Back in January, New York Times scribe Adam Sternberg, using a metric based on Academy Award-nominated performances, including actual acting nominations and performances that potentially slighted, deduced that none other than Mark Wahlberg -- he most recently of the silly action film "Contraband" -- was the greatest young actor of his generation. According to Sternbergh's calculations, Wahlberg has given five Oscar-worthy performances -- namely, "Boogie Nights," "Three Kings," "The Yards," I Heart Huckabees" and "The Fighter" -- plus received a nomination for "The Departed." That's six pieces of lauded work, giving Wahlberg more quality performances than some acclaimed thespians his age, including Leonardo DiCaprio (who has three Oscar-worthy performances), Matt Damon (three) and Paul Giamatti (four). His only peer, Sternbergh concludes, is Philip Seymour Hoffman, with six or seven (but then, Wahlberg also has six or seven if you count his producing nomination for "The Fighter"). Oh, and just to keep things scientific, another pundit,'s Matt Singer, found only Joaquin Phoenix had a number of Oscar-worthy performances equal to Wahlberg's total.

What no one has done yet, however, is apply the formula to actresses. So Moviefone ran the figures ourselves, among today's most acclaimed young actresses. (For purposes of this experiment, we defined the "young" generation of actresses as between 26 and 47, which let us include everyone from Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley to Laura Linney and Sandra Bullock.) The results may surprise you.

Let's just say that we found just three actresses whose achievements equal or surpass those of Mark Wahlberg, and two in particular who are racking up actual Oscar nominations fast enough that they may be in Meryl Streep territory by the time they're her age. At any rate, those complaining about the dearth of interesting female roles in movies can't blame these actresses listed below. They are big, it's the pictures that got small.

categories Movies