It’s time to reveal Hollywood’s top 10 Best Hollywood Actresses to have ever graced the silver screen
2017 was a great year for women in Hollywood. The #Metoo and Time’s Up movements started the ball rolling to finally gain women the equality and respect that they deserve. It was also a year when 3 of the top glossing Hollywood films would be led by women.
These 3 films combined raked in an unbelievable $2 billion, proving if that women can be big box office draws. Despite women frequently receiving what amounted to support roles throughout Hollywood’s history, there have been a huge number of superb performances given by actresses onscreen.
It is really hard to compare actresses from all the different eras of Hollywood’s history. The reason for this is quite simply that acting styles changed as technology advanced. During the silent film era, actresses had to be dramatic in order to convey the emotion that the absence of sound created.
As technologies advanced, a greater focus on realism became more and more important. Eventually, this would lead us to today where performers must tackle extremely difficult roles. One such example is biographical films such as The Queen, where Helen Mirren gave an award-winning performance as The Queen of England.
With these changes in style in mind, here is our list of the best 10 Hollywood actresses of all-time.
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Best 10 Hollywood Actresses of All-Time
When she first appeared as the character of Linda in the screen classic The Deer Hunter back in 1976, Meryl Streep somehow stole the gaze of everyone in the audience. Her combination of innocent good-looks and excellent acting abilities meant that her small role seemed much bigger than it actually was.
The following year, she would prove that this role was not just a one off by playing the small part of Woody Allen’s outspoken ex-wife in Manhattan. Further iconic roles would follow, including Kramer vs. Kramer, Out of Africa and the more recent Mama Mia.
Katherine Hepburn would have the honor of having a career that spanned a lifetime. Few women are afforded this chance, especially during Hollywood’s ‘golden age’.
Hepburn was not only was a positive role model within the films she acted in but also off-screen too. She had a fiery sternness about her personality that made her more than a match for her male counterparts.
Her ability to project these character traits onscreen led to her getting a string of hit roles that included Susan in Bringing Up Baby, Tracy Lord in The Philadelphia Story, and Rose Sayer in The African Queen. Quite unbelievably, her glittering career that began during the late silent era back in 1932 lasted until 1992.
While she is most known for her role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Audrey Hepburn managed to star in a number of hit films throughout the 1950’s and 60’s. In the era of the Hollywood blonde, as personified by the blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe, Hepburn was able to help create the image of the sophisticated sexy brunette.
Amazingly, despite her overwhelming popularity with audiences around the world, Hepburn was only to make 34 films in her lifetime. Despite this small number of performances, she was still able to win 1 Academy Award as well as another 22 wins in film festivals around the globe. All this is quite staggering, especially since she gained all these wins from just 39 nominations.
Bette Davis was another actress who would stand the test of time. Her career spanned almost 6 decades and saw her win 2 Academy Awards with a further 23 other wins. Despite not having the looks or voice of a classical Hollywood studio star of the 1930’s, she managed to claw her way to the top through sheer talent.
Bette Davis has spent a number of years honing her acting abilities onstage. When she made the switch to film this undoubtedly led to her being able to out act even the best Hollywood actors. Her role as Margo in All About Eve cemented her reputation as being one of the best Hollywood actresses of all-time.
Like actor Al Pacino, Diane Keaton would get her big break starring the Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. She would play the role of Kay Adams, a young and naive woman who over the course of the first 2 films would watch her beloved Michael turn into a monster. The depth and complexity she was able to bring to the relationship between Kay Adams and Michael, despite her lack on screen time, was enormous.
She would go on to perform numerous iconic roles including Mary in Woody Allen’s Manhattan and in Annie Hall. To date, she has won 1 Academy Award and notched up another 31 wins.
Famous for her dashing good looks as well as her acting ability, Elizabeth Taylor was one of the last actresses to graduate from the old Hollywood system of the 1940’s. During her 60 year career she would act in some of the most iconic and well-well known films Hollywood would ever produce.
Perhaps her biggest role was when she had the stared in Cleopatra opposite Richard Burton. The two would become Hollywood’s most glamorous couple. She also produced a number of highly critically acclaimed performances such as Leslie Benedict in Giant and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses who ever lived, Ingrid Bergman had an ability to excel in whatever part she was given. Because of her immense acting range she is the joint second highest Academy Award winning actress ever. Tied with Meryl Streep, she only loses out to Katherine Hepburn.
She began acting in 1932, but it wasn’t until 1942 with her costar role in Casablanca that she hit the big time. Regarded as one of the best Hollywood love stories ever made, Bergman shone in the role of Ilsa Lund. Starring opposite Humphrey Bogart, her performance would make her into an icon forevermore.
Bergman would later go on to act in Spellbound and several other films that would show just why she deserves a place on this list. Unfortunately, her laughable Spanish accent in the film adaptation of Hemmingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls is the reason she appears this lower in this list.
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When the film Thelma & Louise was released back in 1991, its success would create a new Hollywood star who has somehow managed to make an incredible 149 films to date. Susan Sarandon got her break playing opposite Kevin Costner in Bull Durham.
This performance got her the role as the strong-willed Louise in Ridley Scott’s Thelma and Louise. The film was a huge hit and one of the first for an all-female lead movie.
Sarandon was later to play the part of Sister Helen Prejean in the film Dead Man Walking. The part would earn her an academy award and numerous other awards nominations too. She has an incredible 52 other award wins to her name.
Vivian Leigh gave her most famous performance as Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. Having only started movie acting some 4 years before, the strength and depth of Leigh’s perfromance in the film is amazing. Watching this film, which was made nearly 80 years ago, it is unbelievable how well her performance stands up today.
Despite only ever appearing in 20 films, Leigh would win 2 Academy Awards and a further 8 other awards. Her role as Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire showed just how powerful an actress she was. The only regret is that she chose to make so few films during her lifetime.
Just edging out the very talented Jodi Foster is Halle Berry. While she has not been able to find as iconic roles as others on this list, Berry has shown she is one of the best actresses in Hollywood. She is the first African American actress to win the Academy Award’s best actress award.
Unfortunately, she does tend to take roles in big-budget movies, denying us the chance to see her regularity taking on challenging roles. Great performances in Bulworth and Cloud Atlas show why she fully deserves a place on this list.
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