With all the magazines and web sites doing recaps of the top 10 of everything of the past decade — what will we call it in the future?  The 2000s?  The oughts? — I decided to put together a few lists of my own.

To start: here are my top 10 movie performances of the 2000s:

10. Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain

He’ll be remembered for his psychotic, over-the-top performance in The Dark Knight, but his portrayal of Ennis del Mar in Brokeback Mountain was beautiful in its restraint.  He barely spoke in the film, and as he struggled to hold back his emotion, it couldn’t help but be written all over his face.

9. Penelope Cruz, Volver

Until now, she had been a mediocre, albeit beautiful, actress who happened to be dating Tom Cruise.  But in this movie, speaking in her native Spanish, she exploded into a passionate performance that hit every note.  And she was absolutely, completely, drop-dead, unforgivably gorgeous.  After seeing this movie, I immediately tried styling my makeup and hair like her.  God, if only I had a fraction of that beauty.

8. Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This should have been his Oscar movie.  I wish the Academy would look beyond his comedies and reward Jim Carrey for his incredible (and incredibly underrated) acting.  How does a shy, soft-spoken man show rage?  You’ll find out in this movie.

7. Russell Crowe, A Beautiful Mind

Russell Crowe had won the Oscar the year before for Gladiator, but he deserved it more for his performance as brilliant schizophrenic mathematician John Nash.  Whether falling into delusions, then heartbreak, his performance was captivating.

6. Meryl Streep, Julia & Julia

The great debate is whether she was better as Julia Child or Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.  Meryl took a historical figure who had been imitated and mocked several times before and turned in a performance that was as well-rounded as it was pitch-perfect.

5. Rinko Kikuchi, Babel

There were plenty of top-notch performances in Babel, including Gael Garcia Bernal, Adriana Barazza, Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt, but newcomer Rinko Kikuchi was the one who broke my heart as a deaf-mute teen trying to cope with her disability by acting out more and more inappropriately.

4. Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give

Diane Keaton is fabulous in every film she does, but in this movie, she positively glowed.  Even when she shrugged and tipped her head back, it was the most perfect shrug and head tip anyone could ever do.  There wasn’t a weak moment.  And though she was playing a tongue-in-cheek version of herself (as was Jack Nicholson), if only we could all play ourselves so well.

3. Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Bill Murray losing to Sean Penn was one of the worst Oscar mishaps of the past decade.  Sofia Coppola wrote this role for Bill Murray — a disillusioned movie star adrift in Tokyo, spilling his life to a complete stranger.  But the beauty in this performance is Bill Murray’s humor — he’s on the cusp of being the funniest guy in the room, the life of the party.  And he knows it.  But he doesn’t go all the way.  He’s tired.  He doesn’t see the point.

I don’t think anyone else could have hit the role as well as he did.

2. Jamie Foxx, Ray

The greatest portrayal of a historical figure of all time.  The role Jamie Foxx was born to play.  Nobody even came close that year — it was Jamie, Jamie, Jamie.  And he deserved every bit of it.

1. Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

The most creative and original performance of the 2000s, Captain Jack Sparrow was a new kind of pirate — a flamboyant Keith Richards with a wicked sense of humor.  Johnny not only made the movie and the franchise — he made his career.  And to think that the industry called him box office poison!  He’s now one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood (as well as one of the nicest stars in Hollywood).

Honorable Mentions: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler; Helen Mirren, The Queen; Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder; Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose; Amy Adams, Junebug; Julia Roberts, Erin Brockovich

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