionary Road, ten years after Titanic made them household names (related post). Prediction: She looks set to battle it out with Kidman as the definitive Actress of the Aughts.
"We don't so much experience movies through her like we do with passionate movie stars, we experience it alongside her; We're in it together, just Patty and us"
Patty's superb run of confidantes, mothers, and wives in the decade's first gave her a deserved high rank. Supporting stars have trouble maintaining their casting profile so she'll likely be falling when the list is revised, unless a few more magical roles and neo classics come her way. But really how lucky can one talented actress get? Up next: No Reservations (with CZJ), Lars and the Real Girl (with Ryan Gosling), Married Life (with Chris Cooper and Rachel McAdams), Blind Date (with Stanley Tucci), Elegy (with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz), Midnight in Barcelona (with Scarjo and Javier Bardem), and what sounds like an Oscarbait crusading mother role in Hurricane Mary --if she is in fact the Mary of the title. Who knows. Her character's name is Mary. IMDB can be maddeningly incomplete. Dakota AND Elle Fanning will star as disabled twins (?!?)
"the machinery and chutzpah of her star-making has been a jaw-dropping sight to behold"
It's been quiet in Kidmanland. Fur was only a whisper and more ambitious in concept than successful in execution. But Kidman fever should spread again with her upcoming triple: The Invasion, The Golden Compass (both with Daniel Craig) and Margot at the Wedding (presumably her next Oscar bid). After that we might see her in Need opposite longtime best friend Naomi Watts. But the thing everyone is waiting for is Australia which will reunite her with the person most responsible for her mega stardom --outside of herself I mean-- Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!). She only just turned 40 so if she plays her cards right she still has a few more years atop Hollywood's actress food chain.
To read more articles about any of these women, chase the labels below...