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Greatest Hollywood Actresses of All Time


What made present day Hollywood apart from technological brilliance and great directorial skills is definitely the great heritage of acting performance of some of the world's greatest actors and actresses who gave shape to our audio visual experience, entertainment and popular culture for generations. Here with the great task of selecting the greatest Hollywood actresses of all time I feel at once privileged to browse through the great nostalgic memories of so many brilliant performances on the celluloid drama of wide variety and at once burdened with the thought of being confused with so many star studded names of last 80 years that any earnest movie lover would hardly dare to drop. Anyway, the die is cast and here we are with the task to make some choices and considerations that definitely involves fault and risk of appearing as ignorant, but I do not know any shortcut to flee from this indecisive juncture of selection. So here is our list of some of the Best Top Hollywood actresses of all time.

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep is considered to be the greatest living actress in the world with the her hilarious feat of bagging 17 nominations for Academy award for best actress which almost seems to be nowhere near the grip of any other actress or actors in world film. This hugely gifted artist won Oscar for best actress three times. Her legendary acting performance covers almost all genres of films for artistic acclamation and popular appreciation. Undoubtedly if any actress to be named in the present moment with most outstanding gift of acting brilliance and discretion for her role it is definitely Meryl Streep. Imagine her breathtakingly tense and delicately intuitive role in psychic family drama Kramer vs. Kramer or just think of her prodigious character playing in The Sophie's Choice or The Iron Lady, you will have the understanding of her brilliance as a rarely gifted actress that made her name an irrepressible one in our list of greatest Hollywood actresses of all time. Some of the greatest films of her distinguished film and acting career include The Deer Hunter, Manhattan, Kramer vs. Kramer, The French Lieutenant's Woman, Sophie's Choice, Silkwood, Falling in Love, Out of Africa, Ironweed, Heartburn, A Cry in the Dark, She-Devil, Postcards from the Edge, Death Becomes Her, The River Wild, The Bridges of Madison County, Marvin's Room, First Do No Harm, One True Thing, Music of the Heart, Adaptation, The Hours, Angels in America, The Manchurian Candidate, The Devil Wears Prada, Mamma Mia, the Doubt, Julie and Julia, It's Complicated and her 2011 acting masterpiece, The Iron Lady. The most remarkable thing about this film actress is that in her whole filmography there is not a single film that did not receive any international prize or nomination for any award of international reputation. Undoubtedly she deserves the no.1 spot in our list of top Hollywood actresses of all time.

Audrey Hepburn

Actress Audrey Hepburn: This legendary film and fashion icon of Twentieth century with her gifted acting style sweet charming presence on the celluloid long mesmerized the audience and critics for generations. Among the long list of the movies that portrayed her in the central female character she made herself present in such roles which still remain as the greatest and most iconic. Can anybody just forget her classic romantic role in Roman Holiday? Besides being awarded Oscar as best actress for her iconic and enigmatic romantic role in that film she made her presence felt in wide range of challenging characters in so many great Hollywood films the success of which apparently can be credited to her brilliance. Some of the greatest Hollywood films of her outstanding film career include Sabrina, The Nun's Story, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Charade, My Fair Lady, Wait Until Dark and many more.

Ingrid Bergman

If you want to name one actress in the world cinema who besides being one of the most successful and critically acclaimed actresses in the Hollywood also became famous for her wide variety of roles in great many productions in European circuit, you are to stumble upon one name and she is Ingrid Bergman. Just look at the long list of awards that this actress is credited for. She had been awarded with Academy award thrice besides two Emmy award and one Tony award for best actress. She has been named as one of the top 5 American female stars of all time and consequently she is an inevitable choice in our list of greatest Hollywood actresses of all time. When she was already an established top heroine in Swedish films she came into Hollywood films with greatest romantic blockbuster Casablanca. Her great enigmatic role in Alfred Hitchcock directed thriller 'Notorious' co starring Cary grant is one of the most memorable ones. So many great films of extraordinary merit are credited to her in the world cinema that it is really a formidable task to choose her best performances from them. Just think about her another enigmatic role in one of the greatest psycho thrillers of all time, in another Alfred Hitchcock directed masterpiece 'Spellbound', where her role was the most challenging and central, depicting a woman under psychiatric treatment for her delirium and guilt consciousness. There has been no Hollywood actress who performed in such wide variety of roles like Ingrid Bergman.

Marilyn Monroe

Woe to him who never seen Marilyn Monroe in her full blown flamboyant style in Hollywood romantic drama. What she was not? Conventionally to speak of her as a great actress, singer and model involuntarily misses her real feat. More than just so called acting brilliance she is more remembered as an icon, the most remembered sex symbol in the world cinema. For a whole decade from 1950 to 1960 Monroe virtually ruled the acting scene in Hollywood with her most enthralling acting performance and mesmerizing appearance in beauty and fashion. Some of the greatest Monroe films that made her an unforgettable queen in world cinema include All about Eve, Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop and many more.

Greta Garbo

When Greta Garbo started her career in a Swedish film called The Saga of Gosta Berling her sensational role in that ambitious film gave her an instant reputation as a gifted actress, but that was just the beginning of her prodigious acting career that would make her one of the greatest Hollywood actresses of all time and of the most fan followed stars in world cinema. Garbo was nominated four times for the Academy award for best actress and had been awarded the honorary Oscar as an appraisal for her great lifelong acting performances on celluloid media. Garbo is ranked in no.5 in the list of greatest female stars of all time by the American Film Institute. She came to international prominence as a star with her silent era films and in the years that followed she continued to enthrall audience with one performance after another with her intense and delicate performances before the lens. Some of the greatest performances of her that made many memorable films in the history of the world cinema include Grand Hotel, Mata-Hari, Anna Christie, Romance, Anna Karenina, Camille, Ninotchka, Two Faced Woman and many more.

Katharine Hepburn

To talk of greatest Hollywood actress of all time without Katherine Hepburn in the middle is like to talk of solar eclipse without sun itself. She still holds the record of being awarded Oscar four times for best actress apart being nominated several times and several other awards of international reputation. For the length of her great acting career mostly she was the only challenger to herself. American Film Institute in 1999 rightly named her as the greatest Hollywood female legend ever lived. She is probably one of the few Hollywood actresses who acted so varied types of roles from almost every genre of films. Some of her classiest films in Hollywood and world cinema include Morning Glory, African Queen, Guess Who's Coming to dinner, The Lion in winter, On Golden Pond, The Philadelphia story, Alice Adams, women of The Year, Summertime, The Rainmaker, Long Day's Journey into Night, Suddenly Last Summer and many more.

Bette Davis

The film career of Bette Davis is one of the most unusual one in Hollywood history considering her knack for the uncompromising types of role that are more similar to old sensitivity attached with rude males than females. Her acting in many legendary roles made her a figure of unforgettable acting brilliance in world cinema. She was first among the Hollywood actors, actresses, technicians and others to be nominated record 10 times for Academy award for best actress. Apart from receiving Oscar for best actress twice she had been awarded with lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute first time as a female artist. Davis follows Katherine Hepburn in American Film Institute's list of greatest female stars of all time in second place. Some of the greatest films that go to her credit include Dangerous, Jezebel, Dark Story, The Letter, The Little Foxes, Now Voyager, All About Eve, Mr. Skeffington, the Star, What Happened to Baby Jane and many others.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor is one of the greatest Hollywood actresses for ever who is arguably the last major Hollywood star to come out of studio system of film making in Hollywood. In her long star studded film career she produced great many films of outstanding merit and brilliance that gave her a worldwide fame as a rare genius of acting. Apart from her feat in wining great many awards of international reputation she won Oscar for best actress for her hugely acclaimed role in the Butterfield 8 in 1960. Her long career that spanned over the celebrated Golden Age of Hollywood cinema include great masterpieces of various role playing capacities in films such as National Velvet, Father of The Bride, A Place in The sun, Giant, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Suddenly Lost Summer, Cleopatra and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Judy Garland

Judy Garland is a rare prodigy in Hollywood who combined great singing feat with Grammy award for her album along with two Academy awards for her juvenile role and as the best supporting actress for her role in the 1961 film Judgment at Nuremberg. Her supple role playing in celluloid drama and musical made her as one of the rarest artist in the Hollywood film. Apart from her acting feats her recordings have been included in the Grammy Hall of Fame. American Film Institute considered her among the top ten greatest female stars of all time in the history of the Hollywood and American cinema. She is the rare prodigy in whom both the brilliance of acting and melodious voice met in perfect harmony to produce some of the greatest musical performances in the world cinema. Some of the greatest films she acted with her prolific performance include Easter Parade, In the Good Old Summertime, The Barkleys of Broadway, Annie Get Your Gun, Royal Wedding, A Star is Born and many others.

Vivien Leigh

If you want to consider one actress in the Hollywood for legendary character playing roles in two of the greatest Hollywood blockbusters Movies and critically acclaimed films of all time you have to stumble upon one and only one Vivien Leigh. She was awarded Academy award for best actress for her great portrayal of two challenging roles in Streetcar Named Desire Gone with the Wind. Her great acting that gave these two films worldwide phenomenal success made us consider her an irreplaceable profile in our list of greatest Hollywood actresses of all time.

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster is one actress in Hollywood who from her teenage began her prodigious acting career and that too with one of the cult films of worldwide acclamation of all time. Just think about her role as a preteen prostitute in the famous film Taxi Driver in 1976. That role gave her the first Academy award of her life as the best supporting actress just at the age of thirteen. And that was just the beginning of her long prolific run in the Hollywood film as one of the greatest Hollywood actresses of all time. In that same year and in her teen she acted also one of the famous cult films of international recognition named the Little Girl Who Lives down the Lane. In her matured stage as an established Hollywood actress she won Academy award for best actress twice with her role as a rape victim in 1939 film The Accused and for her legendary performance in The Silence of the Lambs which gave her critical acclamation throughout the world along with film's great critical as well as commercial success. Apart from being nominated several times for Oscar for best actress award she had been consistently made her acting performance a subject of international recognition with films like Nell, Bugsy Malone, Freaky Friday, Candleshoe, Maverick, Contact, Panic Room, Flightplan, Inside Man, The Brave One, Nim's Island and Carnage.

Kate Winslet

If you want to name Kate Winslet one film actress in the recent Hollywood film of last two decades who besides producing critically acclaimed roles also played in the center stage of some of the highest grossing blockbusters of all time, you have to come up with the name of this gifted acting prodigy. Kate Winslet is the youngest actress with six Academy award nominations and won her first and only Oscar for best actress for her role in The Reader. But more than anything what made audience mesmerized with her acting is her role in the blockbuster Titanic. Though she did not win Academy for it her role in the crucial character became a great factor in the legendary success of Titanic. Kate Winslet acted in great many critically acclaimed and artistically appreciated films of worldwide reputation like Sense and Sensibility, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, finding Neverland, Little Children, The Reader and The Revolutionary Road.

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie is right now the highest paid Hollywood actress, but that hardly can be the consideration behind featuring her as one of the best Hollywood actresses of all time. She won one Academy award, three Golden Globe awards besides several other awards and nominations. Two of the most critically acclaimed films in her acting career are A Mighty Heart and Changeling and for the later she received Academy award for best actress in 2008. Some of the most commercially successful films of her career include The cradle of Life, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Salt and Wanted.

In presenting here some of the greatest Hollywood actresses for ever definitely we could not feature great many names of international reputation and significance in respect of critical as well as commercial success of many of the world's greatest films, but as it is with any selection or task of stupendous proportion to choose from the gifted artists in any discipline, here we are bound to be vulnerable to criticism and debate.

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