The new millennium signaled a change in the manner in which audiences experienced film. The popularity of blockbuster films increased, and franchises began to dominate the box office. Fantasy and comic book films became more popular than ever, while hand-drawn Disney Renaissance films were replaced by computer animation.
Indeed, the 2000s were a time of change, and a distinguished group of adored and acclaimed actresses capitalized on it by defining the decade with their undeniable talent. Due to their unforgettable performances in numerous films, these talented women became household names and cemented their position in Hollywood.
Few actresses began the decade with greater success than Halle Berry. Berry remains the only African-American actress to have won an Oscar for a leading performance. She became a fan favorite with her role in 2000’s X-Men and rose to A-list status after her Oscar victory for 2001’s Monster’s Ball.
Maria Halle Berry was born on August 14, 1966, in Cleveland, Ohio, to English immigrant Judith Ann and African-American father Jerome Jesse Berry. Her name was legally changed to Halle Maria Berry when she was five years old. Her parents chose her middle name from Cleveland institution Halle’s Department Store. Her mother was a psychiatric nurse, and her father was a psychiatric ward attendant in the same hospital before becoming a bus driver. Berry’s parents divorced when she was four years old, and her mother reared her and her older sister alone. Since infancy, she has been estranged from her father, stating in 1992 that she did not even know if he was still alive. Berry recalled witnessing her abusive father batter her mother daily, kick her down the stairs, and hit her in the head with a wine bottle.
Berry portrayed one of the most formidable Bond Girls, Jynx, in Pierce Brosnan’s final outing as 007, Die Another Day, in 2002. She achieved additional commercial success with the X-Men sequels X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, as well as the supernatural thriller Gothika (2004).
Born on June 4, 1975, Angelina Jolie Voight is an American actress, filmmaker, author, and humanitarian. She has received numerous accolades, including an Academy Award and three Golden Globe Awards, and has been designated Hollywood’s highest-paid actress multiple times.
Angelina Jolie won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2000, which bodes well for her future career. Jolie became an action celebrity for her role in the Tomb Raider film series, and a sex icon for her roles in Original Sin and Taking Lives.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith was a box office triumph for Jolie in 2005, after a period of inconsistent success. In the latter half of the decade, Jolie’s relationship with Brad Pitt significantly shaped her identity. However, Jolie maintained a successful career, establishing herself as an action icon with films such as Wanted and receiving an Oscar nomination for Clint Eastwood’s crime drama Changeling.
Angelina Jolie’s career prospects improved after she won a Golden Globe Award for her performance in TNT’s George Wallace about the life of segregationist Alabama Governor and presidential candidate George Wallace, portrayed by Gary Sinise. George Wallace was well received by critics and received numerous accolades, including the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film. Jolie’s performance earned her an Emmy Award nomination.
Keira Christina Knightley, is an English actress. She has been nominated for multiple awards, including two Academy Awards, three British Academy Film Awards, and a Laurence Olivier Award, in recognition of her performance in both independent and mainstream films, especially period dramas. In 2018, she received an OBE from Buckingham Palace for her contributions to theater and charity.
Knightley attended Teddington School. She was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of six, but with her parents’ help, she was able to overcome it by the time she was eleven. She remains a poor reader who cannot read loudly. Knightley has stated her commitment to acting. At the age of three, she demanded an agent similar to her parents, and at the age of six, she was granted one. Consequently, she accepted several small roles in television dramas. After Juliet was written by her mother, and United States was written by her drama instructor. Knightley began her A-Level studies at Esher College but left after one year to pursue an acting career. Friends of her mother urged her to enroll in drama school, but she deferred due to financial and professional concerns
After a meteoric rise to prominence, Keira Knightley became the most iconic leading lady of the 2000s. Her breakthrough role was in the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham, but she ascended to international fame as Elizabeth Swann in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
Knightley became an icon for millennials due to her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice (2005), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. With films like Atonement and The Duchess, subsequent critical acclaim followed.
On November 22, 1984, Scarlett Ingrid Johansson was born in Manhattan, New York City. Johansson’s father, Karsten Olaf Johansson, is a Copenhagen-born Danish architect. She is the granddaughter of Ejner Johansson, a Swedish-born art historian, screenwriter, and film director. Her New York-based mother, Melanie Sloan, has worked as a producer. She identifies as Jewish and is descended from a family of Ashkenazi Jews who fled Poland and Russia under the surname Schlamberg.
Various media outlets have referred to Johansso as one of the most beautiful women in the globe. She is a well-known brand ambassador and supports numerous charitable causes. Johansson has been married to comedian Colin Jost since 2020. With Dauriac and Jost, she is the mother of two children.
She was the highest-paid actress in the world in 2018 and 2019, and she has appeared multiple times on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. Time ranked her among the world’s 100 most influential individuals in 2021. Her films have grossed more than $14.3 billion worldwide, making her the actress with the highest earnings in history.
Scarlett Johansson holds the distinction of being the actress with the highest earnings globally. She is a renowned, award-winning, and stunningly beautiful artist. Scarlett Johansson, who had an interest in acting, made her film début at the age of eight and has since appeared in numerous films, including Lost in Translation, The Avengers, Hitchcock, and Marriage Story. She also has television experience and has released an album.
Catherine Elise Blanchett is an actress and producer from Australia. Due to her versatility in independent films, blockbuster films, and on stage, she is regarded as one of the finest performers of her generation. She has received nominations for a Tony Award and two Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as two Academy Awards, four British Academy Film Awards, and four Golden Globes.
Blanchett is regarded as one of the most gifted and adaptable actors of her generation. She is well-known for her ability to portray characters from diverse backgrounds and for starring in and contributing to a vast multitude of film genres and production scales, ranging from low-budget independent films to blockbuster films. She has also been praised for her command of a wide range of accents, including English, Irish, French, and numerous regional American accents. In a 2022 Empire magazine reader’s election, Blanchett was selected as one of the 50 best actors of all time.
Cate Blanchett, renowned for her versatility and intensity as an actress, is the definition of Hollywood aristocracy. In the 2010s, the Australian actor starred in a number of commercially successful films, including The Hobbit trilogy, Disney’s Cinderella, and Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok.
Blanchett also delivered some of her most acclaimed performances in the 2010s. The actor earned the Oscar for her performance in Blue Jasmine in 2014 and was nominated again for her quiet and arresting performance in Carol in 2015. Films such as Hanna and Manifesto furthered Blanchett’s unique reputation as a dazzling performer.
Emily Jean “Emma” Stone, born on November 6, 1988, is an American actress and producer. She has garnered numerous awards, including an Oscar, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe. In 2017, she was both the world’s highest-paid actress and one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people.
She has gained significant recognition for her performances in both commercially successful and independent films. Before her breakthrough role in the 2010 adolescent comedy Easy A, Emma Stone was a well-known but underrated actress. Her performance earned her first Golden Globe nomination and catapulted her to prominence, paving the way for commercial successes such as The Help, Crazy Stupid Love, and the Amazing Spider-Man duology.
Stone entered a more mature phase of her career in 2014, when her performance in Birdman earned her first Oscar nomination. She won the statuette in 2017 for her leading role in the musical La La Land, dominating the awards season. The Favourite, one of the greatest black comedies of the twenty-first century, featured Stone’s arguably best performance to date. Stone also ventured into television with the Netflix miniseries Maniac.
Natalie Portman is an Israeli-born American actress. She has had a prolific film career since her teenage years, starring in a variety of blockbuster and indie films and receiving multiple accolades, including an Academy Award and two Golden Globe Awards.
Natalie was born in Jerusalem to Jewish parents with Polish, Austrian, and Russian ancestry on December 4, 1981. Her parents are Shelley, an American homemaker and Portman’s representative, and Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born gynecologist. Her maternal grandparents were American Jews, while her paternal grandparents were Jewish exiles to Israel.
Portman and her family relocated from Washington, D.C. to Connecticut in 1988, followed by a subsequent move to Long Island in 1990. While residing in Washington, Portman attended the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland. She speaks Hebrew natively. He attended the Long Island elementary school Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County during his tenure on Long Island. She regularly attended the Usdan Center for Creative and Performing Arts and the American Theater Dance Workshop, where she studied ballet and modern dance. Portman has stated that she was distinct from the other children during her childhood. She was a highly motivated individual who knew what she relished and desired and worked arduously to attain them.
When Portman was ten years old, a Revlon agent discovered her at a pizza restaurant and asked her to become a child model. She declined the offer but took advantage of the opportunity to find an acting agent.She auditioned for the off-Broadway musical Ruthless!, set in 1992, about a girl willing to commit murder to earn the lead role in her school’s production.
Natalie Portman, a Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning actress, has proven to be one of the most versatile and gifted in the entertainment industry. This American actress of Israeli descent has appeared in some of the most popular and critically acclaimed films. She rose to prominence after starring in the ‘Star Wars’ film series. Natalie Portman, who holds a degree in psychology from Harvard, lectured on terrorism and counterterrorism at Columbia University in addition to her acting career. She attended graduate school at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is fluent in Arabic, German, French, and Japanese. She was the youngest member of the jury for the 61st annual Cannes Film Festival. People’s Magazine ranked Portman among the ’50 Most Beautiful People’ due to her signature brown eyes, sweet intonation, and petite stature. Among her well-known films are “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith,” “V for Vendetta,” “Black Swan,” and “No Strings Attached.”
Anne Jacqueline Hathaway was born in the U.S. in 1982. She is the recipient of the Academy Award, British Academy Film Award, Golden Globe Award, and Primetime Emmy Award. She was included in the 2009 Forbes Celebrity 100 list. The total global box office revenue generated by her films exceeds $6.8 billion. In the year 2015, she had a position among the actresses who received the highest remuneration globally.
Hathaway has won a Primetime Emmy Award for her voice performance in The Simpsons, in addition to singing on soundtracks, performing on stage, and hosting events. She donates to numerous charitable organizations. As a UN Women goodwill ambassador, she advocates for gender equality in addition to serving on the board of the Lollipop Theatre Network, an organization that presents films to children in hospitals. Hathaway is married to actor and businessman Adam Shulman, with whom she has two children.
Anne Hathaway has been the recipient of multiple prestigious awards, one of which is an Academy Award. In her early films as an adolescent in the early 2000s, she frequently portrayed princesses. As her career progressed, she assumed increasingly diverse responsibilities. She is an advocate for gender equality and LGBTQA+ rights.
Nicole Mary Kidman was born in the United States and Australia on 20 June 1967. Due to her work in numerous film and television productions spanning multiple disciplines, she has been consistently ranked among the world’s highest-paid actresses. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, a British Academy Film Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and six Golden Globes.
Nicole Kidman played a number of acclaimed roles in the ’90s, but it wasn’t until the ’00s that her career took off, solidifying her position as acting royalty. In 2001, Kidman had two significant successes: The Others and Baz Luhrmann’s best film to date, Moulin Rouge!, for which she received her first Oscar nomination.
The following year, the actress would obtain the coveted statuette for her portrayal of Virginia Woolf in The Hours. She subsequently starred in two cult masterpieces, Dogville by Lars von Trier and Birth by Jonathan Glazer. Kidman persevered, entering the 2010s with a second Oscar nomination and continuing success in film and television, despite the critical and commercial failures of her subsequent ventures.
Nicole Kidman has been a UNICEF and UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador since 1994 and 2006, respectively. In the year 2006, she received the prestigious title of Companion of the Order of Australia. She was wed to Tom Cruise from 1990 until 2001, and Keith Urban since 2006. She established the production company Blossom Films in 2010. In 2004 and 2018, Time magazine ranked her among the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020, The New York Times acknowledged her as one of the finest actors of the 21st century.
Kate Elizabeth Winslet CBE is an English actress. She has received a number of accolades, including an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, five BAFTA Awards, and five Golden Globe Awards, for her work in independent films, primarily period dramas, and for her portrayals of strong and complicated women. In 2009 and 2021, Time magazine named Winslet one of the 100 most influential individuals in the world. In 2012, she was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).
To avoid being typecast in historical dramas, Winslet actively pursued roles in films set in the present. In the 2004 science fiction romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she portrayed Clementine, a neurotic and impulsive woman who resolves to erase memories of her ex-boyfriend (played by Jim Carrey). In contrast to her previous assignments, this one permitted her to showcase her eccentric side. Gondry encouraged Winslet and Carrey to improvise on set, and she practiced kickboxing to maintain her agility. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was a modest financial success, and many critics consider it one of the finest films of the 21st century. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone referred to it as a “uniquely funny, unpredictably tender, and unapologetically twisted romance” and found Winslet to be “electrifying and bruisingly vulnerable” in it. A journalist for Premiere magazine praised her for abandoning her “corseted English rose persona” and ranked the performance as the 81st finest in film history. Winslet considers it her favorite character, and she was nominated for Best Actress at both the Academy Awards and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. She has stated that the film signified a turning point in her career and prompted directors to offer her numerous roles.
Almost every genre witnessed an abundance of deserving entries, with a few even ascending to the status of cinematic icons. These films’ undeniable success was largely due to the efforts of the actors, particularly the women who starred in them.
In fact, it was defined by an abundance of hardworking leading ladies who starred in some of the most successful films of the 2000s. These actors made a tremendous impression on critics and audiences by delivering compelling and thrilling performances that cemented their status as Hollywood icons.