From Paste Magazine:
Paste is celebrating with a look back at two decades worth of films and 30 talented female leads whose roles re-told and re-wrote key moments in history. The performances are not ranked (they appear chronologically) and the list is in no way all-encompassing, although we have tried to include a bit of everything and everyone—no actress appears more than once (we’ll make a separate list for Meryl Streep later).
As we’re sticking to biopics and female-centered period pieces, many great performances by many brilliant actresses do not appear, and it must be said that performances by women in comedies, thrillers, and other genres have also worked to re-make history. Similarly, many women who have played alongside male leads have been left out (like Reese Witherspoon in Walk the Line or Laura Linney in Kinsey) but surely will—and do—appear on other lists. It also pained us to leave out Alanis Morissette’s unforgettable cameo as “God” in Dogma, probably the greatest, most accurately cast role ever.