Best Performances of 2011

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1.
Viola Davis
Actress, The Help
Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), a maid and factory worker...
“ The Help ” - lcrehan
 
2.
Meryl Streep
Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 20 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William Streep...
“ The Iron Lady ” - lcrehan
 
3.
Melissa McCarthy
Actress, Gilmore Girls
Melissa McCarthy was born in Plainfield, Illinois, to Sandra and Michael McCarthy, a farmer. McCarthy began her performing career as a stand-up comedian in New York where she appeared at the famous clubs, Stand Up New York and The Improv. She worked on her acting skills at The Actors Studio and appeared in many stage productions in the city before moving to Los Angeles in the late-1990s...
“ Bridesmaids ” - lcrehan
 
4.
Octavia Spencer
Spencer is a native of Montgomery, Alabama, which she claims is the proverbial buckle of the Bible belt. She's the sixth of seven siblings and holds a BS in Liberal Arts from Auburn University. A "closet" lover of acting, this practical Alabamian knew that she'd someday work in the film industry, but never dreamed it would be in front of the camera...
“ The Help ” - lcrehan
 
5.
Max von Sydow
Max von Sydow was born Carl Adolf von Sydow on April 10, 1929 in Lund, Skåne, Sweden, to a middle-class family. He is the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a teacher, and Carl Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and folklore professor. His surname traces back to his father's partial German ancestry...
“ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close ” - lcrehan
 
6.
Michelle Williams
A small-town girl born and raised in rural Kalispell, Montana, Michelle Ingrid Williams is the daughter of Carla Ingrid (Swenson), a homemaker, and Larry Richard Williams, a commodity trader and author. Her ancestry is Norwegian, as well as German, British Isles, and other Scandinavian. She was first known as bad girl Jen Lindley in the television series Dawson's Creek...
“ My Week with Marilyn ” - lcrehan
 
7.
George Clooney
Actor, Gravity
George Timothy Clooney was born on May 6, 1961, in Lexington, Kentucky, to Nina Bruce (née Warren), a former beauty pageant queen, and Nick Clooney, a former anchorman and game show host (who was also the brother of singer Rosemary Clooney). He has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Clooney spent most of this youth in Ohio and Kentucky...
“ Ides of March/The Descendents ” - lcrehan
 
8.
Sandra Bullock
Actress, Gravity
Sandra Annette Bullock was born in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Her mother, Helga Bullock (née Helga Mathilde Meyer), was a German opera singer. Her father, John W. Bullock, was an American voice teacher, who was born in Alabama, of Irish, English, French, and German descent. Sandra grew up on the road with her parents and younger sister...
“ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close ” - lcrehan
 
9.
Jessica Chastain
Actress, The Martian
Jessica Michelle Chastain was born in Sacramento, California, and was raised in a middle-class household in a northern California suburb. Her mother, Jerri Chastain, is a vegan chef whose family is originally from Kansas, and her stepfather is a fireman. She discovered dance at the age of nine and was in a dance troupe by age thirteen...
“ The Help/The Tree of Life ” - lcrehan
 
10.
Brad Pitt
An actor and producer known as much for his versatility as he is for his handsome face, Golden Globe-winner Brad Pitt's most widely recognized role may be Tyler Durden in Fight Club. However, his portrayals of Billy Beane in Moneyball, and Rusty Ryan in the remake of Ocean's Eleven and its sequels, also loom large in his filmography...
“ Moneyball/The Tree of Life ” - lcrehan
 
11.
Kristen Wiig
Actress, The Martian
Kristen Carroll Wiig was born on August 22, 1973 in Canandaigua, New York, to Laurie J. (Johnston), an artist, and Jon J. Wiig, a lake marina manager. She is of Norwegian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, English, and Scottish descent. The family moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, before settling in Rochester...
“ Bridesmaids ” - lcrehan
 
12.
Emma Stone
Actress, The Help
Emily Jean "Emma" Stone was born in Scottsdale, Arizona, to Krista (Yeager), a homemaker, and Jeffrey Charles Stone, a contracting company founder and CEO. She is of Swedish (from her paternal grandfather), English, German, Scottish, and Irish descent. Stone began acting as a child as a member of the Valley Youth Theatre in Phoenix...
“ The Help/Crazy, Stupid Love. ” - lcrehan
 
13.
Rooney Mara
Actress and philanthropist Rooney Mara was born on April 17, 1985 in Bedford, New York. She made her screen debut in the slasher film Urban Legends: Bloody Mary, went on to have a supporting role in the independent coming-of-age drama Tanner Hall, and has since starred in the horror remake A Nightmare on Elm Street...
“ The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ” - lcrehan
 
14.
Christopher Plummer
Actor, Up
Arthur Christopher Orme Plummer was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the only child of Isabella Mary (Abbott), a secretary to the Dean of Sciences at McGill University, and John Orme Plummer, who sold securities and stocks. He is a great-grandson of John Abbott, who was Canada's third Prime Minister (from 1891 to 1892)...
“ Beginners ” - lcrehan
 
15.
Jean Dujardin
Actor, The Artist
In 1995 he began his first one man show, the same year he met Bruno Salomone, Eric Collado, Emmanuel Joucla and Eric Massot with whom he created the "Nous C nous". In 1999, he became "Loulou" in Un gars, une fille. This part permitted him to show his talent to a larger public. Since the end of "Un gars, une fille" in 2003, he has appeared in many films.
“ The Artist ” - lcrehan
 
16.
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...
“ Carnage ” - lcrehan
 
17.
Bérénice Bejo
Actress, The Artist
Actress Bérénice Bejo was born in Buenos Aires, the daughter of Silvia De Paoli, a lawyer, and Miguel Bejo, a filmmaker. When she was three, Bejo's family relocated to Paris, France. She embarked on a successful acting career in the 1990s, with various roles in French television and film productions...
“ The Artist ” - lcrehan
 
18.
Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is a talented British born movie actor who played Sid Vicious in Sid & Nancy, Drexl in True Romance, and George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He starred in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the remake of RoboCop. He is also an English filmmaker, musician and author. Renowned for his "big" acting style...
“ Tinker Tailor Solider Spy ” - lcrehan
 
19.
Ryan Gosling
Actor, Drive
Canadian actor Ryan Gosling is the first person born in the 1980s to have been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar (for Half Nelson). He was born Ryan Thomas Gosling on November 12, 1980, in London, Ontario, Canada. He is the son of Donna (Wilson), a secretary, and Thomas Ray Gosling, a traveling salesman...
“ Ides of March/Drive ” - lcrehan
 
20.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard was born on March 2, 1981, in Los Angeles, California. She was conceived in Dallas, Texas (the reason for her middle name). Her father, Ron Howard, is a former actor turned Oscar-winning director. Her mother is actress and writer Cheryl Howard (née Alley). Her famous relatives include her uncle...
“ The Help ” - lcrehan
 
21.
Shailene Woodley
Actress Shailene Woodley was born in Simi Valley, California, to Lori (Victor), a middle school counselor, and Lonnie Woodley, a school principal. She has one brother, Tanner. She was educated at Simi Valley High School in California. When Woodley was four years old she began commercial modeling. Acting roles followed...
“ The Descendents ” - lcrehan
 
22.
Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill was born and raised in Los Angeles, the son of Sharon (Chalkin), a fashion designer and costume stylist, and Richard Feldstein, a tour accountant for Guns N' Roses. His siblings are music manager Jordan Feldstein and actress Beanie Feldstein. He graduated from Crossroads School in Santa Monica and went on to The New School in New York to study drama...
“ Moneyball ” - lcrehan
 
23.
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...
“ Young Adult ” - lcrehan