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10 Actresses We Bet You Couldn’t Recognize in Male Roles

Good actors are able to use their bodies and emotion to the fullest in order to deliver a performance that can transmit an idea to viewers. On the other hand, those who are truly talented manage to make audiences feel and identify with the character they’ve created. And the true sign of an exceptional actor is to be able to play a character properly, regardless of his or her age, nationality, language, or even gender.

Bright Side wants to introduce you to 10 of these exceptionally good actresses who played male characters on the big screen. And they did it so well, you may not have even realized the character was played by a woman.

1. Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena

Thanks to this role, Hilary Swank was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 2000, winning both in the category of “Best Actress” for her performance in Boys Don’t Cry. The story focuses on the life of Brandon Teena, the character played by Swank, who as a transgendered man, is forced to flee to a town in Nebraska. The film was acclaimed by critics and was considered one of the best films of the year.

2. Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola de Lesseps

Shakespeare in Love starred Gwyneth Paltrow and Joseph Fiennes in 1998. The film won 7 Academy Awards and 3 Golden Globes. Paltrow played Viola de Lesseps, a character who disguises herself as Thomas Kent to impress Shakespeare, since, back in the day, women were not allowed to go on stage to act in theatre plays. The actress won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and 2 SAG Awards for her excellent performance in this film.

3. Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt

Salt came out in 2010 and starred Angelina Jolie. The story revolves around Evelyn Salt, a CIA agent on the run who is accused of spying for the KGB. To prove her innocence, she uses all her skills, including disguising herself as a male colonel.

4. Kathy Burke as Perry

Kevin & Perry Go Large is a 2000 teenage comedy in which Kathy Burke played one of the male leads, Perry. The film received good and bad reviews from critics but is recognized for its excellent soundtrack.

5. Mariah Carey

Obsessed is a song from Mariah Carey’s twelfth album, Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel. The singer stated that this was one of her favorite compositions, adding that it was inspired by the movie Mean Girls (she is a big fan). The video clip shows Carey as a woman and a stalker who follows her everywhere. The stalker is also played by Carey.

6. Blanca Portillo as Friar Emilio Bocanegra

Blanca Portillo played Friar Emilio Bocanegra in the film, Alatriste, which came out in 2006.

7. Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn

I’m Not There is a 2007 film based on Bob Dylan’s life story. Cate Blanchett’s performance earned her an Oscar nomination, a SAG Award nomination, a BAFTA nomination, and a Golden Globe nomination. She ended up winning Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes.

8. Linda Hunt as Billy Kwan

The Year of Living Dangerously is a 1982 film where Linda Hunt played Billy Kwan. For this role, she dyed her hair and plucked her eyebrows to resemble a man. Her performance earned her an Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress” in 1983.

9. Amanda Bynes as Sebastian Hastings

She’s the Man is a 2006 teenage film based on William Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night. In this film, Bynes played Viola Hastings who pretends to be her brother, Sebastian, to play soccer while he’s on a trip to London.

10. Elle Fanning as Ray

The 2015 drama, 3 Generations, like the name suggests, presents the story of 3 generations of women. Elle Fanning plays Ray, a teenager who undergoes a gender transition, changing the routine and expectations of the entire family forever.

Did you recognize these actresses in their male performances? Would you like us to write an article about actors who successfully played female characters? Let us know in the comment section! Maybe you also know somebody that we should have included in this list.