She's the Man
By Eddie Shapiro
Who wears the pants? These women all did, on screens big and small, anyway -- and awards voters loved them for it.
Linda Hunt: OK, she�s not the most feminine in her everyday life, but still, Hunt was an Oscar winning trailblazer when she played a Chinese dwarf in The Year of Living Dangerously. Even more amazingly, Mel didn�t beat her up.
Tilda Swinton: As the eponymous Orlando, Swinton changes sex midway through the film, but for that first half she�s all man and nothing short of luminous.
Cate Blanchett: Blanchett was one of five Bob Dylans in I�m Not There -- but she was the only Bob whose performance got the Academy�s nod.
Hilary Swank: Swank touched the world as tragic transman Brandon Teena in Boys Don�t Cry and took home the Oscar -- noting a trend?
Felicity Huffman: Some might call this one a stretch for this list. After all, in Transamerica, Huffman�s Bree lived her life as a woman. But lipstick aside, Bree still had some boy parts (thanks to very realisitic prosthetics) and if you still pee standing up, you make this cut.
Meryl Streep: At the top of Angels in America, who amongst you recognized Meryl Streep as The Rabbi? Yes, she�s known for disappearing into her roles, but this was a stretch even for her (Meryl as Jewish, really?). Emmy thought so, too.
Vanessa Redgrave: Like Huffman above, Redgrave played a man who becomes a woman. But in Second Serve, as tennis legend Renne Richards and the pre-op Richard Radley, Redgrave, did it 20 years earlier.
Miriam Shor: OK, sure, John Cameron Mitchell got the Farrah wig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, but Shor, as Yitzhak, got the facial hair and the drums!
Nancy Cartwright: In what must be a gender reversal record, Cartwright has spent 21 years voicing America�s most famous 10-year-old boy, Bart Simpson.
Honorable mention: Julie Andrews, Barbra Streisand, Katherine Hepburn, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Yes, we're cheating. Technically, they weren�t playing men. They were women living as men for plot devices and Oscar glory. But even though none of them were believably male for even a frame of film, we can�t ignore Victor/Victoria, Yentl, Sylvia Scarlett and Shakespeare in Love.