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Moltisanti’s Best Actresses of the Decade

Posted by Christopher Moltisanti on December 26, 2009

1) Edie Falco – The Sopranos

I’ve already detailed why Carmela Soprano is one of the best characters of this decade. One of the main reasons she made that list is because of Edie Falco, who is equally understated and show-stopping throughout the six seasons of The Sopranos. Most will point to her duel with Tony in season four’s “Whitecaps” as her best performance, but it’s the smaller, quieter moments, when you see her wrestling with the disappointment in her husband (and, at times, her children), her struggle with her own limitations, and her maternal sense of responsibility where Falco shines the most.

2) Glenn Close – Damages

As Patty Hughes, Close is chilling and brutal. However, as I noted in the best characters list, this could easily have been a one-dimensional villain. Close, however, complements Hughes’ villainous side with hints of vulnerabilities and emotion. Her ability to command a scene is unparalleled.

3) Allison Janney – The West Wing

I’m not a huge West Wing fan, but during my years of watching the show, Allison Janney always stood out.  Unfazed and in

command, she, as Mr. Feeny noted, was the perfect actress for the high-paced Aaron Sorkin-penned Bartlett White House.

4) Kyra Sedgwick – The Closer

I wasn’t a regular viewer of this show, but every time I did watch it, I was mildly entertained by the plot and wildly entertained by Kyra Sedgwick’s turn as a spunky, tough detective. It’s possible that I was just brainwashed by all the promos I saw during the NBA playoffs, but, for now, I’m confident saying Sedgwick was one of the best of the decade.

5) January Jones – Mad Men

Betty Draper may be a slightly adapted version of a character we’ve seen before: the stifled 1950s housewife struggling to cope with suburban ennui. But, credit the show’s writers and January Jones for making sure she doesn’t turn into a cardboard cutout of a character. Betty has developed over the course of the show into a slightly more assertive woman and certainly a less naive one. Still, however, she’s held back by her own delusional childlike nature, her unhealthy relationship with her now dead parents and the social confines of an age where divorce was far from commonplace. Jones never overacts and often captures Betty’s unhappiness, fear and anger with just a look. In my opinion, Jones has delivered one of the most underrated performances of the decade.


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