Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Speaking of Top Tens...

...oh, don't act like you don't speak of them often.

I don't think I'll be getting to "Best of the Aughts" until late this year or possibly March 2010 given what's sure to be a crazed Oscar season but I was looking over those old Actors & Actresses of the Aughts list (compiled to reflect 2000-2005 cinema) and realizing how much can change within four to five years of cinema. Halfway through this decade Meryl Streep hadn't yet reconquered the world, Christian Bale hadn't yet started alienating fans, Scarlett Johansson hadn't yet started boring people, Heath Ledger hadn't left us, Holly Hunter hadn't moved to the small screen, Jude Law's career hadn't receded, Maggie Cheung hadn't vanished...

Here's what the lists looked like in 2005

  1. Jude Law
  2. Gael Garcia Bernal
  3. Ewan McGregor
  4. Tony Leung Chiu-Wai
  5. Johnny Depp
  6. Clive Owen
  7. Peter Sarsgaard
  8. Daniel Craig
  9. Christian Bale
  10. George Clooney
Just Missed: Jim Broadbent, Jake Gyllenhaal
Further down...
Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Bill Murray, Cillian Murphy, Brad Pitt and dozens of others who've seen great success (or much less of it) since
Not even in the top 100
We'd just barely met James McAvoy and he had pointed ears and really furry legs in Narnia. Who knew?

  1. Nicole Kidman
  2. Patricia Clarkson
  3. Kate Winslet
  4. Kirsten Dunst
  5. Samantha Morton
  6. Julianne Moore
  7. Cate Blanchett
  8. Michelle Pfeiffer
  9. Scarlett Johansson
  10. Toni Collette
Just Missed: Joan Allen, Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert
urther down... Tilda Swinton, Meryl Streep, Laura Linney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Evan Rachel Wood and god knows who else... with success and failures of every degree waiting for them in the near future (now our collective past)
Not even in the top 100 In 2004, I still sorta hated Penélope Cruz. HA! What a difference a few years made

I wonder how much these lists will change once 2006-2009 are factored in? Whose career changed the most for you, cinematically speaking, recently? I suppose you'll be wanting a "Directors of the Aughts" list, too?


ABC said...

So Bale and Johansson are definitely out of the Top 10 but does it look like they'll fall out of the Top 100 altogether?

Mikadzuki said...

"I suppose you'll be wanting a "Directors of the Aughts" list, too?"

YES! You know you have more than a few auteursexuals in your readership.


I so did not mean to publish this post this morning. it was tonight's post. oops.

but since it's up. DISCUSS.

ABC... i suppose they could turn it around. Or wait, maybe not. it is 2009.

Catherine said...


Perusing the bottom rungs of your lists, I was originally going to bump up Richard Jenkins but apart from The Visitor and its resulting Oscar nod, what else has he done apart from a bitpart in a Coen bros film? It's interesting that Joseph Gordon Levitt doesn't appear on either your list or the readers's list: most people I know (including me) consider him one of our best young actors. He needs to be in there somewhere! Javier Bardem will at least crack the teens, what with the Oscar and the newfound Anglophile fandom and the Woody Allen film. I was going to suggest dropping Tobey Maguire altogether, but IMDB has 16 (!) films listed as in production for him, so who knows? Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Dano, Josh Brolin.


It's pretty much a given that Meryl Streep will be #1, correct? "But there's still four years left in the decade and you can never rule la Streep out." How right you were!?! Winslet wil surely place highly too, but I wonder if her momentary self-imposed exile from cinema after her Oscar win will restrict her. What happens if she doesn't do much work in the rest of the aughts? I'm more excited about the prospect of Marisa Tomei appearing on a high rung. Patty Clarkson should keep her second place spot! People like Jodie Foster and Gwenyth Paltrow should probably just wave bye-bye to any placement at all (I have nothing but loathing for the latter, I'm actually fond of the former but c'mon!). Reading over your list, I'm struck by how Rachel McAdams hasn't really lived up to her early-aughts potential, unless The Time-Traveller's Wife really turns things around for her. Tilda Swinton and Laura Linney will need to scoot up a little higher to the top. Michelle Williams, Sylvie Testud, Kathy Bates. I'm just throwing names out here. Charlotte Gainsbourg, Allison Janney.

Anonymous said...

i know she's one of your favorites but Michelle Pfeiffer should not have been in the top ten list then or now.

john said...

In just a few years so much can change...for the better really, all the young hot things never really do last that long, but I would bet EVERYTHING that Nicole Kidman still remains number 1 on Nathaniel's list of actress of the decade. Kidman not Streep has come to be the female representation of english language cinema. Streep's only really picked up after Prada, she's not been that constant. Kidman though has been present for pretty much the whole run, through divorces and marriages to box office hits and oscars to being labelled box office posion and the tiresome internet backlash. Streep, Winslet and Blanchett will probably be just beneath her.
I don't have a clue on actor of the decade...or director!

ABC said...

What I'm asking is whether or not Bale and Johansson's work from earlier in the decade will be enough to get them a spot in the Top 100? Will American Psycho and Girl with a Pearl Earring be forgotten? Or will their most recent antics (Bale's outburst on the Terminator set and his utterly boring retread of his Batman performance in that film; the fact that people seem to foget that Johansson was even in a film that they may have actually liked) clear the way for someone who was largely absent (or inconsequential) from the cinema prior to 05 but really arrived (or blew everyone away) after it?

But getting back to the discussion at hand - Sergi Lopez and Ludivine Sagnier fell victim to the U.S. distribution system and, as such, couldn't maintain the momentum they'd built earlier in the 00s. Also J.K. Simmons became one of our best (and, more importantly, best utilized) character actors in the latter half of the decade.

Finally, I'm most disappointed in the fact that Anna Faris' career has stayed in the exact same spot that it was in around 04-05. Someone please put this woman in a great comedy ASAP.

ABC said...

Oh, and I say Hugh Jackman goes Up, Up, Up.

Unknown said...

seeing the way you divided Penelope Cruz I can easily start talking about Cate Blanchett, it's not that she was bad or not visible from 2000 to 2004 but she was not great. Then 2004 came, a 6-year Oscar silence and bang: an Oscar. Since 2004 up until now I've watched her in: The Aviator ( loved her ); Little Fish ( very very good ); Babel ( she did wonders for what she had as screen time and as a script ); Notes on a Scandal ( AMAZING ); I'm Not There ( one more Oscar win in my book ); Elizabeth: The Golden Age (just as good as in the first Queenie show ) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button ( I really loved her strict and silent performance in this one )

4 Oscar noms, 1 WIN, and huge box office success (Aviator, Babel, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Indiana Jones)
Actually ... who else has been as powerful on the women's side since 2004 up to now, mixing critical acclaim with great reviews?

Kidman was sort of the other way around, I love almost everything she did between 2000 and 2004.

ABC said...

Those who didn't make the first list but have a good chance of making the revised one:

Actors - Casey Affleck, Josh Brolin, Steve Carell, Robert Downey Jr., Aaron Eckhart, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James MacAvoy, Mickey Rourke, Mark Wahlberg, Patrick Wilson

Actresses - Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Julie Christie, Penelope Cruz, Emanuelle Devos, Anne Hathaway, Emily Mortimer, Ellen Page, Carice van Houten, Michelle Williams

Jorge Rodrigues said...

I say Nicole, Cate, Meryl, Kate and Penélope are the top5... But I think Cate will be #1, not Nicole...

As for men, I think Heath Ledger, Johnny Depp, Viggo Mortensen, George Clooney and Damon (because of his 2009 stellar year) will be the top 5.

john said...

Jorge Rodrigues, this is Nathaniel doing the top 10, and as we know he LOVES Nicole, she's his number 1!

Colin Low said...

I think Heath Ledger deserves a big push for the Top Ten, simply because the Joker was the only true STAR performance of the decade: by this I mean overwhelming critical, popular and industry adulation. It's unfortunate that he left us, because with his work in Monster's Ball and Brokeback Mountain atop that, he deserves a strong contention for the crown.

Colin Low said...

Heath's closest contender for the "greatest STAR performance of the aughts" title is probably Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, but even he didn't reap as unanimous an applause at his peak, and sullied the Captain's memory with two uninspired sequels.

... hmmm. That said, Nathaniel, you really ought to make a top ten list of STAR performances in the aughts... ;)

Anonymous said...

I know you're becoming a huge fan of Anne Hathaway... but I don't think she should be too far up the list. Girl has just proven herself.

Derek said...

I'm definitely the same with Penelope. Well, I never hated her, but I was completely indifferent. And now = worship.

Fernando Moss said...

Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy...

Jorge Rodrigues said...

James McAvoy won't climb that much since he has Wanted in his filmography... :D

Moose said...

Are we calling them the aughts now?

mrripley said...

kate w,nicole k and meryl are obviously no 1,2,3.

Janice said...

Just to refresh my memory, this is based on who Nathaniel personally liked, who gave him the most cinematic pleasure (hence Ewan McGregor's very very high ranking in the original list, based primarily on Moulin Rouge)? The thing is then that how famous someone has become is in theory a separate issue from how well someone has managed their career, or what they've done offscreen? or do those things factor into the mix as well (ie, whether you've flamed out, become a crashing bore, etc etc)?

Marshall said...

"Jude Law's career hadn't receded"

Ouch. Catt-ay.

Janice said...

BTW - am I the only one who thinks it's hideously wrong that Laura Dern wasn't higher than 80 on that list (not Nathaniel's fault - where were the roles for that woman?) Hopefully she'll have moved up the list by the end of the decade? (Does her work in "Recount" count in her favor though, since it was not for the "big screen"?)

Paola A. said...

very interesting website! Anyway, why is everyone being so harsh on Christian Bale or his performances these days? You may not like his latest work (Terminator Salvation or his performances in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) but you should remember that in the period you write about (2005-2009) he did Harsh Times, The New World, Rescue Dawn, The Prestige, 3:10 to Yuma and I'm Not There (and his latest, Public Enemies).

adelutza said...

I think Helen Mirren has a spot on the top 10. She had 2 Oscar nominations and a win in the 00s and countless other nominations. She's going to play a part in this years Oscars for sure.

Klemen said...

I think Keira also deserves a spot in top 100 now.And with additions of Proof, Iron Man and Two Lovers, Gwyneth should remian in top 100.She's unjustly overly hated in my opinion.And Nicole definitely deserves to remain number 1.
It's more difficult with actors.If I made a combined list, top 10 would probably be just women.And 70 out of 100 too, or something like that:)I think Nathaniel would mainly agree with me:)As it is, Jude faded, but no one really dominated in his place.I don't think it would be too bad if he remained number 1.Anyway,evaluating and listing an entire decade of movies is so difficult...and crazy, and wonderful, and I really can't wait:)

Jude said...

Actresses- Amy Adams definitely has to be in the revised list. Unfortunately Nicole Kidman has to ne knocked down a few pegs and be replaced by Kate Winslet I think. Meryl has to be in the top 10. Possibly top 5.

Actors- Well, I think it's safe to say Jude Law will be moving/plummeting down the into the much darker depths of the list. But who will take his place? If Matt Damon and Oscar become friends I say the number 1 position is his to lose.

dusty said...

Director of the decade: Peter Jackson? He'd be hard to top, especially if the Lovely Bones hype lives up. I expect Stephen Daldry would place highly, too. Only three films but all three earned Oscar nods for Director, and two resulted in wins for Best Actress.

Maybe we could start FYI campaigns.

Anonymous said...

If we talk about critical acclaim and stardom for the performances I would said this would be the line-up:

10.Toni Collette
9. Anne Hathaway
8. Penelope Cruz
7. Helen Mirren (With Meryl, she's one of the few older actresses with real lead roles)
6. Nicole Kidman (Sorry, but for me, Nicole was more incosistent in these recent years)
5. Laura Linney
4. Patricia Clarkson
3. Cate Blanchett
2. Mery Streep
1. Kate Winslet

Also: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Marion Cotillard, Carice Van Houten, Emanuelle Devos

10.Matt Damon (Possible??)
9. Robert Downey Jr. (After "Zodiac" and "Tropic Thunder")
8. George Clooney
7. Gael Garcia Bernal
6. Tony Leung Chiu-wai (He has "Lust Caution", "2046", and "Chi bi". He's still an international star)
5. Johnny Depp
4. Javier Bardem
3. Heath Ledger
2. Viggo Mortensen
1. James McAvoy

Also: Aaron Eckhart, Mark Wahlberg, Casey Affleck, James Franco


mikadzuki... re: the directors. i need to make a list of films i missed that i still have to see.

catherine joseph gordon-levitt will indeed appear on the revised. And I just saw (500) Days... again and if there's any justice in the world (sometimes there's not) he's going to be a much bigger star by the end of the summer. He's great in it and so charming, funny, moving and everything.

and yes Marisa will have to move up.

yavor i actually preferred Cate in the first half of the decade. It's before i got tired of her being in all prestige projects. i'm not sure where she'll be in the final list but i'm not a fan of her Notes, Babel or Golden Age work which i consider: misjudged, underwritten and overwritten/overperformed. but on a second viewing of I'm NOt THere i conceded that she was indeed fab in that movie.

anon 10:14 why shouldn't Pfeifffer have been up high? She gave one of her three best performances ever (White Oleander) an carried a big hit (What Lies Beneath)... but yeah that long break starting in 2003 was BOO.

Klemen Keira did definitely improve as the decade wore on yes.

marshall i meant it in the kindest cattiest way possible. being hair-challenged myself I still totally think Jude Law is sex on a stick.

janice that's right. It's a personal preference list. but I do factor in how many performances they gave, consistency, what they did with their opportunities, etcetera. so it's sort of greatness divided by my own personal quirks. which is why Philip Seymour Hoffman wasn't on the list causing lots of people to hate the list. Because i think he's a grossly overrated and indulgent screen performer.

but i've warmed up to him a little teensy bit because i thought he was very good / controlled in Capote and The Savages ... but prior to that the only performance i really loved was in Magnolia in 1999.

Paolo A good point on Bale. I really think he needs to leave the blockbusters behind and get back to being a versatile actor. If he keeps this current track up he could be looking like Nic Cage in 15 years. Not a fate he should be looking for. He should be looking at something like being like Sean Penn. Put acting first and chances are the celebrity will still stick (provided you have it already which he does)

ABC I will definitely be considering those names "Casey Affleck, Josh Brolin, Steve Carell, Robert Downey Jr., Aaron Eckhart, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James MacAvoy, Mickey Rourke, Mark Wahlberg, Patrick Wilson, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Julie Christie, Penelope Cruz, Emanuelle Devos, Anne Hathaway, Emily Mortimer, Ellen Page, Carice van Houten, Michelle Williams" ... but whether or not they make it i don't know. 100 names seems like a lot but it's really really not. Many people will have to be left in the cold.


also it should be noted i will try to weigh all years evenly so if someone is high up when i made the list in 2005 it's very unlikely that they'd fall completely off. Because 2000-2004 counts as much as 2005-2009, you know.

Ben said...

Although I don't think Jude Law should be top of the list, I'd still argue for him to remain in the top 10. 2004 was the year that public opinion seemed to go against him. With 6 films released that year, he was pretty ubiquitous. He was smug in both Alfie and Closer, both of which seemed to be versions of characters he'd played before. But he's consistently aligned himself with interesting directors - Anthony Minghella, Wong Kar Wai, David O'Russell, Mike Nichols - even though the results haven't always been successful. In the last four years his only performance of note has been in Breaking And Entering (for me, some of his best work to date) and he's got Sherlock Holmes and Sally Potter's new film coming up as well.

Sorry...Jude Law is always one of those actors that I defend furiously because so many people tend to dislike him.

Joe Reid said...

It always irks me when people say "6 films in 2004" for Jude Law without any context. Are we really counting "Lemony Snicket" and "The Aviator" as contributing factors?

moviefanatic said...

Leonardo DiCaprio must be MUCH higher now, as well as Philip Seymor Hoffman.
Meryl Streep must be much higher, Nicole Kidman much lower.
And Juliette Binoche must be on the list nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Nicole Kidman is still no. 1, cinematically speaking...

and Nat, are you going to be putting Hilary Swank back on your list now that you have a new found admiration for her on Amelia? :P

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding everyone that the first half of the decade still counts Nat (too many are acting as if it just didn't happen). Keeping this in mind, I can't see how Kidman doesn't stay at #1 or maybe drop to #2 (but to who? Winslet feels most obvious, but nothing else came even close to ETERNAL SUNSHINE. She could've done LITTLE CHILDREN in her sleep). No doubt there have been some great performances, but no one came any where near the Kidman's 01-04 run AND she has MARGOT, a wicked good Mrs. Coulter in THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and hopefully another great star turn to bookend it all in NINE.

I think it gets more tricky for the men (or does it just get less interesting?). Day-Lewis gave THE performance of the decade and still has NINE, and I don't think I need to say anything more about Ledger. Just imagine if Johnny Depp had left PIRATES alone, Christian Bell hadn't gotten boring, or Javier Bardem actually did NINE? Things could've been a lot more interesting.


amir_uk said...

Oh how I wish I could plead Scarlett's case. Even in the crap films she's doing, she's often the best-in-show or at least doing something slightly indie (eg. He's Just Not That Into You). And having just rewatched VCB, I have to say she's just as strong as her three co-leads. She has the most difficult part to play in tha film, that's for sure. Oh Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett...

Unknown said...

I really hope that Nicole Kidman keeps toping the list, she was unique this decade. I hope that Julianne Moore continuous in the top 10. This second part of the decade she still had Blindness,Savage Grace Children of Men. I also have a feeling that Lindsay Lohan won't be in the top 30 :D

For the guys, don't know about you Nat but Jude Law has disappointed me in the last years. The same for Orlando Bloom.
And I hope that Viggo Mortensen climbs up

Darren Z said...

Maybe I'm in minority but I agree with you, Nat. specially the #1 and the top 10 Actor list.
Jude Law has that kind of potential taht you can't imagine. He's terrific natural emotional actor.
I had opportunity to see his Hamlet live in Wyndham Theatre, London. He was fantastic. I never change my opinion. Same with Tony Leung.

Arkaan said...

On my own spur of the moment list

Still Number One: Cate Blanchett
She's simply accomplished too much for me to ignore. Fascinating stylization in The Good German. Thrilling dramatic work in Notes on a Scandal. Career defining work in I'm Not There. Massive star wattage in The Golden Age. The one thing she didn't do this first half of the decade was go for the auteurs. Sure, she had a Scorsese and a Twyker. But she also had a Howard and a Schumacher. Now, that's a thing of the past. David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, Todd Haynes, Steven Spielberg... (Innaritu is an auteur, but I hate him).

Definite Improvement
Rose Byrne, Judi Dench, Charlotte Gainsbourgh, Romola Garai, Rebecca Hall, Anne Hathaway, Sally Hawkins, Kiera Knightly

Going Down....
Kate Winslet (nothing she's done comes close to [i]Eternal Sunshine..[/i], getting reptitive)
Samantha Morton (not enough films) and others, I'm sure. Zhang Ziyi

Most change? Hathaway and Knightley, for sure

For the men, James Gandolfini is my undeniable winner. I know, TV blah blah blah, but Tony Soprano is the single greatest character of the decade, in any medium.

But there definitely seems to be a bifurication halfway through for the men. Many of the first half greats (Leung, Law, Sarsgaard etc) have had spotty, isolated or disappointing second halves. There was a bunch of talent to explode in the second half... It'll be an intriguing read.

Jeff said...

I agree with the sentiment of many, Kidman should retain the #1 spot, no other actress this decade has been so acomplished I mean we have universally loved performances like The Others,Moulin Rouge,Dogville,Birth,Margot,The Hours and performances not loved by all but still worth a look like Australia,Fur,The Human Stain... which actress could have acomplished that?
Strepp?, not close she is a queen but her best performance is "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Adaptation" Doubt wasn't all that great
Winslet? she is a great actress but for me her only truly great performances this decade is "Eternal Sunshine·
Blanchett? deserves to be top 5 but not #1.

My top 5 actress are the four above and I would add Angelina Jolie, not many awesome performances but she turned into an icon this decade.

jess said...

Comparison Blanchett / Kidman

2006 : Advantage Blanchett
- Oscar nom (Notes on a scandal)

2007 : Advantage Blanchett
- Oscar noms (TGA & I'm not there)

2008 : Advantage Blanchett
- 2 big hits

2009 : Advantage Kidman
- NINE !

2010 : Advantage Kidman
- Meaty role, (and who cares about the 326th version of Robin Hood ?)

Glenn Dunks said...

Wait, why should Nicole Kidman be falling? She's had Margot at the Wedding, The Golden Compass and Australia (although I don't think we ever really learned what Nat thought of that performance? Or am I just forgetting) plus Nine coming up. Just because the negative ninnies of the internet hate her, doesn't mean she actually stopped being an ACTRESS and giving good performances (Margot especially).

Nat, can I be a discerning voice and ask you to NOT to a best directors countdown? I mean, really? How would you even go about doing that when some of the finest directors have made so few films (I'm looking at David Lynch, Baz Luhrmann, Paul Thomas Anderson, etc) and then there are directors like Eastwood who has, admittedly, made some fine films this decade, but has also made a lot of bad stuff or directors that don't seem to have much personal style, but who have directed several good movies. I'd rather a list of the best directorial efforts.

LO said...

To me, this list seems truly insane.
MERYL STREEP should be #1 at least in top 3!

okay, critical acclaimed?Award?Box Office?Stardom? then where is she?

and I don't get it about Kate winslet's high position. I mean because she won oscar dramatically,it doesn't mean she is more heavy star than fellow actresses.

Anonymous said...

Glen Dunks is correct. Kidman hasn't actually stopped doing excellent work. It's just that the work is less appreciated due to backlash.

It was a fucking travesty that Blanchett was nominated for playing William Wallace in The Golden Age, and Kidman got ignored for her masterful work in Margot At The Wedding.

Australia was such a brave, interesting performance. Part madcap comic turn ("ooh, it's a kangaroo") part old school movie star homage (ie Hepburn in The African Queen), Lady Sarah Ashley was another underappreciated keeper by Kidman. She was even pretty chilling in The Golden Compass.

Just because awards groups are chucking garlands at her these days and it's fashionable to down her on the internets, doesn't mean she's slacking. She's the most consistently interesting major film actress at work, and deserves to finish the decade in the top spot.


Anonymous said...

Meant to say "just because awards groups aren't chucking garlands at her these days"



lo the trick to understanding the lists quoted is that they were made in 2005. Meryl Streep had given only two great performances (adaption & the hours) and one bad one (Manchurian Candidate) and then a cameo (lemony snicket) and one voice performance (a.i.) in that time period for the movie screens.

giving her #1 at the time would have been strange.

Glenn said...

Plus, Angels in America wasn't being counted, was it?

Anna said...

Nicole was in my top five for the first half of the decade. Unfortunately I don't think she will ever live up to that again. I hate to say it, but the excessive botox in her face makes it difficult for her to show emotion, and it some cases I even find it distracting. Arguably Nicole has been in more bombs this decade then other actresses of her stature.

My choice for top 10 actresses of the aughts:

10. Angelina Jolie
9. Tilda Swinton
8. Helen Mirren
7. Julianne Moore
6. Patricia Clarkson
5. Nicole Kidman
4. Penelope Cruz
3. Cate Blanchett
2. Kate Winslet
1. Meryl Streep

Anonymous said...

Botox is exaggerated as a performance hamperer. Every woman on Desperate Housewives (including Felicity Huffman) uses botox. And they've been racking up Golden Globes and Emmy's for years.

Kidman has done some of her best work while supposedly on botox. Birth, Dogville, Margot At The Wedding, Fur ect. Botox is just an excuse not to give Kidman credit, imho.

Kidman may have had "bombs", in terms of critical or commercial movie failures, but as far performances go, I don't see how anyone can really mess with her in the entire decade;

Birthday Girl
Moulin Rouge
The Others
The Hours
Cold Mountain
The Human Stain
The Interpreter
Margot At The Wedding
The Golden Compass

And soon to come; Nine And Rabitt Hole.


anon 9:59 i agree that botox is often used as an excuse to not appreciate someone (i have a friend who swears that Pfeiffer was unwatchable in White Oleander because of it which to me is insanity since i think it's one of her three all time best performances)

... but i don't agree that it doesn't hamper performances to an extent.

did anyone else have a big angry reaction to the episode of desperate housewives wehre felicity huffman is actually making fun of plastic surgeried people? I was like I KNOW THIS SHOW ISN'T GOING THERE. a little meta hypocrisy can be fun for comedies but too much of it and i have only anger for everyone involved.

anyway, i lurve Nicole Kidman and i think she doesn't get the credit she deserves but i did think there was some strange waxy blankness to the FUR performance for example. I felt she needed a little more expressiveness there even within the minimalism she was doing.

It would be really fun if RABBIT HOLE could be ready this year for the decade list. But who knows. I suspect it'll still be 2010 since John Cameron Mitchell isn't exactly a speedy one.

Anonymous said...

nathanial; It's anon 9:59 again. Call me Chuck.

I see what you are saying about Fur. But for the most part, I don't think botox has particularly hampered her performances or even her expressiveness (I think Fur and the very forgettable Invasion were probably the only ones where it might have had a noticable effect on her performance). People claimed she was juiced on botox for Margot At The Wedding and Australia, yet those are among the most facially animated performances I've seen from her (particularly Australia) ever. I think it more affected how she looked in public and on red carpets/events. I do agree that botox can hamper performances, but I don't think it's had much negative effect on Kidman's work,with one or two exceptions.

She's looking pretty good and botox-free these days, imho. Guess she couldn't ignore the obvious criticism anymore. She actually looks like the old Nicole in set photos from Rabbit Hole. I'd like to see Rabbit Hole this year as well. Who knows, the whole 10 Best Picture nominees thing may speed up post-production on films like Rabbit Hole to get in for 2009, especially if the competition is looking weak.

And yes, the hypocrisy of that Desperate Housewives episode was pretty disgusting. Every woman on that set has had some form of cosmetic procedure. Nicollete Sheridan was practially a walking commercial for plastic surgery. She looked liked she had everything done (face, boobs ect)).


VonCastle said...

How could anyone but Meryl be considered for No. 01? I know, I know, opinions are opinions... but she became the first Actress aged 60 who is a major box office draw! Not to mention all the accolades. Then there are these... performances, rich in diversity, equal in Excellence.

Did someone say she was bad in "Manchurian"? Couldn't agree less. Not a nice role, not a great film, she still steals it, even from a certain Mr. Washington.

Meryl vs Nicole? Just watch "The Hours" again and analyse beyond the nose. Meryl should have played all 3 roles.
Nicole is great also, loved her the most in Dogville. But now imagine 40ish Streep playing that role...
Plus Meryl didn't have a Bewitched nor a Stepford Wives.
Margot wass pleasant but impactless.

Kate who? :)

As the 80's, the 00's are Meryl's.

Joe Reid said...

"Botox is exaggerated as a performance hamperer. Every woman on Desperate Housewives (including Felicity Huffman) uses botox. And they've been racking up Golden Globes and Emmy's for years."

No they haven't. Certainly not lately.

Anna said...

What a coincidence that we were talking about botox and then this interesting quote came out today:

I don't believe Rachel Weisz is in Nat's top 100. I think she's a great actress, but either isn't offered, or doesn't choose the right roles.

anon 9:59 I sad that Nicole needs to lay off the botox because I love her as an actress (as you can see, she's still my #5 for the decade). I felt like it was very distracting. I did notice that it got better when she became pregnant, and I hope it stays that way.

Arkaan said...

Wait - are people actually suggesting that Nicole's second half is as worthy of adulation as the first half of the decade? We remember The Invasion, right? Bewitched? Do people really think that Fur, Australia, The Golden Compass, and Margot at the Wedding equals The Others, Birth, Dogville, Moulin Rouge and The Hours?

Streep? You know, I quite like her and am glad for her resurgence, but I think Mamma Mia should disqualify her from the top spot.

Anonymous said...

Jude has become the only actor that can get my eyes on a film no matter what. I've seen every one of his films, if not in theater, then playing "catchup" in what I fondly remember as the "Jude Law Summer Film Festival 2007" at my house. I will also be seeing him in Hamlet this October in NYC! *happy dance*

I agree with Joe Reid up there about 2004...that "Jude in every movie" thing is way exaggerated and tiresome.

Along with Hamlet, I'm looking forward to "Sherlock" (and the yummy Hotson...I mean, Watson!), "Repossession Mambo," and his bit in "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus." I don't know what they'll do with Rage, but I'll see it if it comes around.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Kidman's second half run isn't quite a mythical as her first half, but I don't think it's anything to sniff at either.

I've been flirting with the idea for awhile that Margot At The Wedding may be Kidman's finest performance to date. That alone makes her second half of the decade a triumph. She's got a lot to choose from, but there is something particlarly vicous and adept about Margot.

Margot> The Others, The Hours and Moulin Rouge (as far as the performance goes)

Australia + The Golden Compass + Fur (all second half)> Cold Mountain + The Human Stain + The Stepford Wives (which came in her first half).

Kidman has clunkers and disappointing films in every part of her career, even the "legendary" first half of this decade. For the most part though, she consistently remains capable of either equalling or topping her own previous "best" performance. I was leaning towards Dogville or Birth as her best performance, before she hit it out the park (in a very unexpected fashion) with Margot At The Wedding.

I still don't actually believe we've seen Kidman's best performance yet. Which kinda sounds ridiculous.

Unknown said...

I don't know I don't know. There seem to be so many Nicole Kidman fans in here. I am one too, I love her, but I like being a little bit too harsh on her, because she's been very disappointing at times, maybe too disappointing. And another factor is very important, are we discussing the performances only? Or the performance and the film itself? The Golden Compass was HORRIBLE, but Nicole was classy and star-shining in it. My problem with Nicole is probably how fake she looks at times. I watched “Cold Mountain” again today and h-a-t-e-d her performance more than ever, thank God Renee Zellweger arrived at some point to help me. I actually love The Stepford Wives ( don't kill me ). But if we have to get serious she was impeccable in The Hours, The Others and Dogville, very good in Birth, very very good, but she needed a couple of more big scenes to get the Oscar nom, same would go for To Die For. I found her somewhat appalling in Australia and disappointing in The Interpreter.

Meryl has been great all decade: The Hours, The Devil Wears Prada, Adaptation, Doubt ( she was better than Kate and we know why Kate won ), she was hyperbolic in the good sense of the word in Manchurian Candidate and I loved the performance; incredibly funny in Prime and Lemony Snicket. Why is nobody mentioning Lions for Lambs? It was not Oscar-worthy but it was delicious to watch her do her thing!!! And she played a ravine in Angels in America.

I've already discussed Blanchett, to me she's the most accomplished performer for the last 5 years.

Kate Winslett? I don't think so. She has a very expressive face but I'm tired of seeing people win Oscars for being overdue, working a lot or striping for Vanity Fair! And I remember well the “Holiday” performance, where's that Razzie?

Arkaan said...

Anon @ 11:10

That post was too well written to go by anonymous. FWIW.

I'll agree that Nicole Kidman, based on the whole decade, would be a fine number one. Not mine, obviously, but I know that Nathaniel would never let Cate in that spot. Because outside of Blanchett, no one's really owned 05-09 like Kidman owned 00-04.

But what's more interesting to me is how you can almost flip Kidman's mythical first half with transliterations in the second half.

Moulin Rouge = Australia: Pure star performance glitz. For me, the earlier is better in every regard - better film, better performance, better role.

Dogville = Margot at the Wedding. Misanthropic toy for misanthropic director. The latter is the better performance for it's merciless depiction of total selfishness without pretending she's entirely heartless. It's a difficult high wire act but she pulls it off.

The Others = The Golden Compass. Icy mother figure in genre film. Her performance in the former destroys her performance in TGC. No contest.

Birth = Fur. Intriguing auteur object with artistic bent. Again, no contest.

Anyway, in my mind, the best from the first half outpaces the best from the second half. The worst from the first half outpaces the worst from the second half.


arkaan on this last comment i wholeheartedly agree. fun observations there. except for maybe the worst outpacing the worst comment. not sure i follow there unless you're saying Stepford Wives is worse than Bewitched? I'd call it a draw. The bad stuff is just bad.

for me, oddly, the big thorn in Kidman's side for the decade is Cold Mountain (in the first half) because she's so dull and not entirely convincing in it and it should be well within her capabilities. All of which is strange for her. You can let something like Stepford Wives or Bewitched go because honestly... who would be good in films that terrible? Aside from some crazy crazy gifted comedienne I mean which, let's face it, most genius dramaticians are not.

Arkaan said...

Well, you're talking as if I've seen either.

For me, the worst of Kidman's first half (that I've seen) are Cold Mountain and The Human Stain. To me, those are failures of ambition. Both are based on intriguing source novels with difficult themes and beautiful stories. I understand why she chose them (beyond simple paycheck) and if they don't work, it's not for lack of trying. Also, I don't dislike Cold Mountain, which every seems to. Failures of ambition tend to get a lot of slack from me.

The failures in Kidman's second half are simply failures of imagination, but to be fair, that's sight unseen. Another way of putting it: of the ten films from 00-04, only one can be described as a strict paycheck role (The Stepford Wives). Of the nine films from 05-09 (including Nine, sight unseen), three can be described as such (Happy Feet, The Invasion, Bewitched). Of the four films, I've only seen Happy Feet, despite my love of Kidman.

Or another way. If you asked me to rank Kidman's films (not performances) all of the mythical five would outrank anything thereafter.

Anonymous said...

jude law currently wowing them in hamlet in london will soon be taking the melancholy dane to denmark kronsberg castle and then on to broadway. then on christmas day he will be dr. watson to robert downey's sherlock holmes. i think because of his phenominal performance as hamlet this will be the second coming of jude law. he reached the peak awhile back and slipped but this is now and my money's on him.

sheryl said...

Jude Law slipped? He didn't slip. He's the same talent as always. Just because he made movies that didn't rake in the dough doesn't reflect on anything except the interesting choices he makes and the fact that being away from his kids to become a big Hollywood shot isn't an option. Being a good dad and being there is priority. So while I'm glad Downey and Ritchie managed to talk Jude into doing Sherlock (he was hesitant) and I'm glad I get to see him in NYC this fall as Hamlet, I still think it will be business as usual for him when it's all said and done. If being a fan means knowing that your guy is number one on a bunch of lists or stars in blockbuster after blockbuster, I guess I'm a different variation of a fan, because I will continue to be a fan of his acting as long as he continues to bring it in whatever he chooses to do, big or small.

Brian said...

Haven't seen her name mentioned, but Vera Farminga is definately someone who improved her stock since the last list came out....