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The Best Actors Working Today
Categories: Movies

Even Rob Schneider can act. Sometimes, that is. But what really makes an actor great? For me, it’s all about subtlety. No over-the-top histrionics. Just those subtle nuances and character traits the good actors come up with for their roles. Oh, and of course, variety. Any actor can play the same kind of role over and over again, but the good ones can keep reinventing themselves to suit their role.
Keeping all this in mind, I decided to compile a list of who, I think, are the best actors in Hollywood right now. Some people might complain of a certain bias, but hey, I like them for the above mentioned reasons, and nobody has to agree with me. So, here goes….

#10 Jack Black
Now, a lot of people might be surprised to see his name pop up on this list. But then, he’s one of the few (if not the only) actors, who can play quirky, eccentric characters better than Johnny Depp himself.

#9 Tom Hanks
When you can win back to back Oscars, you certainly can’t be taken lightly. Add to that 3 other nominations, and you certainly are an amazing actor. Okay, so he was lambasted for his role as Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code (lambasted by the critics, that is. Personally, I thought he was pretty good), but then, he’s shown time and again just how good he is.

#8 Gary Oldman
That he can act is just an understatement. He can make honesty look like an exciting virtue (like in The Dark Knight), he can be a solid pillar of support (like in the Harry Potter series), and he can be the perfect anti-hero (Dracula, Sid & Nancy).

#7 Jack Nicholson
The only reason why he can play Jack Nicholson so effortlessly and effectively on screen everytime, is because he finds the character in him. All the character traits seem to come so naturally to him, that you begin to wonder whether he is actually acting, or being himself. Yeah, he ends up becoming bigger than the film sometimes, but as an actor, he is a complete natural.

#6 Edward Norton
Infamous for his constant meddling during the film making process (and sometimes hated by studios for that), Norton has shown time and again why he’s considered to be such a good actor. From comic book hero to a reformed neo-Nazi, he’s become each one of his roles. That he’s been nominated for 2 Oscars just adds to his credentials.

#5 Brad Pitt
He’s shown time and again that he’s more than just Mr Pretty Boy. He can be funny, he can be brutal, he can be anything you want him to be. All while munching a sandwich or drinking coffee. Probably, one Oscar nomination, and zero wins, is the only area of his career he’d like to rectify….

#4 Ralph Fiennes
Sadly, the present generation will remember him only for his turn as Lord Voldemort, forgetting all about his glorious past roles like those in The English Patient, Spider and Schindler’s List. His intense performances are what earn him a place on this list.

#3 Christian Bale
Long before he was Batman, he was noticed as an upcoming talent in Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun. Even though he’s come a long way since then, his great knack for investing himself completely in to his roles, and then delivering wonderfully subtle performances, hasn’t diminished. To me, he’s one of the best actors NOT to have won the Oscar. Hopefully, the Academy will finally give him their nod too…

#2 Russell Crowe
He beats up photographers, he throws things, and he doesn’t look good. Recipe for disaster? Not when you have the range of Crowe. Only he can pull off a stunt as audacious as essaying the title and his arch rival in the same movie (in the upcoming Nottingham). From bumbling geniuses to cocky western baddies, he’s played them all with equal believability.

#1 Johnny Depp
Known mostly for his eccentrically quirky characters (like Edward Scissorhands, Captain Jack Sparrow….), Depp has also shown that he can be amazing in sensitive dramas (like Finding Neverland) and mindless action flicks (like Once Upon A Time in Mexico). That he’s been nominated for just 3 Oscars (and won none), is a matter of great shame, for he brings an amazing flair and believability to all his roles, no matter how weird they might be.

Other honorable mentions, in no particular order:

  • Matt Damon
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Liam Neeson
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • George Clooney
  • Hugo Weaving
  • Clive Owen
  • Robert Downey Jr
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Greg Kinnear
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