Unlike the Best Actor champs of the past 18 years, where Sean Penn and Daniel Day-Lewis have both won twice, the Best Actress field features no two-time winners. Instead, this category has served up a pretty decent rundown of Hollywood’s current acting royalty, including Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard – and even a few Americans here and there.
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. Please know that you’re first in our hearts, Ms. Streep, especially after that kick-ass Golden Globes speech.
So without further ado, our breakdown of the 21st century’s Best Actress Oscar-Winners, from worst to best.