Happy Birthday, Madonna!
The reigning Queen of Pop turns the big 5-7 today and to celebrate we thought rather than focus on her music career we’d take a look at her work as an actress instead.
The general consensus among critics and fans alike is that, try as she might, acting is just not Madonna’s forte. As much as we’d like to see her one day accept the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Queen herself seems to understand that’s probably never going to happen, in part because people don’t want it to.
In 2008, she told an interviewer, “What film can survive people saying it’s going to be a bomb from the second it’s announced? Making movies is such an effort, and to do that over and over again, with the possibility that I am going to get the shit kicked out of me — and they really enjoy doing it — I mean, it doesn’t make sense. I have sort of let it go.”
It’s true. Madonna holds the record for being the actress with the most Razzie Awards ever, with a grand total of 15 nominations and nine wins, including one for Worst Actress of the Century in 1999. But that doesn’t mean she’s hasn’t had a few shining moments on the silver screen.
Scroll down for 15… No, um, 10… No, seven times Madonna was a really great actress, and join us in wishing her a very happy birthday!
7. Dangerous Game
Seriously, what the hell is this movie even about and why did Madonna ever agree to do it? The gritty, convoluted film-within-a-film is boring to the point of being almost unwatchable. Madonna plays an actress who is being emotionally tortured by her director. Or something. Who really knows? Yet despite a truly terrible story and even worse script, she somehow manages to give a pretty solid performance. When asked about the film after its 1993 release, Madonna replied: “Even though it’s a shit movie and I hate it, I am good in it.” We concur.
6. The Hire
This cross between a short film and a car commercial was released in 2001. It was directed by Madge’s then-husband Guy Ritchie and was produced as part of a series for BMW. Madge channels herself when playing a verbally abusive singer being chauffeured to a performance venue. During the ride, the driver (played by Clive Owen) snaps and begins driving like a maniac, knocking her around in the backseat before she’s eventually catapulted from the vehicle and onto a red carpet in front of eager paparazzi. The film is one of Madge’s few attempts at “irony” that actually succeeds.
5. A League Of Their Own
It’s hard not to love Madonna as “All the Way” Mae in 1992’s A League of Their Own. She’s funny, sexy, and she has that great dance number at the juke joint where Marla Hooch gets wasted and meets her future husband. True, she doesn’t really bring anything to the role that any other actress couldn’t also convey. Except, of course, that she’s Madonna. And because of that she hits it out of the park. (Pun intended.)
4. Madonna’s Love Letter To Hydrangeas
This was a cellphone video shot in the style of a silent film that Lady M uploaded to her YouTube channel in 2012 after she was caught talking shit about a bouquet of hydrangeas presented to her by an adoring fan. Scripted dialogue has never been Madonna’s strong suit, so the silent film format really works to her benefit here. But the thing we love most about this video is the thing we love most about Madonna in general: She’s an unapologetic bitch.
3. Desperately Seeking Susan/Who’s That Girl
We’re lumping these two roles together because, honestly, Madge basically plays the same character in both films: A brassy blond from New York who finds herself caught up in some bizarro situation that forces her to rely on her street smarts. She pulls it off both times with humor and charisma, proving that with the right material, a patient director, and enough takes she can actually land a punch line. No, really, she can!
2. MDNA Skin Commercial
Did you know Madonna has a skincare line? It’s called MDNA Skin and you can only buy it at department store kiosks in Japan. In 2014, she released this trippy black-and-white commercial for it. It depicts the singer wearing a black trench coat and underwear as she writhes around on her bathroom floor. “Having good skin is important to me,” she purrs, “but so are other things. … Chrome clay mask. Serum. Skin rejuvenator. Can you feel it? The future? Love? Now.” The film works because it’s only a minute long, so it never gets boring, and it leaves the viewer wondering, “What the hell did I just watch?”
long-form music video film is probably the closest Madge will ever come to clenching an Oscar. Sadly, she was snubbed by the Academy, who didn’t even give her a nomination. She did, however, take home the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy in 1996. And she deserved it. Not only did she carry the film, but she had a record 85 costume changes and she was pregnant during shooting. Evita was a huge hit at the box office, raking in nearly $145 million, and it remains one of the strongest performances in Madonna’s entire movie catalog.