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Top 6 Screen Actors

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As per request, I will with this one … explain each choice a bit. However, I found it hard to list 20 actors — for some reason I like more actresses than actors…but I will list 6.

1. Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, The Terminal)
-I’m still not really sure why The Terminal did so poorly at the box
office. I personally loved the film, and its darling performances. But
nonetheless, Tom Hanks was brilliant in it as always. His performance in
Philadelphia – even talking about it gets me a little choked up. Between his performance in Philadelphia and Hilary Swank’s in Million Dollar Baby, they have caused many a tears on my bedroom floor. And do I really need to say anything about Forrest Gump? I think that performance speaks for itself. Tom is one of the greatest actors of our time and has such a sweet, caring personality to back it up. He deserves both of his consecutive Oscars and I’m sure he has many more to come.

2. Sean Penn (Mystic River, I Am Sam)
-Sean Penn is quite the inspiration to me, because as an actor, he bares all of himself on film. I still remember the screen-shattering scene in Mystic River where he first finds out his daughter is dead. That scene haunts me. He is an actor that makes you forget completely who he is off the screen and pulls you into his character like a poisonous seductress.

3. Giovanni Ribisi (Heaven, Flight of the Phoenix, The Gift)
-I have to admit, there are many good movies that Giovanni has been in that I really want to see yet have not. But the ones that I have seen have made me fall in love with him. He is probably one of the most underrated actors of the past decade. His brilliant performances in The Gift and Heaven made him one of my favorite actors, but his character acting in Flight of the Phoenix set it in stone: Giovanni Ribisi is my future husband. That’s of course, after I divorce Johnny Depp.

4. Dustin Hoffman <Kramer v. Kramer, Death of a Salesman, Rain Man, Runaway Jury, Tootsie)
-Dustin Hoffman is a man that I look up to very much as well, because he is a committed character actor that does not let the fact that he is short, stout, and not conventionally good looking get in the way of his stellar performances. My favorite performance of his is probably in Kramer v. Kramer (ironically, that is my least favorite Meryl performance). He brings so much heart, so much vulnerability, so much flaw to this character that he is completely believable. Hoffman is a living legend, and I hope that I can someday be half the brilliant actor that he is.

5. Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean, Edward Scissorhands, Finding Neverland, Secret Window, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Blow, Chocolat)
-And now we come to Johnny Depp. The absolute hottest man to ever walk the earth. The thing about Johnny Depp is that he isn’t conventionally attractive. He has an inner mystery about him that makes him sexy and that comes across on the screen in almost any role he’s ever played. I am continuously blown away by how some actors who have never had any formal training can be so incredibly naturally talented. Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman – none of these people have ever studied theatre or acting in their lives. And then there are of course, the child prodigies like Dakota Fanning, Keisha Castle Hughes, and Anna Paquin that have these God-given gifts as early as age 7. But Johnny Depp, this man who never even considered being an actor until a friend of his (incidentally this friend was Nicholas Cage) told him he should pursue acting. I am always amazed at how actors can communicate so much on screen without the use of words. His subtle but heartbreaking performance in Edward Scissorhands was definitely Oscar worthy, and in every other movie he has ever been in, he has brought this originality, this uniqueness, this style to his characters that no other actor could ever replicate. I really could list Depp’s entire filmography as his outstanding performances. And like Hoffman and Ribisi, he is a screen chameleon. From playing Icabod Crane to Jack Sparrow to J.M. Barrie? Dear GOD people, give this man an Oscar.

6. Denzel Washington (Malcolm X, John Q, The Hurricane, Training Day, Manchurian Candidate, Glory)
-Denzel Washington is one of my personal heroes, because he made it possible for black actors to play characters other than ghetto thugs, ignorant fools, or the wise-cracking sidekick that really serves no purpose. (Of course, ironically, the film he won the Best Actor Oscar for was one in which he played a dirty cop) He opened the door for actors like Will Smith, Don Cheadle, and Jamie Foxx to do more serious, gritty roles. And I know, technically it was Sidney Poitier that did this many many years ago, but for some reason it seems Denzel has re-invigorated the pool of black actors for our generation. As Tom Hanks stated when presenting an award to Denzel, “Something as simple as walking across the street is a riveting acting choice for Denzel.” He brings power to every role he plays, and raises the stakes. My favorite performance of his, is probably his performance in Glory. The speech that he gives when they are all talking and singing around the fire still is one of the best short monologues in recent film history. I applaud you, Denzel, for going there, and taking us with you.
Edited: Tan The Man,Aaman

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About Chris Evans

  • Anne

    YES! Excellent list. Ribisi is divine.

  • Uhh…. (scratching head)

  • Giovanni Ribisi….please come find me and violate me.

  • Really nice list brewing here.

    I agree regarding Ribisi. He was a large part of what made Boiler Room so effective. And was he not in the disturbing indie flick Suburbs (or something like that)? I seem to recall him being quite good in that as well.

    He also showed off his fun side as a recurring character on Friends.

  • I too agree with the list, but it hurts me to hear speak of Sean Penn with no reference to Jeff Spicoli. Though it seems cheeky in retrospect… that was an extremely influential and well acted role to 80’s culture.

    I am still awaiting a sequel.

  • Ooh, Alan Rickman. And right, this is list merely recounts the favorites of the author.

    OK, more great male actors: Chris Cooper, Paul Giamatti, Bill Murray (very underrated, I think), Morgan Freeman (yes!), Geoffrey Rush, Kenneth Branagh

  • Nancy

    Well…I’d have to make him share authoritarianism w/Alan Rickman, or James Earl Jones’ voice.

  • JR

    Nancy: I wonder if Freeman would consider running for President?

    Forget that, he’s got my vote for God.

    I do believe Morgan Freeman plays authority figures better than any actor in history.

  • Nancy

    Morgan Freeman, definitely; Anthony Hopkins, Sean Astin. I wonder if Freeman would consider running for President? At least he can speak proper English & has presence.

  • Yr right, I’m sorry for the tone of elitism. These are good actors, of course.

  • Don’t be condescending now Aaman. He’s entitled to his opinion. You can disagree with his list, but just because he enjoys different actors from you doesn’t mean he’s not a devotee to film, or even if he’s not, there’s no harm in having favorites.

  • Evidently, this is not a list by a cineaste, not that there’s anything wrong with that

  • Sharly Farley

    Morgan Freeman is a serious omission.
    Also Hopkins. But what about the versatile Tim Robbins? Don Cheadle? Jeff Bridges? Sean Astin? Viggo Mortenson? Samuel L Jackson? Tommy Lee Jones? Robert Duvall?

    Don’t even get me started on the Brits…

  • Bennett

    I’m with you JR. His performance in Shawshank Redemption was fantastic. As president in Deep Impact?

    The USA should be so lucky.

    A tallented and seemingly sincere fellow. I always enjoy his performances.

  • JR

    I never see Morgan Freeman on any of these lists. What’s up with that?

  • You are going to LOVE charlie and the chocolate factory. Johnny Depp is amazing.

  • Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  • Nicholas Cage, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Amitabh Bachchan

  • Going to have to agree with Tan the Man, Denzel is overrated. Seems to me, every character he has ever played came off as just an overly serious tough guy (Remember the Titans, Bone Collector [even though he was crippled in this one], and the movies you listed).

  • And you shouldn’t let it happen again!


  • Yeah, I understand. I can see how you could’ve made that mistake.

  • I don’t know, the sentences seemed contradictory. It seemed like you were bashing those actors/actresses, yet praising J-Depp for pretty much the same reasoning.

  • That was my whole point. Like Johnny Depp…they are brilliant actors in spite of their lack of schooling. They have natural, intrinsic talent.

  • “Nicole Kidman, Denzel Washington, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman – none of these people have ever studied theatre or acting in their lives.”

    I’m not defending any one of these actors but Natalie – she didn’t need to study theatre or acting because she’s THAT talented.

  • Denzel is super overrated.

  • I think I will do a list of 6 screen actresses. This time I’ll do explanations for it.

  • lien

    Fantastic list! Great to see Tom Hanks, Denzel, Sean Penn, Johnny Depp and Sustin Hofmann. I agreed that Johnny is kind of mysterious the way the talented Nicole Kidman is.

    How about a list of 6 screen actress?


  • Great list, I agree with it all (although I’m not very familiar with Giovanni Ribisi).

    Mmm, Johnny Depp. Really. Beautiful. I have to look away sometimes, he’s just that beautiful.

    Glad to see Tom Hanks on the list. Can’t imagine a top actor’s list and not having Tom Hanks on it. Did you see The Green Mile? One of my favorites of his, another is Castaway, even though the movie itself has the potential to be boring, not too many other actors could pull off what Hanks did in Castaway.

    Ok, done rambling!

  • Bravo, Mr. Evans. The explanations give so much more insight into your views, not only of the actors in question, but of film in general. Here we get to see that you’re a pretty knowledgeable film fan. Thank you!

  • Eric Olsen

    another great job Chris, thanks! We really liked The Terminal an awful lot as well