Best Female Performances in The Last 20 Years

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1.
Björk
Born in 1965 in the Icelandic capital city of Reykjavik, the daughter of Gudmundur Gunnarsson (an electrician) and Hildur Hauksdóttir who divorced before her second birthday, Björk grew up in a hippie-type community with her mother and her seven siblings. She started to study classical music at the...
“ For "Dancer in the Dark" (2000) ” - sugar_kan3
 
2.
Ellen Burstyn
Actress, Interstellar
Ellen Burstyn was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Correine Marie (Hamel) and John Austin Gillooly. She is of mostly Irish, German, and French-Canadian descent. Ellen worked a number of jobs before she became an actress. At 14, she was a short-order cook at a lunch counter. After graduating from Detroit's Cass Technical High School...
“ For "Requiem for a Dream" (2000) ” - sugar_kan3
 
3.
Hilary Swank
Hilary was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Judith Kay (Clough), a secretary, and Stephen Michael Swank, who served in the National Guard and was also a traveling salesman. Her maternal grandmother, Frances Martha Dominguez, was of Mexican descent, and her other roots include German, English, and Scottish...
“ For "Boys Don't Cry" (1999) ” - sugar_kan3
 
4.
Kate Winslet
Actress, Titanic
Ask Kate Winslet what she likes about any of her characters, and the word "ballsy" is bound to pop up at least once. The British actress has made a point of eschewing straightforward pretty-girl parts in favor of more devilish damsels; as a result, she's built an eclectic resume that runs the gamut from Shakespearean tragedy to modern-day mysticism and erotica...
“ For "Heavenly Creatures" (1994) and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (2004) ” - sugar_kan3
 
5.
Jodie Foster
Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but the exes had a brief re-encounter in 1962 which resulted in Alicia's birth...
“ For "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) and "Contact" (1997) ” - sugar_kan3
 
6.
Julianne Moore
Julianne Moore was born Julie Anne Smith in Fort Bragg, North Carolina on December 3, 1960, the daughter of Anne (Love), a social worker, and Peter Moore Smith, a paratrooper, colonel, and later military judge. Her mother moved to the U.S. in 1951, from Greenock, Scotland. Her father, from Burlington, New Jersey, has German, Irish, German-Jewish, and English ancestry...
“ For "Boogie Nights" (1997) and "Far From Heaven" (2002) ” - sugar_kan3
 
7.
Chloë Sevigny
Known in the mid to late nineties for her status as a fashion impresario and "it girl," with over a dozen art house films to her credit, Chloe Sevigny also stands out as one of the most prominent queens of contemporary independent cinema. Originally hailing from Darien, Connecticut, Sevigny attributes...
“ For "Boys Don't Cry" (1999) ” - sugar_kan3
 
8.
Holly Hunter
Holly Hunter was born in Conyers, Georgia, to Opal Marguerite (Catledge), a homemaker, and Charles Edwin Hunter, a part-time sporting goods company representative and farmer with a 250 acre farm. She is the youngest of seven children. Her parents encouraged her talent at an early age, and her first acting part was as Helen Keller in a fifth-grade play...
“ For "The Piano" (1993) and "Thirteen" (2003). ” - sugar_kan3
 
9.
Kathy Bates
Actress, Titanic
Multi-talented Kathleen Doyle Bates was born on June 28, 1948, and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She is the youngest of three girls born to Bertye Kathleen (Talbot), a homemaker, and Langdon Doyle Bates, a mechanical engineer. Her grandfather was author Finis L. Bates. Kathy has English, as well as Irish...
“ For "Misery" (1990) and "About Schmidt" (2002) ” - sugar_kan3
 
10.
Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, New York, to Lenora Marie (Criscione) and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, a television producer and advertising executive. She is of Italian (mother) and English, Irish, Welsh, and German (father) descent. Soon after the 1968 Democratic convention...
“ For "The Client" (1994) and "Dead Man Walking" (1995) ” - sugar_kan3
 
11.
Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron was born in Benoni, a city in the greater Johannesburg-area, in South Africa, the only child of Gerda Theron (née Gerda Jacoba Aletta Maritz) and Charles Jacobus Theron. She was raised on a farm outside the city. Theron is of Afrikaner (Dutch, with some French Huguenot and German) descent, and Afrikaner military figure Danie Theron was her great-great-uncle...
“ For "Monster" (2004) ” - sugar_kan3
 
12.
Elisabeth Shue
Elisabeth Shue was born in Wilmington, Delaware, to Anne Brewster (Wells), who worked for the Chemical Banking Corporation, and James William Shue, a lawyer and real estate developer. She is of German and English ancestry, including descent from Mayflower passengers. Shue's parents divorced while she was in the fourth grade...
“ For "Leaving Las Vegas" (1995) ” - sugar_kan3
 
13.
Julia Roberts
Actress, Notting Hill
Julia Fiona Roberts never dreamed she would become the most popular actress in America. She was born in Smyrna, Georgia, to Betty Lou (Bredemus) and Walter Grady Roberts, one-time actors and playwrights, and is of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, German, and Swedish descent. As a child, due to her love of animals...
“ For "Erin Brokovich" (2000) ” - sugar_kan3
 
14.
Naomi Watts
Actress, King Kong
Naomi Ellen Watts was born on September 28, 1968 in Shoreham, England, to Myfanwy Edwards "Miv" (Roberts), an antiques dealer and costume/set designer, and Peter Watts (Peter Anthony Watts), the road manager to Pink Floyd. Her maternal grandfather was Welsh. Her father died when Naomi was seven and she began to follow her mother and her brother around England...
“ For "Mulholland Dr." (2001) and "21 Gramms" (2003) ” - sugar_kan3
 
15.
Sissy Spacek
Actress, Carrie
As a kid, Sissy Spacek climbed trees, rode horses, swam, and played in the woods. She was born Mary Elizabeth Spacek on December 25, 1949, in Quitman, Texas, to Virginia Frances (Spilman) and Edwin Arnold Spacek, Sr., a county agricultural agent. Her father's family was of Czech and German origin. Sissy attended Quitman High School and was homecoming queen...
“ For "In The Bedroom" (2001) ” - sugar_kan3
 
16.
Annette Bening
Annette Bening was born on May 29, 1958 in Topeka, Kansas, the youngest of four children of Shirley (Ashley), a soloist and church singer, and Arnett Grant Bening, an insurance salesman. She has German and English ancestry. Her family moved to California when she was young, and she grew up there. She...
“ For "American Beauty" (1999) and "Being Julia" (2002) ” - sugar_kan3
 
17.
Marion Cotillard
Actress, Inception
Academy Award-winning Actress Marion Cotillard was born on September 30, 1975 in Paris. Cotillard is the daughter of Jean-Claude Cotillard, an actor, playwright and director, and Niseema Theillaud, an actress and drama teacher. Her father's family is Breton and her mother has Kabyle ancestry. Raised in Orléans...
“ For "La Vie en Rose" (2007) ” - sugar_kan3
 
18.
Jennifer Connelly
Jennifer Connelly was born in the Catskill Mountains, New York, to Ilene (Schuman), a dealer of antiques, and Gerard Connelly, a clothing manufacturer. Her father had Irish and Norwegian ancestry, and her mother was from a Jewish immigrant family. Jennifer grew up in Brooklyn Heights, just across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan...
“ For "Requiem for a Dream" (2000) and "A Beautiful Mind" (2001) ” - sugar_kan3
 
19.
Evan Rachel Wood
Actress, The Wrestler
Evan Rachel Wood was born September 7, 1987, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her father, Ira David Wood III, is a theatre actor, writer and director, and her mother, Sara Wood, is an actress and acting coach. She has two older brothers--Dana Wood, a musician, and Ira David Wood IV, who has also acted...
“ For "Thirteen" (2003) ” - sugar_kan3
 
20.
Helen Mirren
Actress, The Queen
Dame Helen Mirren was born in Queen Charlotte's Hospital in West London. Her mother, Kathleen Alexandrina Eva Matilda (Rogers), was from a working-class English family, and her father, Vasiliy Petrovich Mironov, was a Russian-born civil servant, from Kuryanovo, whose own father was a diplomat. Mirren attended St...
“ For "The Queen" (2006) ” - sugar_kan3
 
21.
“ For "Transamerica" (2005) ” - sugar_kan3
 
22.
Judi Dench
Actress, Skyfall
Judi Dench was born in York, England, to Eleanora Olive (Jones), who was from Dublin, Ireland, and Reginald Arthur Dench, a doctor from Dorset, England. She attended Mount School in York, and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama. She has performed with Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre...
“ For "Mrs. Brown" (1997) and "Iris" (2002) ” - sugar_kan3
 
23.
Laura Dern
Actress, Jurassic Park
Laura Dern was born on February 10, 1967 in Los Angeles, the daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd. Dern was exposed to movie sets and the movie industry from infancy, and obtained several bit parts as a child. Her parents divorced when Dern was two and Dern lost contact with her father for several years as a result...
“ For "Rambling Rose" (1991) and "Inland Empire" (2006) ” - sugar_kan3
 
24.
Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel, to a Jewish family. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American-born artist (from Cincinnati, Ohio), who also acts as Natalie's agent. She left Israel for Washington...
“ For "Closer" (2004) and "Black Swan" (2010) ” - sugar_kan3
 
25.
Tilda Swinton
The iconoclastic gifts of the visually striking and fiercely talented actress Tilda Swinton have been appreciated by a more international audience of late. She was born Katherine Mathilda Swinton on November 5, 1960, in London, England. Her mother, Judith Balfour, Lady Swinton (née Killen), was Australian...
“ For "Michael Clayton" (2006) ” - sugar_kan3
 
26.
Jennifer Hudson
Actress, Dreamgirls
Jennifer Hudson is a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author. Bright and booming talent Hudson is a perfect example of how NOT winning the title of American Idol can actually be a boon to your career and not necessarily the end of a childhood dream...
“ For "Dreamgirls" (2006) ” - sugar_kan3
 
27.
“ For "The Fighter" (2010) ” - sugar_kan3