Paltrow is no stranger to singing. She showcases her not-so-bad vocal chops in 2000's karaoke/deadbeat dad drama Duets, alongside Huey Lewis. (She even married a rock star, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin.) Next up, she will show off her chops on Glee and in Country Strong, the Oscar winner plays a faded country star trying to resurrect her career. Paltrow sounds the part in the music video for the movie's title track, which she performed live on the CMAs.
2 of 14 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection
Robert Downey Jr., Ally McBeal
Working his way back from a career most recently distinguished by stints in rehab, Downey guest-starred as Calista Flockhart's flawed dream man who wooed her with a gruff take on Joni Mitchell's ethereal "River." He later released an album of his own called The Futurist.
3 of 14 HBO
Lauren Ambrose, Six Feet Under
Somber art student Claire Fisher (Ambrose) surprises us in the show's final season by taking a soul-crushing desk job. Thank God for fantasy sequences, including this one, where she belts out her own hilarious rendition of Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life." Her lyrics aren't as family-friendly as the original (she does say “thighs") and she isn't winning any Grammys any time soon, but it's a perfect little daydream ditty for a show about filling the hours before you die.
4 of 14 Sony Pictures
Evan Rachel Wood, Across the Universe
Surrounded by an array of interesting singing voices in the film's cast, Wood’s reedy soprano isn't the strongest, but her sweet performance of "If I Fell" charms us.
5 of 14 Suzanne Tenner/20th Century Fox
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line
For a biopic of Johnny and June Carter Cash, consummate professional actors — and non-singers — Phoenix and Witherspoon insisted on recording all their own vocals. The gamble paid off, as Phoenix's not-quite-spot-on interpretation works, while Witherspoon's serviceable pipes nabbed her an Oscar.
Grades: C+ (Phoenix); B (Witherspoon)
6 of 14 AMC
John Slattery, Mad Men
At his Derby Day party, the avuncular Roger Sterling (Slattery) loses major points when he sings "My Old Kentucky Home" for his guests in blackface.
Grade: F (his voice ain't bad, but his character's idea of a joke sure is)
7 of 14 courtesy Miramax
Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renée Zellweger, Chicago
As jazz-hot murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart, Jones and Zellweger steal the show in the movie version of the hit musical. Zellweger reveals a pleasingly tinny voice, while Jones' big-girl belting won her an Oscar. Check out her iconic performance of "All That Jazz."
Grades: B+ (Zellweger); A (Jones)
8 of 14 Adam Rose/Fox
John Stamos, Glee
Full House — and Beach Boys — fans already knew that Uncle Jesse has some musical talent (he's appeared on Broadway, for cripe's sake), but his inspired rendition of “Hot Patootie” during Glee's Rocky Horror episode was way better than "Kokomo."
9 of 14 Gladden/The Kobal Collection
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Fabulous Baker Boys
Pfeiffer claimed this movie's performance scenes scared the hell out of her, but you’d never know it when you watch her sing "Makin' Whoopee!" wearing a slinky gown writhing atop a piano. Her confidence makes up for the so-so voice.
10 of 14 Nicola Goode/Universal
Jamie Foxx, Ray
Foxx played piano as a kid and earned a music scholarship to the U.S. International University in San Diego, but his flawless, Oscar-winning impression of the iconic Ray Charles won him praise for both his performance and his ability to replicate Charles' throaty baritone, which he did to funkier effect on the Kanye West track "Gold Digger."
11 of 14 20th Century Fox
Sarah Michelle Gellar, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
During the one and only musical episode of Buffy, Buffy — and by extension Gellar — was forced to break into song after a demon compelled the people of Sunnydale to sing at random in order to express hidden truths. Critics loved the episode's playfulness, but not necessarily Gellar's musical stylings.
12 of 14 20th Century Fox
Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor, Moulin Rouge!
Kidman floored fans with her thin, mournful singing voice, which perfectly suited her character, the doomed courtesan Satine. Similarly, McGregor boasts a Bono-like wail. Hear their playful exchange in "The Elephant Love Medley,"
Grades: B- (Kidman); B+ (McGregor)
13 of 14 DreamWorks
Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd
Depp’s brave eccentricity may have met its match here. He won a Golden Globe for playing the murderous title character in Tim Burton's film adaptation of the musical, but it wasn’t because his voice killed.
14 of 14 Universal Pictures
Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, Mamma Mia!
What can't Meryl Streep do? Her blowsy, sunny harmonies in the film adaption of Mamma Mia made us forget that a) we were watching an ABBA movie and b) Brosnan can’t hold a tune in a bucket.
Grades: B+ (Streep); D (Brosnan)