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Watch 20 Oscar-winning actresses in music videos

Lyndsey Parker
Halle Berry and Fred Durst in “Limp Bizkit: Behind Blue Eyes” (Photo: YouTube)

Sure, we all know Angelina Jolie won an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted, or that Halle Berry made history Oscar history when she became the first African American to win a Best Actress trophy (for Monster’s Ball). But did you know that Jolie  and Berry respectively starred in videos by … Meat Loaf and Limp Bizkit?

In honor of this weekend’s Academy Awards, here’s a look back at 20 music video cameos by Oscar-winning actresses. For some, these videos were career steppingstones or mere detours; for others, they were career lows. But all of them are recommended viewing.

20. Mecano, “La Fuerza del Destino”

No one could have predicted when 15-year-old Penélope Cruz made her acting debut, in this 1992 Spanish pop video, that she’d win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2008 for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Incidentally, Mecano broke up in 1992.

19. Parachute, “The Mess I Made” (starring Jennifer Lawrence, 2009)

Silver Linings Playbook Best Actress winner J.Law was a total unknown when she starred in the 2009 video by these Virginia pop-rockers. Parachute frontman Will Anderson later told TeenMusic.com: “She was amazing. … We could tell when we met her that she was going places. Here was this amazingly talented actress, and just an incredible person who also happened to be gorgeous. How could we not ask her to be in the video? Seeing her get nominated for the Oscar was amazing. No one deserves it more than her, and it’s awesome to see her getting casted in such rad roles!”

18. Robbie Williams, “Something Stupid” (starring Nicole Kidman, 2001)

Robbie Williams’s 2001 album of standards, Swing When You’re Winning, featured duets with Rupert Everett, Jane Horrocks, and Jon Lovitz, but its centerpiece was this adorable collaboration with Kidman — who’d win a Best Actress Oscar a year later for The Hours. Kidman held her own against the British pop star, which makes us wonder, when is her album coming out?

17. iRAWniQ, “AlienPu$” (starring Tatum O’Neal, 2014)

Tatum O’Neal holds the record as the youngest thespian to win a competitive Oscar (she won the Best Supporting Actress award in 1973, at age 10, for her role in Paper Moon). The former child star has had her career ups and downs, but has continued to take on challenging roles. Case in point: this dazzling 2014 clip, in which she danced alongside an “alien Rosa Parks” played by rapper iRAWniQ. Tatum even dissected the bizarre, J.B. Ghuman Jr.-directed video in a play-by-play article for Vice.

16. Roy Orbison, “I Drove All Night” (starring Jennifer Connelly, 1992)

This video starred not only the A Beautiful Mind Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner, but also Beverly Hills, 90210 heartthrob Jason Priestley. It’s a true ’90s classic if there ever was one.

15. Dave Matthews Band, “Dreamgirl” (starring Julia Roberts, 2005)

The Erin Brockovich Oscar winner and longtime DMB fan made her music video debut in this Alice in Wonderland-meets-Fringe clip; it was first acting job after giving birth to her twins. “I just need the work,” Julia Roberts joked to People magazine at the time of the video’s release. Dave Matthews added, “We thought we’d politely give her a hand up.”

14. Will Butler, “Anna” (2015)

Emma Stone won an Oscar last year for the musical La La Land, but we think her casting may have been inspired by her star turn in this elegant Old Hollywood clip by the Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist.

13. Massive Attack feat, Hope Sandoval, “The Spoils” (starring Cate Blanchett, 2016)

The two-time Oscar-winner shape-shifted from gorgeously dewy SK-II skincare spokeswoman to freaky decomposing zombie robot in this disconcerting clip. Imagine Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” mashed up with Lou Reed’s “No Money Down” for some idea of this video’s creepy impact. We need Cate Blanchett to star in a horror flick!

12. Jenny Lewis, “Just One of the Guys” (starring Anne Hathaway and Brie Larson, 2014)

The former Rilo Kiley frontwoman convinced Les Miserables‘ Anne Hathaway and Room‘s Brie Larson (along with Kristen Stewart) to dress up in male drag for this colorful clip … but we’re more impressed by the Gram Parsons-inspired, red-carpet-worthy rainbow tuxedo that Jenny is wearing.

11. Limp Bizkit, “Behind Blue Eyes” (starring Halle Berry, 2003)

Halle Berry made major career mistakes following her Best Actress win for 2001’s Monster’s Ball.  Making out onscreen with Fred Durst in a video for a terrible Who cover from the Gothika soundtrack may have been her most Razzie-worthy misstep — even if Durst, who directed the clip, told MTV it was “the greatest kiss you’ll ever see.” A decade later, this admittedly makes for fascinating viewing.

10. Renee Zellweger with Ewan McGregor, “Here’s to Love” (2003)

The Cold Mountain Best Supporting Actress winner showed off an entirely different side of herself in this playful ode to the great cinematic era of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, from the retro rom-com Down With Love. Here’s to Zellweger!

9. Meat Loaf, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Dreams Come Through” (starring Angelina Jolie, 1993)

The Girl, Interrupted Oscar winner has also made appearances in music videos by the Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz, Korn, and the Lemonheads. But her most epic (and cinematic) music video appearance of all? The one in which she co-starred with Meat Loaf and played a teen runaway, of course!

8. The Rolling Stones, “Like a Rolling Stone” (starring Patricia Arquette, 1996)

Patricia won Best Supporting Actress honors for Boyhood and gave one of the most memorable acceptance speeches in years. Also memorable? Her harrowing depiction of a strung-out party girl in this Michel Gondry-directed, fish-eye-lensed clip for the Stones’s fantastic Bob Dylan cover.

7. David Bowie, “The Next Day” (starring Marion Cotillard, 2013)

Marion Cotillard displayed her own musical chops portraying Edith Piaf in 2007’s La Vie en Rose, for which she won Best Actress honors. She has concurrently pursued a musical career, including an artsy collaboration with John Cameron Mitchell, Villaine, and Metronomy’s Joseph Mount titled “Snapshot of L.A.“ But her best music video cameo was in this controversial, banned-from-YouTube David Bowie clip, in which she played a stigmata-stricken prostitute cavorting in a church brothel with a wayward priest played by Gary Oldman. This video definitely deserved an R rating!

6. Tom Petty, “Into the Great Wide Open” (starring Faye Dunaway, 1991)

The Network Oscar winner joined an all-star cast that included Johnny Depp, Chynna Phillips, and, um, Richard Grieco to play an evil rock ‘n’ roll Svengali. It was clearly the role Faye Dunaway was born to play. Just call this one Manager Dearest.

5. Devendra Banhart, “Carmensita” (starring Natalie Portman, 2008)

Back before she was a crazy Black Swan, Natalie  Portman was dancing in this crazy, Bollywood-inspired video by the eccentric singer-songwriter, who soon became her boyfriend. The relationship didn’t last; maybe Portman was jealous that Banhart almost looked as pretty in sparkly Bollywood makeup as she did. A pregnant Portman starred last year in James Blake’s “My Willing Heart.”

4. Brandon Flowers, “Crossfire” (starring Charlize Theron, 2010)

This badass, action-packed video, in which the Monster actress rescued the Killers frontman from ninja kidnappers, was soooo much better than Aeon Flux.

3. Tom Petty, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” (starring Kim Basinger, 1993)

Ah, the creepy “love story” between a morgue assistant and the beautiful corpse girl of his dreams. We’re still trying to decide who was the better actor here: Kim Basinger or Tom Petty.

2. Jay-Z, “Many Faced God” (starring Lupita Nyong’o, 2017)

The 12 Years a Slave Best Supporting Actress winner and Star WarsBlack Panther action heroine gave another awards-worthy tour de force performance in this stunning clip from 4:44.

1. David Bowie, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” (starring Tilda Swinton, 2013)

In a bit of inspired casting on the part of director Floria Sigismondi, this video by the late Thin White Duke co-starred thin white duchess Tilda Swinton as his dutiful wife. For years, the uncanny resemblance between David Bowie and the Oscar-winning actress had been noted by observers — so much so that an entire Tumblr site was devoted to their separated-at-birth similarity. In 2003, fashion photographer Craig McDean orchestrated a shoot with Tilda Swinton during which she dressed up as Bowie, and in 2012, Hint Fashion magazine even published a convincing compare-and-contrast blogpost titled “Visual Proof That David Bowie and Tilda Swinton Are the Same Person.” The fact that Bowie and Swinton appeared onscreen on the same time here refuted Hint’s theory, of course.

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