Friday, December 23, 2011

Time Capsule: Ashley Judd, 4th Best Actress of This Millennium

I used to have a magazine addiction. I would collect magazines with my favorite actors on the cover  (Kate Winslet, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law, etc. I have a 'Movieline' with Kate on the cover from 1998) or that had a cover story with a list of say the 30 greatest actors under the age of 30. When I moved out of my dorm in college, I had two suitcases. One with clothes, the other with magazines. Luckily I have weened myself off of the need to collect magazines. (Perhaps because no one really buys magazines anymore and everything is online.) Luckily, my parents- understanding my need to hoard-have safely kept my magazines waiting for me in the garage. Thank god they did because there's nothing like taking out a 12-year-old magazine and seeing how wrong we were.
I came across an 'Entertainment Weekly' dated Winter 1999. It's The 100 Greatest Entertainers 1950-2000. The list itself still holds up pretty well. The Top 10 were: 
The Beatles
Marilyn Monroe
Steven Spielberg
Frank Sinatra
The Cast of SNL
Michael Jackson
Lucille Ball
The Simpsons
Nothing stands out as being especially ridiculous. Probably because they went pretty classic and stuck with iconic people that everyone knows. The only ones I would argue now are SNL and The Simpsons. Not that they don't belong on the list somewhere. It's just that in the past 12 years since the list came out, both shows have still been on the air and its diminished their impact on society. There is certainly something to be said for longevity. But, watching the shows today makes you long for it's glory days. Neither is really a part of the public awareness anymore nor do they hold the same importance as they once did.  

But my favorite part was a section in the middle in which an online poll (they did those in 1999?) asked who were the next greatest entertainers of the next millennium. Such greats as The Dave Matthews Band and Seth Green took the number one spot for best musical group and television actor. But, since I always tend to gravitate to the cinematic, let's take a look at the Actor and Actress. Actress first:
Best Movie Actress

GOOPing it up

  1. Gwyneth Paltrow
  2. Natalie Portman
  3. Christina Ricci
  4. Ashley Judd
  5. Reese Witherspoon
  6. Kate Winslet
  7. Winona Ryder
  8. Cameron Diaz
  9. Cate Blanchett
  10. Claire Danes
5 of these women are Oscar winners. Which makes the inclusion of Ashley Judd and, to a lesser extent, Christina Ricci, all the more puzzling. Especially because they're ranked so high. Ricci had recently reinvented herself as an indie queen with The Opposite of Sex and Buffalo 66, so she was fresh on everyone's minds. But nothing she's done since have lived up to that hype. And, honestly, she's kinda bad now. Her voice is grating, I never believe her in anything, and her features are a bit jarring. Her show Pan Am is as good as cancelled. 
People must have really liked Double Jeopardy at the time because I'm baffled by Judd's inclusion. I don't even remember her being someone that people talked about or liked. And when was the last time she even acted? 
Gwyneth was fresh off her Oscar win for Shakespeare in Love and the 'I Hate Gwyneth' backlash hadn't really started. It's funny to remember when she was just a movie actress. Now she's winning Emmys, singing at the Grammys, blogging about pink Himalayan sea salt, writing cookbooks, and pretty much establishing herself as a brand and personality. Not to say she doesn't appear on film anymore. It's just that she's become so much more than that now. 
Natalie, Reese, and Kate all won Best Actress Oscars this past decade. People knew they were gonna stick around. I believe all three will be remembered, but it will be interesting to see in the coming years how their relevancy continues. I feel like Reese is already starting to fade out of favor.
I love Winona Ryder because she's so much a part of my growing up in the 90's. But, as this list was about looking ahead it was clear that Winona was very much of the past. She's really only done a handful of movies in the 00's and that whole shop lifting thing really didn't help. 
I feel like Cammie D is one of those people that is a star. But in 20 years, when we look back, we'll think-um, what was she in again? She really doesn't have much of a legacy. 
Cate Blanchett had really only been on the scene for about a year. It's nice to see that we could recognize her importance so early on. She's like the new Meryl Streep-  that actress that everyone admires and has the work to back it up. 
Doesn't it feel like Claire Danes has always been more related to television? The only reason she got film work is because of her work on My So-Called Life. It seems she's starting to realize this as she's been back on the small screen,winning an Emmy for Temple Grandin and doing stellar work on Homeland

Best Movie Actor
  1. Kevin Spacey
  2. Edward Norton
  3. Ben Affleck
  4. Nicolas Cage
  5. Jim Carrey
  6. Leonardo DiCaprio
  7. Ewan McGregor
  8. Matt Damon
  9. Ryan Phillippe
  10. Freddie Prinze, Jr
This was the best picture they had
of Edward Norton?
Things look okay until we get to 9 and 10 and then it all becomes clear that this was a list complied by the public in 1999. Freddie Prinze, Jr is a name I haven't heard or thought about probably since 1999. He had just had She's All That and Phillippe had Cruel Intentions, so it makes sense that people wanted to include them. They were the crush of the moment. It's like having Zac Efron on a list compiled today. 
We've kinda lost Kevin Spacey to the London stage. 
Norton was the young actor around this time. And while there's no denying his talent, his reputation as being difficult to work with never really brought him to the status everyone was anticipating. 
It's interesting to see Ben ranked above Matt. Matt was kinda always viewed as the actor and, well, brains of the two. But, Affleck is certainly making a name for himself as a director now. 
Oh, how do you solve a problem like Nic Cage...
Jim Carrey might not be as relevant as he was, but there's no denying his place. It was around that time that he was also stretching himself dramatically as an actor with The Truman Show and Man On the Moon. Of these ten, I would argue that Leo was the best choice. He's still making 'important' films with big name directors. After Titanic he was huge and he's still very much a part of it all.
I'm actually surprised that Ewan McGregor isn't bigger than he is. Doesn't it seem at the time he would be sure to get an Oscar nomination at some point? Well, there's always the next 12 years.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, 3 years later, here's my take:
    Gwyneth Paltrow - She totally deserves the top. She's not my favorite person (I've only seen a couple of her movies), but I agree that she should be at least high on the list, if not top
    Natalie Portman - Again, she should be high on the list
    Christina Ricci - I can't actually picture her as an adult because I don't think I've ever seen her in a movie as an adult. 'Nuff said.
    Ashley Judd - I love Ashley Judd, but her movies are few and far between. She shouldn't be on the list
    Reese Witherspoon - She may have been starting to fade in 2011, but she's still A-list. I wouldn't take her off the list, but maybe a little lower
    Kate Winslet - She should be higher. She's not always in everything, but she does regular movies that are diverse. I reckon she's a better actress than anyone on this list
    Winona Ryder - I love her but I agree. She's still Jo March to me, because she hasn't been in anything memorable since
    Cameron Diaz - She should be higher. She may have not had a legacy, but 3 years later, she's been in almost every second movie since then, so I reckon she should be WAY higher.
    Cate Blanchett - Yeah, she is a star. I just haven't seen any of her movies. But I've heard her name often enough
    Claire Danes - I'm torn. I love her and she's a great actress, but she's stopped the movies since Homeland. You could argue to leave her on here or take her off
    Kevin Spacey - Nah, he shouldn't be top. I know he's a great actor and he's been round the block, but I would give the top spot to someone like Tom Hanks, who also has the longevity and is just as good an actor
    Edward Norton - Who is he?? I've never heard of him. 'Nuff said
    Ben Affleck - I can't comment. The only thing I know about him is he's married to Jennifer Garner and has 3 kids
    Nicolas Cage - I would replace him with Russell Crowe
    Jim Carrey - No. The last time I saw him was Bruce Almighty
    Leonardo DiCaprio - He should be top, or second. He definitely has the skills and the longevity
    Ewan McGregor - I agree. His name seems to be bigger than his resume
    Matt Damon - Leave him on. He's still on the rise
    Ryan Phillippe - I feel like the only reason he was put on this list is because he was married to Reese. Yes, he did Cruel Intentions, but what else?? I can't think of him without thinking of Reese
    Freddie Prinze, Jr - I agree, he was big for about a minute.