Part three of our top 25 actresses under 35 is finally here for your enjoyment! We know it was a long wait but that’s because we are in no hurry and love to make you wait for more! [15-11] should be a little less surprising than the previous sequence with more established actress once again. Expect Part 4 sometime before the end of the year as each description will be lengthier in the top 10.
Please retweet and share on Facebook. Make sure to sign up for our RSS Feed to stay updated!
15. Ziyi Zhang
Castor: This is more of a Red pick as I didn’t originally have her on my list. To be honest, I can’t say that I have been thoroughly impressed by her acting. She sort of reminds me of a Chinese version of Keira Knightley to be honest. She always seem to pout every time you lay eyes on her and rarely ever seem to display much emotional range beyond the occasional laugh (after a lot of stern face and intense stares). Nonetheless, you can’t deny that Ziyi has been been in a lot of impressive movies including several Hollywood hits such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and 2046. I definitely would like to see more range and depth out of her before I become a fan.
Red’s Take: I had Zhang at about the same spot on my list, but I have no idea why I put her down so low. Maybe it’s because she hasn’t done too much the past four or five years, but I think if I re-did my list, I’d have to fit her into my top ten. Besides maybe Nicole Kidman, did any actress in the world have a better first half of the Aughts? Ground breaking film here, astonishing epic there, it’s a wonder that you don’t hear her name mentioned more often. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, Hero, Memoirs of a Geisha, 2046. All wonderful films with Zhang center stage. Seemingly effortless chemistry with anybody the director puts next to her, she might actually be the best female action star that we had last decade. Hell, her villain in Rush Hour 2 was even fun to watch, and played well off of Chris Tucker. Anybody know what happened to her after Memoirs of a Geisha? Did Rob Marshall scare her away? She is, however, set to star in a live-action version of Mulan soon.
14. Ellen Page
Castor: Like a lot of people, I first came upon Ellen Page with her Oscar-nominated portrayal of Juno MacGuff. She created such an unique yet authentic female character and singlehandedly carried the entire film to an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. In it, she was strong, funny, quirky and beautiful without the need to look like a model. In short, she was a revelation. Most people would agree that Page relies to much on being this quirky, fast-talking, smarter-than-you girl and that’s where this belief that she has limited range is coming from. However, I think she can play a lot more diverse characters than people think. In Hard Candy, she played a dark, wicked and cunning teenage girl who performed horrible acts on a pedophile she “captured”. In Whip It, she was more understated and proved she could be just as effective with less dialogue.
I think it will also be tremendously helpful that she is pretty but not glamorously beautiful. She won’t rely on that crutch that so many up-and-coming starlet tend to fall back on. On the other hand, her girlish looks could limit the type of roles she could get for a little while. Nevertheless, at only 23, this Canadian actress has a lot of potential and should continue to improve her acting skills and demonstrate what she can do. Ellen will next be seen in the comedy Tilda (2011) next to Diane Keaton.
Red’s Take: While I had her higher on my list, most people who haven’t seen more of her lesser known films would like to see more range from Page. While great in her more famous roles, it really is movies like The Tracey Fragments and An American Crime that show just how talented Ellen is. You obviously can’t talk about Page without talking about her quirky but very real performance in Juno, handling the movies several themes of growing up with relative ease. Up until the recent release of Inception, which she doesn’t really stand out (due mainly to the script calling for her to be mainly a plot device), her other most famous role would be of Hayley Stark in Hard Candy. A dark, vengeful character that couldn’t be any further from that of Juno. That’s what tends to frustrate me when people talk of her being a bit overrated due to range. The only roles I see any similarity at all would be the ones from Juno and Whip It, and even then how the characters react to popularity and the people around them varies quite differently.
13. Emily Blunt
Castor: 27-yr old English actress Emily Blunt is only beginning her career but she has already put together a string of promising performances in movies. Her acclaimed debut in My Summer of Love gained her international prominence. Her neurotic turn in The Devil Wears Prada allowed her to steal a few scenes from Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. She held her own next to two-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams in Sunshine Cleaning. More recently, she earned raves for her role in The Young Victoria which has put her on the map as a fast rising starlet. Ms. Blunt has done a great job of playing a fairly wide variety of characters so far.
Emily also gets brownie points for mostly staying out of the limelight and keeping a low profile off-screen. I am looking forward to her next movie, The Adjustment Bureau but sadly, it was pushed back into next spring so I will have to wait. In all, Emily Blunt is a rising star with endless potential who will probably shine for a very long time.
Red’s Take: Although she’s still fairly new to the game, Emily Blunt has shown a great amount of potential over the past four years, and it’s rather hard to ignore. Her big break came when she we went toe to toe with arguably the greatest actress of all time in Meryl Streep, as well as a higher ranking actress on this list, and more than stood out for herself. While it was supposed to be Anne Hathaway’s movie, Blunt was the one that you couldn’t take your eyes off of when she came into the screen, displaying a dominating presence that came out of nowhere. A couple smaller roles in Dan in Real Life and Charlie Wilson’s War didn’t do too much for per say, but they were still quality appearances and the talent of the people that she worked with on those films was probably very helpful to an up-and-comer. Some out there will argue that her performance as Queen Victoria in The Young Victoria was one of the top, if not absolute best, performances of last year. Yeah, she made the mistake of being in The Wolfman, but plenty of solid actors did, so I won’t hold it against her. At just 27, this tall beauty will certainly become one of the hottest commodities of Hollywood over the next couple years.
12. Charlize Theron
Castor: Charlize Theron is one of the few actresses that Red and I agreed on right from the start as far as her position in the top 25. Although she has played plenty of blond bombshell characters, Charlize has made a living of turning in her best performances playing bizarre and unglamorous characters. She won an Oscar for her vanity-free role in Monster (2003) and was again nominated for another with her turn in North Country as a single mother having to work in an iron mine to make ends meet. However, Red and I agreed that she has somewhat fallen off the radar as of late and this is why she didn’t crack the top 10.
Theron has been in her fair share of mediocre and even bad movies with the likes of Hancock or the horrendous Aeon Flux but who doesn’t? Although the movies weren’t all that good, she still came out looking competent which is all you can ask for in these situations. Ms. Theron started her career 15 years ago and began to turn heads with her performance in the underrated film The Cider House Rules. For the most part, she gave mostly forgettable turns until her star-making performance in Monster and has had the chance, since, to demonstrate her acting skills repeatedly on the independent scene. In North Country (2005), she played a struggling, blue-collar single mother fighting her employers and colleagues over sexual harassment. In The Valley of Elah (2007), she portrayed a stressed single mother and police detective forced to endure the smirks and disdain of her male colleagues while trying to solve a complex murder. Unfortunately, everyone is going to have to wait until 2012 before seeing her on the big screen again in Mad Max: Fury Road next to Tom Hardy.
Red’s Take: Looking at my own list, I found myself surprised that I actually had Theron ranked one spot higher. Maybe it’s because I’ve re-watched Hancock since I made my list and was reminded how bloody terrible the second half of that movie was. I’m not sure if it’s just a coincidence that Theron becomes a major part of that film in the second half, but it sure was a letdown for such a promising film. But skimming over her filmography, maybe I knew what I was doing when placing her so high, as she’s been busier in recent memory than I had realized. In just the past few years, she has had solid roles in The Burning Plain and In the Valley of Elah, as well as a smaller role in The Road that didn’t offer much. Her best performance, though, is without question her transformation in Monster. It’s just one of those roles that if you didn’t know the specific actor/actress is in the movie, you won’t recognize them while you watch it. Yes, yes, make-up was a huge part of the performance, but the commitment towards the character is undeniable. Hopefully Theron is back to being a full-time actor, as she seemed to be more interested in being a producer there for a while. Maybe it was my fault for having such high hopes for it, but I still can’t get the bad taste out of my mouth from Sleepwalking. I was ignorantly telling everybody that the film was going to be Anna Sophia Robb’s major breakout role, but that was a complete whiff. But that’s neither here nor there.
11. Rebecca Hall
Castor: Another English actress, Rebecca Hall has very discreetly been making a name for herself with somewhat overlooked performances in The Prestige, and Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona where in both movies, she acted circles around the much more well-known Scarlett Johansson. Rebecca actually has a stage background as she is the daughter of Sir Peter Hall, the famous theatre director and started her career acting in his plays. The 28-yr old actress doesn’t really have a noteworthy lead role to this date, unlike most of the other actresses on this list. However, her upcoming character in Ben Affleck’s The Town and in the Will Ferrell indie comedy Everything Must Go (which I’m really looking forward to) should really put her on the map once and for all. I’m not sure if she will ever be more than a very good supporting actress but there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Watch out for this lanky actress named Rebecca Hall!
Red’s Take: Probably the most inexperienced actress on this list when you calculate her total screen time, especially due to the fact that she hasn’t really been a lead actress in the major feature film on her own. But maybe that goes to show just how talented she is, if she is this high on this list with such little screen time to speak for. One of the great things she has going for her is that she isn’t necessarily a bombshell, bit wickedly cute, and very next door-ish that helps make her characters believable and easy to relate to. Two of her first films were alongside Scarlett Johansson in The Prestige and Vicky Christina Barcelona, and both times Hall ran circles around Johansson, and was able to steal the second film completely. She’s continued down the same path with the likes of Frost/Nixon and The Red Riding trilogy, but it appears that she is ready to breakout from just supporting roles. The Town looks like it’ll be one of the best movies of the fall, with Hall being Ben Affleck’s love interest. With Please Give and Everything Must Go also coming out this year, it looks like Hall is about to make her mark on Hollywood in a huge way.