Top 50 Influential Actresses Of All Time

50 Influential Actresses in Film and Television History (2000s and Beyond)

The dawn of the 21st century marked a new era in the entertainment industry, and it brought forth an array of talented and hot actresses who have not only graced our screens but have also made a significant impact on the world of film and television. These influential actresses have captured our hearts with their remarkable performances, challenged norms, and paved the way for future generations. In this comprehensive list, we will explore the careers and contributions of 50 influential actresses in film and television history, starting from the 2000s and beyond.

1. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson is a versatile actress known for her captivating performances. She gained widespread recognition for her role as Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Her portrayal of the character added depth and complexity to the superhero genre.

2. Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence became a household name with her role as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” franchise. Her talent and charisma earned her an Academy Award for her role in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

3. Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Viola Davis is a powerhouse of talent who has garnered acclaim in film, television, and theater. Her groundbreaking work in “How to Get Away with Murder” made her the first African-American woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.

4. Emma Stone

Emma Stone

Emma Stone’s infectious charm and incredible talent have made her a fan favorite. She won an Oscar for her role in the enchanting musical “La La Land.”

5. Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is a respected actress with a wide range of roles. She received critical acclaim and an Academy Award for her portrayal of a troubled ballerina in “Black Swan.”

6. Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett is known for her impeccable acting skills and her ability to seamlessly transform into various characters. She has won two Academy Awards for her performances in “The Aviator” and “Blue Jasmine.”

7. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron’s dedication to her craft is evident in her transformative roles, including her Oscar-winning portrayal of Aileen Wuornos in “Monster.” She continues to be a trailblazer in Hollywood.

8. Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon

Reese Witherspoon is not only a talented actress but also a producer and advocate for gender equality in the industry. Her work in “Legally Blonde” and “Walk the Line” earned her an Oscar.

9. Amy Adams

Amy Adams

Amy Adams is known for her incredible versatility and compelling performances. She has received multiple Oscar nominations, showcasing her exceptional talent.

10. Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman has been a prominent figure in Hollywood for decades. She won an Academy Award for her role in “The Hours” and has continued to deliver outstanding performances.

11. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Beyond her successful acting career, Angelina Jolie is celebrated for her humanitarian work. Her roles in “Girl, Interrupted” and “Maleficent” have left a lasting impact on audiences.

12. Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet’s ability to convey raw emotions on screen is awe-inspiring. She has received critical acclaim for her roles in films like “Titanic” and “The Reader.”

13. Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway’s talent spans various genres, from her iconic role in “The Devil Wears Prada” to her breathtaking performance in “Les Misérables,” which earned her an Oscar.

14. Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan

Saoirse Ronan is a rising star known for her powerful and nuanced performances. Her work in “Lady Bird” and “Brooklyn” has earned her critical acclaim.

15. Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot

Gal Gadot became an international sensation as Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe. Her portrayal of the iconic superheroine inspired audiences worldwide.

16. Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie is known for her versatility, from her breakthrough role in “The Wolf of Wall Street” to her portrayal of Harley Quinn in the DC Universe.

17. Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o is not only a talented actress but also an advocate for important social causes. Her performance in “12 Years a Slave” earned her an Academy Award.

18. Zendaya


Zendaya rose to fame through Disney Channel and quickly made her mark in both film and television. Her work in “Euphoria” showcased her exceptional acting skills.

19. Jessica Chastain

jessica chastain

Jessica Chastain is a versatile and acclaimed actress known for her powerful performances. With roles in films like “Zero Dark Thirty” and “The Help,” she has garnered critical acclaim and earned Academy Award nominations. Chastain’s ability to bring depth and authenticity to her characters has solidified her as a respected figure in the film industry.

20. Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston gained fame as Rachel Green in the beloved TV series “Friends.” She has since enjoyed a successful transition to film and television, earning critical acclaim for her work.

21. Emma Watson

Emma Watson

Emma Watson is celebrated for her portrayal of Hermione Granger in the “Harry Potter” series. She is also an advocate for gender equality and education.

22. Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander

Alicia Vikander is an Oscar-winning actress with a promising career. Her roles in “The Danish Girl” and “Ex Machina” have showcased her exceptional talent.

23. Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt is a versatile actress known for her performances in both dramatic and comedic roles. Her work in “A Quiet Place” and “The Devil Wears Prada” highlights her range.

24. Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson

Taraji P. Henson gained recognition for her role as Cookie Lyon in the TV series “Empire.” Her charismatic performance left an indelible mark on television.

25. Alexandra Daddario

Alexandra Daddario

Alexandra Daddario is a talented actress known for her impressive performances. Her notable roles include “True Detective” and “Percy Jackson,” showcasing her acting prowess and versatility. Daddario’s on-screen presence and charisma have made her a rising star in the entertainment industry.

26. Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams is known for her roles in romantic dramas like “The Notebook” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife.” Her captivating presence on screen has earned her a dedicated fan base.

27. Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley

Shailene Woodley gained fame with roles in “The Fault in Our Stars” and the “Divergent” series. Her performances resonate with audiences, particularly younger viewers.

28. Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson

Tessa Thompson is known for her roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and her work in the thought-provoking series “Westworld.”

29. Lily Collins

Lily Collins

Lily Collins gained recognition for her performances in “The Mortal Instruments” and more recently, “Emily in Paris.” Her talent and elegance have made her a rising star.

30. Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart transitioned from “Twilight” fame to indie and critical darlings. Her work in films like “Personal Shopper” and “Still Alice” has earned critical acclaim.

31. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore’s bohemian-chic style and roles in films like “Never Been Kissed” made her a beloved figure of the era. Drew Barrymore, a talented and versatile actress, has had numerous significant hits throughout her career.

32. Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley has captivated audiences with her performances in period dramas and blockbuster franchises. Her roles in “Pride & Prejudice” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” showcased her versatility.

33. Emily Watson

Emily Watson

Emily Watson is an actress known for her emotionally resonant performances. Her work in “Breaking the Waves” and “Hilary and Jackie” earned her critical acclaim.

34. Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Gugu Mbatha-Raw gained recognition for her roles in “Belle” and “Beyond the Lights.” Her talent and elegance have made her a rising star.

35. Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams is an actress who has received multiple Oscar nominations and critical acclaim. Her performances in “Blue Valentine” and “Manchester by the Sea” showcase her depth as an actress.

36. Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones gained recognition for her roles in “The Theory of Everything” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Her talent and dedication to her craft are evident in her performances.

37. Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan is known for her roles in “An Education” and “Promising Young Woman.” Her thought-provoking and nuanced performances have earned critical acclaim.

39. Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning

Dakota Fanning started her career as a child actress and has continued to shine in adulthood. Her performances in “I Am Sam” and “The Secret Life of Bees” displayed her talent from a young age.

40. Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown gained recognition for her breakthrough role as Eleven in the hit series “Stranger Things.” Her remarkable acting abilities at such a young age have earned her widespread acclaim.

41. Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld’s talent was evident from her breakthrough role in “True Grit.” She has continued to impress with her performances in films like “The Edge of Seventeen.”

42. Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick’s wit and charisma have endeared her to audiences. She is known for her roles in “Pitch Perfect” and “Up in the Air.”

43. Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson

Dakota Johnson is celebrated for her performances in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy and her work in independent films.

44. Brie Larson

Brie Larson

Brie Larson’s Oscar-winning performance in “Room” showcased her incredible talent. She has since become a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain Marvel.

45. Zoë Kravitz

Zoë Kravitz

Zoë Kravitz is known for her distinctive style and her roles in “Big Little Lies” and the “Fantastic Beasts” series.

46. Emily Ratajkowski

Emily Ratajkowski

Emily Ratajkowski is not only an actress but also a model and advocate for body positivity. Her roles in “Gone Girl” and “We Are Your Friends” have garnered attention.

47. Daisy Ridley

Daisy Ridley

Daisy Ridley became a global sensation as Rey in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy. Her portrayal of the iconic character earned her widespread acclaim.

48. Lily James

Lily James

Lily James is known for her roles in period dramas like “Cinderella” and “Downton Abbey.” Her elegance and talent shine on screen.

49. Ruth Negga

Ruth Negga

Ruth Negga gained recognition for her performance in “Loving,” which earned her an Academy Award nomination. Her work in “Preacher” also showcased her versatility.

50. Sarah Paulson

Influential Actresses

Sarah Paulson is a versatile actress known for her collaboration with Ryan Murphy on series like “American Horror Story” and “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.”

These 50 influential actresses have left an indelible mark on the world of film and television.

Their talent, dedication, and contributions have enriched the industry and continue to inspire both aspiring actors and audiences around the globe. As they continue to take on challenging and diverse roles, their influence on the world of entertainment is sure to endure for years to come.

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