Halle Berry: The 10 Best Acting Performances Of Her Career

Halle Berry

Halle Berry has been praised for both her beauty and talent by landing endorsement deals and winning countless awards including her profession's top acting prize in 2002, and as she returns to television tonight with her new series 'Extant', we look back at the 10 Best Performances of her envied career. Peep our choices and sound off with your own in the comments beneath:

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10. Losing Isaiah: Released by Paramount in 1995, this film was originally intended for television not the big screen, which explains why its script played out like a made for television movie, but despite a somewhat disappointing ending, there are two top-notch performances given by Jessica Lange and Berry here.

The film depicts a controversial court battle between a young boy's natural and adoptive mother, and not only does it showcase Berry's ability to hold her own against one of the most-acclaimed actresses, but it shows her ability to make you feel and maybe even root for a character that initially made your stomach turn.

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09. Cloud Atlas: Berry tackled six different characters for the Wachowskis' and Tom Tykwer's 2012 adaptation of the David Mitchell novel including a white Jewish woman, a Asian man and a enslaved tribeswoman.

The film flopped at the box-office, recouping less than one-third of its $100 million budget, and while the response from critics was more positive, the concept escaped most of the general public. Very few people understood it. Even fewer actually liked it or went to see it. I happened to do both and those people are unfortunately missing out on a visual masterpiece that filmmakers will be dissecting and talking about for years to come, as well as, some performances displaying the versatility of the film's actors (Berry included).

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08. Boomerang: Standing as one of the best romantic comedies of the nineties and a undeniable classic in the black community, Berry was not the leading lady here, but she did unearth a performance that had its share of scene-stealing moments including that classic "love should've brought your a** home last night" line.

Starring as Angela opposite Eddie Murphy, she played the down-to-earth girl in a love triangle for Marcus Graham's heart with the glamorous executive (played by Robin Given), and although it has its share of cliche moments, this romantic comedy feels genuine and contains some enjoyable performances.

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07. Bullworth: Released to theaters in May 1998, Berry co-stars opposite Warren Beatty, who also wrote and directed the screenplay, in this film about a straightforward politician that puts a hit out on himself.

The role stood as another chance for Berry to work with a master in her field and allowed herself to challenge herself by playing a street-smart character that had both beauty and brains. The real star here is Beatty, but Berry gives Robin a run for his money as one hell of a sidekick.

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06. Frankie & Alice: Finally released earlier this year, the film about dissociative identity disorder was a passion project of Berry's that initially found her around 1998. Its long and hard road to finally make it to the big screen is hardly surprising, given the subject matter is a tough sale and the film's script reads more like an original Lifetime movie than a major motion picture.

Still, despite those setback, Berry lifts the material beyond its limitation and unearths a mesmerizing performance that captivates you from the moment she hits the screen dancing in cage. Her innate ability to switch characters (or personalities) at the drop of hat is so fluid that if you blink you miss it, and is is that ability that earned her a NAACP Image Award and a Golden Globe nomination. If only the actual film was as good as her performance in it.

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05. Jungle Fever: This Spike Lee-directed film was the launching pad for Berry's film career and was a role that she really had fight for. Berry was initially offered the role of Wesley Snipes' wife, but asked to audition for the role of Vivian, a foul-mouth crackhead, instead.

Lee denied her request saying she was too beautiful and put together to play the part, but after washing off all of her make-up off and really getting to character, Berry eventually convinced the director that she was a good fit for Vivian. To show her commitment to the part, she visited a real crack den and refused to shower for days, and although the role was small, it was a memorable one.

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04. Things We Lost In the Fire: Released in 2007, this film showcases another side of Berry as she speaks volumes without ever lashing out or raising her voice.

It is clear early on that the meatiest role belongs to her co-star Benicio Del Toro, and he is brilliant here, but through the quiet and subtle moments Berry shines and captures the roller-coaster ride that her character experiences amidst the loss of her husband and trying to raise their two kids with pure skill. She isn't just good here, she's great and the performance should have resulted in her second Academy Award nomination. Unfortunately, its disappointing performance at the box office upon its release and quiet nature derailed those hopes from being a reality.

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03. Their Eyes Were Watching God: Based on the Zora Neale Hurston classic and produced by Oprah Winfrey for ABC, Berry delivers a beautiful and superb performance as Janie, a woman on a journey to self-discovery.

Like most human beings, Janie is on a path to find love and to fully live her life, and though her journey includes some misfires and a string of bad choices (or husbands), she eventually experiences both of those things. Unfortunately, the ending is still not a happy one, something that Berry knows all too well and her portrayal of Janie is one of the most honest, delicate and vulnerable performances that she has ever given. Simply stunning!

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02. Monster's Ball: This is the performance that placed Berry in the history books when she became the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. However, neither her role in the controversial film or her win have escaped criticism.

While critics and the majority of her peers have praised her performance in the film, some fans and other actresses (Angela Bassett) didn't quite understand the meaning of that provocative sex scene and the fact that it had nothing to do with sex. It was definitely a risky move for Berry. One that took real guts and could have easily backfired, but it is these type of chess moves that have always made Berry standout from other black actresses. She has a different understanding of the source material than a typical black actress would, realizing their is a distinct separation between who she is and the character she plays, as well as, understanding the importance of the much-talked about scene and that it would stand as a lesser film without it.

It is a role that allow her to run through an array of different emotions and she conquers them all brilliantly, and before you reach the halfway mark, it is not hard to see why she fought to play the role or why she reigned supreme over Sissy Spacek at the 74th Academy Awards.

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01. Introducing Dorothy Dandridge: If there is a perfect performance on Berry's resume, this is undoubtedly it. The actress physically and emotionally embodied the spirit of Dandridge so immensely that you could barely tell the two stars apart. Dandridge, much like Berry, was a native of Cleveland, Ohio with dreams of stardom in society that didn't view her as being equal to her white female peers. She had enough talent and beauty to captivate a room, but struggled to find the right partner in her personal life.

It was those startling similarities and the fact that Berry was still trying to prove that she was more than just a pretty face that helped her unleash a dazzling performance, which earned her a Golden Globe, Emmy, Screen Actors Guild and NAACP Image Award.  The film was also critically-acclaimed, winning an additional 4 Emmys.

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What are your favorite performances given by Halle Berry?
Halle Berry: The 10 Best Acting Performances Of Her Career Halle Berry: The 10 Best Acting Performances Of Her Career Reviewed by Celebrity Bug on 7/09/2014 Rating: 5


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