45 best actress of last 20 years

by thorfilms | created - 28 Nov 2010 | updated - 05 Dec 2010 | Public

1. Rachel Weisz

Actress | The Constant Gardener

Rachel Hannah Weisz was born on 7 March, 1970, in London, U.K., to Edith Ruth (Teich), a psychoanalyst, and George Weisz, an inventor. Her parents both came to England around 1938. Her father is a Hungarian Jewish immigrant, and her mother, from Vienna, is of Italian and Austrian Jewish heritage. ...

2. Julianne Moore

Actress | The Hours

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 ...

3. Leonor Watling

Actress | My Life Without Me

Leonor Watling was born on July 28, 1975 in Madrid, Madrid, Spain as Leonor Elizabeth Ceballos Watling. She is an actress, known for My Life Without Me (2003), A mi madre le gustan las mujeres (2002) and Talk to Her (2002).

4. Cate Blanchett

Actress | Carol

Cate Blanchett was born on May 14, 1969 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, to June (Gamble), an Australian teacher and property developer, and Robert DeWitt Blanchett, Jr., an American advertising executive, originally from Texas. She has an older brother and a younger sister. When she was ten ...

5. Keira Knightley

Actress | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Keira Christina Knightley was born March 26, 1985 in the South West Greater London suburb of Richmond. She is the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald. An older brother, Caleb Knightley, was born in 1979. Her father is English, while her Scottish-born ...

6. Emily Mortimer

Actress | Lars and the Real Girl

English actress Emily Kathleen Anne Mortimer was born in Hammersmith, London, England, to writer and barrister Sir John Mortimer and his second wife, Penelope (née Gollop). She was educated at St Paul's Girls' School in West London, and it was whilst there she began acting. Mortimer moved on from ...

7. Rose Byrne

Actress | Spy

Rose Byrne was born in Balmain, Sydney, Australia. She is the daughter of Jane, a primary school administrator, and Robin Byrne, a semi-retired statistician and market researcher.

She landed her first role in a movie, Dallas Doll (1994), when she was 15 years old.

Since then, Rose has appeared in a ...

8. Natalie Portman

Actress | Black Swan

Natalie Portman is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan (2010)).

Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an ...

9. Eva Green

Actress | Casino Royale

French actress and model Eva Gaëlle Green was born on July 6, 1980, in Paris, France. Her father, Walter Green, is a dentist who appeared in the 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar (1966). Her mother, Marlène Jobert, is an actress turned children's book writer. Eva's mother was born in Algeria, of ...

10. 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...

11. Ellen Page

Actress | Juno

Ellen Grace Philpotts-Page was born on February 21, 1987, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Martha Philpotts, a teacher, and Dennis Page, a graphic designer. Page wanted to start acting at an early age and attended the Neptune Theater School. She began her career at the age of 10 on the award-winning ...

12. María Valverde

Actress | Exodus: Gods and Kings

She began acting in 2002, when film director Manuel Martin Cuenca chose her from 3000 girls to be the lead actress in his film "The Bolshevik's Weakness". One year later, Maria's work impressed both the audience and the Spanish Film Academy, who awarded her with the Goya for Best Newcomer. Since ...

13. Uma Thurman

Actress | Kill Bill: Vol. 1

Uma Karuna Thurman was born in Boston, Massachusetts, into a highly unorthodox and Eurocentric family. She is the daughter of Nena Thurman (née Birgitte Caroline von Schlebrügge), a fashion model and socialite who now runs a mountain retreat, and of Robert Thurman (Robert Alexander Farrar Thurman),...

14. Sophie Marceau

Actress | La boum

Sophie Marceau was born Sophie Danièle Sylvie Maupu in Paris, France, to Simone (Morisset), a shop assistant, and Benoît Maupu, a truck driver. She grew up far from the studio spotlights. When she was 14 she was living in the Paris suburb of Gentilly with her father. She learned from friends that ...

15. Monica Bellucci

Actress | Malèna

Monica Anna Maria Bellucci was born on September 30, 1964 in the Italian village of Città di Castello, Umbria, the only child of Brunella Briganti and Pasquale Bellucci. She originally pursued a career in the legal profession. While attending the University of Perugia, she modeled on the side to ...

16. Naomi Watts

Actress | Mulholland Dr.

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...

17. Maria Bello

Actress | A History of Violence

Maria Bello was born on 18 April, 1967 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to Kathy, a nurse and teacher, and Joe Bello, a contractor. She is of Italian and Polish descent. Maria went to Villanova University, majoring in political science. She had every intention of becoming a lawyer, but she took an ...

18. Elena Anaya

Actress | La piel que habito

Spanish actress Elena Anaya impressed the critics with her performance in Sex and Lucia (2001).

Elena was born in Palencia, Spain, on July 17th, 1975. An active child, she excelled in karate and mountain climbing. By the time she was 17 Elena knew that she wanted to channel her energy into being an ...

19. Aitana Sánchez-Gijón

Actress | The Machinist

Aitana Sánchez-Gijón was born on November 5, 1968 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Aitana Sánchez-Gijón de Angelis. She is an actress, known for The Machinist (2004), A Walk in the Clouds (1995) and Boca a boca (1995). She has been married to Papin Luccadane since September 2002. They have two children.

20. Paz Vega

Actress | Lucía y el sexo

Actress Paz Campos Trigo was born in Seville, Spain, to a bullfighter father. She has been based in Los Angeles since 2008.

She has starred in dozens of films in Europe and North America. After six successful seasons as Laura in "Seven Lives" (Telecinco,) one of Spain's longest running sitcoms, the ...

21. Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Actress | 10 Cloverfield Lane

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a gifted actress, known for her versatile work in a variety of film and television projects. Possibly most known for her role as Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), she has also starred in critically acclaimed independent films such as Smashed (2012), ...

22. Alexis Bledel

Actress | Gilmore Girls

Kimberly Alexis Bledel was born in Houston, Texas, to Nanette (Dozier) and Martin Bledel. Her parents are both Spanish-speakers (her mother was born in Arizona and raised in Mexico, and her father was born in Argentina), and Alexis's ancestry includes Danish, Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish, and ...

23. Robin Wright

Actress | Forrest Gump

Robin Gayle Wright was born in Dallas, Texas, to Gayle (Gaston), a national director at Mary Kay, and Freddie Wright, a pharmaceutical executive. She grew up in San Diego, California. She started her professional career as a model in 1980 at age 14, and worked both in Paris and Japan. After ...

24. Helena Bonham Carter

Actress | Les Misérables

Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful.

Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant ...

25. Selma Blair

Actress | Cruel Intentions

One of our most exciting and versatile actresses, Selma Blair first gained attention for her performance in Cruel Intentions (1999), a youthful retelling of the classic novel "Les Liaisons Dangereuses".

Selma was born in Southfield, Michigan, to Molly Ann (Cooke), a judge, and Elliot I. Beitner, a ...

26. Sarah Michelle Gellar

Actress | Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Emmy Award-winning Sarah Michelle Gellar was born on April 14, 1977 in New York City, the daughter of Rosellen (Greenfield), who taught at a nursery school, and Arthur Gellar, who worked in the garment industry. She is of half Russian Jewish and half Hungarian Jewish descent.

Eating in a local ...

27. Dina Meyer

Actress | Starship Troopers

Dina Meyer is an American film and television actress best known for her roles as Barbara Gordon in Birds of Prey (2002), Dizzy Flores in Starship Troopers (1997) and Detective Allison Kerry in the Saw installments. Meyer started acting in 1993, with her first major role playing Lucinda Nicholson ...

28. Sigourney Weaver

Actress | Avatar

Sigourney Weaver was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in Leroy Hospital in Manhattan, New York City. Her father, TV producer Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., originally wanted to name her Flavia, because of his passion for Roman history (he had already named her elder brother Trajan). Her mother, Elizabeth ...

29. Jennifer Connelly

Actress | A Beautiful Mind

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 ...

30. Bryce Dallas Howard

Actress | Jurassic World

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 ...

31. Ziyi Zhang

Actress | Wo hu cang long

Ziyi Zhang is a Chinese actress and model. She is best known for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), Rush Hour 2 (2001), Hero (2002), House of Flying Daggers (2004), and Memoirs of a Geisha (2005).

She made her feature film debut in The Road Home (1999).

For her work in Memoirs of a Geisha she was...

32. Michelle Yeoh

Actress | Wo hu cang long

Born as Yang Zi Qiong in the mining town of Ipoh, in West Malaysia, in the lunar year of the Tiger, Michelle is the daughter of Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and politician. She is of Han Chinese (Hokkien) descent, and spoke English and Malay before Chinese. A ballet dancer since age 4, ...

33. Eliza Dushku

Actress | Bring It On

Eliza Dushku was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Judith (Rasmussen), a political science professor, and Philip R. Dushku, a teacher and administrator. Her father is Albanian and her mother is American (of Danish, Irish, English, and German descent). She was discovered at the end of a five-month ...

34. Diane Lane

Actress | Unfaithful

Diane Lane was born on January 22, 1965, in New York. She is the daughter of acting coach Burton Eugene "Burt" Lane and nightclub singer/centerfold Colleen Farrington. Her parents' families were both from the state of Georgia. Diane was acting from a very young age and made her stage debut at the ...

35. Susan Sarandon

Actress | Thelma & Louise

Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, NY, to Lenora Marie (Criscione), no profession, and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, an advertising executive. She is of Italian (mother) and English, Irish, Welsh, and German (father) descent. Soon after the 1968 Democratic convention, there ...

36. Famke Janssen

Actress | X-Men: The Last Stand

Famke was born in Holland, where she began her professional career as a model. She later moved to the United States, where she has made her home since 1984. Initially settling in New York, she majored in writing and literature at Columbia University and studied acting with Harold Guskin. She then ...

37. Judi Dench

Actress | Skyfall

Dame Judi Dench was born Judith Olivia Dench 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 the ...

38. Franka Potente

Actress | Lola rennt

Franka Potente was born on 22 July 1974 in the German city of Münster, to Hildegard, a medical assistant, and Dieter Potente, a teacher, and raised in the nearby town of Dülmen. After her graduation in 1994, she went to the Otto-Falckenberg-Schule, a drama school in Munich, but soon broke off to ...

39. Ana de Armas

Actress | Blade Runner 2049

Ana de Armas was born in Cuba on April 30, 1988. At the age of 14, she began her studies at the National Theatre School of Havana, where she graduated after 4 years. At the age of 16, she made her first film, Una rosa de Francia (2006), directed by Manuel Gutiérrez Aragón. A few titles came after ...

40. Carla Gugino

Actress | Watchmen

Carla Gugino was born in Sarasota, Florida, to Carl Gugino, an orthodontist. She is of Italian (father) and English-Irish (mother) ancestry. Gugino moved with her mother to Paradise, California, when Carla was just five years old. During her childhood, they moved many times within the state. But ...

41. Zoe Saldana

Actress | Guardians of the Galaxy

Zoe Saldana was born on June 19, 1978 in Passaic, New Jersey, to Asalia Nazario and Aridio Saldaña. Her father was Dominican and her mother is Puerto Rican. She was raised in Queens, New York. When she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic, where they would live for ...

42. Sienna Miller

Actress | G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

Sienna Rose Diana Miller was born in New York City, but was raised in London, England. Her father, Edwin "Ed" Miller, who is American-born, is an investment banker and a dealer in Modern Chinese paintings. Her mother, Josephine "Jo" Miller, was a South African model and a personal assistant to ...

43. Rene Russo

Actress | Nightcrawler

Rene Russo was born in Burbank, California, to Shirley (Balocca), a barmaid and factory laborer, and Nino Russo. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Her father, a sculptor and mechanic, left the family when Rene was just two, and thus her mother raised Rene and her sister, Toni, as a ...

44. Alyson Hannigan

Actress | American Pie

Alyson Hannigan was born in Washington, D.C., to Emilie (Posner), a real estate agent, and Al Hannigan, a truck driver. She began her acting career in Atlanta at the young age of 4 in commercials sponsoring such companies as McDonald's, Six Flags, and Oreos. She is a seasoned television actress ...

45. Cobie Smulders

Actress | The Avengers

Cobie Smulders was born on April 3, 1982, in Vancouver, British Columbia, to a Dutch father and an English mother. As a girl, Cobie had set her sights on becoming a doctor or a marine biologist. In fact, it wasn't until high school that Cobie started to explore acting after appearing in several ...