Can sex symbols act?
Case for: Pride & Prejudice, Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl
Against: The Hole, Domino, King Arthur, Love Actually
Sexiest moment: The Domino strip. Hilariously midjudged, but oddly dirty.
Acting-est moment: Choking to death on her own vomit in The Hole.
Verdict: Pretty good. While the court has yet to see hard evidence of her cultivating a wider range, she’s moved away from Pirates power-totty into thespier territory (Silk, Atonement, The Best Time Of Our Lives). And she is not a bounty hunter...
Case for: Basic Instinct, Casino, Bobby
Against: Basic Instinct 2, Catwoman, King Solomon’s Mines
Sexiest moment: The open interrogation in Basic Instinct.
Acting-est moment: Begging Mob hubby Robert De Niro to let her stay in Casino.
Verdict: Pretty good. Rubbish more often than great, certainly, but there’s no doubt she can act. One goggle at her frazzled turn in Casino is enough to compensate for other misdeeds.
Case for: Casino Royale, Layer Cake, The Mother, Some Voices, Infamous
Against: Tomb Raider
Sexiest moment: Ocean. Torso. Tight trunks.
Acting-est moment: His outing as off-the-rails schizo Ray in Some Voices.
Verdict: Pretty good. Has his Layer Cake and eats it. Intensely. A “perfectly formed arse” as Bond, but with the kudos of serious telly and big screen to fall back on when the license to kill eventually expires. Free to go!
Case for: LA Confidential, 8 Mile
Against: Blind Date, Bless The Child, Batman
Sexiest moment: Shagging Mickey Rourke in a blue-lit alleyway in Nine And A Half Weeks.
Acting-est moment: “Some men get the world. Others get ex-hookers and a trip to Arizona.” Her bittersweet farewell in LA Confidential.
Verdict: Pretty good. Idle beauty-coasting in films opposite ex-hubby Alec Baldwin meant that LA Confidential alone wasn’t enough to get her off the hook. It took a downbeat turn as Eminem’s 8 Mile mom to earn Ms Basinger her pardon.
Case for: And God Created Woman
Against: Doctor At Sea, Act Of Love, Shalako, The Night Heaven Fell
Sexiest moment: Silhouetted nude against a sheet at the start of And God Created Woman.
Acting-est moment: Confessing her shagging sins to a priest as a gender-swap lothario in If Don Juan Were A Woman.
Verdict: Pretty bad. Mistress of Pout? Yep. Dramatic clout? Nope. Shamelessly cast for her scalding sex appeal, she never bothered to develop a back-up and quit acting before a) her 40th birthday and b) everything went saggy. Le guillotine, s’il vous plait...
Case for: Johnny Suede, Se7en, Fight Club, Babel
Against: Legends Of The Fall, The Devil’s Own, Meet Joe Black, Troy
Sexiest moment: Yeah, yeah; there’s the sixpack. But even better is the bit where he walks away in Thelma & Louise. Brad got back...
Acting-est moment: All of Fight Club. “Listen up, maggots...”
Verdict: Pretty good, although the court is concerned by Pitt’s weakness for coasting on his looks in dim roles (Exhibit A: Meet Joe Black). But when he really rolls his sleeves up, he can definitely thesp with the best.
Case for: The Thomas Crown Affair, Tom Horn, Papillon, The Cincinnati Kid. The Magnificent Seven
Against: The Blob, Le Mans
Sexiest moment: Check and mate in The Thomas Crown Affair.
Acting-est moment: As the broken old convict in Papillon, shuffling towards one last escape attempt.
Verdict: Pretty good. Don’t let the features fool you. When he wasn’t revving up fast cars or motorbikes, McQueen put his mind to crafting proper - if ice cool - characters. Case dismissed.
Case for: Days Of Heaven, American Gigolo, Internal Affairs, Chicago
Against: Red Corner, First Knight, Runaway Bride
Sexiest moment: Literally sweeping factory girl Debra Winger off her feet in An Officer And A Gentleman.
Acting-est moment: Persuading a man to off his own wife as bent cop Dennis Peck in Internal Affairs.
Verdict: Pretty good. Gere’s been in some absolute guff - that’s a technical term, m’lord - but his sneering, charismatic villain in Internal Affairs is enough to earn him a suspended sentence. Any more of that First Knight business though and you’re going down, Gere...
Case for: The Last Supper, Very Bad Things, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Being John Malkovich
Against: Charlie’s Angels 1 & 2, Vanilla Sky, The Sweetest Thing
Sexiest moment: Dancing in a very little red dress in The Mask.
Acting-est moment: Oirish-ing it up in Gangs Of New York.
Verdict: Pretty good - exploits her luscious looks when she wants to have fun, but doesn’t rely on them. As happy being the bitch as the ditz, she even delivered the goods smothered in a curly wig and pop-bottle specs in Being John Malkovich. Case dismissed!
Case for: Thumbsucker, The Gift, The Matrix, The Last Time I Committed Suicide, 90 per cent of Constantine
Against: Much Ado About Nothing, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Johnny Mnemonic, The Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions, 10 per cent of Constantine
Sexiest moment: Sopping wet in Point Break.
Acting-est moment: The stand-up shouting matches with Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate.
Verdict: Pretty bad. Solid recent form meant he almost got off, but the (dead)weight of those Matrix sequels and his English accent in Dracula and Much Ado secure a conviction. Star wattage? Yes. Serious thesp-itude? Nah...
Case for: Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot, The Misfits
Against: How To Marry A Millionaire, Monkey Business
Sexiest moment: Swimming naked up and down Dean Martin’s pool in the unfinished Something’s Got To Give.
Acting-est moment: Forcing a patchy Southern accent as a blousy bar girl in Bus Stop.
Verdict: Pretty good. Nearly a hung jury. While Mazza may have always played variations on the same persona, her comic timing was ample proof of true talent.
Case for: Bulworth, Monster’s Ball, Die Another Day
Against: Catwoman, X-Men, Swordfish, The Flintstones, Gothika
Sexiest moment: Bobbing out of the brine in Die Another Day.
Acting-est moment: Thrashing her tubby son for stealing sweets in Monster’s Ball.
Verdict: Pretty good. After struggling through Catwoman, Judge Total Film was reaching for the black hat. But then Ms Berry’s lawyers presented her hungry,
damaged performance in Monster’s Ball as last-minute mitigation…
Case for: Darling, Doctor Zhivago, Demon Seed, Afterglow, Don’t Look Now
Against: Shampoo, Far From The Madding Crowd
Sexiest moment: Doing it (for real?) with Donald Sutherland in Don’t Look Now.
Acting-est moment: Going from swinging sex kitten to jaded socialite in Darling.
Verdict: Pretty good. Close-run thing, though. Christie’s not the most prolific thesp, so her few dodgy moments loom large (few larger than her fright-wigged appearance in Shampoo with then-lover Warren Beatty). But she’s still both class and classic beauty.
Case for: East Of Eden, Giant, Rebel Without A Cause
Sexiest moment: Open-shirted, with a rifle draped across his shoulders in Giant.
Acting-est moment: Pleading for his estranged daddy’s love in East Of Eden.
Verdict: Pretty good. Not around long enough to really smudge his copybook, Dean had the talent to match his looks. He’s a convincing teen loner in Rebel, ages from 20-something to middle-aged man in Giant and does solid Tennessee Williams angst-ing in East Of Eden. No case to answer.
Case for: Dr No, The Untouchables, The Offence, The Man Who Would Be King
Against: Darby O’Gill And The Little People, Meteor, Zardoz
Sexiest moment: Any film in which he uses the words, “The name’s Bond, James Bond...”
Acting-est moment: The “That’s the Chicago way…” speech from The Untouchables.
Verdict: Pretty good. Even in the Bond days, Connery was more than happy to flex his acting muscles as well as his ex-Mr Universe contender pecs. A couple of points on his emoting license for being unable to do any accent bar his own, but otherwise walks away, erm, Scot free…
Case for: The Three Musketeers
Against: One Million Years BC, Bedazzled, Fantastic Voyage, Mother, Jugs And Speed, Myra Breckinridge
Sexiest moment: Filling out a fur bikini in One Million Years BC.
Acting-est moment: Playing the eponymous trans-gendered, man-hating sexpot in Myra Breckinridge.
Verdict: Pretty bad. Welch’s curves may have sold a million posters, but without ‘em she’d have struggled to bag a panto role in Bournemouth.
Case for: Gia, Girl, Interrupted
Against: Tomb Raider 1 & 2, Gone In 60 Seconds
Sexiest moment: Dirty dancing in Mr & Mrs Smith.
Acting-est moment: Strait-jacketed and screaming in Girl, Interrupted.
Verdict: Pretty good. An Oscar-winning turn for Interrupted and a slew of safely mid-table star performances keep her away from the Big House. But remember, Ms Jolie - we’re fickle. It’ll only take another Tomb Raider for us to change our minds…