Charlize Theron returned to the Oscar race in 2020 with a Best Actress nomination for “Bombshell.” The Academy Award winner earned raves for her eerie embodiment of former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, but where does the role fall into the rest of her filmography? Tour through our photo gallery of Theron’s 15 greatest films, ranked worst to best.
Success came pretty quickly for the South African born actress. After one uncredited role in a horror film, Theron burst onto movie screens in the film “2 Days in the Valley.” That film launched her into a series of roles usually as the wife or girlfriend and ones that capitalized on her stunning beauty. That all changed in 2003 when she took on the role of Aileen Wuornos, a Florida prostitute who became a serial killer and was put to death for her crimes. The film won Theron the Oscar as Best Actress and took her from pretty face to serious actress.
The transformation wasn’t without some controversy though. Theron gained a good deal of weight and wore prosthetic makeup to hide her good looks and make her look more like the real Wuornos. The previous two Best Actress winners prior to Theron were Nicole Kidman (“The Hours”) and Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”), also great beauties who hid their looks in their roles and won Oscars for their efforts. The string of similar winners did create a lot of jokes from comedians and social critics about what it meant about Hollywood and its view of women when beautiful women were being cast in the less attractive character roles.
Theron has continued to give interesting performances since her Oscar victory, earning an additional nomination for “North Country” as well as a number of Golden Globe bids for various performances. She also received an Emmy nomination in 2005 for playing the actress Brit Ekland in the TV movie “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.” In recent years Theron has also found success in a number of action adventure films.
With “Bombshell,” which she also produced, Theron made another stunning transformation into Kelly, who helped take down Fox News head Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) after decades of sexual harassment at the network he presided over. In addition to her Oscar success, the role has also landed her nominations at the Golden Globes, SAG, BAFTA and Critics Choice Awards.
Take a tour of our photo gallery above featuring Theron’s 15 greatest film performances. Our list also includes “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Young Adult,” “The Cider House Rules,” “Atomic Blonde” and more.
– Original text and gallery published in August 2019.