15. Nicole Kidman, 'The Hours'
From 1999 to 2004, Nicole Kidman was arguably the world's best actor, working with top-notch fillmakers and lining up a string of career-defining performances: Eyes Wide Shut, Moulin Rouge, The Others, Dogville, Birth. By comparison, the role that won her an Oscar, the melancholy author Virginia Woolf in The Hours, is merely good — flecked with sadness and desperation and steel, but also weighed down by the ponderous solemnity that director Stephen Daldry always brings to his work. In other words, Kidman's low placement on this list is less an indictment of her performance than an indication of the glassy film for which she won. For plenty of other actors, The Hours would have been their high-water mark.