Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore has been a cinematic muse for the likes of Todd Haynes, Paul Thomas Anderson, Robert Altman, Alfonso Cuaron, David Cronenberg and the Coen Brothers, to name but a few. But how many of her films are classics? Let’s take a look back at 15 of her greatest roles, ranked worst to best.
Moore became a darling of independent cinema with appearances in such films as “Short Cuts” (1993), “Vanya on 42nd Street” (1994), and “Safe” (1995). It didn’t take long for Oscar voters to notice her talents, and the Academy rewarded her with four nominations in quick succession: Best Actress for “The End of the Affair” (1999) and “Far From Heaven” (2002); Best Supporting Actress for “Boogie Nights” (1997) and “The Hours” (2002). Her two bids in 2002 put her in an elite group of performers to receive lead and supporting citations in the same year.
After her double-dipping achievement, however, it seemed for the longest time Moore couldn’t get arrested at the Oscars. After losing those four previous bids, she was continuously snubbed despite high-profile roles in such titles as “A Single Man” (2009) and “The Kids Are All Right” (2010), both of which brought her Golden Globe nominations. As the years passed, Moore’s was a perennial name on any list of overdue performers the Academy had yet to reward.
That all changed with “Still Alice” (2014), which cast her as a middle-aged professor diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The role had Oscar bait written all over it, and Moore ran the gauntlet at SAG, BAFTA, the Golden Globes, and Critics Choice before finally snagging that elusive Best Actress prize.
Moore has found success on the small-screen as well. Her uncanny embodiment of former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin in the HBO movie “Game Change” (2012) brought her the Emmy as Best Movie/Mini Actress (much as we’d like to include it, this list is strictly for theatrical releases).
Tour our photo gallery of Moore’s 15 greatest films, including a few for which she should’ve received Oscar nominations.
– Original text and gallery published in December 2018.