The 100 Sexiest Movie Stars: The Women

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Want to know who made the top twenty of Hollywood's sexiest ladies and gents? We reveal the crème de la crème of our list here. Or check out how the guys fared with our countdown of the top 50 sexiest male stars.

50. Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief

"When you looked at that picture, you were not looking at her. You were looking at the illusion of her," theatre director Don Richardson has said of the future Grace of Monaco. "The camera did more than love her. It was insane about her – just like I was." Just as the world would be once her career really began. Rear Window truly kicked her phenomenon into high gear, but Kelly was, and always will be, more than just a blonde.

SEXIEST ROLE: To Catch A Thief is hard to beat. STROKE OF CHARM: A less posed image, taken in Jamaica.

49. Rosario Dawson

Rosario Dawson in Trance

It's not enough that Rosario Dawson is beautiful, graceful and powerful all in one package. She's also a nerd who proudly flies the flag for geekdom, even going so far as to create her own comic book. So, she's pretty much perfect. As if that weren't enough, she can play tough with aplomb and sings too, as the film version of Rent – for all its faults – proved.

SEXIEST ROLE: Robert Rodriguez proved she could combine strength with sexiness as Gail in Sin City. But she's also incredibly slinky, and unexpectedly dangerous, in Trance. STROKE OF CHARM: Spoofing Telenovelas to help get out the vote.

48. Milla Jovovich

Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil: Afterlife

Some models make the jump to acting and end up simply playing the girlfriend in many movies. Milla Jovovich decided to do something very different – and succeeded. She's best known these days as the ass-kicking Alice from the Resident Evil films, but she's also managed to squeeze in dramas around bashing zombies and has played both Joan Of Arc and the Supreme Being. It doesn't hurt that in addition to natural glamour, she's game for a laugh.

SEXIEST ROLE: Either of her ingénue performances in Two Moon Junction or Return To The Blue Lagoon count, but we also enjoyed her as Katinka Ingabogovinanana in Zoolander. STROKE OF CHARM: Charming the audience on Jimmy Kimmel's show.

47. Hayley Atwell

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter

First seen on the big screen in Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream, Hayley Atwell has quickly carved out a niche playing plucky British girls who quickly show themselves to be so much more. It doesn't hurt that she herself is beautiful and self-possessed, and more than capable when it comes to a good drama. Currently onstage in London, look out for her kicking butt and taking names in the Marvel one-shot Agent Carter that accompanies the Iron Man 3 home entertainment release.

SEXIEST ROLE: We'll always love Captain America's Peggy Carter but The Duchess' Bess Foster wins this one by a corset. STROKE OF CHARM: Best. Party trick. Ever.

46. Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher in The Lookout

Funny goes a long way with us, and Isla Fisher definitely has the comedy chops – although it helps that she's also perky, friendly and gorgeous with it. While she's largely stuck to laugh-grabbing roles in the likes of Hot Rod, Confessions Of A Shopaholic and, most famously, Wedding Crashers, she's also gotten dramatic for The Great Gatsby and is looking to do more.

SEXIEST ROLE: One of her dramatic roles, as ex-stripper Luvlee Lemons in The Lookout, sees her channelling her perkiness into smooth sexuality. STROKE OF CHARM: Getting funny being interviewed by Ryan Reynolds.

45. Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams in Sherlock Holmes "Nice" isn't always commensurate with "sexy", but Rachel McAdams manages to be both in almost everything. Maybe it's the Canadian blood. Oddly, she first grabbed attention by being anything but thoughtful in Mean Girls, and does play well against the nice girl type (as anyone who has seen Passion can attest). But she's usually the charmer, the winsome one who wins over the hero, as Ryan Gosling could attest, on screen and off after The Notebook.

SEXIEST ROLE: She makes for a plucky Irene Adler in the Sherlock Holmes films but we find her sexiest as Della Frye in State Of Play. STROKE OF CHARM: She takes her hockey seriously.

44. Jennifer Connelly

Jennifer Connelly in Winter's Tale After first hitting the public's awareness in Labyrinth – where she charmed not only a horde of Muppet types but also bewitched David Bowie – Jennifer Connelly has grown into the sort of measured, Oscar-scoring actress who works as consistently as she likes. With raven hair and onyx eyes that see straight through you, she's always the focus of attention on screen, even in small roles.

SEXIEST ROLE: She's cheeky and fun in Inventing The Abbotts, but let's not count out Mulholland Falls and Higher Learning. STROKE OF CHARM: A fun flashback to her audition for Labyrinth.

43. Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes in We Own The Night

The dark eyes, like deep pools. The full lips. The sultry nature. Eva Mendes has a lot to like about her, and has slowly made her way up the acting ranks to jobs that let her work with her beauty and sometimes play against it. She's proved she can handle comedy, but seems at her best when she's tackling something dramatic, as in Training Day. She can even handle the ultra-surrealism of Holy Motors, so top marks for that.

SEXIEST ROLE: She breaks hearts in We Own The Night and is deeply attractive to Will Ferrell (and everyone else) in The Other Guys. STROKE OF CHARM: The Eva Mendes sex tape you never knew you wanted.

42. Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett in Carol

With her classically sculpted features, Cate Blanchett sometimes seems like a Golden Age Hollywood star more than an actress of today. She has a smile that can light up a building, let alone a room, and passion that cuts through her apparent iciness. She plays conflicted well, but when she's allowed to be funny, it just adds to her charm.

SEXIEST ROLE: Her ethereal, glowing Galadriel in Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings trilogy (and now the Hobbit) is a highlight, but we really like her as Kate Wheeler in Bandits. STROKE OF CHARM: Talking stunt bottoms on the Graham Norton show.

41. Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch

Her candle may have burned out quickly, but it certainly burned brightly. Norma Jean Baker's life was tinged with tragedy, but she lives on as an icon of fashion, beauty and, in the right role, raw sex appeal. There's a reason cartoon characters were based on her and so many fell for her: she was impossibly gorgeous and often hilarious.

SEXIEST ROLE: A tough choice between The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot's Sugar, but Hot takes it for that entrance, one of the most memorable in cinema history. It's like jello on springs. STROKE OF CHARM: It wasn't all vulnerable sexiness or power. She could clown around when she wanted.

40. Cameron Diaz

Cameron Diaz in The Counselor

Few actresses get the impactful start that Cameron Diaz enjoyed thanks to her flirty-yet-sweet appearance in The Mask. And she quickly capitalised on it, proving herself with drama The Last Summer and going full Farrelly for There's Something About Mary, the first of many screwball roles. But though she'll often be cast simply as the beauty, Diaz has shown an admirable ability to play other sides, including Being John Malkovich's weird Lotte Schwartz.

SEXIEST ROLE: The film might not be Danny Boyle's best, but she's charm personified in A Life Less Ordinary. And let's not forget her foulmouthed educator in Bad Teacher. Still we have a feeling the upcoming Counsellor from Ridley Scott may top them all. STROKE OF CHARM: Rapping with Gwyneth Paltrow like a gangsta.

39. Amanda Seyfried

Amanda Seyfried in Chloe

With those big, expressive, almost Manga-like eyes, Amanda Seyfried could never be mistaken for just another Hollywood blonde. She's long since proved that she's more than that, working well in comedies like Mean Girls and surprisingly decent romances such as Dear John. Musicals have also been kind to her, particularly Les Misérables, where she turns what can be the bland role of Cosette into something a little more.

SEXIEST ROLE: Needy in Jennifer's Body is surprisingly sexy for all her goofiness, but we'll take her conniving con artist in Chloe. STROKE OF CHARM: Hear her be funny and fun on our own Podcast.

38. Halle Berry

Halle Berry in Frankie and Alice

A teen beauty queen, Halle Berry has showed a real willingness to work against her own gorgeousness when the job requires it (as in her big break, Spike Lee's Jungle Fever). She's carved out a career in drama, scored an Oscar for her role in Monster's Ball and proved to be a match for Bond as Jinx in Die Another Day, chalking up one of cinema's more iconic bikini shots in the process. She's been unafraid to play the sex bomb card when necessary, though she's tended more towards dramas that challenge her these days.

SEXIEST ROLE: Swordfish's Ginger Knowles is a highlight in an otherwise disposable movie, and she's sexy as Miss Stone in The Flintstones. STROKE OF CHARM: Like Sandra Bullock, Berry is a good sport at the Razzies.

37. Monica Bellucci

Monica Bellucci in Matrix Reloaded

Boasting a combination of classically stunning looks and the sort of laser concentration that you can't help but be attracted to, she's conquered roles both in Europe and across the pond. Whether she's gracing blockbusters or small Euro-indies, she seems equally at home. And it doesn't hurt that she often has a European approach to clothing, too…

SEXIEST ROLE: Malèna Scordia finds herself the focus of attention for a whole village in 2000's Malèna. STROKE OF CHARM: Vintage beauty from her modelling days.

36. Anna Kendrick

Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect

In recent years, Kendrick has been embraced as the epitome of sweet-natured sass, with her adorable brunette locks and pixie face. She's proved she's got more to offer than that, though, stealing scenes in Scott Pilgrim and 50/50 and becoming a bona fide sensation thanks to Pitch Perfect. She's also loveable sharing the screen with George Clooney and Vera Farmiga as Natalie in Up In The Air.

SEXIEST ROLE: Rocket Science's Ginny Ryerson showcased her nerd appeal to perfection. STROKE OF CHARM: She's the ruling queen of Instagram.

35. Olga Kurylenko

Olga Kurylenko in Quantum of Solace

The name Olga might not traditionally spark images of glamour and lithe sex appeal, but Kurylenko certainly manages to embody both. Whether she's playing it tough, as in Centurion, or slinking around as one of the few Bond girls to resist the hero's charms in Quantum Of Solace. More recently, she's been Tom Cruise's dream girl in Oblivion, the one person who can make him turn away from Andrea Riseborough.

SEXIEST ROLE: She manages to escape both Hitman and Max Payne with some measure of dignity and whole lot of sexiness. STROKE OF CHARM: Matching Craig Ferguson for entertainment value, which is no easy task.

34. Rachel Weisz

Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea

Just when we thought Rachel Weisz might get trapped in the web of action movie token-totty roles or random dramas, she broke out via her spirited Evelyn Carnahan in The Mummy and it's been all fun and all uphill from there – so much so that we desperately missed her in The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor. Weisz blends sex appeal with brains and classic looks, which might hold a clue as to why she's a Bond girl in real life.

SEXIEST ROLE: Evy is tough to beat, and she's great in the heartbreaking The Deep Blue Sea, but there's also her great turn in Beautiful Creatures. STROKE OF CHARM: Posing as Snow White. Because she can.

33. Helena Bonham Carter

Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club

These days, she's better known for putting quirk before beauty, yet her features still shine through even when she's dressing in odd costumes for Tim Burton with through-a-hedge-backwards hair and/or creating trouble for Harry Potter. Carter rose through the costume drama ranks to become one of our most respected – and attractive – actresses, comfortable in Shakespeare's world or larking about as Madame Thénardier in Les Mis.

SEXIEST ROLE: As the laidback, scheming Marla Singer in Fight Club, she's rarely been naughtier or more likely to rip us off, but we can't resist her. STROKE OF CHARM: How to parent, Bellatrix-style.

32. Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks in Mad Men

'Impish' is perhaps not the first word that comes to mind to describe why Christina Hendricks has made such an impact in such a short space of time, but the devilish twinkle in her eyes is a definite plus. Whether putting the Mad Men in their place on TV or playing someone seriously out of their depth in Drive, she's always one to watch. Also, she's curvaceous as all get-out.

SEXIEST ROLE: Joan Harris has become a small-screen icon, but we'll go further back in her career and cite Firefly's scheming Saffron. STROKE OF CHARM: Has arrows, can use them. Hunger Games, eat your heart out.

31. Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road

You might not have suspected that the take-no-crap tomboy from TV's Dark Season would grow up into one of Britain's most recognised sex icons. But while she's certainly lovely, curvy and able to rock a costume drama dress, Winslet is more than just some wilting English rose. She's funny, outspoken, romantic, and brings everything together when she finds the right role, as demonstrated with Clementine in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless mind.

SEXIEST ROLE: Titanic made her a worldwide name, but her riskier roles in Hideous Kinky and Little Children really stand out. STROKE OF CHARM: Tales of Improv from Inside The Actor's Studio.

30. Ellen Page

Ellen Page in Super

She's too easily written off as merely cute or a bit of a tomboy, but there's much more to Ellen Page. She's proved herself a versatile actress between the tough Hard Candy and the witty Juno, and in between has been a superhero AND a sidekick (in X-Men: The Last Stand and Super).

SEXIEST ROLE: We'd go for her tough chick in Whip It. She rocks those roller boots. STROKE OF CHARM: Incredibly bad jokes on Twitter and the guts to own up to them.

29. Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock in The Proposal

An authentic leading lady and one of the most consistently popular stars in Hollywood, Bullock initially broke through in Demolition Man, as enthusiastic future cop Lenina Huxley, a woman obsessed with the tough guys of the past. Since then, she's hung with several of them, notching up Speed before moving into more grown-up comedies and dramas. These days, she lets her adorability creep through nervy straight-woman roles, though The Proposal proved she can still bring the laughs.

SEXIEST ROLE: Speed's Annie is still among her sexy highpoints, even if she does spend most of the movie panicking. See also: The Net. STROKE OF CHARM: When she wins a Razzie, she turns up.

28. Salma Hayek

With her famous curves providing an undeniable sizzle, Salma Hayek has long been one of the most beautiful women gracing our screens, and of course that Mexican accent doesn't hurt. And she's tough to boot: just watch her making Benicio del Toro cower in Savages, for example.

SEXIEST ROLE: She portrays the iconic, show-stopping Santanico Pandemonium in From Dusk Till Dawn, and choreographed her own dance for it. STROKE OF CHARM: Got milk?

27. Carey Mulligan

Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby

We may have spotted her in TV's Bleak House or Trial & Retribution, or even as Kitty in Joe Wright's Pride & Prejudice. But we can pinpoint the moment we all fell for Carey Mulligan thanks to two words: Sally Sparrow. Her appearance in the time-twisting Doctor Who episode Blink cemented her appeal, and she's built from there with beautiful work in Public Enemies, Drive and The Great Gatsby.

SEXIEST ROLE: An Education saw her Oscar nominated as defiant schoolgirl Jenny Mellor in a role that seemed made for her. But there's also her troubled chanteuse in Shame… STROKE OF CHARM: Joining Stephen Colbert's book club. It's Gif-tastic.

26. Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love

Power. It's what Julianne Moore has in spades – and she uses her fame for good. Preferring to lend her talents to indie character work over blockbuster fare, she's always been electrifying on screen, challenging us even as she charms in movies such as Short Cuts, Benny & Joon, The End Of The Affair and The Kids Are All Right.

SEXIEST ROLE: In a film filled with standout performances, it's hard not to notice Maude Lebowski, the art-crafting Valkyrie sex goddess who wins over The Dude. STROKE OF CHARM: Here she is (tastefully) nude with, er, lion cubs as fashion accessories?

25. Amber Heard

Amber Heard in Machete Kills

Whether she's in traditionally sexy mode for The Informers or The Rum Diary, or mixing things up in Zombieland (as the world's cutest zombie you'd still have to kill) and convincing as a school girl Seth Rogen would fall for, Amber Heard has quickly established herself as a go-to bombshell. In her future? A lethal beauty queen role in Machete Kills.

SEXIEST ROLE: It's hard to beat The Informers for pure sex appeal, though she's also great in The Ward and Never Back Down. STROKE OF CHARM: Heard tells her favourite joke.

24. Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba in The Killer Inside Me

For years, Jessica Alba seemed locked into as either the good girl or the spunky heroine of Dark Angel. Then she had fun blending both for Sin City's Nancy Callahan – and suddenly it wasn't only Nancy we noticed had grown up. She's kept things OTT thanks to Robert Rodriguez's Machete (and she'll return in its sequel) but has also been a superhero and a sexy singleton. Adaptable, that one.

SEXIEST ROLE: Bikini-sporting treasure hunter Sam made pulses race in Into The Blue, but there's also her saintly dancer in Honey. STROKE OF CHARM: Jessica Alba engages in a staring contest.

23. Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain in Lawless

Since suddenly breaking out everywhere, Chastain has taken roles that could seem frosty and infused them with warmth and heart. She makes characters feel real and is never afraid to swap glamour for struggle. But when she does dress up, she looks incredible. It's difficult to take your eyes off her when she's on screen and even in smaller roles, such as The Help, she's noticeable.

SEXIEST ROLE: Her onscreen partnership with Tom Hardy in Lawless had everyone mesmerised, and she's also great as Rachel in The Debt – one of the few people who could conceivably be a young Helen Mirren. STROKE OF CHARM: Jessica Chastain meets Jessica Chastain...

22. Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer

The whole "adorkable", quirky-cute thing aside, Zooey Deschanel can be seriously sexy when she wants to be, and admirable funny at other times. She plays up her wackier angles, but in reality comes across as a sweet, talented type who is always creating something. She's great as Trillian in the 2005 version of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy and even makes a complicated woman like (500) Days Of Summer's titular character work.

SEXIEST ROLE: She always bends sweetness with the sexiness, but never to more devastating effect than in Elf, which makes you want to be Will Ferrell and sing along with her in the shower. STROKE OF CHARM: Putting a spell on anyone within a three-mile radius.

21. Emily Blunt

Emily Blunt in The Adjustment Bureau

She can rock a period dress, play a young royal, spit venom in the world of fashion, charm the likes of Matt Damon and Ewan McGregor and survive sci-fi in Looper. Emily Blunt can do anything and look good at the same time. She's always entertaining and manages to make it all look effortless while winning us over.

SEXIEST ROLE: One of her earliest roles, in My Summer Of Love, had her falling for Natalie Press's Mona, for a romance that's hard to forget. But she also makes the sweetly ordinary Iris in Your Sister's Sister seemed damned attractive. STROKE OF CHARM: She competes in a Nice-Off with Jason Segel.

20. Gemma Arterton

Gemma Arterton in Tamara Drewe

Arterton has only been appearing in our cinemas since 2007, but she's made a heck of an impact. Starting with the can't-lose combo of insouciance and sex appeal in the otherwise dodgy St. Trinian's, she quickly graduated to crime with RocknRolla and became a Bond girl in Quantum Of Solace. She hasn't had the best luck with her blockbusters, but she's always charming on screen.

SEXIEST ROLE: She's rarely been more lovely than when winning over an entire village in Tamara Drewe. STROKE OF CHARM: She even looks good on a blustery day.

19. Kate Beckinsale

Kate Beckinsale in Underworld

Beckinsale first hit the screen as Hero in the 1993 version of Much Ado, but for most she entered our big screen consciousness as the cheeky, quick Georgie in Shooting Fish. Since then, she's graduated to indie goddess with The Last Days Of Disco, blockbuster glamour with Pearl Harbor and vampire action icon thanks to the Underworld series' Selene and that catsuit.

SEXIEST ROLE: There's the go-getting Ava Gardener in The Aviator, perhaps. But that catsuited vampire is hard to ignore. STROKE OF CHARM: Who doesn't love a good blooper?

18. Keira Knightley

Keira Knightley in Edge of Love

With sharp-edged features and a cutting ability to be both ladylike and outrageous, Knightley seems equally at home in corseted costume dramas or edgy indies. Whether she's breaking our hearts in Atonement or threatening to break our faces for Domino, she's got that certain something, that spark beneath the model-level face that just works.

SEXIEST ROLE: Andrew Lincoln – for all his weird stalker ways – had it right in Love Actually, when she played the beautiful Juliet. Though there's also something about her role in Silk... STROKE OF CHARM: Getting adorable on Jimmy Fallon's talk show.

17. Olivia Wilde

Olivia Wilde in Rush

Often described as one of the most beautiful women in the world, it's not tough to see why Olivia Wilde has been in demand recently. Whether she's playing the spunky living program Quorra in Tron: Legacy (and making a pageboy wig look good against a shiny catsuit) or proving to be the most watchable thing in Cowboys & Aliens or Burt Wonderstone, she always stands out. She's also humble and funny, which only adds to the appeal.

SEXIEST ROLE: A great blend of her funny and sexy sides, she impressed in little-seen indie Butter as a stripper with a heart of gold and a vengeful streak a mile wide. STROKE OF CHARM: Telling it like it is to Justin bloody Bieber.

16. Amy Adams

Amy Adams in American Hustle

Cute seems to the easiest label applied to Adams' looks, especially given her standout roles in Enchanted and as Mary in The Muppets. But there's far more to her appeal, including an inner steeliness that belies a sweet nature, as shown in The Fighter. She also came up through comedy, especially in her film debut, Drop Dead Gorgeous, and her funniness just adds to her appeal. She was even a fine Lois Lane in Man Of Steel – we just wish she'd had more to do.

SEXIEST ROLE: She's surprisingly sexy in Charlie Wilson's War, but talking of Sorkin (or at least his creation), you should see her as farm girl Cathy in The West Wing' s 20 Hours In America: Part 1. STROKE OF CHARM: Getting unscripted with Muppet co-stars Jason Segel, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.

15. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron in Young Adult

Blessed with the iconic, leggy blonde looks of a supermodel, Theron wormed her way into our affections with an astonishing variety of roles. From her early, siren work in 2 Days In The Valley to more rewarding – yet still astonishingly lovely – turns in The Yards and The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers, she makes sexy seem effortless while also possessing the acting power to get the job done.

SEXIEST ROLE: Squeezing into a tight-fitting catsuit for Aeon Flux certainly made the three people who saw take notice, and she was somehow still hot as hot mess Mavis Gary in Young Adult. STROKE OF CHARM: It can be tough to upstage Michael Fassbender. But Theron manages it here.

14. Eva Green

Eva Green in Sin City: A Dame To Kill For

Great strength, astounding beauty and real vulnerability in one role; perhaps that's why so many fell for Eva Green in Casino Royale. But she'd already made us weak at the knees with a risqué performance in The Dreamers and we'd seen her tough side in Kingdom Of Heaven's Sibylla. Green has also proved the best thing in movies that don't necessarily work, chewing the scenery in Dark Shadows and out-weirding Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film. Who knew that was possible?

SEXIEST ROLE: She sizzles with Ewan McGregor in Perfect Sense. STROKE OF CHARM: Sexy. And she loves her dog, too.

13. Marion Cotillard

Marion Cotillard in Contagion

A classic French beauty, Marion Cotillard is possessed of, as the French say, a certain I-don't-know-what. Whether she's being utterly charming in A Good Year or remarkably sexy in Midnight In Paris, it's hard to take your eyes off her. She even brings some warmth to the usually chilly world of Christopher Nolan, even if we all knew we couldn't trust her in The Dark Knight Rises.

SEXIEST ROLE: She's great wooing the pants off Johnny Depp in Public Enemies. And Jean-Pierre Jeunet makes her look amazing in A Very Long Engagement. STROKE OF CHARM: Uh, fellas? They're up there.

12. Penelope Cruz

Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona

First noticed in Pedro Almodovar's Jamon Jamon, Cruz became his regular collaborator. It's not hard to see why, given her effortless, sultry beauty and ability to slip between humour and seduction. Though she's never been shy about disrobing, she's proved herself more than just a lovely woman, and is one of the few actors picked to play the same role twice – in Abre Los Ojos and again in Cameron Crowe's remake, Vanilla Sky.

SEXIEST ROLE: She's incredibly appealing in Vicky Cristina Barcelona as the ultra-high-maintenance but completely irresistible Maria Elena. STROKE OF CHARM: Here she is playing Super Mario with her near-identical sister Monica.

11. Megan Fox

Megan Fox in Jonah Hex

She gets a bad rap for being a Michael Bay fantasy icon in Transformers, and while she hasn't yet found the perfect role where she doesn't simply rely on her looks, she's done decent supporting work riffing on her own hotness in This Is 40, How To Lose Friends And Alienate People and Friends With Kids. Plus, while the film itself didn't quite gel, Jennifer's Body gave her more of a chance to do something different – and she embraced it.

SEXIEST ROLE: She's sassy as Lilah in Jonah Hex, though we'd still pick Jennifer's Body for her slinky, OTT performance. STROKE OF CHARM: This behind-the-scenes video from This Is 40 is pretty cute.

10. Zoe Saldana

Zoe Saldana in Colombiana

Holding her own against the guys in Star Trek is no easy feat, but it's one that Saldana has managed with aplomb as the capable, intelligent Uhura. She was a dancer before she became an actress and her lithe figure has always been part of her appeal. But she combines funny with sexy, and has carved out a niche as one of the believable action icons, no matter whether she's blue and animated (for Avatar) or green (for the upcoming Guardians Of The Galaxy).

SEXIEST ROLE: Tough to chose between Cataleya in Colombiana and the rough-and-tumble Aisha in Losers. STROKE OF CHARM: She plays the idiot sometimes.

9. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie in The Tourist

Tattooed tough girl one moment, all-action kick-ass spy the next, then beautiful and refined woman who is so far out of your league you can't even afford tickets to the game. Jolie channels old school Hollywood with iconic good looks, but matches it all with range and effortless style – and has an Oscar to prove her abilities. Her appeal isn't diminished even when she's voicing a tiger in DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda franchise. Wait, is that just us?

SEXIEST ROLE: TV movie Gia still holds a lot of people rapt, and she shows her impossibly gorgeous, Brad-grabbing side in Mr. And Mrs. Smith. STROKE OF CHARM: Something a little less predictable in a Marie Claire photo shoot.

8. Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman in Thor

Whether working in period togs (The Other Boleyn Girl) or futuristic clobber (the Star Wars prequels), Natalie Portman has always been blessed with a certain spirit, something that shines through no matter what she's doing. She matches looks with brains and chooses a wide variety of work to keep things interesting. From her breakthrough as a would-be assassin to her Oscar win, there's no danger of her becoming stuck in a rut.

SEXIEST ROLE: Many liked her as the damaged, yet still sexy Nina Sayers in Black Swan, but she defined a genre in Zach Braff's Garden State as Sam, at the forefront of the pixie dream girl movement – though she works on a level beyond it. STROKE OF CHARM: Portman and Rashida Jones explain what's really important in life.

7. Mila Kunis

Mila Kunis in Ted

"Confidence, not cockiness. Knowing who you are is confidence. Cockiness is pushing it down everyone's throat." Words to live by from Mila Kunis, who combines adorability with plenty of acting talent and who is fluent in Russian. Voted Woman Of The Year by more than one publication, her on-screen persona is an intoxicating combo of hopelessly sexy and entirely relatable. Oh, and she's also a huge Star Trek fan. How do you say "perfect" in Klingon, again?

SEXIEST ROLE: Charming Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was a highlight (and bikini-tastic), but we're going for her pairing with Justin Timberlake in Friends With Benefits. STROKE OF CHARM: Hanging with the Sesame Street crew. Like you do.

6. Emma Stone

Emma Stone in Gangster Squad

Not every young actress can combine looks with actual funniness, but Emma Stone is genuinely witty both on and off screen. Admirably centred in her career and personal life, she's gorgeous and gregarious but also capable of bring thoughtful in the likes of Crazy, Stupid, Love. She can even battle the undead, as she showed in Zombieland, so she's the first person we want around in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

SEXIEST ROLE: Her Gwen Stacy won over Spider-Man (and, in real-life, Andrew Garfield), but her ballsy, whip-smart high schooler Olive in Easy A was the perfect role. STROKE OF CHARM: No one is safe from her photo bombing. Not even her boyfriend.

5. Anne Hathaway

Anna Hathaway as Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises

We're puzzled by the backlash that swamped Hathaway during the run-up to this year's Oscars, where she capped months of awards with a golden baldie. Hathaway has always come across as sweet, funny, real and, it almost goes without saying, beautiful. She also has a backbone and a set of pipes to die for. Presumably everyone was basically jealous; there's no other explanation.

SEXIEST ROLE: Whether battling it out with Christian Bale, or setting up smug senators, her Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises was definitely one to watch. STROKE OF CHARM: A sad-off with Samuel L. Jackson.

4. Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart in Still Alice

Twilight's Bella might have been the role that launched her to the next level of superstardom, but Stewart is more than simply a girl with a weakness for sparkly vampires. She's proved herself capable of much more, in films like On The Road and even Snow White And The Huntsman – who doesn't love a woman that can swing a sword likes she means it?

SEXIEST ROLE: We'd plump for Adventureland's Em Lewin, where she charms Jesse Eisenberg with her sarcastic appeal and quick wit. STROKE OF CHARM: Outing her fame-whoring dad (with love) on Conan.

3. Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique

Emerging to awards acclaim with Winter's Bone, Lawrence has quickly cemented a reputation as a natural, down-to-earth beauty who can also turn her hand to any role going, shining in big ensemble films like X-Men: First Class or being the focus as with The Hunger Games. In real life, she's by turns a goofball and one of the more beautiful women to walk a red carpet – a pretty irresistible combination.

SEXIEST ROLE: It's not tough, for someone who looks like she does, to be sexy in Mystique's blue body paint, but she's also hot and Oscar winning in Silver Linings Playbook. STROKE OF CHARM: Did you hear about her holiday? It was un-Belizeable.

2. Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow Johansson graces perfume ads and fashion shoots – which seems inherently unlikely for someone who broke through to the big time thanks to Ghost World. But it's her brains and that husky voice that really put her ahead. Impressively, she can make anything from her Black Widow bodysuit to thick glasses and awkward gawkiness seem sexy.

SEXIEST ROLE: Working with Woody Allen brought out something great in her, particularly when she was paired with Penelope Cruz in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. STROKE OF CHARM: Making with the funny at a Cosmopolitan photoshoot in 2004.

1. Emma Watson

Emma Watson in The Bling Ring

Combining smarts with beauty, Emma Watson's been a favourite for years, even back in the days when people really shouldn't have been thinking that way about young Hermione. But since leaving Hogwarts she's blossomed into a fine young actress, playing roles from teen thief to music nerd, and even having fun as herself in This Is The End.

SEXIEST ROLE: Her later Potter days might have hit the pop culture heights, but she's charming, self-possessed and full of spark in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower as Sam. STROKE OF CHARM: Talking Santa and more with our Chris Hewitt at Cannes.