OK, so the recent poll that awarded Jennifer Aniston the title ‘sexiest woman of all time’ got me to thinking. What!? Are you flippin’ kidding me? OK. OK. I know taste and beauty are totally subjective. But hang on. What?!
So, after bouncing the idea off co-Dork Brad, we decided to put together our individual top ten lists of sexiest women (that’s right, a special double-Fistful this week). Hard as it was, I left off my first crushes. Erin Gray, Lynda Carter, Nichelle Nichols, Karen Allen, and Lea Thompson will have to wait for another list. I also had to skip long time crush Angela Bassett, because my feelings for her are based almost entirely on the film Strange Days, and that’s not enough. Same with Mathilday May from Lifeforce. Just to help narrow the field, I restricted myself to movies and TV (no music, models, etc.). Give me another ten years for some perspective, and newer potentials like Olga Kurylenko and Shu Qi, might end up on the list. Time will tell.
10. Cate Blanchett: OK, yeah, so Australian accents have always done something for me. But, getting beyond that, Blanchett’s strange beauty has been fascinating since I first saw her in Elizabeth. She has consistently turned in interesting, frequently strong performances, which can be all too rare for women in film these days. She even played one of my all time favorites (and number 9 on this list), capturing not just her mannerisms, but her fire.
9. Katharine Hepburn: Though many of her most famous roles came when she was older, and had segued from young firebrand into tough spinster, young Katharine Hepburn was actually a strikingly beautiful woman who oozed confidence and style. Her screen persona is exactly the kind of woman I like, powerful, willful, and maybe a bit brash, but soft in all the right places.
8. Lena Olin: OK, I admit it. I’m a square. I’m one of those suckers that gets in over his head in a classic Noir film. That’s one reason I recognize the danger of Lena Olin. She has some femme fatale power that punches through my ‘good guy’ ways and makes me want to do bad things. From her voice to that deadly predator look in her eyes, I don’t know that I’d do any better than Depp if she wanted something I had. Even if she cut off her own arm (seriously, this woman has played some crazy characters).
7. Jennifer Connelly: I kind of grew up with Jennifer Connelly. She’s about my age, and has been acting for a long time. As a kid, I connected with her in Labyrinth (and yes, had a crush on her). As an adult, I enjoyed her retro-fueled performances in The Rocketeer and Dark City. And was weirded out by scary stuff like Requiem for a Dream. With classic, almost timeless features, a willingness to take chances, and a pretty wide range, Connelly may not have the tabloid glitz of many modern starlets, but she’s got what counts.
6. Gloria Grahame: I’ve said this before, but never has a woman so not my type been so my type. Usually bottle blond, with an upturned nose and a bit of a sour face, she manages to burn with a volcanic rage in one film and radiate innocent sweetness in another. Her sly cleverness and dangerous curiosity in In a Lonely Place alone would have been enough for me.
5. Pam Grier: The Queen of Blaxploitation, Pam Grier is a powerhouse. With a career that has spanned decades, she’s had ups and downs, highs and lows. But she’s always brought the goods. From Coffy to Jackie Brown and beyond, Ms. Grier will always hold a special place in my heart.
4. Michelle Yeoh: A marginal actress who was only kinda cute, Michelle Yeoh could have faded away, becoming a footnote on the history of 80s martial arts films. She got married. She retired. Forgotten. But, she didn’t stay gone. After separating from her husband, she came back to acting in a big way, and age had been more than kind. Year by year, she grew more and more beautiful, while honing her skills as an actress, not to mention as a martial arts movie extraordinaire.
3. Jenny Agutter: Perhaps not classically beautiful, Agutter is extremely cute and devilishly sexy at the same time. Giant eyes, sexy accent, and, well, she’s never been shy about showing it all off. To top that off, she's a very talented actress with a lot of cool and weird movies to her name.
2. Rachel Weisz: She’s been acting for a long time, and I saw her in many movies without much thought. But as time went on, I noticed her more and more, until I realized she had become one of my favorite active actresses. Weisz has a quiet charm and dignity, combined with an earthy approachableness that makes her somehow both ethereal and real at the same time.
1. Monica Bellucci: A Mediterranean goddess, Bellucci has Gong Li’s almost inhuman ability to look sad, and to make you want to do something about it. Constantly taking chances in the roles that she picks, unfortunately, she often ends up in not-so-good stuff. However, for a model turned actress, she’s actually quite good, and when that occasional good part comes along, she shines. Also, like the proverbial fine wine (and like the above Michelle Yeoh), she only seems to grow more beautiful with age.