Recently, a flurry of lawsuits hit blogs who published the above photo (uncensored). It depicted a image taken from The Break-Up, but showed rather more than made it into the final cut. Many takedown notices later, it's all but disappeared online.
I guess, fair is fair - if she'd never approved the release of the images, I can't blame her for trying to stop their appearance. What amazes me, though, is why she got upset in the first place. It seems to be, that if you're to be considered a serious actress, a well-placed nude scene can definitely enhance your chances of an award. As UK Tabloid The Sun pointed out in Breast Supported Actress (man, I wish I'd thought of that title), all FIVE of this years nominees have done nude scenes at one time or another.
Which made me wonder - just how many winners of the Best Actress Oscar over the last decade or so have flashed their assets onscreen?
Turns out, pretty much all of them (with one exception)....
(Do I need to tell you that this one is not safe for work, and contains many nekkid pictures and video clips? You've been warned)
2006 - The Queen
There are probably more nude sequences featuring Helen Mirren than any other oscar winning actresses, as this is clearly a thespian who's more than willing to get her kit off at any opportunity, from Savage Messiah through Caligula. The one above is from the early Age of Consent. But for the raunchiest sequences, seek out the arthouse hit The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, from which this mpeg is lifted.
2005 - Walk The Line
It's hard for me to imagine the squeaky clean Reese in a nekkid love scene, but apparently that's what you get with Twilight.
2004 - Million Dollar Baby & 1999 - Boys Don't Cry
To be honest, Hilary's one true topless scene in Boys Don't Cry is a pretty sordid and depressing sequence, so I added a much nicer image to this page. Until hilary stops getting beaten up so much in her movies, we'll have to wait for something that allows her fans to Swank properly.
2003 - Monster
This is almost too easy. This is from Reindeer Games, which proves that there's a direct ratio between the awfulness of a script and the desperation of a Director to persuade his leading lady to take her top off. I could equally have chosen The Devil's Advocate or Two Days in the Valley or any number of paparazzi images from beaches around the world. Or even one from Monster itself, but then she's covered in blood. So maybe not.
2002 - The Hours
We have a lot to thank the late Stanley Kubrick for - 2001, Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove. Add to the list: persuading Nicole Kidman that she needed to get naked a lot, purely for narrative reasons, in his final film Eyes Wide Shut.
2001 - Monster's Ball
Though she was later to get to spice up the forgettable Swordfish with a famous and unnecessary topless scene (which she denies getting paid a rumored $500k to do), she's also one of the few actresses to do the full monte in the very film she won the award for. Here's the entire sequence courtesy of iFilm (which I couldn't embed for some reason).
2000 - Erin Brockovich
Nope, nothing, nada, zip, despite playing one of the most famous prostitutes in cinema history. So let's not count this one and move on.
1998 - Shakespeare in Love
Gwyneth is another actress who appeared topless in the movie for which she won her award, and very nice it was too (if a little brief).
1997 - As Good As It Gets
As far as I can tell, one lonely sequence from The Waterdance is all we have, but you have to admire the carefully designed rim lighting to make the most of the scene.
1996 - Fargo
This is from Laurel Canyon. Now, that's just nasty.
1995 - Dead Men Walking
I tried ti find clips from The Hunger or White Palace, both of which figured pretty highly in my pre-marriage lonely nights at home. Or even Pretty baby, but no luck. So you'll just have to make do with this one.
Coming soon - Part Two, where we find out if Julia Roberts is the only topless holdout in recent Oscar history. Or maybe not, because then I'm going to have to show you Kathy Bates' nipples *shudder*. Or if you can't wait that long, I'd recommend hours poring over the archive at fellow Brit's Robb's Celebrities where many similar images can be found.