Week of Favorites: Actresses

Thinking about who my favorite actresses are as opposed to who my favorite actors are was a very different process. Since I’m more established with which actors’ performances I value and enjoy the most, as well as the films that star said actors (more so than actresses in general), I have a VERY different list of actresses on my list. By no means am I claiming these are the best actresses, but for me personally, they happen to be favorites of mine.

6. Queen Latifah

This list was actually so hard for me to compile, that I had to include a sixth entry. It was impossible for me to leave Queen Latifah off this list. She’s put in some hilarious and enjoyable supporting performances in Stranger Than FictionWhat Happens in VegasThe Dilemma, Valentine’s Day, and Mad Money, while lending her voice to film-adapted musicals like Hairspray and Chicago, and occasionally starring in her own films, such as Just Wright and The Last Holiday. Although I don’t care for some of the films she’s been in, I typically appreciate Latifah’s role because she’s very good at playing character and supporting roles. Queen Latifah exudes confidence, and I’m always impressed with the depth and capacity she has to be either humorous, dramatic, or serious.

5. Kirsten Dunst

Kirsten Dunst was a tough one to put on the list because I’ve seen only some of her work. I’ve yet to see her talked-about performance in Melancholia, but I can say that I grew up watching her in Interview with the Vampire, JumanjiLittle WomenBring It On, The Virgin Suicides, and Tower of Terror. I think she has a very different look and air about her that seems to separate her from the masses. I didn’t much care for her portrayal of Mary-Jane Watson in the Spiderman series although I think a lot of it has to do with how her role was written. She’s played several parts that have shown off her range, from her role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to Marie Antoinette. My personal favorite role of hers is in Elizabethtown.

4. Julia Roberts

Julia Roberts is one of those actresses who played iconic roles in her time and really established herself. My like for her really goes back to my like of almost all the actors I put on my favorites list in my previous post. I think she’s this timeless actress, almost elevated above many who have tried to do what she has. Roberts really had a way of defining a leading lady in the romcoms of the 90s. For me, she makes this list because I’ve seen several of her films, and I’ve really enjoyed watching her on screen. I think some actresses are easier to enjoy watching than others. My favorite film of hers is somewhere between My Best Friend’s Wedding and Notting Hill, although Pretty Woman comes in at a close third.

3. Reese Witherspoon

The first film I saw Reese Witherspoon in was Legally Blonde, and I knew from there on out that I was going to like her. Although she’s dabbled in some flimsier films from time to time, she’s quite strong in both comedy and drama, and I think she’s excellent at showing vulnerability on screen. Her portrayal of June Carter in Walk the Line is one of her best performances, and she has an Academy Award to show off for it. I will admit that I haven’t seen several of her films, but from the ones I have seen, I typically enjoy watching her in, although How Do You Know is a gross exception. I’m excited to see her take on some new projects and hope she continues to make smart choices.

2. Drew Barrymore

Saturday Night Live has accurately made fun of Drew Barrymore, and it’s almost understandable given Barrymore’s unusual voice or accent. One of the movies I watched over and over again as a kid was Ever After, a loose take on Cinderella. Barrymore certainly isn’t the prettiest girl who could play a Cinderella-like character, but she was every bit believable as a Danielle who fell in love with a prince. I much enjoyed her 90s through early 2000s films, especially The Wedding Singer and Never Been Kissed. What I enjoy most about her is that she’s comes across very human and relatable in her performances, at least the films in which I’ve seen her in. I definitely think she has a different look (and obviously sound) to her, but at the end of the day she’s really just this funny person who enjoys acting.

1. Emma Stone

I almost want to smack myself for choosing Emma Stone because she’s only 24 years old with what now appears to be a long career ahead of her. I’ve seen almost all of her movies and I will readily admit that if she’s in a movie, I would probably go just for the sake of seeing her. It really wasn’t Easy A that made me totally dig Emma Stone, even though I thought she was pretty awesome in that (also, that’s the kind of teen comedy I can deal with today). I think she’s absolutely hilarious and not afraid to do some silly things on screen, even if she might look stupid. Stone is easily my favorite character in The House Bunny, a rather pointless fluff movie, but entertaining nonetheless with Stone trying to “attract” guys by spraying herself with a hose. She played the “it” girl in Zombieland and the annoying, weird girl in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (you caught her in that, right?). The year 2011 really skyrocketed Stone’s career (and name) when she starred in two big hitting films, Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Help. I can imagine Emma Stone becoming the Julia Roberts or maybe more so, the Sandra Bullock, of her time as she ages and takes on more roles.

OK, it’s your turn. Who are your favorite actresses? Does my list sound as crazy to you as it does in my head? Don’t answer that.

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26 thoughts on “Week of Favorites: Actresses

    • Haha, yep, it’s definitely different! Thanks – I tried to remove any thoughts of what “everyone else will think of my choices” and just go with who I have personally enjoyed through movie viewing.

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  1. Interesting list, and you quite surprised me with some of your choices. I am happy to see Queen Latifah on the list because she is really great when she is given good material. I liked Reese Witherspoon in the Legally Blonde series, but I have to admit that I was surprised when she won for Walk The Line, which I thought was ok, but it didn’t blow me away.

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    • I know – it’s definitely different all right! I would definitely agree that Queen Latifah is great, especially given what she has to work with. As for Walk the Line – I was more impressed with her performance than the film overall. I think she does a nice job switching between comedy and drama.

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  2. Good call on Emma Stone. She seems like one to definitely watch! I’ve also always had a bit of a thing for Drew and Kirstin! I think my favourite is Kate Winslet. I think she’s amazing in everything. I also love Charlize Theron, especially in Monster. I thought that was one of the best performances I’d ever seen. And Jodie Foster… she kicks ass in silence of the Lambs and Panic Room!

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    • Thanks! I think she will be. Haha, yeah, they’re both pretty likable on and off screen. Ya know, I thought about Kate Winslet and I considered her, but she just isn’t one of my favorites. I think she’s given multiple great performances, but I guess as a viewer I don’t particularly favor her acting, despite how good she is. Speaking of Charlize Theron – I just saw Monster a couple days ago for the first time! Thought she was brilliant in it. Definitely a hard performance to give, but a great one nonetheless. Not very surprised by her Academy Award win for that. Haha, I really like Jodie Foster in both those films as well, although I do tend to wonder if she can play any other type of character. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as always, Pete!

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  3. Oooh, I love that you included Queen Latifah. I haven’t seen too many of her films but she’s just so fun and likable. It’s like her positive spirit is contagious y’know. I like her in ‘Stranger than Fiction,’ one of my favorite movies, and of course ‘Chicago.’ I hope she gets better roles as she’s talented and obviously has screen presence. Btw, did you ever see the Jay Leno episode where Gerry Butler is shamelessly flirting with her? I don’t think he was joking either, it was such a hoot to watch!

    I like the rest of your picks, though I’m kinda over Reese now. I was quite bored w/ her performance in Water for Elephants.

    My fave actresses are all mostly non-Americans: Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Emily Blunt, Helen Mirren, etc. Oh and of the newer ones, I like Jessica Chastain and Rebecca Hall.

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    • I really just love Queen Latifah and have yet to see a performance of her I won’t like. Her joy and charisma are contagious both on and off the screen – good point! Awesome – I love Stranger Than Fiction. Definitely an interesting film, and one that I can put up with Will Ferrel in (“I got you flours!”). I didn’t, but I’m totally curious now and will have to watch that. That is absolutely hilarious!

      I actually haven’t seen Water for Elephants (weirdly enough, I had no desire to see that film). I really think she should stick to comedy because I think it’s a strong point for her.

      Every single one of the actresses you mentioned I considered to put on this list (with the exception of Rebecca Hall), Charlize Theron and Emily Blunt being the closest. You have some great picks, and I can definitely understand why you picked them. Thanks for sharing yours, Ruth!

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  4. Glad you call some light to Dunst, and GREAT call on Elizabethtown. I forgot I own that, now I need to watch it again! She may get flack for the Spider-Man series but she’s been pretty solid in nearly everything else…starting with Interview with a Vampire.

    I just adore Emma Stone, kudos for giving her the top spot. Well played Kristin, well played:)

    P.S. Water For Elephants is a wonderful movie, you check it out soon!

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    • Hey there, Marc! Haha, glad to hear there’s another Elizabethtown! Yeah, I feel like the big issue is that she wasn’t well-cast for that role. It really didn’t work well with the story of Spiderman in my opinion.

      Haha, thanks! I couldn’t help it. I know younger people (like myself) will appreciate it more than others probably, but I can’t deny that I’m a big fan of her.

      OK – thanks for the recommendation! I’m sure at some point I’ll end up seeing it.

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  5. Like I said with actors, there are no actresses who get me into a film solely because they’re in it (and I know you’re of the same mindset….I’m just repeating myself…as I am known to do).

    Here’s a few that at least make me double-clutch…

    Michelle Williams (If I had a favorite of the moment, it’s her)
    Emily Blunt
    Maggie Gyllenhaal
    Marion Cotillard
    Christina Hendricks
    Jessica Chastain

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    • Haha, no problem!

      Michelle Williams is a very understandable pick. She’s great in everything she’s in. Yay for a Maggie Gyllenhaal fan! I love her (and I think I’m of the few who preferred her over Katie Holmes in Batman Begins). Marion Cotillard would have made my list had I seen more of her performances. I have yet to see La Vie En Rose, and I think if I had seen her in more than Contagion, Inception, and Midnight in Paris, she’d be on my list. Emily Blunt barely missed my list as well, and Jessica Chastain seems to be the “it” girl for film. She’s in everything and she’s GREAT. Nice choices, Ryan!

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  6. Seeing Queen Latifah pop right up at the start of this list was awesome. So unexpected. And the things I’ve seen her in, she is good. And I like that your favorite Emma Stone performance is in a fluff movie. That’s the sign of genius, isn’t it? When you can still stand out in fluff.

    And I’m glad you included Kirsten Dunst. She’s in my Top 5 too and I’ll go on the record as saying that I have, in fact, seen every movie she’s ever made (because I’m kind of insane). Some great, some good, some not so good, but she’s almost universally solid.

    My #1? I think most people know. I’ll say it anyway. Kate. Winslet.

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    • Haha, glad someone appreciated that 🙂 I think it is – Emma Stone is really a stand-out in what she’s in, and I think she’s such a positive person to be in the limelight right now. She really is head and shoulders above many of the actresses in our age group, and that’s why I really like her.

      That’s great – no judgment here. I would agree that Dunst is universally solid all around and brings something interesting to each of her roles.

      Not a surprise! Very understandable and good choice. Winslet is above par in everything she’s in. I really love her acting, but she was just never a favorite of mine.

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  7. Interesting list Kristin! Kinda like your actor one in that it doesn’t really reflect current rising stars (outside of Emma Stone) which is nice. I used to be a big fan of Reese but she has done virtually nothing noteworthy since Walk the Line and been coasting by ever since. That’s so disappointing.

    Mine:
    – Rachel McAdams
    – Jessica Chastain
    – Michelle Williams

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    • Yeah, I think Reese has been disappointing since Walk the Line, although I do have hopes that she will go on to play better roles. I think she has all the potential in the world, but getting the right project is another matter.

      I KNEW Rachel McAdams would make your list! Haha. And both Chastain and Williams are big right now, yet both subtle in their approach. I like that each of them are forcefully in the light. They both have been a part of the some of the best films of last year and I look forward to seeing them in more next.

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  8. I would have to say that Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Kathy Bates, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jennifer Ehle, and Hillary Swank are my favorite actresses.

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    • I knew Streep, Bates, and Swank would make your list, Jenn. The others surprise me, but only a little! I always forget about Bonham-Carter, and she’s great in everything I’ve seen her in! Nice list!

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  9. Re: Cotillard…

    I’d bet my bile duct you saw her in BIG FISH, but forgot she was in it. She’s great in (the criminally underrated PUBLIC ENEMIES). You’re right to bring up LA VIE EN ROSE, since she totally slays in that. I have it on good authority that she’s wonderful in LOVE ME IF YOU DARE, and it’s been a long time, but I also recall liking her in A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT.

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    • Before you go betting off your bile duct, I’ll tell you that I haven’t seen Big Fish before! However, I have seen Public Enemies (and loved it, btw), and didn’t even realize she was in it! I’ll have to look into those last two films you mentioned, because I have not seen them. I’m not surprised to hear that she’s wonderful. From the first time I saw her (in Inception – sad, I know, right?), I was like, who is this and SHE’S AWESOME.

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  10. Thats a cool list Kristin. I like you you personalized your selections. While I do not know if I would pick the same actresses you did, I am a big fan of Drew Barrymore. Did you happen to notice that she is co-hosting The Essentials on TCM with Robert Osborne? I think its super cool that she is into classic films as well as being a great actress.

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    • Haha, it’s understandable – I know a lot of people have different tastes, or they’ve seen films where some performances really shine or stick out to them. Glad to read there’s another Drew Barrymore fan! I just love her! Nah, I didn’t know that – that’s exciting to hear. I will have to check that out. Thanks for the tip. No kidding!

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