Thursday, July 14, 2016

Top 100 Actors: Part XVII (#20 - 16)

20. Brian Cox

Not to be mistaken for the other Brian Cox, this Brian Cox is a fantastic Scottish actor who has never gotten the full praise he has earned. Though a large part of his career has been spent playing secondary roles, he always has had the ability to make the most of these parts and bring his signature style to the screen with precision and ease. Though he isn't so much of a chameleon, he is one of the best overall lead and supporting actors around. He's a casually magnificent actor who has somehow never even been nominated for an Oscar. And yes, he's my favorite Hannibal Lecter.

Favorite performances:
25th Hour
Trick 'r Treat
Red [2008]
X2: X-Men United
The Escapist
The Ring

19. Philip Seymour Hoffman

His death was a horrible loss, but thankfully he left us with a massive selection of fantastic performances to remember him by. Easily goes down as one of the most accomplished and esteemed actors of his time, Hoffman took on more challenging roles than practically anyone else in the business and made them all work. I don't believe he was ever any less than good, even giving memorable and fun performances in some of his earlier stuff. He was one of the best, and deserved every ounce of praise he got.

Favorite performances:
Synecdoche, New York
The Big Lebowski
The Master
Almost Famous
Boogie Nights
Charlie Wilson's War

18. Paul Newman

And here's another one of the big ones, an actor who's been one of my favorites since I've been able to put together a top 10. Before I ever really noticed actors, I was still impressed by Newman. He was one of the most infectiously charming actors who has ever lived, and aged as well as any actor could have hoped, still taking on great and challenging roles into his final years and making them work as well as he ever did. If anything, his presence and delivery only improved. He'll always be a favorite of mine and fans of classic movies everywhere.

Favorite performances:
Cool Hand Luke
Road To Perdition
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
The Hustler
Nobody's Fool
The Sting
The Verdict
The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean
The Color Of Money

17. John Hurt

He's been in movies for 50 years, and even though he hasn't been in much of note over the past few years, he has remained one of the most dependable and emotionally raw and revealing actors in the business the entire time. A great voice actor as well, Hurt can convey a lot with very little effort. Or, at least, he seems to make it look totally effortless because he's an amazing actor. I don't think there is another actor who has made me feel as strong of emotions as Hurt has over his career. He's like a genius at making me sad.

Favorite performances:
The Elephant Man
Love And Death On Long Island
Midnight Express
The Proposition
10 Rillington Place
Owning Mahowny
V For Vendetta
The Black Cauldron
Shooting Dogs
The Field

16. Morgan Freeman

Oh look, it's that guy who's been in every movie of the past 15 years - or, at least narrated them. Okay now that I got the narration thing out of the way, we can go into just how great of an actor and presence Freeman is. Though he's become as typecast and stereotyped as anyone who isn't deformed or a midget or something, he has taken on difficult roles and made them work in spite of your expectations. Watch Street Smart if you want to see him show off how intimidating he can be. But even as a scuzzy pimp, he's still charming. How does he do that? Morgan Freeman has got to be the most likable actor who has ever lived.

Favorite performances:
Street Smart
The Shawshank Redemption
Million Dollar Baby
Gone Baby Gone
Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves
Driving Miss Daisy

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