My Favorite Things – My Favorite Actresses

Yesterday I turned 23 in the middle of making this and a few other of the My Favorite Things lists (more or less me moving them from the original blogspot), so let’s see how far we’ve come and how much I’ve changed!!!

She’s hot. She’s a woman in a movie – Of course she is.’ -David McGee, friend and filmmaking partner

I now name my favorite female actresses. The darker point of this, though, is that there are absolutely less minority actresses.
At this point, I’d say it’s less about my tastes towards actresses and more towards how females are represented in cinema throughout the years. Gender roles have taken place for too long in every aspect of life in this world and films are no exception, of course, as the arts act as mirror towards life as we know it. As a result, we have a specific seat in the story that we subject women strictly too with little room that we’ll allow for exception. The ‘gaze’, the sexual objectification of women in a largely sexist male society such as the film industry is a sad truth – it even goes beyond acting – look how long it took for a woman to win the Best Director Oscar… Look how many successful female directors we have out here…

I cannot deny that, as evident by the following list, I succumb to such prejudices in the presented films before me in my life. I’m just a zombie like many others.

So thank the powers-that-be for actresses who either use that stereotype to at least shine out, make themselves memorable, make themselves heard and seen beyond being white noise among the pretty white actresses. After all, objectification is, to a degree, the main basis in stardom – it works for male actors just as well as female actors – I don’t think Brad Pitt, George Clooney or Tom Cruise are stars solely on their acting chops…
And thank the powers-that-be even greater for the actresses that struggle to break beyond that gender role and put themselves into higher tier of acting. Even if they’re not as successful (and many of them pleasantly surprisingly are successful), at least they have standards beyond being the next Victoria’s Secret model to star in Michael Bay’s next blockbuster. At least they care about their craft moreso than the next Charlie Sheen.

(in rough order)

Liv Ullmann
Bergman’s muse and then turning into one of the main players of cinema itself.
Favorite Performance: Marianne – Scenes from a Marriage (1973, dir. Ingmar Bergman)

Barbara Stanwyck
Comedy and cons and craft like nobody’s business.
Favorite Performance: Jean Harrington/The Lady Eve – The Lady Eve (1941, dir. Preston Sturges)

Nicole Kidman
Tom Cruise was the trophy husband, not the other way around.
Favorite Performance: Satine – Moulin Rouge! (2001, dir. Baz Luhrmann)

Hara Setsuko
Smiling during life’s drags.
Favorite Performance: Somiya Noriko – Late Spring (1949, dir. Ozu Yasujiro)

Audrey Hepburn
Because Grace would be too obvious a name.
Favorite Performance: Holly Golightly – Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, dir. Blake Edwards)

Ginger Rogers
A worthy foil to Mr. Astaire himself.
Favorite Performance: Jean Maitland – Stage Door (1937, dir. Gregory La Cava)

Claudia Cardinale
If there’s a woman gonna stand the West…
Favorite Performance: Jill McBain – Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, dir. Sergio Leone)

Catherine Deneuve
France’s Belle.
Favorite Performance: Severine Serizy – Belle de Jour (1967, dir. Luis Bunuel)

Gena Rowlands

The muse of Cassavetes.
Favorite Performance: Mabel Longhetti – A Woman Under the Influence (1974, dir. John Cassavetes)

Ingrid Bergman

How I wish I’d keep playing it.
Favorite Performance: Charlotte Andergast – Autumn Sonata (1978, dir. Ingmar Bergman) (I was between that and Casablanca, but the latter felt too obvious)

Julianne Moore

I mean, she’s got the best track record of any actress I can think of.
Favorite Performance: Carol White – Safe (1995, dir. Todd Haynes)

Louise Brooks

There’s something natural to her allure in the one film I’ve seen her in.
Favorite Performance: Lulu – Pandora’s Box (1929, dir. G.W. Pabst)

Uma Thurman

Icy when she needs to be, sassy all the way through.
Favorite Performance: The Bride – Kill Bill (2003-2004, dir. Quentin Tarantino)

Tilda Swinton

The male Lon Chaney as far as I’m concerned.
Favorite Performance: Mason – Snowpiercer (2013, dir. Bong Joon-ho)

Ellen Burstyn

Favorite Performance: Alice Hyatt – Alive Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974, dir. Martin Scorsese) (Again, I struggled between this and Requiem for a Dream and shot for the more obscure… maybe I’m turning hipster).

Maria Falconetti

Is it unfair to put this based on only one performance? See me give a fuck.
Favorite Performance: Joan of Arc – The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer)

Marion Cotillard

My experience with her started with her meh work with Chris Nolan. Then I looked at her French work and Oh My Word, now I see why people love her.
Favorite Performance: Edith Piaf – La Mome (2007, dir. Olivier Dahan)

Kristen Bell

Yeah, I had a crush on her character, so what?
Favorite Performance: Veronica Mars – Veronica Mars (2004-07; 2013, crea. Rob Thomas)

Faye Dunaway
Wild one.
Favorite Performance: Diana Christensen – Network (1976, dir. Sidney Lumet)

Jamie Lee Curtis
Scream Queen. Obligatory.
Favorite Performance: Laurie Strode – Halloween (1978, dir. John Carpenter)

Sigourney Weaver
Tough as nails. Obligatory.
Favorite Performance: Ellen Ripley – Aliens (1986, dir. James Cameron)

Winona Ryder

Hates people almost as much as I do. Obligatory.
Favorite Performance: Veronica Sawyer – Heathers (1989, dir. Michael Lehmann)

Natalie Portman
Dat SNL short.
Favorite Performance: Mathilda – Leon (1994, dir. Luc Besson)

Francoise Fabian

Another one performance siren for me.
Favorite Performance: Maud – My Night at Maud’s (1969, dir. Eric Rohmer)

Fuck me, I’m halfway through this and it’s 6 in the morning. I love too many movie screen women, I’ll just hit you up with the names and favorite performances from here on forth. But I will be back to add the pictures and the comment. Until then, consider this… an honorable mention.

Geena Davis
Favorite Performance: #8 Dorothy “Dottie” Hinson – A League of Their Own (1992, dir. Penny Marshall)

Pam Ferris
Favorite Performance: Miss Trunchbull – Matilda (1996, dir. Danny De Vito)

Juliette Binoche
Favorite Performance: Julie de Courcy – Trois Couleurs: Bleu (1993, dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski)

Julie Delpy
Favorite Performance: Celine – The Before series (1995-2013, dir. Richard Linklater)

Giuletta Masina
Favorite Performance: Cabiria – Nights of Cabiria (1957, dir. Federico Fellini)

Jennifer Jason Leigh
Favorite Performance: Sadie Flood – Georgia (1995, dir. Ulu Grosbard)

Kim Novak
Favorite Performance: Judy Barton – Vertigo (1958, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Mia Farrow
Favorite Performance: Rosemary Woodhouse – Rosemary’s Baby (1968, dir. Roman Polanski)

Olivia De Havilland
Favorite Performance: Virginia Cunningham – The Snake Pit (1948, dir. Anatole Litvak)

Anjelica Huston
Favorite Performance: Morticia Addams – The Addams Family (1991, dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)

Scarlett Johansson
Favorite Performance: Barbara Sugarman – Don Jon (2013, dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt)

Meagan Good
Favorite Performance: Kara – Brick (2005, dir. Rian Johnson)

Katherine Hepburn
Favorite Performance: Tracy Lord – The Philadelphia Story (1940, dir. George Cukor)

Grace Kelly
Favorite Performance: Lise Fremont – Rear Window (1954, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Brigitte Bardot
Favorite Performance: Camille Javal – Contempt (1963, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

Hillary Swank
Favorite Performance: Brandon Teena – Boys Don’t Cry (1999, dir. Kimberly Peirce)

Rachel Weisz
Favorite Performance: Hester Collyer – The Deep Blue Sea (2011, dir. Terence Davies)

Veronica Lake
Favorite Performance: Jennifer – I Married a Witch (1942, dir. Rene Clair)

Anna Karina
Favorite Performance: Odile – Band of Outsiders (1964, dir. Jean-Luc Godard)

Pam Grier
Favorite Performance: Coffy – Coffy (1973, dir. Jack Hill)

Sheryl Lee
Favorite Performance: Laura Palmer – Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992, dir. David Lynch)

Rita Hayworth
Favorite Performance: Gilda Farrell – Gilda (1946, dir. Charles Vidor)

Holly Hunter
Favorite Performance: Ada McGrath – The Piano (1993, dir. Jane Campion)

Eva Marie Saint
Favorite Performance: Edie Doyle – On the Waterfront (1954, dir. Elia Kazan)

Marilyn Monroe
Favorite Performance: Sugar Kane – Some Like It Hot (1959, dir. Billy Wilder)

Lillian Gish
Favorite Performance: The Eternal Motherhood – Intolerance (1916, dir. D.W. Griffith)

Shirley MacLaine
Favorite Performance: Jennifer Rogers – The Trouble with Harry (1955, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Molly Ringwald
Favorite Performance: Andie Walsh – Pretty in Pink (1986, dir. John Hughes)

Lana Turner
Favorite Performance: Cora Smith – The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946, dir. Tay Garnett)

Paola Pitagora
Favorite Performance: Giulia – Fists in the Pocket (1965, dir. Marco Bellocchio)

Linnea Quigley
Favorite Performance: Trash – Return of the Living Dead (1985, dir. Dan O’Bannon)

2 thoughts on “My Favorite Things – My Favorite Actresses

    • Why thank you.

      Ullmann has to be number one if I want even the vaguest credibility. Anybody else is just arbitrary.

      Deneuve, I really got into her earlier French work (The Young Girls of Rochefort was fantastic!), but my first experience with her was with Tony Scott’s The Hunger. Belle de Jour, though, I’m too much of a hardcore Bunuel fan not to have made that my favorite performance of hers.

      Cotillard actually didn’t get on my favorites until last year, believe it or not. Until I saw Two Days, One Night at Cannes and the Immigrant on Netflix, I was only familiar with La Mome and her work with Christopher Nolan and while the former was outstanding (I was honestly struggling between La Mome and Two Days One Night for her), I found her work for the latter underwhelming for me. But damn did she prove me wrong.

      Speaking of Burstyn, does anybody else notice how her last two releases had her playing the daughter of a character who she ages past?

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