Top Six… Most Beautiful Performances
Beauty, as Michael Bay once professed, is in the eye of the 13-year-old boy leering at Megan Fox. But who is to say that the 13-year-old boy leering at Megan Fox is wrong? Well, uh… me, for one. Actors often moan about being seen solely as sex symbols but tough: that’s precisely what they are. Pieces of meat who speak from time to time. What they seem to forget is that their looks can help elevate a performance to classic status.
Here are my picks for the six most beautiful performances in movie history. Not necessarily the actors who I think are the hottest (or else this post would just have lots of pictures of Julianne Moore) but the best instances when an actor’s looks in a particular role beguiled me and hit me for six.
This may be our most subjective Top Five ever, but don’t let that stop you from ripping into my choices in the comments section below. And providing your own, of course.
6. Cate Blanchett (Bandits)
You could argue that if you put any broad in between a balding Bruce Willis and an ugly Billy Bob Thornton she would look hot. And you would be right. But would she be as hot as Cate is in this enjoyable catch-us-if-you-can caper? Not likely. The great thing about watching Blanchett is that she doesn’t look like anyone else (apart from Katharine Hepburn, of course). She’s a beautiful alien that has decided to land on our planet for a while. Normally her looks are reined in by directors but in Bandits she gets to have fiery red hair and sing along to Bonnie Tyler. And nothing is more sexy than a woman singing Bonnie Tyler. Unless it’s Bonnie Tyler.
5. Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke)
The genius of Stuart Rosenberg’s film is that it takes the finest looking actor of the time and puts him through hell. This is not my favourite Newman role nor is it my favourite Newman film but it probably remains his most iconic performance. With eyes burning as blue as his prison overalls, this is Hollywood’s most handsome man at his most handsome.
4. Ava Gardner (The Killers)
If looks could kill, Ava Gardner would have slain thousands of men. As mystery dame Kitty Collins, she pretty much defined what a femme fatale should look like. She lends the character a sultry intelligence that drips off the screen and right into your lap.
3. George Clooney (Out Of Sight)
Steven Soderbergh’s slick movie was marketed as having something for everyone. All the girls wanted to go to bed with George Clooney and all the boys wanted to go to bed with Jennifer Lopez. Truth be told, everybody wanted to go to bed with Gorgeous George. Out Of Sight is a solid if slightly overrated film but it allows you to witness a momentous event: the birth of a movie star. Although this and subsequent roles proved Clooney is far more than just his pretty face, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t keep your eyes off it. Memo to Brad Pitt: give up.
2. Harrison Ford (Raiders Of The Lost Ark)
In all the analysis about George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s famous adventurer, what is rarely mentioned is just how goddam fine looking he is. Harrison Ford has always been a relatively attractive man, but in the first Indiana Jones movie his face peaked like the Paramount logo in the opening credits. The thing about Ford is that he brings a sense of danger – of impending violence – to the character that original choice Tom Selleck never could have. Whether firing a gun, waving a whip around, getting whacked by a mirror or teaching a college class, Jones is the doctor you want to see every time you don’t feel good. Well worth writing ‘love you’ on your eyelids for.
1. Juliette Binoche (Three Colours: Blue)
An achingly beautiful film with an achingly beautiful star. Binoche is on screen for pretty much all of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s first instalment in his Three Colours trilogy, and aren’t we fortunate that she is. Not only does she carry this film with her acting ability but she does so with her hair, her face, her entire body. It is fitting that such a creature fronts a film that hypnotises the viewer. One look into her eyes and I was lost completely. Has anyone been more beautiful in a movie? I don’t think so.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BEAUTIFUL PERFORMANCES?