Sunday, May 1, 2016

Top 100 Actors: Part VIII (#65 - 61)

65. Jeremy Irons

A great voice actor as well as traditional screen actor, Irons can go anywhere from crazy over-the-top (see Dungeons & Dragons. It's hilarious) to ultra reserved, and anywhere in-between. Mostly known for his deceptive voice-only performance as the villainous Scar in The Lion King, Irons has also appeared in films by great filmmakers like Lynch, Cronenberg, and Soderbergh, and never disappoints. Certainly one of my favorite voices in film, as well as one of the best dramatic actors of his time.

Favorite performances:
Dead Ringers
Reversal Of Fortune
The Lion King
Margin Call
The Mission
Dungeons & Dragons

64. Brad Pitt

I know I keep saying "a leading man who actually possesses some acting talent" again and again on this list, but I do feel there is something to be said of actors who are capable of letting the spotlight shine on them while also delivering compelling, unique performances. Pitt is one of the biggest movie stars of all-time, but is also one of the most accomplished actors of the past 20-25 years. Often taking on smaller roles nowadays, he doesn't just fall into whatever boring romantic or action lead many other actors of his clout might be satisfied with (*cough*Tom Cruise*cough*), but instead takes challenging leading and supporting roles, making every performance he gives less disposable than his peers, and ultimately all the more special.

Favorite performances:
12 Monkeys
Fight Club
Inglorious Basterds
The Tree Of Life
The Assassination of Jesse James
Burn After Reading

63. Michael Keaton

The three 'B's alone would be enough to earn Keaton a spot on my list: Batman, Birdman, and Beetlejuice. Pair that with other great dramatic and comedic performances throughout his career (comedy suits him best, though), and you have one of the most likable stars in Hollywood. The most bizarre thing about him to me is how he never really received much critical praise, at least not until Birdman blew everyone's doors off. He's been a big name in Hollywood for roughly 30 years, and now that he's picking up some steam later in his career, it seems critics (and even audiences) have actually started to pay some attention to the man behind the mask.

Favorite performances:
The Other Guys
Johnny Dangerously
Toy Story 3

62. Benedict Cumberbatch

In the past 5 years, few actors have flown into the public consciousness quite like Cumberbatch has, and for good cause. He's been giving strong performances right out the gate, and after only a few short years, we've seen him become one of the most well-respected and well-liked actors of his generation. And honestly, I can totally see why. Granted, I can see why people are getting a little sick of him playing white-washed ethnic characters (which is a very pre-Civil Rights Hollywood move), if he continues to deliver strong performances without making missteps, I would be surprised if people won't look back at the 2010s in acting and instantly name him as one of the best actors of his time. Only time will tell.

Favorite performances:
The Imitation Game
Third Star
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Star Trek Into Darkness
August: Osage County
12 Years A Slave

61. Kevin Bacon

This man is an anomaly. A bonafide star who basically turned his back on the traditional starring roles and focused more on quirky character work at the height of his popularity. I can't say this move didn't work out for him in his own way, but considering he's never earned a single Oscar nomination and hasn't been in more than a small handful of incredibly successful box office hits, I think it's safe to say a good deal of his best work has slipped through the cracks. But that doesn't diminish the raw talent this man possesses. Easily one of the most bizarrely ignored actors of '90s and '00s, Bacon has been everywhere, done everything, has never shied away from portraying evil men, or otherwise disreputable characters that few big stars would ever touch. I love an actor who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, and to this day he continues to deliver strong, risky, and unforgettable performances.

Favorite performances:
The Woodsman
Mystic River
Stir Of Echoes
Murder In The First
X-Men: First Class
A Few Good Men

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