6. Julianne Moore
BOOGIE NIGHTS, SAFE, FAR FROM HEAVEN, STILL ALICE, MAGNOLIA, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, SHORT CUTS, THE HOURS
Julianne Moore’s greatest strength might be her ability to calibrate. She seems like a live wire constantly buzzing with some sort of overwhelming emotion, and some of her best performances have been in showy roles that call for a lot of shouting or crying or general carrying-on. Whether getting into a screaming match with no pants on (Short Cuts), breaking down in the middle of a pharmacy (Magnolia), or moving through a series of paroxysms of panic and disease (Safe), Moore can go to the most extreme emotional places in her work without ever feeling false or dissolving into empty histrionics. The only thing more satisfying than watching her let it all go is watching her barely contain it. Her comparatively restrained performances in films like The Hours, Far From Heaven, and Vanya on 42nd Street are just as compelling because you can still sense the feelings violently churning just under the surface.