10 Best British Actresses

Who are the 10 Best British Actresses? For as long as Hollywood has been making movies, Britain has been kind enough to lend us the talents of some of the finest actresses working today. Here is a list of ten of the best:

  1. Kiera Knightley – Though Knightley did not catch the attention of most American film-goers until the film "Bend it Like Beckham" came out in 2002, this young Brit has acting credits that date as far back as 1993. Known best for her role in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise, she gained notoriety as a serious actress in such films as "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement," even managing to score an Oscar nomination for the former.
  2. Helena Bonham Carter – She is known for choosing projects that are quirky and different, i.e. many-a-Tim Burton film in the recent past. But before her string of Burton projects, Bonham-Carter had been doing a wide variety of projects ranging from Shakespeare ("Twelfth Night," "Hamlet") to "Fight Club". Her versatility has paid off for her—in 1997, she was nominated for an Oscar for "The Wings of a Dove."
  3. Tilda Swinton – Tilda Swinton deserves a spot on this list if only for her ability to play creepy ("Edward II," anyone?). She has only recently hit the mainstream film world with her turn as The White Witch in the "Chronicles of Narnia" films, followed by roles in "Michael Clayton" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," the former of which earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
  4. Julie Andrews – OK, so she hasn't done a decent film since 1982 (and that's only if you count "Victor/Victoria"—and is anybody counting that?), but starring in both "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music" has to count for something. She has been nominated for three Oscars (all of which are for the aforementioned films), winning one for her memorable role as Mary Poppins.
  5. Rachel Weisz – Rachel Weisz has shown her astounding acting ability time and time again in films like "About a Boy" and  "The Constant Gardner." She also deserves mention for her role in "The Brothers Bloom," which was sorely under-appreciated. Oscar Count: one (Best Supporting Actress, "The Constant Gardner").
  6. Emily Blunt – Relatively new to the scene, Emily Blunt has been receiving accolades left and right from critics. Ever since her role as a snarky assistant in "The Devil Wears Prada," she seems to be unstoppable. Her performances are always a delight to watch; always authentic, always versatile.
  7. Kate Winslet – Her first big role was in "Sense and Sensibility" and ever since she has been showcasing her fantastic range by choosing unique projects. She has been nominated for Oscars six times, first for "Sense and Sensibility" and most recently for "The Reader," for which she was granted the prize.
  8. Emma Thompson – From "The Remains of the Day" to "Nanny McPhee," Emma Thompson is always entertaining to watch. She doesn't always choose great projects ("The Tall Guy" is the one that springs to mind most immediately), but she is always good in them. Not only is she a fantastic actress, but a fairly adept screenwriter, having adapted "Sense and Sensibility" for the screen (Academy Award, Best Adapted Screenplay) as well as "Nanny Mcphee."
  9. Helen Mirren – She has been acting since the 1960s and as of February 2, 2010, has been nominated for four Oscars, winning one for her role in "The Queen." The other three were for "The Madness of King George", "Gosford Park" and "The Last Station". She will go down as one of the greatest actresses of our time and she's not even done yet.
  10. Judi Dench – The Dame! Of course. Judi Dench has had an extraordinarily long career—her first acting credit is in 1959. She is adored by fans all over the world—respected by Brits and North Americans alike. Is there a Judi Dench performance that even the meanest critic could say was sub-par? Doubt it. Oscar Nomination count: six ("Mrs. Brown," "Shakespeare in Love," "Chocolat," "Iris," "Mrs. Henderson Presents" and "Notes on a Scandal"), winning only one for supporting actress in "Shakespeare in Love."
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