Nicole Kidman - Grace Margaret Mulligan, Dogville (2003)
She enters to the sound of gunfire and exits on a tide of devastation. In between, more fireworks for sure, but none of the actorly showboating you might fear from an A-lister fronting a three-hour art-epic.
Instead, Kidman gives a watchful turn that gets the Brechtian ironies of Lars Von Trier’s smalltown tale without any alienation effect – channelling her divorce pain (“I was raw. I was willing to give it to Lars”) into Grace’s fall from naïve runaway to vengeful victim.
The Hours won her an Oscar, but this is her best by a nose.
Greatest moment: Raining fire on her tormentors with righteous ruthlessness.
See also: Suzanne Maretto (To Die For), Anna (Birth).