April 30, 2009

Ten Talented Temptresses

1. Anjelica Huston
Hollywood has a handful of royal families but one of the most blue-blooded (by film standards) is the inimitable Huston clan. Anjelica Huston is a third generation Oscar winner, succeeding her revered actor/director father John and legendary grandfather Walter to the podium. Born to English-Irish and Italian parents, Anjelica is the sort of raven-haired aristocratic beauty who puts mere mortals in place just by entering a room. She's not ordinary pretty but rather is undeniably stunning. Her high-class features and mesmerizing soulful eyes made her a sought-after model in her youth but the true gift of her genetics would nonetheless always be her talent which she proved with the aforementioned Oscar for the nuanced and devilish performance in Prizzi's Honor early on in her career. Since then she has made an art form of playing haughtily beautiful villains (The Witches), dangerous con artists (The Grifters), wicked mothers (Ever After), and Morticia Addams besides. She is a formidable talent, breathtaking both in her presence (which is considerable even without dialogue) and in the careful vulnerability of some of her most brilliant performances (Enemies: A Love Story, The Royal Tenenbaums). In keeping with her lineage she also directs and Bastard Out of Carolina, her directorial debut, is as gritty and unflinching as it is achingly beautiful. When you consider it alongside Agnes Browne (in which she directs herself), her gift for working with children is as apparent as her inability to be pigeonholed. And she is an outspoken advocate for animal rights, recently filming pleas for Hollywood to abandon the use of great apes in show business. She commands attention because she is royalty but exudes an approachable almost earth-mother glow, because she is truly gorgeous, and because she has the sort of talent that renders mortals speechless with awe. If Anjelica Huston, Sigourney Weaver, and Tilda Swinton ever decide to star in a film together, the world will implode due to the sheer majesty and force of talent onscreen.

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