We couldn't have been less surprised to discover that Zoe Kazan is such a hardcore cinephile. Yes, of course, the movies are in her blood—her grandfather was On the Waterfront director Elia Kazan—but there's a lot more to it than that. One of our very favorite working actors, Kazan has always seemed drawn to fascinating projects that pulse with genuine sense of artistic purpose. From her harrowing performance as a 19th century settler in Meek's Cutoff to her challenging double role as twins in last year's The Pretty One, it's easy to get excited about her work because it's clear that she was excited about it, too. (And that's especially true when it comes to her heart-stopping turn in Ruby Sparks, which she brought to life from her own screenplay.) Oh, and have you seen Olive Kitteridge? Spoiler alert: It will break you in half.
When Time Out began compiling our epic list of the 100 best movies of all time, Kazan was one of the 73 leading actors from around the world we got to contribute a ballot. Her diverse and impeccable top 10 list, presented below alongside the commentary she sent along with it, is that of someone who's completely galvanized by the creative process and everything that it touches, and we're thrilled to share it with you.
1. All That Jazz: "Possibly my favorite film of all time. I love Bob Fosse with an irrational passion. The editing, the music, the precision with which he charts this man's loss of control. Never has there ever been a more searing or imaginative exploration of the self on film."
2. The Red Shoes: "Pretty much perfect in every way. Powell and Pressburger were masters, and this film about the heights and depths of creativity makes full use (and display) of their talents."
3. Notorious: "Absolutely perfect screenplay, acting, camera, everything. The most romantic movie I know. Gotta put Hitchcock on the list."
4. Contempt: "For me, Godard's funniest film. It's worth it alone for the close-up of Bardot swearing. Great macabre meditation on filmmaking."
5. The Apartment: "Billy Wilder at his sharpest. Every line of dialogue reveals character, pushes the plot forward and earns its keep as a stand-alone zinger. Perfect pairing of Lemmon and MacLaine."
6. Still Walking: "Everyone should see this Hirokazu Kore-eda masterpiece. My cinephile friends love it and so does my conservative Southern grandmother. The best portrait of a family I've seen on film."
7. Boogie Nights: "Punch-Drunk Love is probably my favorite of PTA's movies, but this is the one I think best marries his ambition, technical perfection and sheer verve. One of America's all-time greatest filmmakers hit it out of the park his first (essentially) at-bat."
8. Daisies: "The film on this list that I've seen most recently. Part of the Czech New Wave, this movie is a pure visual delight. The lack of plot is somehow no impediment to story-telling for Vera Chytilova."
9. On The Waterfront: "I know, I know, I'm biased. But what an amazing film that absolutely captures what was a sea-change in American acting. Iconic for a reason."
10. "For the life of me I can't narrow it down to just ten films. In contention for the last spot: Lost In Translation, Memories of Murder, Children of Men, Adam's Rib, Coming Home, Don't Look Now, Casablanca, Do The Right Thing, Wall-E, Girl On A Motorcycle, Persona, Nashville, Hannah And Her Sisters, The Shining, The Fire Within, Murmur of The Heart, The Conformist, Ali: Fear Eats The Soul, The Graduate, Groundhog Day, L'Enfant, Under The Skin, Brief Encounter and about a hundred more."