The history of cinema is full of actresses who have come onto the scene, dropped their clothes in hopes of helping their career, but instead failed to find their footing and had to retire long before the Academy ever thought of calling their name. That’s not the case for the 20 actresses below who are without a doubt some of the most talented women to ever step in front of the camera. They just also happened to not be afraid to do this without wearing any clothing!
All of these women have won an Academy Award, and all of these women have bared it all (which we cover in depth). But only half of our list did it in the same role. Can you think of which women captivated the Academy with both their acting and their body? Or which established actresses took it off long before, or long after taking home the biggest award? We have the answers for you, along with mentioning all the prominent roles in which these women do take it off (award or no award), as we cover some of the most unforgettable (and steamiest!) moments in cinematic history.
20. Nicole Kidman – Eyes Wide Shut (Not Topless In Win)
For Nicole Kidman, there really is no shortage of roles in which she has elected to show off her birthday suit for the camera. The film that helped her win over the Academy, The Hours, saw Kidman keeping her clothes tight to her chest.
When it comes to roles in which Kidman showed off every side of her, there may be none bigger than Eyes Wide Shut. The movie came out in 1999 and was the last film made by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, who died 4 days after showing the film to Warner Bros. Pictures. If Kidman looking stunning wasn’t memorable enough, you also got to see a shirtless Tom Cruise caressing her body, which whether for positive or negative reasons is a pretty hard thing to forget!
Kidman also bared it all in Cold Mountain which earned 7 Oscar nominations and made $173 million at the box office. If you think that’s the only time you see all of Kidman, be prepared to be very wrong as she is also in her birthday suit in: Dead Calm, Billy Bathgate, Birth, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait Of Diane Arbus, Birthday Girl, Malice, The Human Stain, Windrider, Before I Go To Sleep, Australia, and The Portrait of a Lady
19. Kate Winslet – The Reader (Topless In Win)
Kate Winslet has had no shortage of roles in which she has bared it all in front of the camera. None may be more prominent than Titanic, but Winslet also showed off her birthday suit constantly throughout The Reader, a movie that also saw Winslet take home an award for Best Actress. Of all the actresses on our list, Winslet’s resume is one of the lengthiest. Perhaps it’s the fact that one of her first big movies (Titanic) featured a super famous skin scene, meaning millions of people had already seen her topless by that point, so really what’s left to hide?
18. Reese Witherspoon – Wild (Not Topless In Win)
If you want to see Reese Witherspoon without her clothes on, you definitely aren’t going to achieve that if you check her out in the 2005 movie Walk The Line. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice to pass on the movie as it was a huge hit at the box office, and earned Witherspoon an Academy Award for Best Actress.
The role of June Carter required Witherspoon to sing along as she played the love interest of Johnny Cash who was brilliantly played by Joaquin Phoenix.
But while that movie may be what earned her acclaim, it was her role in Twilight (no, not the Vampire movie) that earned her a spot on this list. If you want to see Witherspoon without her shirt on, you can also see her explore her wild side in Wild.
17. Halle Berry – Monster’s Ball (Topless In Win)
When Halle Berry won an Academy Award for Best Actress after her outstanding performance in Monster’s Ball, there is no doubt that part of that win was because of the acting that was required in the bedroom as well. When talking about the more explicit parts of the movie, Berry said “There was no real direction in the screenplay, it just had to be animalistic, and they had to be having sex…We just went for it. We both agreed to be uninhibited with our bodies.”
Berry also bared it all for the movie Swordfish, a role that rumors state she got paid an extra $500,000 for agreeing to be topless. Berry also shows brief parts of her chest in Frankie & Alice and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.
16. Marissa Tomei – The Wrestler (Not Topless In Win)
Marisa Tomei was absolutely outstanding in the 1992 comedy My Cousin Vinny and was well deserving of her Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The role didn’t require Tomei to show off every part of her to the camera, but that isn’t the case for The Wrestler, the 2008 film that garnered extreme critical praise, including Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei both being nominated for an Academy Award for their performance. Tomei is definitely no stranger to rocking out in her birthday suit as she also did so alongside Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Before The Devil Knows Your Dead. Still not enough Tomei for you? How about the fact that you can also see her stealing the show in Factotum and Untamed Heart.
15. Gwyneth Paltrow – Shakespeare In Love (Topless In Win)
You can imagine that Gwyneth Paltrow is going to keep her clothes tightly clinging to her body whenever she appears as Pepper Potts in the Marvel Universe, but she was a lot more open with what she showed the audience as Viola de Lesseps in the 1998 movie Shakespeare in Love. The critics definitely loved what they saw on screen, as the movie went on to take home SEVEN Academy Awards, with Paltrow earning a Best Actress and Judi Dench taking home an award for Best Supporting Actress.
When talking to Howard Stern, Paltrow admitted that she turned down the role because she was recently dealing with a breakup from Brad Pitt but ultimately reconsidered. When you consider the success of Paltrow’s career and the film, you can imagine she had no regrets about appearing in the movie, even if it required her to appear in the buff! Paltrow also showed off her comfort in her own skin in Great Expectations, Sylvia, Flesh and Bone, Two Lovers, and Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle.
14. Penelope Cruz – Vanilla Sky (Not Topless In Win)
Ready for a spoiler alert for some of this list? Penelope Cruz is definitely not going to be the last international lady that we have for you. Yet making her debut in foreign films also often led Cruz to leave very little to the imagination, including in the films Jamon, Jamon, Abre Los Ojos, The Girl Of Your Dreams, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Broken Embraces, Elegy, Don’t Move, Vanilla Sky, Volaverunt, Twice Born, Serie Rose, All The Pretty Horses, and Ma Ma.
While she started in 1992, it was not until 2008 that Cruz took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in the Woody Allen film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. The movie also starred Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall as the two women who fought for the affection of Javier Bardem, who was hung up on his ex-wife (played by Cruz). You can imagine Cruz and Bardem must have had fun with the role, as the two were dating at the time and have since gotten married.
13. La Vie En Rose – Marion Cotillard (Topless In Win)
Marion Cotillard continues the trend of being an actress on our list that took home an Academy Award for the same role in which she just so happened to reveal all of her skin to the audience. The movie, La Vie En Rose, was released in 2007. She also took home a Golden Globe for Best Actress.
While it is not yet clear how much skin she shows in her upcoming movie Allied with Brad Pitt, she did open up about their intimate scenes in a recent interview.
“What am I going to do next? Am I going to go on top of him?” Cotillard said. “It’s an awkward situation. We laughed because you need to get it out because this is so weird. And so you get this time of looking at each other and saying, ‘OK, this is so weird.’ And then we go into this and then I’m going on top of you and then we are going to kiss.” You can imagine Pitt’s recent divorce with Angelina Jolie definitely made for some interesting conversations on set as well!
Outside of her Oscar-winning role you can see all of Cotillard in Pretty Things, La Boite Noire, Furia, Rust and Bone, The Black Box, Love Me If You Dare, Une Affaire Privee, Taxi, Toi Et Moi and A Private Affair.
12. Helen Hunt – The Sessions (Not Topless In Win)
Helen Hunt may have starred in What Women Want, but what men want is probably to see her without her clothes! Which is great, because that’s exactly what you get when you check out Hunt in The Sessions, Dr T and The Women, and The Waterdance.
But of course, as beautiful as Hunt is, she’s even more talented, as is evident by her four Emmy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards and an Academy Award for Best Actress in As Good as it Gets. The movie also starred Jack Nicholson (who won Best Actor) and Greg Kinnear.
Hunt’s last role was in 2012 when she appeared in The Sessions and nailed hit role out of the park, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Idiots, maybe if they gave it to her she would still be acting!
11. Charlize Theron – Monster (Topless In Win)
Charlize Theron has definitely been asked to do quite a few things with her appearance for movies. Such as dressing down (including at one point with nothing on) as she did to portray serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. The movie came out in 2013 and earned Theron an Academy Award for Best Actress. It required her to gain 30 pounds, as well as wear prosthetic teeth as the often gorgeous Theron disappears.
You’ll be happy to know that she’s looking plenty gorgeous in the movies Reindeer Games, 2 Days in the Valley, The Devil’s Advocate, Head in the Clouds, The Burning Plain, The Cider House Rules, The Yards.
10. Cate Blanchett – Carol (Not Topless In Win)
Cate Blanchett is not only an amazing actress, but she’s also appeared in the Lord of the Rings franchise and that ultimately gets her TONS of cool points. But honestly, Blanchett would make any role better, as proof by the two Academy Awards that she can proudly put on her shelf. Blanchett’s first home run with the Academy came in 2004 when she appeared in The Aviator. Portraying Katharine Hepburn, Blanchett received an award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
In 2013, Blanchett brought her A-game to Blue Jasmine, a movie that was written and directed by Woody Allen. While she doesn’t bare it all often, you can still see plenty of her in the 2015 movie Carol as she gets hot and heavy with Rooney Mara.
9. Jessica Lange – Blue Sky (Topless In Win)
You are definitely not alone if you have recently fallen in love with the amazingly talented Jessica Lange for her prominent role on several seasons of American Horror Story, but if you backtrack through her film history you’ll find plenty of examples where Lange shined on the big screen. And it also just so happens that some of her best roles saw her acting in her birthday suit. Lange showed her body off in The Postman Always Rings Twice, Titus, and Frances.
Lange took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1982 for her role in the movie Tootsie while remaining clothed. She then went on to do one better, bringing home a Best Actress award for her role in Blue Sky.
8. Jennifer Connelly – Mulholland Falls (Not Topless In Win)
Jennifer Connelly is one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood but sadly she did not appear in any projects in 2015 and only one in 2016 and 2017. It’s clear she’s taking a break from acting, perhaps to focus on her three children, but when she steps in front of the camera you know she’s bringing her A-game.
Her best performance according to the Academy came in 2001 when she appeared in A Beautiful Mind, which focused on the real life story of John Nash. Connelly received a Best Supporting Actress award, the movie won Best Picture and Russell Crowe was nominated for a Best Actor award (losing to Denzel Washington in Training Day).
The movie required her to keep her clothes on, but that can’t be said about Walking The Dead, Mulholland Falls, The Hot Spot, House of Sand and Fog, Inventing The Abbotts, Of Love and Shadows, and from the bottom down in Requiem For a Dream. You can imagine a few of those are definitely going to be off limits for her kids!
7. Jodie Foster – The Accused (Topless In Win)
When Jodie Foster appeared in The Accused, it was one of the first examples of Hollywood covering the subject of rape on a mainstream level. The film saw Foster’s character get assaulted by a group of men while others cheered on, truly a terrifying act that was sadly inspired by the 1983 gang rape of Sarah Tobias.
While the movie was not nominated for any other Academy Awards, Foster took home the award for Best Actress.
As you can understand with the nature of this role, part of her character was seen without clothes. Foster was also comfortable showing off all of her skin in Nell and most of it in the 1980 movie Carny.
6. Anne Hathaway – Love and Other Drugs (Not Topless In Win)
Anne Hathaway has the distinction of taking the Academy Award away from Helen Hunt, who you read about above, when she won Best Supporting Actress in 2012 for Les Miserables. Though if we’re giving credit to Hathaway, she did have to be able to act and sing her ass off in the movie. Hathaway may have kept her clothes on her body for this role, but she is definitely comfortable letting the world see all of her.
The most prominent example may be in the movie Love and Other Drugs that stars Jake Gyllenhaal and features a skin-friendly Hathaway throughout the movie, talk about getting close with your co-star! But it wasn’t the first, and honestly probably won’t be the last time we see all of Hathaway. Prior to Love and Other Drugs, Hathaway had also dropped her clothes in Brokeback Mountain and Havok.
5. Salma Hayek – Frida (Topless In Win)
Salma Hayek has had several roles that have shown off her versatility as an actress, whether it’s hilarious shows like in 30 Rock, animated movies like Puss in Boots or dramatic films as in Frida, the 2002 role that earned Hayek an Academy Award for Best Actress and featured Hayek dropping to her birthday suit on multiple occasions.
The role required Hayek to study the life of Mexican surrealist painter Frida Kahlo and also starred Alfred Molina. Hayek is also absolutely gorgeous (even if she did rock a unibrow for the role), so you may be pleased to know you can see all of her in Ask The Dust, Desperado, and Americano in which she takes that role to the pole.
4. Angelina Jolie – Gia (Not Topless In Win)
Angelina Jolie has been considered one of the strongest leading ladies for over a decade now, but when she was first making her break into the industry one of her biggest roles came in 1999 with Girl, Interrupted. Jolie went on to win an award for Best Supporting actress and then the following year went and got her Tomb Raider on.
Yet one year prior to her movie, Jolie got plenty steamy with Elizabeth Mitchell in the movie Gia which was about the life of supermodel Gia Carangi. The movie received a 92% approval rating on RottenTomatoes but was not nominated for any Academy Awards. Perhaps with the stressful past year that Jolie has had, she’ll take some of that frustration out with a saucy role in an upcoming movie.
3. Hilary Swank – Boys Don’t Cry (Topless In Win)
Hilary Swank may have been the subject of debate surrounding her attractiveness in an episode of The Office, but there is little denying that she helps capture the attention of any viewer in several of her appearances in which she bares it all, including The Homesman, The Resident, and Boys Don’t Cry. The latter of which helped her earn the respect of the Academy as she took home the award for Best Actress.
This would not be the last time that Swank left a positive impression, as she also won our hearts over (while keeping her clothes on) in the 2004 movie Million Dollar Baby, for which she won another Academy Award for Best Actress. Swank has kept a relatively low profile as of late but has wrapped production on the comedy Logan Lucky that also stars Daniel Craig, Adam Driver, Channing Tatum, Katie Holmes and Seth MacFarlane.
2. Julie Christie – Don’t Look Now (Not Topless In Win)
We can assure you that if you were a huge fan of movies and, you know, alive back in 1965, you would have been all about the movie Darling. On top of being a huge hit at the box office, the movie was awarded five Academy Awards. There was perhaps no bigger star at the time than Julie Christie who went on to captivate audiences with both her looks and talent as she took home the Academy Award for Best Actress.
But if you watch the movie in anticipation of Christie letting you see all of her, don’t look now, but it’s not going to happen. Where it does happen, however, is in Don’t Look Now, a 1973 thriller that also stars Donald Sutherland. Christie is also not too quick to throw on the robe or cover herself after getting out of the shower, giving viewers a look at her birthday suit in Demon Seed.
1. Jane Fonda – Coming Home (Topless In Win)
Not only is Jane Fonda one of the most talented actresses of all time, she has the distinction of being the only actress on our list to take home two Academy Awards (both for Best Actress) and she was not afraid to show it all off in both roles. The first came in Klute where she played a woman of the streets. She ramped it up dramatically for the 1978 movie Coming Home which told the story of a Vietnam veteran played by Jon Voight and his relationship with his wife.
This would not be the only time fans of Fonda would be able to check out all of her, as she also bared it all in The Morning After, Old Gringo and Barbarella.