Feature Blogs

Matt's Favourite Actresses: 2011 Edition


I’m back on deck after illness and a very busy week.  Plenty of things to do and plenty of movies to see.


I saw a couple of films last week that had me thinking “wow, she’s a great actress”.  I was referring to Rosamund Pike in Barney’s Version and Carey Mulligan in Never Let Me Go.  It has prompted me to update the list I keep of my favourite actresses.  The last time I did an update was back in October 2008.


This week, I’ve scoured through my reviews to come up with a current list of my 10 favourite actresses working today.  I started with a shortlist of about 25 and worked my way down from there.  It wasn’t easy.


When I create such a list, I’m looking at two key criteria – (1) the actress has a history of strong performances in great movies over the past 10 years, and (2) any new film starring this actress is likely to grab my attention.


New inclusions in this year’s list are Patricia Clarkson, Amy Adams and Rachel McAdams.  They sneak in at the expense of Laura Linney, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Connolly.


Honourable mentions this year have to go to Rosamund Pike, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Sally Hawkins, Carey Mulligan, Michelle Williams, Helen Mirren, Marisa Tomei, Zooey Deschanel, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard and Marcia Gay Harden.


With that said, here then are my 10 favourite actresses.  For each, I’ve listed my favourite performances over the past decade.  Enjoy!



10. Rachel McAdams

Favourite Performances:  Morning Glory (2010), State Of Play (2009), Wedding Crashers (2005), Mean Girls (2004), The Notebook (2004)


9.  Natalie Portman 

Favourite Performances:  No Strings Attached (2011), Black Swan (2010), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), V For Vendetta (2005), Garden State (2004), Closer (2004), Cold Mountain (2003)


8. Amy Adams

Favourite Performances:  The Fighter (2010), Doubt (2008), Sunshine Cleaning (2008), Charlie Wilson’s War (2007), Enchanted (2007), Junebug (2005)


7.  Nicole Kidman

Favourite Performances:  Rabbit Hole (2010), Australia (2008), Margot At The Wedding (2007), Birth (2004), Cold Mountain (2003), Dogville (2003), The Hours (2002), The Others (2001), Moulin Rouge!  (2001)


6. Patricia Clarkson

Favourite Performances:  Easy A (2010), Cairo Time (2009), Elegy (2008), Good Night And Good Luck (2005), Dogville (2003), The Station Agent (2003), Pieces Of April (2003), Far From Heaven (2002)


5.  Julianne Moore 

Favourite Performances:  The Kids Are All Right (2010), Chloe (2009), A Single Man (2009), Children Of Men (2006), The Hours (2002), Hannibal (2002), Far From Heaven (2002)


4.  Kate Winslet 

Favourite Performances:  Revolutionary Road (2008), The Reader (2008), Little Children (2006), The Holiday (2006), Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004), Finding Neverland (2004), Iris (2001)


3.  Meryl Streep 

Favourite Performances:  Julie & Julia (2009), Doubt (2008), Mamma Mia! (2008), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), A Prairie Home Companion (2006), Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2004), The Manchurian Candidate (2004), The Hours (2002), Adaptation (2002)


2.  Cate Blanchett 

Favourite Performances:  I’m Not There (2007), Babel (2006), Notes On A Scandal (2006), The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004), The Aviator (2004), Veronica Guerin (2003)


1.  Tilda Swinton 

Favourite Performances:  I Am Love (2010), Burn After Reading (2008), Michael Clayton (2007), The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (2005), Broken Flowers (2005), Adaptation (2002), The Deep End (2001)



I hope some of your own favourites made the list.  Next week, I’ll unveil my 10 favourite actors.  It’ll be an equally difficult list to put together.


In case you were interested, I updated the list of my favourite 10 directors in October last year.  You can check it out by clicking here.