10. Charlize Theron, 'Monster'
In another time, under different circumstances, maybe Aileen Wuornos's life wouldn't have turned out so tragically — maybe she wouldn't have brought such misery to so many who crossed her path. But this is the world we live in, and Monster unsparingly depicts this serial killer and prostitute in all her torment and anger. But what made you care was Charlize Theron's eye-opening performance. It's very easy to dismiss her Oscar win — just one more glamorous actress burying herself in unattractive makeup to prove her dramatic bona fides, right? But that doesn't explain the depth of anguish Theron brought to the role, the sense of active wrestling within Wuornos's head as she tries to make a life with a new lover (Christina Ricci) while killing her johns in a misguided attempt to cope with the abuse she suffered as a child. Theron isn't interested in explaining Wuornos, which makes Monster all the most unsettling: It's very possible Wuornos herself couldn't grapple with the mess of demons swirling inside her.