Love them or hate them, there’s no denying the power of a drama queen on screen. A good dramatic actress make or break a movie. She can pull you into her world and keep you at the edge of your seat. These are my top 10 drama queens who were perfect in dramatic roles.
1. Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
This historical movie tells the true story of Maria Altmann (Helen Mirren), an elderly Jewish woman, who attempts to reclaim family possessions that were seized by the Nazis sixty years ago. Among them is a famous portrait of Maria’s beloved Aunt Adele: Gustave Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.”  The art was looted by Nazi authorities in Vienna, and in this movie, Austria fought aggressively to avoid returning it. With the help of a young lawyer, Moreer Randy Schoeberg (Ryan Reynolds), Maria embarks upon a lengthy legal battle to recover this painting and several others.
Maria Altmann (Helen Miren) and her lawyer Randy Schoenberg  (Ryan Reynolds) with the Woman in Gold painting in the background Photo credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

Maria Altmann (Helen Miren) and her lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds) with the Woman in Gold painting in the background
Photo credit: www.telegraph.co.uk

Taking on Austria in her fight to reclaim what is rightfully hers is no mean feat, and Helen Mirren truly shines in the role of Maria Altmann.
2. Tilda Swinton, The Chronicles of Narnia
The White Witch befriends Peter in The Chronicles of Narnia Photo credit: thenewdaily.com.au

The White Witch befriends Edmund in The Chronicles of Narnia
Photo credit: thenewdaily.com.au

Tilda Swinton plays a terrifying villainess, Jadis the White Witch in this movie. Originally, Jadis from the books has long black hair and a gold crown, but Tilda Swinton’s perception and portrayal of Jadis broke the conventional idea of an evil witch. Jadis looks white and pure, with an ice crown and wand, her dress adorned with crystals. Her portrayal of this classic literary character won her many accolades, including a nomination for Best Villain in the MTV Movie Awards.
3. Cate Blanchett, Lord of the Rings
Galadriel, the Elvish queen in The Lord of the Rings. Galadriel is very tall and the greatest beauty of the house of Finwe. I love that this dramatic character, played by Cate Blanchett is not only breathtakingly beautiful and angelic looking, but also very powerful in battle. At the start of the very first Lord of the Rings film, she holds her audience captive with her brilliant dramatic prologue.
4. Gong Li, Curse of the Golden Flower
Empress Phoenix and her husband The Emperor in Curse of the Golden Flower Photo credit: www.whitecoffeemagazine.com

Empress Phoenix (Gong Li) and her husband The Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) in Curse of the Golden Flower
Photo credit: www.whitecoffeemagazine.com

Empress Phoenix is played by Gong Li in the Curse of the Golden Flower. Set during the Tang dynasty, the Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) and his son Prince Jai (Jay Chou) return from war. However, the monarch gets a chilly reception from Empress Phoenix. During his absence, she has taken a lover, Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her stepson from the Emperor’s first marriage. The Emperor, in a bid to save his marriage, orders the Imperial Doctor (Ni Dahong) to find a drug that will drive the Empress insane and administer it to her without her knowledge. It was a difficult dramatic role for the actress to portray but she did an amazing job with all the emotions and she looked absolutely ravishing too.
5. Elizabeth Taylor, Cleopatra and Butterfield 8
Cleopatra the young Queen of Egypt, played by Elizabeth Taylor Photo credit: filmstarts.de

Cleopatra the young Queen of Egypt, played by Elizabeth Taylor
Photo credit: filmstarts.de

The film Cleopatra went over budget and cost a whopping $33million dollars to make, and Elizabeth Taylor was the first actress in film history to command a 7 figure salary for her role in the film. She played Cleopatra, a regal femme fatale who manipulated powerful men like Julius Caesar and Marc Antony, in her attempt to save the Egyptian empire.
Elizabeth Taylor may be known for her role as Queen Cleopatra, but she won her first Oscar for her dramatic role in Butterfield 8. She portrays Gloria Wondrous, a fashionable Manhattan beauty who is a part-time model, part-time call-girl. She is a vixen and a man-trap. Back in the 60s, such roles were quite risqué but I guess that was never a problem for her.
6. Helena Bonham Carter, Alice in Wonderland and The King’s Speech
The ruthless Red Queen Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

The ruthless Red Queen
Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

Helena Bonham Carter is an actress of great versatility. Among her many dramatic roles on the big screen, she played the Red Queen in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Her portrayal of the Red Queen was maniacal, bossy, and tyrannical. She did instil great fear despite the rather comical make up and costume befitting of this fantasy story.
And you must remember her as the Duchess of York (who became the Queen Mother) in The King’s Speech. Who can forget her famous words in the scene where she meets speech therapist Lionel Logue’s wife for the first time: “It’s ‘Your Majesty’ the first time. After that, it’s ‘ma’am’, as in ‘ham’, not ‘mum’, as in ‘palm’.”
7. Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco
Nicole Kidman plays the beautiful, strong and determined Princess in Grace of Monaco. It is loosely based on the true life story about Grace Kelly, a Hollywood actress who married her Prince Charming – Prince Rainier III of Monaco. In the film, she struggles with her decision to retire from acting forever, against the backdrop of a political dispute between her husband and France’s Charles de Gaulle.
8. Fan Bing Bing, The Empress of China
Fan Bing Bing in a Tang Dynasty drama, The Empress of China Photo credit: www.chinadaily.com.cn

Fan Bing Bing in a Tang Dynasty drama, The Empress of China
Photo credit: www.chinadaily.com.cn

Fan Bing Bing plays Wu Mei Niang in the gripping television series, Empress of China. In this series, Wu Meiniang (Fan Bingbing) enters the palace at just age 14 to serve Emperor Taizong (Zhang Fengyi) as his consort. The Emperor Taizong soon takes notice of her and falls in love with her. Many grow jealous try numerous times to frame her for theft, murder and treachery. She survives with her wits and intelligence, but when Emperor Taizong dies she is sent to a monastery to become a nun. However his youngest son Li Zhi (Aarif Rahman), who later becomes the Emperor Gaozong has been in love with her since he was a child. He brings her back to the palace and makes her his consort. She rises through the ranks of the harem and becomes his empress. With more power she becomes more ambitious and sets her sights on the throne. Woah!
9. Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, who instituted a staunch reign of conservatism.  Photo credit: zwartgoud.net

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, who instituted a staunch reign of conservatism during her terms as British prime minister.
Photo credit: zwartgoud.net

Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for portraying former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. The film is a biography of Britain’s first and only woman Prime Minister, who also happens to be the longest serving Prime Minister. The title Iron Lady is befitting the strong willed leader that Margaret Thatcher was and the dedicated actress Meryl Streep is.
10. Sun Li, Empresses in the Palace
Sun li as Zhen Huan in Empresses in the Palace Photo credit: www.pinterest.com

Sun Li as Zhen Huan in Empresses in the Palace
Photo credit: www.pinterest.com

Sun Li was nominated for an International Emmy in the Best Actress category for her role in this drama. She plays Zhen Huan, who starts off as a kind and innocent young girl, who enters the palace and finds herself caught in the conflict between the empress and concubines, who are always scheming for the Emperor’s attention.  Zhen Huan discovers that the palace is actually a cruel and harsh place, and learns how to survive on her own.
Sources: www.imdb.com, www.viki.com, en.wikipedia.org, www.rottentomatoes.com, news.moviefine.com .