Sarah Paulson is an absolute gem. Her incredible range and commitment to roles, showcased in eight seasons of American Horror Story, helped shoot the actress into superstardom. Portraying characters ranging from a pair of conjoined twins to a drug-addicted ghost to Susan freaking Atkins, Paulson brought her A game to each of the 10 characters she portrayed.
Do you love to hate the sadistic, power-hungry, post-apocalyptic leader? Are you obsessed with the gay, mid-century journalist who goes deep into a nightmarish asylum to get a story? Let's check 'em all out!
- Photo: FX/Asylum
Paulson really got to show off her acting chops when she took on the role of mid-century lesbian journalist Lana Winters in Asylum. Lana Winters's ambition and desire to prove herself drive her to interview an accused serial killer, then to tackle the dangerous task of uncovering the dark and nefarious business that takes place within the walls of the mental institution, Briarcliff Manor. She proves herself to be incredibly strong and resilient, making her wonderful to watch even as she is dealt terrible hands again and again. Paulson received a glowing reception for her role in Asylum, nabbing a Critics' Choice Award for best supporting actress.
Lana Winters makes cameos in later seasons Roanoke and Cult, where she hosts her own television program, The Lana Winters Special.Great performance?
- Photo: Coven/FX
The character of Cordelia Foxx, later known as Cordelia Goode, in Coven gave Paulson another opportunity to showcase her incredible range. Cordelia possesses a supernatural gift known as the Sight, and is the daughter of the larger-than-life Supreme witch, Fiona.
As headmistress of Miss Robichaux's Academy for young witches, Cordelia proves to be kind, protective, bright, and resourceful in the face of tremendous danger and darkness. Cordelia later makes a cameo in Hotel, and returns for a more considerable role in Apocalypse.Great performance?
Sally McKenna - 'Hotel'Photo: Hotel/FX
As the ill-fated Sally McKenna, AKA Hypodermic Sally, Paulson breathed life into the addict turned ghost with an ax to grind, doomed to eternal life in the Hotel Cortez. The appropriately vacant yet emotionally volatile and creatively frustrated Sally McKenna spends her years seeking revenge, as well as love and connection.
In Sally McKenna, Paulson created the epitome of early-'90s frustration and desperation, and audiences couldn't look away from the disaster.Great performance?
Bette And Dot Tattler - 'Freak Show'Photo: Freak Show/FX
In what could be the role of a lifetime, Paulson took on the daunting task of portraying conjoined twins Bette and Dot Tattler in Freak Show. The girls leave their troubled lives of seclusion to join a freak show in Florida, where they find a "family," but also plenty of people set on harming them.
While identical in appearance, the two have wildly different outlooks, talents, and personalities. Paulson received a well-earned Critics' Choice Award for her impressive performance.Great performance?