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jaytkay's avatar

Who's a great actor working today?

Asked by jaytkay (25765points) October 25th, 2012

Actor meaning both men and women.

Who do you think is a Michelangelo or Michael Jordan of acting?

I’m no aficionado, mostly I notice only if someone is really bad.

But I really enjoy reading reviews so give me yours!

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36 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

Bruce Willis. And not just because of my man crush. The guy started in comedy and action and has gotten better and better. He seems to take on roles he knows people will not respect, because he thinks the plot is cool.

partyrock's avatar

Easy, Leonardo DiCaprio

Adagio's avatar

Kristin Scott Thomas
Helen Mirren
Kate Winslet
Ralph Fiennes
Judy Dench
Emily Watson
Jeremy Irons

the list could go on……

gailcalled's avatar

Dame Maggie Smith
Daniel Day Lewis
Meryl Streep

jaytkay's avatar

Hey everybody – I should have asked – which specific performances?

Adagio's avatar

@gailcalled I really admire Daniel Day Lewis also, especially My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father, but I did see him in a film about a week ago called There Will Be Blood, unfortunately his talent was wasted in that, the film simply dragged on too long.

gailcalled's avatar

Agree about the movie but that does not negate his skills.

Dame Maggie Smith steals every scene she is in in “Downton Abbey.” She plays Lady Violet and destroys anyone in her presence with the twitch of an eyebrow.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m going to go with television actors and choose Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Bryan Cranston as Walter White from Breaking Bad. These two men have me wanting more during their hiatus and on the edge of my seat when the new season starts.

Adagio's avatar

@gailcalled don’t misunderstand me, I am not attempting to negate his skills, more making the point that his talent was wasted on that occasion.
I have not seen Downton Abbey, although I have heard many rave reviews about the programme, I recently saw Maggie Smith in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, she must have enjoyed that role, so different from the parts she normally plays, brilliantly I might add.

filmfann's avatar

I really like William H. Macy. He can play pretty much any character, from romantic heartthrob to nerdy salesman to The Shoveler.

Adagio's avatar

@jonsblond I have to agree with your choice of Michael C. Hall, I watched him in 6 Feet Under and on the subject of TV, may I add James Spader for his role in Boston Legal.

gailcalled's avatar

@Adagio: Do try to see Downton Abbey (from the beginning, if possible). It’s a rare treat.

If Romney, by some awful throw of the dice, is elected to the presidency, there goes PBS.

I saw The Best Exotic Marigold HoteL and was disappointed. The stellar cast, including Maggie Smith, seemed to be sleepwalking through parts they’d played many times before.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Adagio I don’t watch Boston Legal, but I’ve been a fan of Spader for many years. I remember him in Less Than Zero and Pretty In Pink. He was also on the last season of The Office. I agree with you. He is a great actor.

Pandora's avatar

Jessica Tandy in Driving Ms. Daisy. But I loved her in other movies as well. I always saw her as a class act that can’t be matched. Her voice was soft spoken and yet she always made an impression.

ragingloli's avatar

Keanu Reeves.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

Meryl Streep is in a class by herself. Everyone else is below that, to varying degrees.

As for some other good practitioners of their craft, I’d say Kate Winslet, John Cusack, and Kevin Bacon consistently turn in good performances. Chris Cooper turns in underrated performances, and Julianne Moore is also very good, I think.

mazingerz88's avatar

Michael Fassbender. Shame, Fish Tank, Prometheus, Hunger, A Dangerous Method.

_Whitetigress's avatar

I really like Leonardo DiCaprio. I’m a child of the 90’s if that helps anyones set of views try and figure me out.
I also like Joseph Gordin Levitt, Gael García Berna, Zach Braff, Owen Wilson.

However I really dislike the fact that you want a “Michael Jordan” of acting. The only person I can think of taking acting as serious as sports, as if it’s something that should be hardwork and prepares acting like sports in general is Christian Bale. It turns me off for an artist to think of their craft as something obtainable because in this sense, in my opinion the actor has totally lost themselves. For me acting is purely subjective.

With all that crap being said, I also admire Marion Cotillard, and Mila Kunis.

newtscamander's avatar

I second Meryl Streep, and then I really like Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, and Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing on Friends. Also Hugh Laurie, especially in his role as Dr. House. And I like Adrian Brody. And David Tennant is pretty good too. Last but not least: Neil Patrick Harris.

ucme's avatar

Best recent performance by a mile is that of Tom Hardy in Bronson, mesmerising.

lifeflame's avatar

Meryl Streep, of course.
Sean Penn in “Milk”
And Johnny Depp for being such a chameleon.

hearkat's avatar

I agree with most of those mentioned above, and I will add that we saw ‘The Master’ a couple weeks ago, and the acting was brilliant. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is always good, and Joaquin Phoenix was outstanding. I’ve always liked Joaquin, but feel he tends to get a bit typecast in some roles.

I may add more as they come to me…

Adagio's avatar

@gailcalled I’ve taken your advice and requested Downton Abbey series 1 from my local library, thanks for giving me the kick in the pants I needed.

gailcalled's avatar

@Adagio:Take it in measured doses, one episode at a time, and relish everything.

Please report back. Particularly watch Dame Maggie Smith steal scene after scene with simply a small moue or tilt of the chin.

Kardamom's avatar

@gailcalled my mother, my SO and I are hooked on Downton Abbey! Maggie Smith is a true treasure!

I’m also going to suggest:

Morgan Freeman, especially in Shawshank Redemption

Alan Rickman in the Harry Potter series as well as Sense and Sensibility, Snow Cake and Dark Harbor and The Barchester Chronicles

Emma Thompson in Sense and Sensibility and Love Actually

Kate Blanchett in Notes on a Scandal

Judy Densch in Notes on a Scandal, Masterpiece Classic: Cranford, Mrs. Henderson Presents, Mrs. Brown

Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Magic, The World’s Fastest Indian, Nixon, Remains of the Day, and Shadowlands

Tony Shaloub in Big Night and Monk

Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia and It’s Complicated (she’s been in tons of marvelous films, but these 2 are my favorites)

Patrick Stewart in Star Trek The Next Generation and A Christmas Carol

Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock

Edward Norton in the Painted Veil and the Illusionist

James McAvoy in Becoming Jane

gailcalled's avatar

@Kardamom; Very good list. I am keeping it for DVD ideas during the snowy winters (I know that is an unfamiliar concept for you).

Streep was wonderful as Julia Childs. Wasn’t her life with Paul romantic? And wasn’t she hysterical during the onion dicing scene?

Kardamom's avatar

@gailcalled I was mesmerized by Stanley Tucci’s portrayal of her husband Paul. They weren’t exactly romantic (in the American romantic movie standard) but they were realistic and sweet and kind to each other. That’s what I want in a relationship. The other story (about mundane Julie and her stupid boyfriend were completely unnecessary to the movie, although I appreciated the concept) Maybe different actors would have made a difference.

I can’t say enough about Downton Abbey. I’m hopelessy in love with Matthew and hope that Mary can finally see him as a kind and worthy husband/potential. Lord Grandtham is a hot sexy older fellow (I can see why the maid the hots for him) but he’s way too conservative and is obviously a hypocrite when it comes to love. His Mama is a hoot. While often wrong, she has some wonderful one liners that fit the class and times of the day, and you’re right about her nuanced facial expressions! I liken myself more as Daisy, the kitchen maid, although I would have jumped at the opportunity of marrying the brave William and would have grimaced in the presence of Thomas, the greedy, lying thief. What Daisy saw in him, I’ll never know.

Did you happen to catch the “Making of Downton Abbey” 2 weeks ago? It was very interesting to see all of the cast members in their real clothes and modern hair dos!

There’s another new show that you might like called Call the Midwife, about a particular young lady and her colleagues that are training to be midwives in early 1950’s London. It’s got drama, horror and romance. Everything a good drama should be.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m a huge fan of Dustin Hoffman especially in Rain Man.

gailcalled's avatar

@Kardamom: I too have been really enjoying “Call the Midwife.” The ensemble acting of very talented yet unfamiliar faces is one of the gifts of Masterpiece Theater. The only flat note is the absense of breast feeding, which would have been the norm in London’s East End in that era. Although, come to think of it, there is mention of Mary, the fifteen-year-old prostitute’s abscessed breasts after her baby is put up for adoption.

Re; “Julia and Julie”; remind yourself of the scene in which Paul and Julia are in bed and giggling and clearly about to do it with great gusto.

The best line of all time comes in Downton Abbey when Lady Violet is trying to call her nephew for a favor…a Minister of Something-to-do-with-the-War… on the newfangled telephone. When she finally gets through she says, “Shrimpy? Is that you, Shrimpy? It’s your aunt Violet.”

I did see the “Making of DA,” last year, I think. Did all upperclass women in those days have no hips?

Kudos to @heartkat for mentioning Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

And the ensemble cast of “The Great Lebowski” gets my special award. I didn’t discover the movie for 13 years after it was made and was, surprisingly, entranced, amused, bemused and captivated. Here’s the discussion that ensued about funny movies when I mentioned my belated intro to TBL in July of 2011, here.

downtide's avatar

My favourite actor is Viggo Mortensen. In particular, his performances in The History of Violence and Eastern Promises. Pure talent.

Adagio's avatar

@Kardamom Call the Midwife recently screened in NZ, I loved the series and can’t wait for series 2 which I assume they will make because I believe it has been highly popular in Britain. I was really impressed by by the unjudgemental attitude of the nuns, especially the mother superior.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

@downtide, Viggo is talented, I agree. Have you seen him in “Alatriste”? The book was better, but he did great in the movie (although the plot was a bit jumbled—the writers tried to combine several elements from more than one book in the series, and as a result, not as good a movie as it could have been), and he spoke all of his own lines in the movie, in Spanish. Went to see a screening in Hollywood a few years back, and he appeared at the end for a Q&A session; had no idea he was showing up that eve!

Kardamom's avatar

@Adagio, yes I love the mother superior too.

I also loved the white “father” who loved his wife so much that he didn’t bat an eye when his wife delivered a black child, that obviously wasn’t his. That whole situation was so touching. The wife was ashamed of cheating on him and had kept her pregnancy a secret up until the last month, and she was convinced that her husband was going to leave her when he found out. I think the man looked at the baby (and you think he’s going to erupt) but then he says, “I think we’ll name him Tom, after my father.” I’ve wept several times during that series.

gailcalled's avatar

@Kardamom: That scene I did find hard to believe, given both the era and particular location in the East End.

Kardamom's avatar

@gailcalled I too found it hard to believe, but I still cried.

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