Unless Carol's Cate Blanchett or Joy's Jennifer Lawrence wins the Best Actress Oscar Sunday night — either scenario seems unlikely — we will have our 16th different woman take home the Academy Award this century. Unlike the Best Actor champs of the past 15 years, where Sean Penn and Daniel Day-Lewis have both won twice, the Best Actress field features no two-time winners, instead serving at a pretty decent rundown of Hollywood's current acting royalty, including Helen Mirren, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard and even a few Americans.
What's funny, however, is that our finest actresses have rarely won for their finest roles lately, which makes our ranking of this century's Best Actress victors especially challenging. But we set aside a performer's body of work in determining our list, focusing instead on the specific role. Consequently, this will probably be the only ranking of great actresses on the web that puts Meryl dead last.