Ten Talented Temptresses

6. Gong Li
She's been called the 'Chinese Meryl Streep' for the sheer power of her talent and vast sweep of her range. She's undeniably beautiful, nearly flawless, but her greatest appeal is in her quiet power and the emotion lurking behind her eyes. The Red Hot Chili Peppers even immortalized her in a song ('Gong Li') on the B-side of their 'Scar Tissue' single. Perhaps it's difficult for English-speaking audiences to truly appreciate how revered she is. In 1998 she received the Ordres des Arts et des Lettres for her contribution to world cinema. She is a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference which, among other things, introduces proposals on education, the environment, and introducing a film ratings system to China. And in 2005 she was named one of the top ten most influential people in Chinese film. Forget her American movies, cruelly lovely though she was in Memoirs of a Geisha. She's at her brilliant and alluring best in films like Farewell My Concubine, The Emperor and the Assassin or as the deliciously formidable Empress in personal favorite The Curse of the Golden Flower.