Updated On: November 06, 2023 by   Aya Radwan   Aya Radwan  

Many successful actresses have proven that male actors’ dominance over the film and television industry is long gone. These multi-talented, hard-working, ambitious actresses have perfected every role they assumed over the last decade. They presented us with unexpected roles as heroines, advocates, psychopaths, and serial killers, besides their roles as passionate lovers, loving mothers, friends and family. We still strive for more films and roles by all the successful actresses working today; after all, they are proof that they can do it all.

We will use various factors in choosing our successful actresses, such as the diversity of their roles, how they excelled at them, and their support of independent filmmakers besides working with the big names in the industry. Not to mention how much the audience loves them and their awards and nominations as well.

So, in this article, we bring you the most successful actresses in the last decade, some of the highlights of their careers and which of their roles the audience will remember forever.

Most Successful Actresses of the Decade

1.    Natalie Portman:

successful actresses

Academy Award winner Natalie Portman perfectly conveyed the contradicting feelings of the Swan Queen in the psychological thriller Black Swan. Portman fortified her role in the film industry through this film, where the audience was left feeling deep anxiety, and it won her the Oscar for Best Leading Actress Role. She continued to star in various successful franchises afterwards, such as Thor, Jackie and Annihilation.

2.    Jennifer Lawrence:

successful actresses

Jennifer Lawrence started big with The Hunger Games franchise back in 2012; the films, which were also based on the books, made Lawrence a new teen film favourite. She continued her success, winning an Academy Award for her role in the Silver Linings Playbook in 2012. Jennifer was the unique Mystique in the reprisal of the X-Men franchise, which started in 2011. She continued to give outstanding performances in the following years in American Hustle, Serena and Passengers.

3.    Amy Adams:

successful actresses

The beautiful Giselle excelled in roles that went beyond fairytales and romantic stories. Amy Adams’s Lois Lane role is seen to be one of the best adaptions of the famous character. Adams’ roles in The Fighter, The Master, American Hustle and Vice put her on the nominee list for Academy Awards. The teeth-gritting thriller Nocturnal Animals brought Adams into a new genre, which she also excelled flawlessly. Many describe Adams’ performance in this film as natural as if she were born to convey her character’s feelings and concerns.

4.    Zoe Saldana

successful actresses

Zoe Saldana’s worldwide success as Neytiri in Avatar paved the way for her during the 2010s. She starred in numerous successful films in the past decade, all while juggling vital roles in two significant franchises, Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy. She revived her role as Gamora in the following Avengers films. Her roles in those franchises meant she was in some of the highest-grossing films of all time. Saldana’s other memorable roles include The Losers, Takers and The Words. Zoe Saldana is considered to be the second-highest-grossing actress in Hollywood since 2019.

5.    Cate Blanchett

successful actresses

Cate Blanchett is at the stage in her career where she can star in whichever film she wants and would still be one of the audience’s favourite actresses. From blockbuster hits such as The Hobbit, the evil stepmother in Cinderella, to playing the devilish sister Hela in Thor: Ragnarok and Lou in Ocean’s Eight. Blanchett added the second Oscar to her award shelf in 2014 for her role in Blue Jasmine. Cate Blanchett will continue to steal hearts for years to come, especially with her continuous work and support to small indie filmmakers and top filmmakers in the industry.

6.    Margot Robbie

successful actresses

Margot Robbie kick-started her career when she acted with Leonardo DiCaprio in the tantalising film, The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013, and since then, she’s been on a roll. The audience’s favourite Robbie character is Harley Quinn, a role she nailed by acting in Suicide Squad in 2016 and which she reprised in the franchise’s sequel. Her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Mary Queen of Scots is unforgettable. However, Margot’s roles as Tonya in I,Tonya and Kayla Pospisil in Bombshell earned her two Academy Award nominations. By the looks of Margot’s future plans, she will be taking home an Oscar in no time.

7.    Helena Bonham Carter

successful actresses

Helena’s past decade began with two great and contradicting royal characters, the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland and Queen Elizabeth in The King’s Speech, which got her another Academy Award nomination. Since then, she has starred in multiple successful films and franchises, the evillest of them being the role of Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films.

Her other parts include Dr Julia Hoffman in Dark Shadows, Madame Thénardier in Les Misérables, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, Iracebeth in Alice Through the Looking Glass and Rose Weil in Ocean’s Eight. This wide array of films simply proves that Bonham Carter doesn’t act; she melts into the character completely.

8.    Saoirse Ronan

successful actresses

Saoirse Ronan is one of the youngest actresses to get an Oscar nomination at the age of 13. The actress’s road has been full of great success since then; she earned three more Oscar nominations for her roles in Brooklyn, Lady Bird and Little Women, which made her the first actress under 30 to receive four Oscar nominations. These roles are significantly different from one another; they are a testament to Ronan’s unique acting skills. On the other side, Saoirse has been gaining more support from the audience for being a lovely character in real life.  

9.    Emily Blunt

successful actresses

Most people cherish Emily Blunt as Emily in dramedy film, The Devil Wears Prada, and who wouldn’t? The actress has excelled in all film genres in the following years, making her 2010s a memorable decade. Blunt’s extraordinary works include Gwen Conliffe in The Wolfman, Elise Sellas in The Adjustment Bureau, Harriet in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Kate Macer in Sicario and the loveable Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins Returns. Emily Blunt earned her third BAFTA nomination for her exceptional acting in The Girl on the Train in 2016. Her recurring character in the horror/ thriller film A Quiet Place affirmed her abilities of acing this film genre.

10. Kate Winslet

successful actresses

Kate Winslet’s skill set enabled her to master any role she takes; the actress has six Academy Award nominations and one win to boast her resume. She has starred in various hit films such as Steve Jobs, The Dressmaker, Collateral Beauty, and The Mountain Between Us, and we cannot forget her role as the intolerant Jeanine in the Divergent franchise. Winslet might have won hearts as the delicate Rose in the audience favourite Titanic, but the following years have shown she has what it takes to perfect any character.

11. Meryl Streep

successful actresses

Meryl Streep is one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood today, and she is also one of the audience’s favourite actresses. Meryl kicked off the decade with the excellent biography film, The Iron Lady, which swooped her the Oscar for best leading actress role in the next year’s Academy Award ceremony.

This Oscar wasn’t Streep’s only Oscar win; she has two more awards to show off and eighteen more nominations in her repertoire, making her the actress with the most Oscar nominations. She was nominated for four consecutive years for her roles in August: Osage County, Into the Woods, Florence Foster Jenkins and The Post. Streep finished the decade with her role in the musical comedy The Prom, alongside Nicole Kidman and James Corden.

12. Emma Stone

successful actresses

The teen hit film Easy A was Emma Stone’s grand entrance into the 2010s, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination. The actress’s roles in the past decade testify to her talent; she starred in great box office and audience hits such as Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Help, and then she mastered her role as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spider-Man, which she reprised in the following sequel in 2014. Stone’s role in Birdman in 2014 got her the first Oscar nomination, which she went home with two years later for her role in La La Land. Two more years and, she received her third Academy Award nomination for the biography film, The Favourite.

13. Viola Davis

successful actresses

The fearsome and witty Annalise Keating in How to Get Away with Murder is Viola Davis’s most famous role, except that Viola has more talents up her sleeve. The actress has a long list of great performances, including her roles in The Help, which earned her a second Academy Award nomination, Beautiful Creatures, Prisoners, Ender’s Game, Suicide Squad, and Fences, for which she won the Oscar and Widows. Viola Davis is one of today’s actresses who brings her heart and soul into her roles, which show on the screen.

14. Scarlett Johansson

successful actresses

Scarlett Johansson’s entry into the 2010s came through the character she would be most known for, Natasha Romanoff or the Black Widow, through Iron Man 2. Scarlett reprised her role as Romanoff in all the following Avengers films and the Black Widow franchise as well. Between these films, Johansson has starred in many critically acclaimed films such as Under the Skin and Her in 2013, Chef, Lucy, Sing, Jojo Rabbit and Marriage Story in 2019, earning her two Oscars nominations in the same year.

15. Helen Mirren

successful actresses

Our list wouldn’t be complete without the Queen herself, Helen Mirren. The esteemed actress keeps on shining just as the decades pass. She wowed us with the action-packed film RED as the sassy and beautiful sniper Victoria, a role she reprised again in 2013. Her other parts include Alma Reville in Hitchcock, the traditional and talented Madame Mallory in The Hundred-Foot Journey, Brigitte in Collateral Beauty and Queenie in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw. Mirren has three Oscar nominations and one win to show off, and she is not slowing down.

The number of great actresses working today in the entertainment industry in Hollywood is unlimited. This article merely mentions those amazing women who’ve enriched the film and television industry in the past decade, and if you can’t find an actress you like on our list, please share her fantastic work with us.

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