Cinematic History Without these 12+ Female Stars is Incomplete
01st December, 2021
You must be aware of all the amazing performances your favorite actors gave. But are you aware of THE best performance that got them major recognition? The best cinematic performances don’t have to be judged by how many awards the actor garnered, nor is it based on the reviews they earn. The best performances come from the feelings they can portray and convey beyond the screen. We have put together a list of some of the best female performances that have won hearts over the decades. Now, these roles may or may not have won these actors any Oscars, but they have cemented their place in cinematic history.
Black Swan – Natalie Portman
Black Swan holds the capacity to make you feel vulnerable, fall in love with ballet and hate it, and ponder over the consequences of that world. Natalie Portman flawlessly portrays the character of Nina Sayers, a girl maniacally in love with her art. The transition of Nina to the black swan is worth more than a single watch. Darren Aronofsky has created a maddening work of psychological horror, and it’s marvelous, to say the least.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Audrey Hepburn
Truman Capote’s novella was turned into a movie, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s introduced us to Audrey Hepburn. The story is about Holly, who loves to stare at windows and eventually falls in love with her neighbor. But the journey is anything but ordinary. Hepburn once admitted that playing the extroverted Holly was difficult since she was an introvert. If you’re someone who still hasn’t witnessed this magic unfold, what are you waiting for?
Carol – Kate Blanchett
If you don’t love over-the-top love stories, you’re not alone. If you do, though, keep scrolling because there are more on this list. Carol’s story, the performance, everything in this movie surpasses expectations. Moreover, Kate Blanchett’s performance of Carol Aird is more than just captivating. But, don’t judge her character from what you witness in the initial minutes because you are going to be surprised at how well she portrays this complex role.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Kate Winslet
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Kate Winslet plays one half of an on-again-off-again couple that is busy fighting their battles. Words fail to describe how beautifully Winslet portrays Clementine’s character and masterfully engages the audience. And much like Jim Carrey’s character, she manages to make the audience fall in love with her over and over again. Moreover, this is Winslet’s favorite performance, which is reason enough to fall deeply in love with it.
Frida – Salma Hayek
Although Salma Hayek has delivered some magnificent roles, Frida is still considered one of her top-tier performances. Hayek brought the troubled ahead-of-her-time artist from the 1990s to life. Her performance is flawless and leaves you wanting more. The movie leads us through the marriage, work, tempestuous affairs, and the troubled mind of Frida Kahlo. Playing a legend like Kahlo must have been big shoes to put on, but Hayek does it effortlessly and flawlessly.
Kramer Vs Kramer – Meryl Streep
Kramer Vs Kramer, a 1976 movie about marital collapse, remains a must-watch to date. Many know Meryl Streep as the timeless actor, but we’re here to talk about the anti-hero role Streep bagged and how she managed to make the audience shed tears. Joanna, a frustrated wife of a workaholic man, decides to leave her life behind. We follow through the struggles of Joanna’s husband and son and the agony portrayed.
Monster – Charlize Theron
A true-crime movie starring the legendary Charlize Theron? Yes, please! Theron puts on the face of a serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who was accused of committing seven murders. The real Aileen Wuornos was found guilty and executed a mere year before the movie came out, and the conviction with which Theron plays this role will leave your hair standing on its end. Theron wonderfully encapsulates the disturbing life and decisions of a woman gone deranged.
Mulholland Drive – Naomi Watts
Naomi Watts, a not-so-experienced face, was cast after director Lynch had been disappointed by the auditioners before her. Watts plays the roles of Diane and Betty. Although this might not be the best performance by Watts, it was certainly her best when it came out. It is fascinating to watch how Watts enacts Betty’s character transformation in the movie and holds it through even when things keep getting murkier as the film progresses.
Requiem for a Dream – Ellen Burstyn
For the longest time many believed that Ellen Buetstyn couldn’t surpass her performance in The Exorcist, but Requiem for a Dream showed us otherwise. Burstyn’s performance and the improbability of seeing her in such an enormous role caught everyone unprepared. She portrays the triumph and importance of physical acting in this role of a drug addict’s mother and is possibly one of the saddest roles in cinematic history.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Rooney Mara
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo proved that Rooney Mara can perform across various genres. Her portrayal of Lisabeth Salander made her one of the youngest Oscar nominees at the age of 26. Lisabeth is a computer hacker hired to find a woman who had gone missing decades ago. Mara completely changed her looks and personality to adorn the avatar of the goth hacker. In fact, everything (except the dragon tattoo) was real.
The Help – Viola Davis
The Help has been a beloved story in literature and performing arts. Tate Taylor hit the jackpot with a stellar cast involving Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, and Emma Stone. However, despite the numerous impressive performances, Davis’s role is the most outstanding one, getting her various prestigious nominations and wins. Recently, the actor revealed that she regretted playing the part, especially because the story was narrated from a white person’s POV.
The Philadelphia Story – Katharine Hepburn
Despite being a highly sought-after movie performer, Katharine Hepburn’s career wasn’t all that rewarding back in the 1930s. In fact, most of her movies were bombing. That is until she reprived her role as Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story. Hepburn managed to surprise critics and audiences, and Lord became one of her best performances of all time. It is gratifying to watch her turn into a human from a cold, snobbish socialite.
The Piano Teacher – Isabella Huppert
The collaboration between Michael Haneke and Isabella Huppert in The Piano Teacher is deeply touching. The two-hour-long movie slowly unravels Huppert’s character and shows her slow undoing. Huppert commits to Haneke’s vision of Erica, which can be a disturbing watch for some. Sometimes a love story, sometimes an unsettling story, The Piano Teacher is a timeless masterpiece. If you have already seen this, don’t worry; there are more timeless masterpieces on this list.
Toni Erdmann – Sandra Huller
Usually, foreign language movies find it challenging to catch the fame or attention of English movie lovers. But Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann managed to break through that barrier. A huge chunk of praise was directed towards Sandra Huller’s performance and character development. The movie is based on an estranged father who tries to reconnect with his extremely work-driven daughter. And what follows is a heartwarming and wholesome journey of rebuilding a relationship.
Under the Skin – Scarlett Johannson
Scarlett Johannson has been deemed one of the most beautiful actors to grace the screens. Even though we love her as Black Widow from MCU, she has better performances under her skin or belt. ScarJo’s Under the Skin introduced us to her as a Non-Earth resident, and despite the creepiness that surrounds her, there is no reason we won’t rewatch this movie. Under the Skin, a slow-burn sci-fi, wins at the alien-meets-human game.
We Need to Talk About Kevin – Tilda Swinton
Tilda Swinton is one of the few actors that have managed to blow away the audiences and critics with every single one of her performances. So, choosing one epic performance by her was the hardest thing ever. We Need To Talk About Kevin is based on the aftermath of a travel author’s sociopath son, Kevin. Her character oozes vulnerability and cold poise in equal measure and is a showstopper by all means.
12 Years A Slave – Lupita Nyong’o
Lupita Nyong’o has had success in every project, including Us, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII), and Black Panther. However, her finest performance is accredited to 12 Years a Slave. Nyong’o masterfully played the role of Patsey, who is a victim of a brutal trauma involving emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. The actor’s dedication and passion are sure to leave you scarred with the raw emotion and the coldest of hearts with warmth.