The Oscars are on it’s way! What better time to decide who:
Sexpots And Sirens
Monroe, Bacall and Dietrich undoubtedly had ‘it’ , but do the female starlets of today share any of their sex appeal? Shelley Marsden reckons they do …
Let’s face it. Sultry sex appeal, the kind the smoky stars of the silver screen seemed to have in abundance, is about more than being drop-dead gorgeous, isn’t it? Jennifer Aniston, for instance, with her sun-kissed good looks and girl-next-door appeal would be on the top of many a guy’s fantasy hit list, but does that make her a screen siren? Not quite … Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley is sex on a stick, but does she give out that old-school attraction? Not sure.
Like the femme fatales of old, it’s all about the allure, the mystique, the sense that they’re giving you a little, but they’re also holding something definitely worth discovering back. A cigarette dangling languidly from a pair of scarlet-red lips may not accompany that in the modern cinema, but it’s there in different forms – a quirky face, a certain something. Here are some of the contemporary actresses that seem to share that je ne sais qua of old …
Italian model turned actress, the pout on two legs may be getting on a bit in sexpot terms (and let’s face it, her acting sometimes leaves a lot to be desired) but that curvy figure, those twinkling chocolate eyes and that sexy Mediterranean accent mean she’s still one of the most timelessly beautiful women in the world, and one of the best adverts out there for the ‘dolce vita’.
Sexiest film: Malena (2000) by Giuseppe Tornatore, in which a boy has a series of steamy fantasies about his teacher (Bellucci).
She’s more beautiful now in her forties than she was in her twenties – err, how does she do that?! Plus, she’s shared the screen with some of the hottest and talented guys in modern cinema, from Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient) to Daniel Day Lewis (The Unbearable Lightness Of Being) to Johnny Depp (Chocolat). Binoche’s appeal is subtle, understated and quintessentially French, and whether her clothes are on or off, her sexiness seems to come from the fact that she’s deeply comfortable in her own skin.
Sexiest film: Damage (1992). Ms Binoche shares an extremely steamy and acrobatic sex scene with Jeremy Irons in Louis Malle’s film.
What is it about these French women? Is sexy part of their DNA?! It is if you’re talking actress and singer Marion Cotillard, the 36-year-old Parisian with a timeless appeal, who blew us away with her subtle portrayal of French singer Édith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen’s 2011 romantic comedy fantasy, saw her come into her own as a sexbomb of a bygone age.
Sexiest film: Love Is In The Air (2005), a romantic comedy in which a bachelor with a fear of flying falls for his neighbour Alice (Cotillard), and is forced to finally overcome his fears.
Now settled down with partner Javier Bardem (though it’s still hard to marry up images of a mum changing nappies with this screen siren), Cruz once had a bit of a reputation for working her way through Hollywood’s men. You can understand why – her dark, exotic Spanish charm is electric, and somehow makes every film she stars in titillating. But she’s also unique, whether she’s playing the love interest or the crazy ex, and has achieved more success than any other Latino actress. One of her many fans, Woody Allen once said, “I don’t like to look at Penelope directly. It is too overwhelming.” We know just what you mean, Woody.
Sexiest Film: Elegy (2008), an understated movie which sees an unlikely love story blossom between teacher Ben Kingsley and his student, Cruz.
She’s TV’s New Girl, but actress and musician Zooey Deschanel has been an indie favourite for a few years now. More than anyone else perhaps, Deschanel has managed to make her dorky, geeky adorability truly sexy. Quirkiness as sexiness is most definitely de rigeur, and guys have been falling for this blue-eyed doe since she starred in alternative romance (500) Days Of Summer alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt. She’s recently divorced from Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, and is now footloose and fancy free again. Wonder who this quirky beauty will end up falling for next?
Sexiest film: Mmm, well it definitely wasn’t as the grumpy elf in Will Ferrell’s Elf (2003). We think it could be yet to come…
The Parisian 32 year old seems to ooze sexiness from every pore with absolutely zero effort. Intelligent and outspoken, one glance from those smoky green eyes sets the screen on fire. In 2006 she captured the attention of the cinema-going world with her portrayal of the dangerously seductive Vesper Lynd in the James Bond film Casino Royale (2006) – a performance tagged her as possibly one of the best Bond girls of all time.
Sexiest film: The Dreamers (2003), by Bernardo Bertolucci, in which three young people come entangled in a sexual conflict.
Anyone who’s been to see the latest Batman film could not justifiably leave this pretty brunette out of this list. She’s certainly left the pale, delicate beauty of previous roles behind as she prowls across the screen in stilettos as the new Catwoman. Christopher Nolan was so impressed with her sexy on-screen persona that he said she deserves a spin-off film of her own. And though she seems quiet and demure, Hathaway is a risk taker, which is attractive in itself.
Sexiest film: Love And Other Drugs (2010) in which she spends the best part of the movie rolling around completely naked with Jake Gyllenhaal. Not that we’re jealous.
Scarlett Johansson (Main Picture)
Johansson has always exuded an aura that’s beyond her years. With a pout that she could have been born with and a curvy figure that harks back to a bygone age, she looks like the perfect femme fatale. But perhaps it’s her childlike innocence that lends this actress her biggest weapon in the sex bomb wars. Like all sex symbols, she doesn’t agree that she is one, but admits it might be because she’s “curvy and confident with it”. Bingo.
Sexiest film: Black Dahlia (2006). In Brian De Palma’s flawed homage to film noir, Johannson plays Kay Lake, a mysterious woman with a dark past.
She might not seem an obvious choice, but with her retro pixie cut and penchant for unusual, moody roles (Shame, Never Let Me Go, Drive) London star, Carey Mulligan, is an attractive conundrum. She often seems to play the damaged yet alluring female and is definitely one of those great actresses we’re excited to see blossom. As Daisy in the upcoming adaptation of The Great Gatsby, we think she’ll rock with that decadent, roaring twenties look. A risk-taker and exceptional actress, the sky seems to be the limit for Carey.
Sexiest film: Shame (2011), though as troubled singer Sissie she’s arguably, as disturbing as she is attractive.
Williams is an incredible actress, we know this already – but when she decided to shed the pixie crop and demure smile to play Marilyn Monroe, with her cheeky pout and unruly locks, she was transformed. She’s still the undeniable queen of the indie flick, but My Week With Marilyn revealed the 31 year old in a whole new, sexier light, without undoing any of her mysterious aura. She’s said she actively avoids ‘sexy roles’ in films, but sometimes it finds its way in regardless. If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
Sexiest film: Incendiary (2008), the Brit drama which sees Williams get it on with Ewan McGregor.