The 25 best actresses

by olliebranch | created - 16 May 2015 | updated - 16 May 2015 | Public

1. Jennifer Lawrence

Actress | The Hunger Games

The highest-paid actress in the world, with her films grossing over $5.5 billion worldwide, Jennifer Lawrence is often cited as the most successful actor of her generation. She is thus far the only person born in the 1990s to have won an acting Oscar.

Jennifer Shrader Lawrence was born August 15, ...

2. Shailene Woodley

Actress | Divergent

Actress Shailene Woodley was born in Simi Valley, California, to Lori (Victor), a middle school counselor, and Lonnie Woodley, a school principal. She has one brother, Tanner. She was educated at Simi Valley High School in California. When Woodley was four years old she began commercial modeling. ...

3. Cara Delevingne

Actress | Suicide Squad

Cara Jocelyn Delevingne was born in London, England, to Pandora Anne (Stevens) and Charles Hamar Delevingne, a property developer. Her parents are both from prominent upper-class families, with her ancestors including Viscounts (Greenwood), Baronets (Hulton, Faudel-Phillips), Majors and Lord Mayors...

4. Audrey Hepburn

Actress | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Audrey Hepburn was born Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1929 in Brussels, Belgium. She was a blue-blood and a cosmopolitan from birth. Her mother, Ella van Heemstra, was a Dutch baroness; Audrey's father, Joseph Victor Anthony Hepburn-Ruston, was born in Úzice, Bohemia, of English and ...

5. Aubrey Plaza

Actress | Safety Not Guaranteed

Aubrey Christina Plaza (born June 26, 1984) is an American actress and comedian known for her deadpan style. She portrayed April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation (2009), and after appearing in supporting roles in several films, had her first leading role in the 2012 comedy Safety Not Guaranteed (...

6. Amy Poehler

Actress | Inside Out

Amy Meredith Poehler was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to high school teachers Eileen Frances (Milmore) and William Grinstead Poehler. Her brother is comedian Greg Poehler. She is of Irish (from her mother) and English, Irish, German, and Portuguese (from her father) descent. Amy was first ...

7. Rashida Jones

Actress | Parks and Recreation

Rashida Jones was born in Los Angeles, the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. She has an older sister, Kidada Jones, and five half-siblings by her father's other relationships. Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry. ...

8. Keira Knightley

Actress | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Keira Christina Knightley was born in the South West Greater London suburb of Richmond on March 26th 1985. She is the daughter of actor Will Knightley and actress turned playwright Sharman Macdonald. An older brother, Caleb Knightley, was born in 1979. Her father is English, while her Scottish-born...

9. Anna Kendrick

Actress | Up in the Air

Anna Kendrick was born in Portland, Maine, to Janice (Cooke), an accountant, and William Kendrick, a teacher. She has an older brother, Michael Cooke Kendrick, who has also acted. She is of English, Irish, and Scottish descent.

For her role as "Dinah" in "High Society" on Broadway, Anna Kendrick was...

10. Rebel Wilson

Actress | Pitch Perfect

Rebel Wilson was born in Sydney, Australia. She trained at the Australian Theatre for Young People and at Second City in the US. After a successful stage and television career in Australia, this writer/actress/producer now focuses on feature film projects in the United States and is perhaps most ...

11. Gina Rodriguez

Actress | Deepwater Horizon

Named the "next big thing" and one of the "top 35 Latinos under 35," by The Hollywood Reporter, Gina Rodriguez's profile has been rising steadily since her breakout performance as the titular character in FILLY BROWN during the Sundance Film Festival in 2012.

Gina Rodriguez was born in Chicago, ...

12. Ann Miller

Actress | Mulholland Dr.

Ann Miller was born Johnnie Lucille Ann Collier on April 12, 1923 in Chireno, Texas. She lived there until she was nine, when her mother left her philandering father and moved with Ann to Los Angeles, California. Even at that young age, she had to support her mother, who was hearing-impaired and ...

13. Meryl Streep

Actress | Out of Africa

Considered by many critics to be the greatest living actress, Meryl Streep has been nominated for the Academy Award an astonishing 20 times, and has won it three times. Meryl was born Mary Louise Streep in 1949 in Summit, New Jersey, to Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a commercial artist, and Harry William ...

14. Nicole Kidman

Actress | Moulin Rouge!

Elegant blonde Nicole Kidman, known as one of Hollywood's top Australian imports, was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii, while her Australian parents were there on educational visas.

Kidman is the daughter of Janelle Ann (Glenny), a nursing instructor, and Antony David Kidman, a biochemist and ...

15. Sandra Bullock

Producer | Miss Congeniality

Sandra Annette Bullock was born in Arlington, a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Her mother, Helga Bullock (née Helga Mathilde Meyer), was a German opera singer. Her father, John W. Bullock, was an American voice teacher, who was born in Alabama, of Irish, English, French, and German descent. ...

16. Helena Bonham Carter

Actress | Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility, one of the UK's finest and most successful.

Bonham Carter was born May 26, 1966 in Golders Green, London, England, the youngest of three children of Elena (née Propper de Callejón), a psychotherapist, and Raymond Bonham Carter, a merchant ...

17. Natalie Portman

Actress | Black Swan

Natalie Portman is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan (2010)).

Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an ...

18. Scarlett Johansson

Actress | Her

Scarlett Johansson was born in New York City. Her mother, Melanie Sloan, is from a Jewish family from the Bronx, and her father, Karsten Johansson, is a Danish-born architect, from Copenhagen. She has a sister, Vanessa Johansson, who is also an actress, a brother, Adrian, a twin brother, Hunter ...

19. Lauren Graham

Actress | Gilmore Girls

Lauren Graham was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Donna Grant and Lawrence Graham, a candy industry lobbyist. Her father was from New York and her mother was from the American South, and Lauren has Irish, British, and Scottish ancestry. She grew up in Northern Virginia, USA (Fairfax, Arlington, and ...

20. Ginnifer Goodwin

Actress | Big Love

Ginnifer Goodwin was born Jennifer Michelle Goodwin on May 22, 1978, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Linda (Kantor), who worked at FedEx, and Tim Goodwin, who had a recording studio. Bright and talented, Ginnifer carried her love for theater and acting through her high school years. She graduated from ...

21. Jennifer Morrison

Actress | House M.D.

Jennifer Marie Morrison was born in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest child of teachers David and Judy Morrison. She was raised in Arlington Heights, IL, with a younger sister and brother. She attended the same school her parents taught at, Prospect High School. As a child, she did some work as a model...

22. Blake Lively

Actress | The Age of Adaline

Blake Lively was born Blake Ellender Brown in Tarzana, California, to a show business family. Her mother, Elaine Lively (née McAlpin), is an acting coach and talent manager, and her father, Ernie Lively (born Ernest Wilson Brown, Jr.), is an actor and teacher. Her brother is actor Eric Lively, and ...

23. Kristen Bell

Actress | Frozen

Kristen Anne Bell (born 1980) is an American actress and singer. She was born and raised in Huntington Woods, Michigan, and is the daughter of Lorelei (Frygier), a nurse, and Tom Bell, a television news director. Her ancestry is Polish (mother) and German, English, Irish, and Scottish (father). ...

24. Idina Menzel

Actress | Frozen

Idina Menzel was born on May 30, 1971 in Syosset, New York, USA as Idina Kim Mentzel. She is an actress, known for Frozen (2013), Rent (2005) and Enchanted (2007). She has been married to Aaron Lohr since September 2017. She was previously married to Taye Diggs.

25. Gwyneth Paltrow

Actress | Shakespeare in Love

A tall, wafer thin, delicate beauty, Gwyneth Kate Paltrow was born in Los Angeles, the daughter of noted producer and director Bruce Paltrow and Tony award-winning actress Blythe Danner. Her father was from a Jewish family, while her mother has German, and some English and Irish, ancestry. When ...