The top 10 actors I would watch in almost anything

Top 10 male ActorsA few days ago Fernando from Committed to Celluloid wrote his top ten actors list (here), an idea that he borrowed from Abbi at Where the Wild Things Are (here). I had a blast reading them and so am now ripping both of them off here with my list!

To help narrow my choices down I have tried to use actors who are still alive and working and who are both excellent actors who can turn out great performance after great performance, but who can also transcend their mediocre films to provide something worth watching. Basically here, in alphabetical order, are ten working actors that I would see in almost anything…

Javier BardemJavier Bardem
  “We actors always say how difficult and physically demanding a role was. But give me a break, it’s only a movie.”

What’s to love? He can play one mean bad guy in films such as No Country for Old Men but can also provide complex and incredibly emotional performances in movies like Biutiful. He has a natural grace and expressiveness that’s cloaked in a more rugged figure, a combination which allows him to play a real variety of roles and almost always bring something interesting to the table.
Best role? Biutiful.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: Eat Pray Love.

Chris CooperChris Cooper
  “I suspect that a lot of studio executives still think of me as ‘what’s-his-name’.”

What’s to love? A great actor who is something of a chameleon; he first made me aware of his talents in American Beauty but truly impressed me in Adaptation where he is unrecognisable as the slightly crazy John Laroche. It’s a fantastic performance that’s both funny and tragic and which displays many of the strengths which he seems to quietly and subtly bring to any role that he takes on.
Best role? Adaptation.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: New York, I Love You.

Daniel Day LewisDaniel Day-Lewis
“I suppose I have a highly developed capacity for self-delusion, so it’s no problem for me to believe I’m somebody else.”

What’s to love? Surely everybody knows why Daniel Day-Lewis is on here? He is an actor of staggering power who seems to pick and choose his roles very carefully and, having picked something, without fail always then goes on and gives us 100% of his ability and dedication. It is not a fluke that he is the only man to ever receive three Oscars for his leading performances.
Best role? There Will Be Blood.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: I’ve seen it already and hated it… it has to be Nine.

Tom HardyTom Hardy
  “ I don’t feel rugged and strong and capable in real life, not how I imagine a man ought to be. So I seek it, to mimic it and maybe understand it, or maybe to draw it into my own reality. People who are scary, they terrify me, but I can imitate them. I’m not a fighter. I’m a petite little bourgeois boy from London.”

What’s to love? I have been a fan of Tom Hardy’s for an awful long time now and he just seems to keep on developing and challenging himself and us with the various roles that he takes on. He seemingly isn’t afraid of wrestling with any type of character whether that is the tragic homeless Stuart in Staurt: A Life Backwards or the cool and charismatic Eames in Inception.
Best role? A really difficult question… perhaps it’s Stuart: A Life Backwards.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: Minotaur.

John HurtJohn Hurt
  “’If’ and ‘only’ are the two words in the English language that should never be put together.”

What’s to love? What isn’t there? I mean just look at that photograph! That and the fact that John Hurt is a cinematic legend who has starred in films such The Elephant Man and my all time favourite – Alien.
Best role? Krapp’s Last Tape.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie.

William MacyWilliam H. Macy
  “It’s not the actor’s job to be funny, it’s the writer’s job. It’s the actor’s job to be truthful, and then the humor will come out.”

What’s to love? There’s an awful lot. Macy is perhaps overlooked a little sometimes which is a shame because he is utterly exquisite in his delivery of the Coen’s prose in Fargo and has some fantastic roles under his belt. For example check out his collaborations with Paul Thomas Anderson in Boogie Nights and Magnolia.
Best role? Has to be Fargo I think.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: Marmaduke.

Alfred MolinaAlfred Molina
  “I always look for something that is as different and as diametrically opposed to what I did last time. I try to make each job as different as I can from the last job. And that’s really my only criteria. I don’t have a particular game plan. You pay a price for that in certain ways. ”

What’s to love? I really love him and everything else in Spider-Man 2 but apart from that there’s a ton of other roles in which Molina utterly shines. He seems, in my opinion, to be fantastic as various side characters who have one key scene in which to blow you away. Don’t know what I mean? Just check out Boogie Nights or An Education.
Best role? It may not be his most complex, but his short appearance in Boogie Nights is truly fantastic.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: The Da Vinci Code.

Viggo MortensenViggo Mortensen
  “Life is short… I like to pay attention while I’m going through it. Whatever I see, like anyone else, I’m going to filter it and create my own idea of what it is. – on painting, creating music, writing poetry, and taking photographs in addition to acting.”

What’s to love? I genuinely believe that the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as good as it was, wouldn’t be half as effective or long lasting without Mortensen’s contribution. He provided a dedicated and emotionally rich performance as Aragorn which grounded the entire series and that really is only one of the many jewels in his career. The guy has turned in so many utterly committed performances that he could well challenge Daniel Day-Lewis for the title of the most intense and devoted performer on this list.
Best role? Eastern Promises.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III.

Gary OldmanGary Oldman
  “Any actor who tells you that they have become the people they play, unless they’re clearly diagnosed as a schizophrenic, is bullshitting you.”

What’s to love? He has tackled such a wide range of roles in his career and made so many of them into classic, eternally emulated wonders. Leon is the obvious one but he has fantastic performances in films such as True Romance and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as well
Best role? Has to be Leon: The Professional!
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: Red Riding Hood.

Philip Seymour HoffmanPhilip Seymour Hoffman
  “I think Magnolia is one of the best films I’ve ever seen and I can say that straight and out and anybody that disagrees with me I’ll fight you to the death. I just think it is one of the greatest films I’ve ever been in and ever seen.”

What’s to love? Tragically Philip Seymour Hoffman is no longer with us but the man has left us with a great body of work that includes films such as Magnolia, Almost Famous and The Big Lebowski. His passing is simply devastating.
Best role? I’m not too crazy about the film, but his role in The Master is excellent.
The one even he couldn’t convince me to see: Along Came Polly.

Thanks for reading! Think I’m 100% right? Utterly wrong? Let me know in the comment box below!


  1. WOW, lots of great actors here James! I love that you included Alfred Molina, he’s such an under-appreciated actor but he’s always excellent in everything I’ve seen him in!

    1. Glad that you agree Ruth!
      Molina is such a great actor and I always make a point of checking a movie out if I see he is on the cast list!

      I guess I am going to have to start work on a female version of this list soon!

      1. He’s so versatile too! First time I saw him he was playing an Iranian guy, it’s called Not Without My Daughter. Have you seen it?

        1. That’s the one with Sally Field right? I keep meaning to catch it but haven’t yet… is it any good?

          1. I thought it was pretty good, quite intense. Yes Sally Field played his American wife. Worth checking out just for Molina’s performance I think.

          2. Great, thanks for the reminder then! Maybe I will finally get on and watch that one now!

  2. GREAT list! Several on there would absolutely be on mine as well. Good stuff.

    1. Cheers Keith!
      I’m glad to hear it, we will have to see if we agree on the women too when I get around to that list!

  3. Awesome, awesome! Glad to see you make your own list (thanks for the link!) Fan of most of these men and we share a few picks! Bill Macy and Gary Oldman are fantastic actors that I didn’t add to mine but are always on my radar.

    1. Haha that’s no problem!
      Yeah I knew that we would be sharing several when I read your post!

  4. Awesome choices! I’m loving how this blog idea is spreading!

    1. Thank you!
      Yeah it’s pretty fun!

  5. Reblogged this on Where The Wild Things Are and commented:
    Another actor top 10 inspired by me. Check out Mr Rumsey’s faves!

    1. Thanks for sharing Abbi!

  6. Love this list! Too many awesome performances among them to count. My 2 cents: William H. Macy should be in ALL of the movies. Forever. And Alfred Molina was pretty much the only thing that made the lukewarm medical drama, Monday Mornings, watchable – I would pay to watch him read the phone book. Again, great selections!

    1. Thank you, and great to see Macy getting some love!
      I think he is fantastic!

  7. Great list…………and good to see Alfred Molina and especially Tom Hardy in there. Mr Hardy is so watchable, it is impossible to tear your eyes away from the screen when he’s on it! And Mr. Molina’s scene in Boogie Nights is so memorable…………to completely outplay Mark Wahlberg, John C. Reilly and Thomas Jane (all three at the top of their game in this film), is saying something about the man. The perfect example of “There’s no such thing as a small role……….only small actors!” The rest of the list pick themselves, but maybe Benicio Del Toro……….hmmmm………..can’t pick all of them!
    The women……….can’t wait for that lot………how about Streep, Connelly, Lawrence, Watts, Kidman, Hathaway, Mirren, Theron, Winslet & Washikowska…………..just off the top of my head. I’ve probably missed some obvious ones!

    1. Thank you!
      Glad you agree on them, especially Molina as he does sometime seem to get forgotten about on list such as this.

      Some nice picks there for the women, Marion Cotillard is an absolute certainty on my list!

  8. Fantastic list James!

    1. Thanks Zoë!

  9. Another great list. You like proper “actors” who can really act! Well, me too but I do wish you’d chosen a better Tom Hardy photo… Lol! Hmm. My list may have been slightly more superficial than yours… ; )

    1. Thanks!

      Haha, liking actors for their looks too is no bad thing!!

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