7. Gena Rowlands
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, FACES, GLORIA, THE NOTEBOOK, SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT, LOVE STREAMS, NIGHT ON EARTH
One of the most naturalistic performers to ever grace the screen, Gena Rowlands’ ability to be in the moment at all times seems almost instinctive, as though she is always working to break down the barriers between herself and her characters. This often manifests itself as complete honesty. She never defends her characters in her portrayals of them, nor does she condemn them. She seems to not only understand the inherent contradictions in her characters, but she actually embraces them. These people cannot be easily summed up with a brief discussion of a few generic traits; they are full human beings, every bit as complex as Rowlands herself.