Movie Muse turned two years old this week! Last year I shared my thoughts on a year of movie blogging, but this year I’m going to have a bit more fun. My first order of business when the site debuted was to put together a few of the ever-popular “Top 10” lists on things I felt rather certain of. One was “Top 10 Superhero Movies” and the other … “Top 10 Brunette Beauties.”
I’ve never been shy about my actress crushes. Take that as you will … You might have seen some articles here and there applauding the careers of some of these ladies on the site. Now that two years have gone by and I’ve re-read that post, there are some serious injustices that I need to address. As I went back to realize how many gorgeous women I missed, this list mutated rather quickly into a top 25.
You might be wondering when I’m going to give the blondes some love. Patience … to say a list isn’t in the works would be a downright lie. Also, to say a list of the most attractive guys in Hollywood isn’t somewhere in my brain would be a lie. All my shallow top 10 or 25 lists in due time, friends.
To make things tolerable and have you gripping the edge of your computer chair armrests or couch cushions, I’ve broken this in half (though actress No. 13 remains in one physical piece). To browse “Part 2,” scroll to the bottom for the link.
25. Cobie Smulders
The “How I Met Your Mother” actress gets us out of the gate, much like she instantly helped usher that CBS sitcom to success. As the girl from across the bar in the pilot that draws in the main character/narrator, Ted (Josh Radnor), so much was riding on her ability to be the girl next door and she nailed it. Although my crush on Smulders has waned a bit over the seasons of the show, she’s become a true comedienne, capable of acting tomboy without losing any sexiness. She’s a funnier Jennifer Connelly type.
- Best Performance: Robin Scherbatsky on “How I Met Your Mother”
- Next Seen In: “The Avengers” as S.H.I.E.L.D agent Maria Hill
24. Hayley Atwell
If this list had been made a matter of weeks earlier, the “Captain America: The First Avenger” leading lady might have been nowhere to be found, but luckily I can happily include her. Atwell’s classic body shape and British roots helped her land a lot of roles in memorable period romances such as “Brideshead Revisted” and “The Duchess” with Keira Knightley, but credit Woody Allen with her discovery in his otherwise lackluster film “Cassandra’s Dream.” She made quite the leap in “Captain America,” but certainly proved she can give true strength to a love interest.
- Best Performance: Peggy Carter in”Captain America: The First Avenger”
- Next Seen In: “I, Anna,” a noir thriller based on a novel by Elsa Lewin
23. Thandie Newton
Newton made my 2009 list, which should tell you something about all the ladies I neglected. Newton’s done a wide range of work from action (“Chronicles of Riddick”) to drama (“The Pursuit of Happyness”), though she’s still treated as second tier as far as most sought-after black actresses. Approaching age 39, she has that eternally youthful look but she still comes off as mature in all her roles.
- Best Performance: Condoleeza Rice in”W.”
- Next Seen In: “Good Deeds” from Tyler Perry
22. Anne Hathaway
Hathaway broke away from teen roles in “Princess Diaries” (her debut) and “Ella Enchanted” in a hurry to become a household name and she’s still not even 30! She doesn’t have any standout features per se, but she’s a generally beautiful woman. In a career that’s barely spanned 10 years, she’s managed an incredible range of roles from “Bride Wars” to “Get Smart” to “Brokeback Mountain.” That’s on top of an Oscar nomination. With that body of work, she’s prevented anyone from painting her into a corner. She’s also very comfortable in her skin to say the least and I’d say most people are comfortable looking at it, too.
- Best Performance: Kym in”Rachel Getting Married”
- Next Seen In: “One Day” in theaters Aug. 19
21. Keri Russell
Another Top 10 finisher from 2009, Russell just exudes that wholesome girl-next-door look that served her so well on WB’s “Felicity” for four years and earned her a Golden Globe. Whether she prefers low-key parts in order to spend time raising her 4-year-old son or studios don’t think she has star power, if she continues to look this good, she’ll find her way to something in which she’ll shine again.
- Best Performance: Jenna in “Waitress”
- Next Seen In: “Goats” with Vera Farmiga and David Duchovny
20. Megan Fox
Putting Fox on this list feels obligatory. It was either her or Angelina Jolie as the “brunette temptress” on the list and putting Jolie on a most-beautiful actress list seemed like cheating — don’t ask me why. Yet being male and denying Fox is hot is just that — denial. If you seriously feel that way and mean it, you need to go get your testosterone levels checked. She fits better on a list of hotties than a list of beautiful women, but as a polarizing figure she can weave her way onto any list.
- Best Performance: Mikaela Banes in “Transformers” (if you can call that “best”)
- Next Seen In: “Friends with Kids” from the writer and star of “Kissing Jessica Stein”
19. Alexa Davalos
Unless you read my 2009 list, Davalos isn’t likely on your radar. The French-born actress gets her distinctive European features from a Greek father and a French mother. Her career hasn’t gone very far since her first big role alongside Vin Diesel in “The Chronicles of Riddick,” but she always looks good and acting is in her blood, literally, as her mother and grandfather both acted. Her last big role was in last year’s “Clash of the Titans” as the kind-of love interest Andromeda, but the part was recast for the sequel for reasons unknown, so her future remains a mystery.
- Best Performance: Lilka Ticktin in “Defiance”
- Next Seen In: ???
18. Kate Beckinsale
How many beautiful women has Michael Bay helped shoot to fame? Beckinsale was of course in Bay’s “Pearl Harbor” and then solidified her career in the “Underworld” franchise. I say solidify because it united her with husband/director Len Wiseman, who seems to be the only reason her career keeps going as she hasn’t proven to have much range. As far as long, slender and athletic bodies go and awesome hair, however, few actresses have much on her.
- Best Performance: Annie in “Snow Angels”
- Next Seen In: “Underworld: Awakening” on Jan. 20
17. Jessica Alba
Speaking of beautiful women with questionable talent, Alba’s skewed perspective on her ability (which she has little of) and awful choices of film roles knock her from being an easy Top 10 beauty to wherever you care to slide her into your list. She’s gorgeous, though, no doubt about that. Alba got her break as the sexy star of TV’s “Dark Angel” but caught the greater public’s eye as a blonde in “Sin City” and “Fantastic Four.” Her geek icon status quickly diminished as most of her subsequent choices were poor (“Good Luck Chuck,” “The Love Guru”) but she’s still a beautiful woman — though she’s had to keep her hair a bit lighter over the years.
- Best Performance: Nancy Callahan in “Sin City”
- Next Seen In: “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” on Aug. 19
16. Minka Kelly
She could be in line to be another Jessica Alba, a 30-year-old brown-eyed bombshell who chooses bad projects, but her career is just blossoming — and she’s dating Derek Jeter. Derek Jeter! Kelly got her break on TV’s “Friday Night Lights” and seems to be sticking to TV. She was most recently on NBC’s canceled comedy “Parenthood.” Her film career has been lackluster thus far (“The Roommate”), but in Hollywood you go places with a sizzling body and a a picture-perfect smile.
- Best Performance: Lyla Garrity on “Friday Night Lights”
- Next Seen In: TV’s newest iteration of “Charlie’s Angels”
15. Michelle Monaghan
I liked what I wrote when Monaghan came in at No. 6 on my list in 2009: “Often confused with Liv Tyler, Monaghan has the sexy elf thing going on with the upturned nose, maybe the result of Irish ancestry, though she grew up in Iowa. A journalism major after my own heart from Columbia College in Chicago no less, if you want to see how attractive Monaghan is, watch “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,” where she plays the wild love interest of Robert Downey Jr.” If you’re not sure of her acting chops, check out the indie “Trucker.”
- Best Performance: Diane in “Trucker”
- Next Seen In: “Machine Gun Preacher” from director Marc Forster (limited on Sept. 23)
14. Zoe Saldana
After riding the teen circuit in films such as “Center Stage,” “Drumline,” and dare I mention “Crossroads” with Britney Spears, Saldana snagged bit parts in big movies such as the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” and then broke out big time through the geek community in 2009. That’s when she played the sexy Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” and followed that up with none other than “Avatar.” She’s now en route to becoming a full-fledged female action star. Although commonly perceived as a light-skinned African-American, Saldana is half Puerto Rican and half Dominican. No matter how you mix it, however, she’s super sexy and holds her ground against any number of guys you put on screen with her (see “The Losers”).
- Best Performance: Neytiri in “Avatar”
- Next Seen In: “Colombiana” an action film she headlines out Aug. 26
13. Freida Pinto
Freida Pinto could’ve ended up forever being “the girl from ‘Slumdog Millionaire,'” but considering the number of eyes she caught in that film, it became clear that Danny Boyle’s Best Picture winner was just the beginning. After impressing Woody Allen and appearing in “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” she earned a trio of big-budget film roles including her leading role alongside James Franco in Friday’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Her beauty helped make “Slumdog” the fairy tale it was and she’ll likely continue lighting up the screen for years as she’s only 26.
- Best Performance: Latika in “Slumdog Millionaire”
- Next Seen In: “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” out Friday