Friday, September 16, 2005

M - Z: Actress + Performance

since i did it before I will now list my favorite performances by the top 17 actresses (in descending order) from the M to Z poll last week.
* if a title is in all caps that means the performance would likely place somewhere in my all time lists for Best Lead Actress performance *

Meryl Streep
1. SOPHIE'S CHOICE 2. um, er...3. oh geez, this is hard. I'm sorry it's too hard. There are so many...
Kate Winslet
1. Holy Smoke! 2. Sense & Sensibility 3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Julianne Moore
1. FAR FROM HEAVEN 2. Boogie Nights 3. SAFE
Michelle Pfeiffer
1. The Fabulous Baker Boys 2. Batman Returns 3. White Oleander
Kathleen Turner
1. Body Heat 2. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (on broadway) 3. Peggy Sue Got Married
Maggie Smith
1. Gosford Park 2. A Room With a View 3. Sister Act i think maybe i should have chosen Maggie as one of my viewing projects. i haven't seen her key roles aside from the first two here.
Susan Sarandon
1. BULL DURHAM 2. Thelma & Louise 3. Dead Man Walking
Julia Roberts
1. Erin Brockovich 2. My Best Friends Wedding 3. Closer
Winona Ryder
1. Reality Bites 2. Heathers 3. Mermaids
Sigourney Weaver
1. Aliens 2. Gorillas in the Mist 3. The Ice Storm
Frances McDormand
1. FARGO 2. Almost Famous 3. The Man Who Wasn't There
Uma Thurman
1. Kill Bill 2. Henry & June 3. Pulp Fiction
Sissy Spacek
1. Carrie 2. Badlands 3. Crimes of the Heart
Emma Thompson
1. Howards End 2. Much Ado About Nothing 3. Sense & Sensibility

ok... running out of steam on this Actress thing even though there's much more to do --like complete that actress of the aughts listing. And the new poll, etc...


John T said...

My personal choices for these lovely ladies:

Meryl Streep
1. Out of Africa 2. The Hours 3. Kramer v. Kramer
Kate Winslet
1. Titanic 2. Sense and Sensibility 3. Eternal Sunshine
Julianne Moore
1. Far From Heaven 2. Boogie Nights 3. The End of the Affair
Kathleen Turner
1. Romancing the Stone 2. Peggy Sue Got Married
Maggie Smith
1. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie-if you haven't seen this yet, Nathaniel, you simply must-it is one of the all-time bests, and not just for Dame Maggie 2. Gosford Park 3. Travels with My Aunt
Susan Sarandon
1. Dead Man Walking 2. Thelma and Louise 3. Stepmom
Julia Roberts
1. Notting Hill 2. Pretty Woman 3. Erin Brockovich

Anonymous said...

Meryl Streep
1. Sophie's Choice
2. Ironweed
3. Adaptation (so many to choose from)

Kate Winslet
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2. Holy Smoke
3. Hamlet (very underrated) or Heavenly Creatures (appropriately worshipped)

Anonymous said...

Regarding Winona Ryder...

It's interesting that you picked three "minor" performances, when the logical ones would seem "Age of Innocence", "Girl interrupted", "The crucible" or something of that sort.

I love her in "Mermaids" though...

Joe R. said...

I thought Winona was absolutely brilliant during her 1988-1990 run which featured Heathers, Mermainds, Beetlejuice, and Edward Scissorhands. I think the genres of those pictures, as well as her young age, really prevented her from being properly recognized for them. Looking back, that was her prime, I think.


i agree on winona's prime. Her Oscar nominated work is (imo) wildly inferior to her more freewheeling work (Heathers, Reality Bites, etc...)

i really couldn't agree on my fav Streep performances. I wasn't trying to be cute. i kept changing it. it was making me crazy.

and on Julianne Moore the thing that makes me crazy is the ORDER. but those are my three favorite easily.

adam k. said...

OK, some nitpicking is in order... I know for a fact that when you nommed Julia for Erin Brockovich, you referred to it as "her best work ever"... and now it is bumped off for the liked of My Best Friend's Wedding, Closer, and Pretty Woman. Bizarre. Have you forgotten Erin?

Also, I had no idea you considered Bull Durham Sarandon's best perf, over T&L and DMW.

And crazy that your gold-medal-winning Iris perf is not even one of your favorites of Winslet's... and the three you do have are not ALL CAPS worthy. Interesting.

I agree with you on the 3 best Moore perfs... and yeah, the order IS hard.

Anonymous said...

The Julia Roberts one is odd, but Kate Winslet isn't. Iris may have won gold but those three are better.


NATHANIEL R said... i keep f***up on these things. Changing the Julia thing now. Yeah, that's wrong.

Anonymous said...

Um, no "working girl" for sigourney? It has to be one of the greatest comedic, bitchy, of-the-moment, performances I've ever seen. "Today's junior prick, tomorrow's senior partner!" come on!!! I love the ice storm, but you've got to admit her performance had nothing on joan allen's.

Anonymous said...


Thank you for recognizing the comic brilliance of Noni's performance in "Reality Bites," which I also rank as her best.

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Ciao for now,


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Jeremy Helligar said...

I love your blog. Re, Maggie Smith, you must see her two Oscar winning performances, The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie and California Suite. Both flawless and completely different. For Meryl, I'd say Sophie's Choice, A Cry In The Dark, and Doubt, with Adaptation and One True Thing (truly underrated) coming in 4th and 5th. For Sigourney, Gorillas In The Mist, Death And The Maiden, and The Ice Storm, with A Map Of The World close behind. I think Julianne Moore is a tad overrated--only Safe and Boogie Nights really register with me. What about Cate Blanchett and Juliette Binoche? For Cate, I like pretty much everything, but The Gift is strangely enough my favorite. And for Binoche, Blue is not only my favorite from her but my favorite period.