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My Top 10 Favorite Actors

2/24/08

In the spirit of the 80th Academy Awards, I figured it was an appropriate time to bust out a new top ten list, this time being all about my 10 favorite actors from the movies.

I don’t know what exactly it is about movie stars I’m so into, however seeing these larger than life figures just takes you out of your own life and into a more exciting one that only exists on the big screen.

Watch the Oscars is always fun, for me at least, because its awesome to see all the big names gathered together, along with seeing the years best rewarded with those pretty golden statues.

Putting together a list of only 10 actors in not easy, as I probably could have had a list approaching 50 if I wanted to, however based on the movies I’ve seen (and by seeing the hundreds and hundreds of movies I listed on this blog clearly I’ve seen far too many) I did my best in putting together the ten actors I most enjoy watching, not necessarily the ten greatest actors of all time or anything like that.

And hereeee they are….

10- Harrison Ford

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Is it possible to consider one of the most famous stars in Hollywood underrated? Harrison Ford is often considered underrated because he lacks an Academy award win, and amazingly has only been nominated once (Witness). However, if you are going to tell me that Harrison Ford isn’t among the biggest stars in the business you’re crazy. When you star in not one, but two of the biggest, mega-blockbuster movie trilogies ever (Star Wars and Indiana Jones), you know you’re a big time star. Although he does have a tendency to play the same type of character- that swashbuckling, action hero, as he did as Indy, as Han Solo, as the President of the United States (Air Force Once), as Richard Kimble (The Fugitive) and so and on and so forth. While he may be getting older (65 to be exact), he’s hardly slowing down, as he is reprising the role of Indiana Jones in the 4th installment of the movie series this spring. Here’s to hoping there is plenty more where that comes from.


Worth Seeing Him in: Air Force One, Indiana Jones Trilogy, Star Wars Original Trilogy
Oscar Worthy in: The Fugitive
Deserved the Golden Statue for: Witness (nominated for Oscar)


9- Tom Hanks

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While some may actually be more familiar with his voice than his face (for you Toy Story fans), Tom Hanks is a true Hollywood heavyweight. His younger roles in Bachelor Party and Big set the stage for his career to blossom with starring roles in Forrest Gump which won him a Best Actor Oscar, Saving Private Ryan in which he nominated for one and Castaway which earned him yet another Oscar nomination. Hanks has always been likable and even if some of his lesser leading roles in films such as That Thing you Do and a League of Their Own, he is always entertaining and always among the best in the business.

 

Worth Seeing Him in: A League of Their Own, Catch Me If You Can, That Thing You Do
Oscar Worthy in: Saving Private Ryan (nominated for Oscar)

Deserved the Golden Statue for: Forrest Gump (won Oscar), Philadelphia (won Oscar)

8- Johnny Depp

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Despite being notoriously reclusive as he splits his time between Tinsel town and France, Johnny Depp was joined the ranks of blockbuster movie star following the unprecedented success of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Johnny Depp first struck gold with his successful teenage hit 21 Jump Street, and continued his rise to stardom with some of the more interesting roles you’ll come across, including Edward Scissorhands. He was terrific in Finding Neverland (a film I HIGHLY recommend) and put forth a noteworthy effort in an otherwise awful movie as Willy Wonka. However it will be the swashbuckling pirate Jack Sparrow which Depp will be most associated with, as he certainly found the buried treasure as ‘Pirates’ broke box office records. Savvy?

Worth Seeing Him in: Donnie Brasco
Oscar Worthy in: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (nominated for Oscar)

Deserved the Golden Statue for: Finding Neverland (nominated for Oscar)

7- Matt Damon

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Although he probably wasn’t receiving the attention he deserved in comparison to his best friend and fellow actor Ben Affleck, Matt Damon quietly turned himself into one of the finest, most versatile actors in the industry. Displaying not only his acting ability but his screenwriting potential as well, his original screenplay he co-wrote with Affleck Good Will Hunting earned the two the Academy Award for Best Original Screen Play. Damon also earned a Best Acting nomination. He has showed off his ability to play all different sorts of characters with roles ranging from action star (Bourne trilogy) to soldier in Saving Private Ryan to bisexual murderer in The Talented Mr. Ripley. He displayed his comedic side in Dogma (as well Jay and Silent Strike Back) and a dynamite performance as a crooked cop in The Departed. While Ben Affleck may have been the first of the two to get the Hollywood spotlight, Damon has become one of the most dynamic actors on the big screen today.

Worth Seeing Him in: The Bourne Trilogy
Oscar Worthy in: The Departed
Deserved the Golden Statue for: Good Will Hunting (nominated for Best Actor Oscar, won for Best Original Screen play)

6- Adam Sandler

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Ok, so Adam Sandler lacks an Oscar worthy performance on his resume, but nobody goes to an Adam Sandler movie looking for an academy award winning role. You go because he makes you laugh while never seeming to grow up. His movies usually include the same cast of clowns in supporting roles, and when he isn’t wasting your time with mistakes like Little Nicky and Anger Management, if you know what to expect he rarely disappoints. Aside from the fact several people think I look like him (I disagree), Sandler’s movies usually don’t deviate much from the same formula of cheesy, romantic goofball comedy. He has tried to mix things up with films like Punch, Drunk Love and Reign Over Me, however for the best of Sandler look no further than his classic comedies.

Worth Seeing Him in: The Wedding Singer
Showed Some Depth in: Big Daddy
His Must See Films Include: Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore

5- Jack Nicholson

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One of the most established and respected actors in the film industry, Jack Nicholson has become nearly synonymous with Oscar. Jack has been the recipient of a record 12 Academy Award Nominations, including 3 wins for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Terms of Endearment and As Good as it Gets. Jack has a screen presence that can only be compared to by the likes of a Marlon Brando. In addition of memorable performances he has given us some of the most memorable lines in movie history, with perhaps none better known than “You Can’t Handle the Truth!” from A Few Good Men. He’s got the talent, the experience and the hardware to undeniably be considered one of the greatest film actors ever. And don’t forget that grin!

Worth Seeing Him in: The Bucket List, Batman, About Schmidt
Oscar Worthy in: A Few Good Men (nominate for Oscar), The Departed
Deserved the Golden Statue for: As Good as it Gets (won Oscar), Terms of Endearment (won Oscar), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (won Oscar)

4- Robin Williams

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As great on the screen as he is on stage, Robin Williams is as diverse a performer as you are going to find. Starting way back when from his days on Mork and Mindy (before my time but worth checking out), Robin Williams is good a dramatic actor as he is a standup comedian. He’s been a four time Academy Award nominee, bringing home Best Supporting Actor honors for his performance in Good Will Hunting. He was equally as superb in Dead Poets Society, and combined his dramatic and comedic abilities for his role as Patch Adams. Dude looked like a lady in Mrs. Doubtfire and his voice was behind the Genie in Aladdin as well as Bender in Robots. If you have ever seen his Live on Broadway standup act (and if you haven’t you are missing out) you know just how off the wall he can be. Whether he’s making you laugh or making you cry, Robin Williams is as talented as they come.

 

Worth Seeing Him in: Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook
Oscar Worthy in: Dead Poets Society (nominated for Oscar), Patch Adams

Deserved the Golden Statue for: Good Will Hunting (won Oscar)

3- Anthony Hopkins

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If you want to talk about actors who are best remembered for one defining role, Sir Anthony Hopkins falls into this category with his Oscar winning performance in The Silence of the Lambs. Dr. Hannibal Lector is not only one of the most memorable characters in movie history, he remains one of the most unique. Hopkins was downright creepy in Silence, as he played the cannibalistic doctor serving a life sentence in a maximum security asylum. His scenes with Clarice (Jodie Foster) kept you on the edge of your seat, yet it was the complexity of his character, along with his ability to make you feel compassionate for this psychopathic killer was worthy of Best Actor honors. Hopkins of course has been brilliant in a number of other films, however his portrayal of Dr. Hannibal Lector is what most moviegoers will likely always associate him with, along with some fava beans, and a nice chiante.

Worth Seeing Him in: The Mask of Zorro
Oscar Worthy in: Amistad (nominated for Oscar)

Deserved the Golden Statue for: The Silence of the Lambs

2- Denzel Washington

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There are a class of actors who can take a role or even an entire movie, and by simply being in it make it better. The quintessential example of this is Denzel Washington. When Denzel is in a movie, chances are the movie will be worth seeing. I have been saying for a while now that Denzel Washington doesn’t make bad movies. Sure, some of his films were not as good as others (Out of Time, Déjà vu), however for the most part, his movies are very good and his character is even better. Another knock on him is that he always plays the same sort of characters, whether it is the inspirational oppressed guy (Remember the Titans, The Great Debaters, The Hurricane) or the take no prisoners bad ass/cop/bodyguard (American Gangster, Inside Man, Training Day, Man on Fire). Regardless of the movie, you can pencil Denzel Washington in for a great performance, as he has delivered time and time again. The fact that he has won only two Oscars is probably a sham, however it’s only a matter of time before he adds another statue to his mantle.

Worth Seeing Him in: John Q, American Gangster, Man on Fire, He Got Game, Inside Man
Oscar Worthy in: Remember the Titans, The Hurricane (Nominated for Oscar), Malcolm X (nominated for Oscar)

Deserved the Golden Statue for: Glory (won Oscar), Training Day (won Oscar)

 

1- Will Smith

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Ok, so you probably didn’t expect to find the Fresh Prince topping off my list of favorite actors. However not only is Will Smith an above average actor capable of playing a variety of different characters, he is simply put the epitome of what comes to mind when I think about what a movie star should be. Will Smith doesn’t make movies, he makes blockbusters. There are few actors who can carry an entire movie themselves, yet he was able to pull it off with the recent I Am Legend. He’s smooth, he’s funny and whether it’s trying to give a better life to his son (Pursuit of Happiness), saving the world from some extraterrestrial villain (Independence Day, Men in Black, I Robot, I Am Legend) or portraying the greatest of all time (Ali), Will Smith is Hollywood. He’s no stranger to the romantic comedy (Hitch) and despite his nice-guy image, he knows how to be bad (Bad Boys). It should be surprise that the movies Will Smith makes have consistently had monster opening weekends (he was number 1 on a list of most powerful actors on the planet according to Newsweek), along with the fact that he is one of only 3 actors to release 7 consecutive 100 million dollar grossing films. He has certainly come a long way from his rapping days and wrecking havoc in Bel-Air, and today, this prince has become the king of Hollywood.

Worth Seeing Him in: Men in Black, Independence Day, Hitch, Bad Boys
Oscar Worthy in: Ali (nominated for Oscar), Enemy of the State
Deserved the Golden Statue for: The Pursuit of Happiness (nominated for Oscar)

 

The Best of the Rest (My Golden Globes if you will…)

 

Leonardo DiCaprio

Al Pacino

Joe Pesci

Walter Mattheu

Jack Lemon

Robert DeNiro

Chris Tucker

George Clooney

Brad Pitt

Alec Baldwin

Russell Crowe

Kevin Spacey

Will Ferrell

Paul Rudd

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February 25, 2008 - Posted by | Movies

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