Top 5 British Film Actresses of 2010

Which female stars made a splash on the U.S. silver screen this year? Here is Anglophenia’s Top 5 list showcasing some of the UK’s most promising actresses.

5. Rebecca Hall
Since earning a Best Actress Golden Globe nomination for her role as Vicky in Woody Allen‘s 2008 romantic comedy, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, this Londoner has confidently grown into her craft beyond her years on the stage. She first wowed American moviegoers this year in the Sundance favorite Please Give, playing the quiet radiologist Rebecca opposite Catherine Keener and Amanda Peet. Fellow English thespian Michael Sheen revered Hall’s performance in Variety, saying that Hall’s film choices are “refreshing” and her ability to “trust herself” only makes her a more surefire professional. She proved that tenfold in the ominous crime thriller The Town, also starring Ben Affleck and Mad Men‘s handsome devil Jon Hamm. She landed a super hot cover of W magazine with Hamm, too.

4. Gemma Arterton
We fell for this 24-year-old Kent native two years ago when she played the lead in the BBC’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles. With other box office hits under her belt (Quantum of Solace, Clash of the Titans), this year earned Arterton some her biggest roles yet with Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with Jake Gyllenhaal, and the witty UK comedy, Tamara Drewe. Both roles highlight Arterton’s infectious sex appeal and unabashed charm. Looking beyond that, however, is a serious actress in the making. This former Bond girl’s got skills.

3. Andrea Riseborough
While we christened Riseborough as one of Anglophenia’s Top 5 Breakout Stars of 2010, we just had to include her here. The 29-year-old was hailed at this year’s Toronto Film Festival for her roles in Never Let Me Go, Made In Dagenham, and 2011′s Brighton Rock. Also up her sleeve is her portrayal of Wallis Simpson, the former Duchess of Windsor, in the Madonna-directed W.E., also out next year. So far, Riseborough strikes an interesting balance between variety and intrigue, while thoroughly enjoy the demands of her job. “I think the most important thing when you’re telling a story is to just tell the story as best as you possibly can,” Riseborough told Movieline.com in November. “If that means that, and that’s the best way to do it, that’s what you do.” Keep an eye on this one.

2. Sally Hawkins
Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins has become one of the decade’s most gifted UK stars. But as we look back at 2010, this 34-year-old British actress has had a very rich year due in part to her depiction of the go-getting Rita O’Grady in Made In Dagenham. In the Nigel Cole-directed period film (also starring Risenborough), Hawkins’ character challenges a male-dominated status quo, we know the drill. But her performance is brilliant — she’s easy to relate to and awfully charismatic. The Boston Herald raved about Hawkins’ appeal as “just too marvelous to miss”. That she is — even in the dark Never Let Me Go — with that toothy smile. She’s making her way in America, and appeared in the Broadway run of Mrs. Warren’s Profession in November. We heart Sally Hawkins!

1. Carey Mulligan
Carey Mulligan‘s breakthrough performance in 2009′s An Education certainly pushed her name to the forefront. Plus, she earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations and a BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her role as Jenny. But twenty-ten was the year she became a full-fledged star on this side of the Atlantic. She played the daughter of movie legend Michael Douglas in Oliver Stone‘s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. The 25-year-old joined her fellow Brits Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go and also had her first Hollywood romance with her Wall Street co-star Shia LaBeouf (the pair broke up in October). Her sophisticated sense of style and class truly stands out, much like Knightley’s does. With that and everything she’s proven thus far, she’ll make a perfect Daisy Buchanan in Baz Luhrmann‘s The Great Gatsby.

Who was your favorite British actress of 2010?