A Century of Film


The 100 Greatest Actors


Introduction

Much as I did with Actress, this is the list that was obviously coming, the list of the 100 Greatest Film Actors of All-Time.

When calculating my Top 100 Directors, I did a lot of different lists that factored in the quality of their films, the quality of their direction, critical acclaim and awards attention.  It wasn’t going to be that easy with acting.  So I bit the bullet and decided that my ranking would be based on my Absolute Points list.

Here’s how that works.  I rate a performance on a scale of 0-9.  The vast, vast majority of film performances are a 0, not worthy of noting.  To me, a solid performance worthy of an Oscar nomination is a 4 (equivalent to a low star **** film for Picture), which earns 35 points, which is the point total for an Oscar or Nighthawk nomination.  A great performance, worthy of an Oscar, is an 8 (equivalent to a high **** film), which earns 70 points, the total for an Oscar or Nighthawk win.  The very best performances earn a 9, which earns a 78 (the equivalent of a 98 or 99 for Best Picture).  The numbers for supporting are 4=30, 8=60, 9=67 with appropriate scaling going down (1=9 in lead, 8 in supporting).

I simply have totaled all of those performances.  It eliminates the luck of what year the performance was in.  So, for instance, in 1941, when both Orson Welles and Humphrey Bogart earn a 9 for their performances, they both get 78 points.  In 1950, Erich von Stroheim, Orson Welles and George Sanders all earn 67 points.  They aren’t hurt by the chance of having brilliant competition.  Likewise, in 1949, when no lead or supporting performance earns above a 7 the highest point totals are 61 and 52.  They don’t get extra points just for winning in a weaker year.

It is true that the points are cumulative, so the more good performances you do, the more you earn.  But that’s part of a whole career.  James Dean and Heath Ledger fail to make the list because of their early deaths and Michael Caine is higher than you might expect thanks to an amazing career that has seen him continue to amass plenty of points.  But in the end, greatness matters.  You have to give nine 1 point performances to match a nine point performance.  The more often you are great, the higher you go.  That’s why Daniel Day-Lewis ranks so high with such a comparatively small number of films.

I will also point out that this list is entirely configured based off films.  Derek Jacobi’s theater and television work don’t count which is why he didn’t make the list.  Tinker Tailor doesn’t help Alec Guinness and no one is helped by Angels in America or Empire Falls.  Also please note that my paragraph description of the career doesn’t necessarily even include everything I gave the actor points for – it’s just a summation, not a complete list.

I start below with an oddity list, then do decade lists, then two different lists that stress peak performance.  That will be followed by the full list, with some post-2011 updates at the bottom.  In the full list, though I list awards from major groups (wins are in bold – if there is no line in bold they didn’t win any of the awards I track) though I will stress that those awards are just a list – they have nothing to do with the actual construction of the list.  My own awards are abbreviated NH to save space but even those are a little deceptive when it comes to total points as a non-nominated performance in a great year might be the equal of a win in a weak year.  In the post-2011 updates (for those listed in the initial list), I only list awards or nominations that are post-2011.

One thing I will address here that, amazingly, I didn’t have to think about in the Actress post.  I write these posts as if it were December 31, 2011, the end of the first Century of Film.  But at least two actors on this list had notable deaths between then and when I am actually writing this in July of 2019 (and a lot more than two have died).  I will include their death dates in their bios because otherwise it would just seem really awkward.  But when I went back to see what I had done about this on the Actress post I discovered that the most recent death of those 100+ (factoring in the post-2011 additions) actresses was when Elizabeth Taylor died in 2011.  Not a single person on that list has died since then, including Olivia de Havilland who just turned 103!

Top 10 Oddest Performances in History:

note:  Here is what I mean by this list: these are the highest career point totals on the list (of the 1034 actors on the list through 2011) whose entire point total is from just one film.  These actors gave it their all just once and the rest of their career was either mediocre or even dreck.

  1. Ray Milland  –  The Lost Weekend
  2. Tom Hulce  –  Amadeus
  3. Robert Walker  –  Strangers on a Train
  4. Victor Sjostrom  –  Wild Strawberries
  5. F. Murray Abraham  –  Amadeus
  6. Sydney Greenstreet  –  The Maltese Falcon
  7. Sean Astin  –  The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  8. Paul Lukas  –  Watch on the Rhine
  9. Yul Brynner  –  The King and I
  10. Juri Jarvet  –  King Lear

Top 10 Points:  1912-1929

  1. Lon Chaney  –  299
  2. Emil Jannings  –  227
  3. Charlie Chaplin  –  157
  4. Erich von Stroheim  –  95
  5. Conrad Veidt  –  89
  6. Buster Keaton  –  60
  7. Sessue Hayakawa  –  56
  8. Max Schreck  –  45
  9. Henry B. Walthall  –  45
  10. George O’Brien  –  44

Top 10 Points:  1930-1939

  1. Leslie Howard  –  371
  2. Fredric March  –  356
  3. Charles Laughton  –  279
  4. James Cagney  –  243
  5. Clark Gable  –  235
  6. Paul Muni  –  218
  7. Claude Rains  –  208
  8. William Powell  –  174
  9. Lionel Barrymore  –  169
  10. John Barrymore  –  137

Top 10 Points:  1940-1949

  1. Humphrey Bogart  –  383
  2. Cary Grant  –  356
  3. Claude Rains  –  311
  4. Laurence Olivier  –  284
  5. James Stewart  –  278
  6. Henry Fonda  –  235
  7. Gregory Peck  –  201
  8. Walter Huston  –  193
  9. Orson Welles  –  183
  10. Kirk Douglas  –  158

Top 10 Points:  1950-1959

  1. Alec Guinness  –  504
  2. Kirk Douglas  –  358
  3. William Holden  –  322
  4. James Stewart  –  315
  5. Marlon Brando  –  304
  6. Orson Welles  –  251
  7. Burt Lancaster  –  232
  8. Henry Fonda  –  219
  9. Humphrey Bogart  –  201
  10. Frank Sinatra  –  199

Top 10 Points:  1960-1969

  1. Toshiro Mifune  –  605
  2. Richard Burton  –  339
  3. Paul Newman  –  339
  4. Burt Lancaster  –  323
  5. Sidney Poitier  –  323
  6. Peter O’Toole  –  260
  7. Alec Guinness  –  248
  8. Peter Sellers  –  239
  9. John Mills  –  229
  10. Marcello Mastroianni  –  208

Top 10 Points:  1970-1979

  1. Al Pacino  –  380
  2. Jack Nicholson  –  357
  3. Gene Hackman  –  342
  4. Robert De Niro  –  321
  5. Dustin Hoffman  –  310
  6. Robert Duvall  –  246
  7. Robert Redford  –  235
  8. Woody Allen  –  235
  9. Walter Matthau  –  217
  10. Warren Beatty  –  193

Top 10 Points:  1980-1989

  1. Jack Nicholson  –  405
  2. William Hurt  –  331
  3. Michael Caine  –  280
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis  –  280
  5. Paul Newman  –  261
  6. Jeremy Irons  –  261
  7. Bob Hoskins  –  238
  8. Steve Martin  –  237
  9. Harrison Ford  –  232
  10. Denzel Washington  –  207

Top 10 Points:  1990-1999

  1. Anthony Hopkins  –  425
  2. Ralph Fiennes  –  416
  3. Robert De Niro  –  374
  4. Denzel Washington  –  359
  5. Daniel Day-Lewis  –  331
  6. Clint Eastwood  –  330
  7. Johnny Depp  –  322
  8. Kevin Spacey  –  294
  9. Al Pacino  –  283
  10. Tom Hanks  –  277

Top 10 Points:  2000-2011

  1. George Clooney  –  600
  2. Leonardo DiCaprio  –  453
  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman  –  436
  4. Christian Bale  –  331
  5. Michael Caine  –  319
  6. Ralph Fiennes  –  311
  7. Sean Penn  –  305
  8. Viggo Mortenson  –  292
  9. Russell Crowe  –  287
  10. Paul Giamatti  –  268

Top 10 Most Points in a Single Oscar Eligible Year

  1. Charles Laughton  –  1935  –  156  (Mutiny on the Bounty  /  Les Miserables  /  Ruggles of Red Gap)
  2. Philip Seymour Hoffman  –  2007  –  156  (Charlie Wilson’s War  /  The Savages  /  Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead)
  3. Sidney Poitier  –  1967  –  150  (In the Heat of the Night  /  Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner  /  To Sir with Love)
  4. Daniel Day-Lewis  –  1993  –  148  (In the Name of the Father  /  The Age of Innocence)
  5. Anthony Hopkins  –  1993  –  148  (The Remains of the Day  /  Shadowlands)
  6. Cary Grant  –  1940  –  147  (His Girl Friday  /  The Philadelphia Story  /  My Favorite Wife)
  7. Kirk Douglas  –  1951  –  140  (Detective Story  /  Ace in the Hole)
  8. Henry Fonda  –  1957  –  140  (12 Angry Men  /  The Tin Star  /  The Wrong Man)
  9. Billy Bob Thornton  –  2001  –  139  (The Man Who Wasn’t There  /  Monster’s Ball  /  Bandits)
  10. Toshiro Mifune  –  1962  –  139  (Throne of Blood  /  The Lower Depths  /  Sanjuro  /  Important Man)

note:  No male actor comes remotely close to what Julianne Moore did in 1999 or Emma Thompson in 1993 both of whom were over 200 points.

Top 10 Most Points in Five Consecutive Years

note:  For this list, I only list an actor once, no matter what their total over another five year stretch may be (because often it’s just slightly lower by dropping one end year and moving one year in the other direction).

  1. Toshiro Mifune  –  1962-66  –  448  **
  2. Anthony Hopkins  –  1991-95  –  347
  3. Alec Guinness  –  1956-60  –  340
  4. Kirk Douglas  –  1949-53  –  331  *
  5. Cary Grant  –  1937-41  –  329
  6. Al Pacino  –  1972-76  –  319  *
  7. Leslie Howard  –  1934-38  –  305
  8. Ralph Fiennes  –  1996-00  –  305
  9. Richard Burton  –  1963-67  –  295
  10. Philip Seymour Hoffman  –  2005-09  –  295  *

note:  Douglas, Pacino and Hoffman actually did their totals in just four years.
note:  Mifune’s isn’t cheating so much as luck as to when his films earned U.S. releases.

The 100 Greatest Film Actors of All-Time (through 2011)

 

#100  –  John Hurt

294 points
1940-2017, English
2 BAFTAs, Golden Globe
2 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, 2 Globe noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance: The Elephant Man
He was so good for so long.  He earns his first points in 1971 as the wrongly convicted man in 10 Rillington Place and earned points all the way up until Tinker Tailor in 2011.  In between he was earning award nominations for great performances in Midnight Express and The Elephant Man but also being overlooked for such solid performances as The Hit and Scandal.  He doesn’t earn points for it, but he also managed to give a good performance as The War Doctor as well.

#99  –  Walter Huston

294 points
1883-1950, Canadian
Oscar, Globe, NYFC (twice), NBR, 2 NH
4 Oscar noms, Globe nom, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
The sire of a grand family of acting (and other talents as well).  Huston would work for years in Hollywood, earning multiple Oscar noms before winning an Oscar being directed by his son John (who would later direct Walter’s granddaughter to an Oscar as well).  He was great all the way until the end, even earning points for The Furies, released four months after he died.

#98  –  Brad Pitt

295 points
b. 1963, American
Globe, NYFC, NSFC, BSFC
3 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  12 Monkeys
It took me a while to really get into Pitt.  At the beginning he was great in small doses (like Thelma & Louise) but not in lead roles.  In 1995, it would emerge that he was a great character actor but a charismatic void as a lead.  He’s really turned up the notch in more recent years with Burn After Reading, Inglourious Basterds, Tree of Life and Moneyball.

#97  –  Gary Oldman

295 points
b. 1958, English
Oscar nom, 2 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
For a long time Oldman was part of that Malkovich / Tommy Lee Jones category of fine line between actor and ham with sprinklings of solid acting like Prick Up Your Ears or Immortal Beloved.  But after his lay-off he came back as Sirius Black and Commissioner Gordon and he was a new actor, finally breaking through with awards attention as George Smiley.

#96  –  Lon Chaney

299 points
1883-1930, American
NH
5 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Chaney was the greatest actor of the Silent Era.  Even buried in his brilliant makeup you could feel the power of his performances as the Hunchback and the Phantom.  Sadly, he died of lung cancer in 1930 having made just one sound film and we never really got the measure of what he could have done (and that early death is also why he’s so far down the list).

#95  –  Jude Law

301 points
b. 1972, English
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 3 Globe noms, NH Nom
Best Performance:  A.I.
Law is an interesting case because I first knew him for The Talented Mr. Ripley for which he earned what I thought was an undeserved Oscar nomination.  But then in 2001 and 2002 I thought he was worthy of them (A.I., Road to Perdition) and he was mostly ignored by awards groups.  Then he was back in the Oscar race for a performance that wasn’t as good for Cold Mountain.  Then came his six films in 2004 though Closer provided the bulk of the points.  He’s been mostly cold since then but he’s still in a lot of films and is ready to move up.

#94  –  Ralph Richardson

301 points
1902-1983, English
BAFTA, NYFC (twice), NBR (4)
2 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Sound Barrier
One of the great British stage actors who turned to film and proved equally adept in lead roles (The Fallen Idol, The Sound Barrier) and supporting performances (The Citadel, The Heiress).  Richardson continued to act until the end, earning his second Oscar nomination some 16 months after he died.  What’s more astounding is that he only earned the two nominations, having become, in 1952, the first actor to win the NYFC without earning an Oscar nom (ironically, John Gielgud, another of those stage greats would be the second, in 1977).

#93  –  Lee Marvin

302 points
1924-1987, American
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, NBR
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, 2 Globe noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  Point Blank
It’s the luck of the draw.  Marvin only earns one Nighthawk nomination (for The Big Heat) but the bulk of his points came in the mid 60’s with The Killers, Cat Ballou, Ship of Fools, The Professionals, The Dirty Dozen and Point Blank, when he was not just a really strong actor but one of the biggest box office draws in the world as well.

#92  –  Marcello Mastroianni

304 points
1924-1996, Italian
2 BAFTA, Globe
3 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 4 Globe noms, NH Nom
Best Performance:  La Dolce Vita
The great Italian actor earned the bulks of his points in just a few years with great performances in La Dolce Vita, Divorce Italian Style, White Nights and 8 1/2.  He would forever be thought of as the stylish actor who looked at ease either as the artist or the man pursuing the art.

#91  –  Jean Gabin

305 points
1904-1976, French
NBR (twice)
2 BAFTA noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Grand Illusion
When Gabin appeared on my Top 100 Favorite Actors list, my mother had to ask me who he was which just goes to show that she needs to watch more classic French films like The Grand Illusion, The Lower Depths, Pepe le Moko, Port of Shadows, La Bete Humaine or Le Jour Se Leve, all of which helped put Gabin at this place on this list.

#90  –  Robert Mitchum

306 points
1917-1997, American
NBR, NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Night of the Hunter
Even more than Lee Marvin, I think that Mitchum is probably thought of more as a star than as an actor.   After all, he received just one Oscar nomination and it was early in his career (The Story of GI Joe, for which he wins the Nighthawk).  But to just think of that ignores his work in Out of the Past, Crossfire, The Night of the Hunter, Heaven Knows Mr. Allison and The Friends of Eddie Coyle.

#89  –  Peter Sellers

309 points
1925-1980, English
BAFTA, Globe, NBR, 2 NH
2 Oscar noms, 4 BAFTA noms, 5 Globe noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Being There
If Sellers hadn’t spent so much time as Inspector Clouseau could he have moved further up this list?  He is pretty low on the list for having won two Nighthawks, especially both as a lead.  He was a great comedic actor in films like Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, A Shot in the Dark and The Pink Panther but he also died when he was still relatively young.

#88  –  Jason Robards

314 points
1922-2000, American
2 Oscars, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, NBR (twice), NH
3 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 4 Globe noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  All the President’s Men
Over half of his point total comes in just five years with supporting work in All the President’s Men, Julia (both of which won him Oscars), Comes a Horseman and Melvin and Howard but he was good before that (Long Day’s Journey Into Night, A Thousand Clowns) and long after (Parenthood, Magnolia).

#87  –  Robert Downey, Jr.

317 points
b. 1965, American
BAFTA, Globe
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 3 Globe noms, BFCA nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  Chaplin
He already had shown an effortless charm and ability as far back as Less Than Zero before hitting the awards circuit with Chaplin, still just 27.  Drugs kept him from hitting his peak although he would emerge with performances like Home for the Holidays and Wonder Boys.  But once he played Iron Man and earned an Oscar nomination the same year for Tropic Thunder he could became one of the biggest stars in film.  A good chance that he will still win an Oscar at some point.

#86  –  Harvey Keitel

317 points
b. 1939, American
NSFC, CFC
Oscar nom, Globe nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  Bad Lieutenant
After strong work for Marty in the 70’s (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver), Keitel mostly flew under the radar until the first half of the 90’s brought us Thelma & Louise, Bugsy, Bad Lieutenant, Reservoir Dogs, The Piano and Clockers.

#85  –  Alan Rickman

1946  –  2016, English
319 points
BAFTA, NH
4 BAFTA noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Until he started playing Snape and reminded people how good of an actor he was every year for a decade, Rickman seemed to space his solid performances out: 1988 (Die Hard), 1991 (Robin Hood, Truly Madly Deeply), 1995 (Sense and Sensibility, An Awfully Big Adventure), 1999 (Galaxy Quest).  It was also clear that the people who worked with him loved him (Google “tribute to Alan Rickman”).

#84  –  Gary Cooper

321 points
1901-1961, American
2 Oscars, Globe, NYFC, NBR, NH
5 Oscar noms, 2 Globe noms, 4 NH Noms
Best Performance:  High Noon
This could definitely be considered as a flaw in my system in that Gary Cooper and Spencer Tracy had similar styles and Cooper was far better at it (I rate four performances from Cooper – Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Sergeant York, For Whom the Bell Tolls, High Noon – higher than anything Tracy ever did) but Tracy did it in far more films and far longer so Tracy ended up considerably higher on the list.

#83  –  Trevor Howard

322 points
1913-1988, English
BAFTA
Oscar nom, 4 BAFTA noms, 3 Globe noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Brief Encounter
Distinguished British actor who finally managed to score an Oscar nomination as the lead in a film where he wasn’t really the lead (Sons and Lovers) after he had been so good in films like Brief Encounter, I See a Dark Stranger, Outcast of the Islands and The Heart of the Matter.

#82  –  John Malkovich

327 points
b. 1953, American
NYFC, NSFC, BSFC, NBR
2 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, Globe nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  Dangerous Liaisons
Malkovich was tricky for a long time because he could give brilliant performances like Places in the Heart, The Killing Fields, Empire of the Sun, Dangerous Liaisons, In the Line of Fire and Being John Malkovich but they weren’t that far from his really hammy performances in films like Mary Reilly, Mulholland Falls, Con Air or The Man in the Iron Mask.

#81  –  Jim Broadbent

331 points
b. 1949, English
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, LAFC, NBR
Oscar nom, 3 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom
Best Performance:  Iris
Broadbent, unlike Cooper, shows the strength of my list.  Due to bad luck, he’s earned no Nighthawk nominations (not even for his double turn in 2001 for Iris and Moulin Rouge where he came in 7th and 8th) in spite of a list like The Good Father, Bullets over Broadway, The Secret Agent, Topsy-Turvy, Gangs of New York, Vanity Fair, Another Year or The Iron Lady.  But that all adds up and lands him here above people who have won multiple Nighthawks.

#80  –  Nicolas Cage

333 points
b. 1964, American
Oscar, SAG, Globe, LAFC, NYFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC, NBR, NH
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 4 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Leaving Las Vegas
I didn’t really like Cage until I saw Moonstruck and realized he could act.  He still wouldn’t do a ton of solid acting before LLV but that went through the roof.  After that, there was also Adaptation but most of his career has been a joke since 2002 with two notable exceptions (Matchstick Men, The Weather Man).

#79  –  Matt Damon

334 points
b. 1970, American
NBR
2 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, 4 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Good Will Hunting
He seemed a lot younger than 27 as Will Hunting and 29 as Tom Ripley but that’s because his talent shines through in those performances.  It would be several years before he would return to my lists but starting with The Departed, he’s earned a heap of points in just five years with The Bourne Ultimatum, The Informant, Invictus, Green Zone and True Grit.

#78  –  Ed Harris

341 points
b. 1950, American
SAG, Globe, BFCA, NSFC, NBR
4 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 4 Globe noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  The Truman Show
Harris, like Broadbent, has suffered from bad luck at the Nighthawks.  He earned a nomination for Truman Show but couldn’t quite break through with a slough of really good performances, almost always in supporting (Alamo Bay, Jacknife, Glengarry Glen Ross, Apollo 13, Absolute Power, Pollack, The Hours, A History of Violence).

#77  –  Ewan McGregor

342 points
b. 1971, Scottish
Globe
Globe nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  Trainspotting
Ewan burst onto the scene with Trainspotting but continued soon after with Brassed Off and Velvet Goldmine.  At the same time that he was Obi-Wan he was earning more points for Moulin Rouge, Down with Love, Young Adam and Big Fish.  Most recently there have been his performances in The Ghost Writer and Beginners.

#76  –  Nick Nolte

342 points
b. 1941, American
Globe, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC
3 Oscar noms, 3 Globe noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  The Prince of Tides
Nolte became a star thanks to television on Rich Man Poor Man but starting with Cannery Row and 48 Hrs. in 1982, he’s given a wide array of solid film performances with Prince of Tides and Affliction standing tallest among them.

#75  –  Steve Martin

349 points
b. 1945, American
NYFC, LAFC, NSFC (twice)
4 Globe noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Roxanne
Almost all of his points come in a decade+ stretch from 1981 to 1991 with Pennies from Heaven, Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, All of Me, Little Shop of Horrors, Roxanne, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Parenthood, L.A. Story and Grand Canyon.

#74  –  Robin Williams

353 points
1951-2014, American
Oscar, SAG, 3 Globes, NBR
4 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 8 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Fisher King
He was a massively loved star from television and stand-up before his awards career began in 1987.  Good Morning Vietnam made him an Oscar nominee and a box office smash and in odd years (Dead Poets, Fisher King) he was earning nominations.  Good Will Hunting won him that elusive Oscar and confirmed that were few people who could do both comedy and drama this well.

#73  –  Gunnar Bjornstrand

358 points
1909-1986, Swedish
NH
BAFTA nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Winter Light
Given that almost his entire career is with heavy dramatic performances his first points come from a Comedy (Smiles of a Summer Night).  As a major member of Bergman’s troupe he earned a massive number of points in the late 50’s and early 60’s before adding to his total a decade later with a couple more Bergman films.  If you’re not familiar with him you need to watch more Bergman.

#72  –  Donald Sutherland

360 points
b. 1935, Canadian
BAFTA nom, 3 Globe noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Without Limits
One of the great under-appreciated actors of all-time as is clear from his nomination list.  But this is the star of M*A*S*H, Klute, Don’t Look Now, Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Ordinary People.  And that list doesn’t even include his best performance.

#71  –  Edward Norton

363 points
b. 1969, American
Globe, LAFC, BSFC, NBR
2 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  American History X
Norton earned an Oscar nomination for his film debut (Primal Fear) and that might not even have been his best performance in that year thanks to The People vs. Larry Flynt.  Then Rounders, Fight Club and especially American History X proved that this was no fluke.  He’s cooled off since then but every now and then he gives performances like 25th Hour or The Painted Veil to remind us how talented he is.

#70  –  George C. Scott

363 points
1927-1999, American
Oscar, Globe, NYFC, NBR, 2 NH
4 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 4 Globe noms, 5 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Hustler
The original Oscar refusal (among actors that is).  Scott had a long career but he was only great for a little over a decade.  But what a decade: Anatomy of a Murder, The Hustler, Dr. Strangelove, Patton and The Hospital, earning him five Nighthawk nominations.

#69  –  Leslie Howard

371 points
1883-1943, English
NH
2 Oscar noms, 5 NH noms
Best Performance:  Pygmalion
Howard hadn’t earned any points since 1938 so maybe his death didn’t end things.  But from 1931 to 1938 he earned more points than any other actor in A Free Soul, Berkeley Square, Of Human Bondage, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Romeo and Juliet, The Petrified Forest, It’s Love I’m After and Pygmalion.  If you haven’t seen his three films with Bette Davis (with vastly different relationships in each), it’s a great testament to the range for both.

#68  –  Bill Murray

373 points
b. 1950, American
BAFTA, Globe, NYFC (twice), LAFC (twice), NSFC (twice), BSFC, CFC, 2 NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, 3 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Lost in Translation
Murray was a Steve Martin-like actor for a while, earning small increases a lot for strong comedic performances.  But then came a bigger jump with Groundhog Day, then a big one for Rushmore and an even bigger one for Lost in Translation and the three of those combined with all the smaller films kept him moving up the list continually for years, a rise that still hasn’t stopped.

#67  –  Robert Redford

374 points
b. 1936, American
BAFTA
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom
Best Performance:  The Candidate
In some ways, Redford reminds me of Spencer Tracy, in the way he under-played roles and the way he makes it to his spot on the list through sheer number of solid performances rather than any truly great performances.  Of course, I like Redford a lot more, the Academy didn’t over-rate him (clearly) and he’s a lot better looking than Tracy.  Of course, he’s also going to pass Tracy because he’s acting well past the age of 70 while Tracy had drank himself to death at the age of 67 (and looking about 87).  What to name?  How about Butch Cassidy, The Candidate, The Sting, The Way we Were, The Great Waldo Pepper, The Three Days of the Condor, Marathon Man, All the President’s Men, Sneakers and The Clearing.  Is that enough?

#66  –  Christian Bale

375 points
b. 1974, Welsh
Oscar, SAG, Globe, BFCA, BSFC, CFC, NBR, NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Fighter
Because I’m a sports fan, I always thought of 40 as the end of a career but Bale, who’s just nine months older than me, makes me feel better.  He was a child prodigy (Empire of the Sun) but in spite of steady work he wouldn’t really start earning most of his points until the mid 00’s.  It would take until 2010 for the awards groups to start noticing him (winning the Oscar for The Fighter) but by then he had already been fantastic in The Machinist, Batman Begins, The Prestige, 3:10 to Yuma and The Dark Knight.  He is absolutely one of the best actors at work in film today.

#65  –  Chris Cooper

376 points
b. 1951, American
Oscar, SAG, Globe, BFCA, NBR, NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, 3 SAG noms, Globe nom, BFCA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Adaptation
One of my Mom’s favorites though she always laments that he plays the bad guy (except in Lone Star).  Before Lone Star his only points were from Matewan but after that star turn he’s got American Beauty, Adaptation, Silver City, Capote and The Company Men.

#64  –  Walter Matthau

379 points
1920-2000, American
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe
3 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 8 Globe noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Fortune Cookie
His career took a big turn up when he was given all the best lines in The Fortune Cookie and for the next decade he was one of the best actors at work (The Odd Couple, Cactus Flower, A New Leaf, Kotch, Pete n Tillie, Charley Varrick, The Front Page, The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The Sunshine Boys).

#63  –  Harrison Ford

388 points
b. 1942, American
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, 4 Globe noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  Presumed Innocent
He’s never really gotten his rightful due as an actor.  In 1981, when Burt Lancaster was lauded for Atlantic City he said his own choice for Best Actor was Ford in Raiders.  After playing Han and Indy, Ford finally got Oscar recognition for Witness and at least Globe recognition for Mosquito Coast and The Fugitive though he got nothing for his best performance in Presumed Innocent.

#62  –  Bob Hoskins

397 points
1942-2014, English
BAFTA, Globe, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, NH
Oscar nom, 3 BAFTA noms, 3 Globe noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  Mona Lisa
If you only know him from Who Framed Roger Rabbit then you have no business looking at this list.  You have to at least know his work in The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa to know he’s great and you should probably know The Cotton Club, The Secret Agent, Felicia’s Journey and Mrs Henderson Presents.

#61  –  Woody Allen

400 points
b. 1935, American
Oscar nom, 3 BAFTA noms, 2 Globe noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Annie Hall
If you find him annoying or even creepy you’re not alone.  But there are few comedic actors who can touch the stretch from 1969 to 1986, the best being Annie Hall, Manhattan and Stardust Memories but the most notable being Play It Again Sam and The Front since those are films he didn’t actually direct.

#60  –  Kenneth Branagh

414 points
b. 1960, Northern Irish
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, Globe nom, BFCA nom, 5 NH Noms
Best Performance:  Henry V
Like Olivier at the top of the list, he’s actually constrained by his stage acting because he earns no points from that and it takes time away from films.  Branagh’s first decade in film as a leading man as he went from zero points to the Top 60 with films like Henry V, Dead Again, Peter’s Friends, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello and Hamlet.  He’s barely in the Top 60 now though because since 1996 his only points have been few and far between (Rabbit Proof Fence, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, My Week with Marilyn).

#59  –  Richard Dreyfuss

414 points
b. 1947, American
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, LAFC
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 4 Globe noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  The Goodbye Girl
Dreyfuss was slowly earning points for films like The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz and Inserts before his big 1977 (The Goodbye Girl, Close Encounters) moved him up quite a bit.  After that, though, it was almost a decade before he slowly started moving up again (Nuts, Tin Men, R&GrD, Mr Holland’s Opus) and getting up to his current spot.

#58  –  John Mills

421 points
1908-2005, English
Oscar, Globe
Oscar nom, 3 BAFTA noms, Globe nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Tunes of Glory
John Mills was my grandmother’s favorite actor and it’s easy to see why.  There’s a quiet dignity he brings to performances in a wide range of films from Drama (This Happy Breed) to Comedy (Hobson’s Choice) to War (Ice Cold in Alex) to Adventure (Scott of the Antarctic).  His Oscar was for Ryan’s Daughter but he was better in Tunes of Glory and it’s wonderful to watch him act opposite his daughter Hayley in Tiger Bay and The Chalk Garden.

#57  –  Spencer Tracy

437 points
1900-1967, American
2 Oscars, BAFTA, Globe, NBR (twice)
9 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, 4 Globe noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  Bad Day at Black Rock
Spencer Tracy is not a favorite of mine and as you can see I think the Academy vastly over-rated his quiet under-playing.  What’s more, they gave him an Oscar for one of his worst performances (Captains Courageous) and twice nominated him (San Francisco, The Old Man and the Sea) when he gave much better performances in the same year (Fury, The Last Hurrah).  He lands here because of a long, solid career while never earning more than 44 points for a performance.  But he earns at least a 26 in a whopping 12 films.

#56  –  Kevin Spacey

442 points
b. 1959, American
2 Oscars, BAFTA, SAG, BFCA, NYFC, BSFC (twice), CFC (twice), NBR, 3 NH
2 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  American Beauty
It’s awkward now given the off-screen issues with him but on-screen, Spacey was just about the best actor at work in the mid to late 90’s with The Ref, The Usual Suspects, L.A. Confidential, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Hurly Burly and American Beauty.

#55  –  Ian McKellen

442 points
b. 1939, English
SAG, BFCA, LAFC, CFC, NBR, 2 NH
2 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 2 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  Gods and Monsters
Like Judi Dench who played opposite him in the BBC’s production of Macbeth, McKellen earned no acting points (on film) until after the age of 40 and really barely any until he was well into his 50’s.  But when he finally moved into film more full-time (not completely – he still does a lot of great stage work) with films like Richard III, Cold Comfort Farm, Gods and Monsters, Apt Pupil and The Lord of the Rings, he also became one of the best film actors around.

#54  –  Charlie Chaplin

446 points
1889-1977, English
NYFC, NBR, 2 NH
Oscar nom, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  Modern Times
Probably the second best actor of the Silent Era behind Chaney except he managed to continue the Silent Era long past where everyone else had turned to sound and continued to be great.  What’s more, once he did allow for sound he proved that he was still a great actor.  If he had made more films or if he had allowed others to direct him, he probably would be higher.  I would say he challenges Orson Welles for the most overall talent on this list but given that Chaplin also did music for his films, he actually wins that argument.  If you need a list of his best films you need to watch more classic films.

#53  –  Ian Holm

448 points
b. 1931, English
2 BAFTAs, BSFC, NH
Oscar nom, 4 BAFTA noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Sweet Hereafter
That a career as great as Holm’s, dating back to the late 60’s (The Fixer, The Bofurs Gun), through to the 70’s (Alien), 80’s (Brazil, Dreamchild), 90’s (The Madness of King George, Big Night, The Sweet Hereafter) and even into the 00’s (Fellowship of the Ring, The Emperor’s New Clothes) should have just the single Oscar nomination from Chariots of Fire is ridiculous.

#52  –  Gregory Peck

454 points
1916-2003, American
Oscar, 2 Globes, NYFC
5 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 5 Globe noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  To Kill a Mockingbird
Gregory Peck began his film career with three straight Oscar nominations and four in five years before waiting over a decade for that fifth nomination and the actual Oscar.  Of course, in between all those nominations he did work like The Gunfighter, Roman Holiday, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Moby Dick and On the Beach so even those 5 Oscar nominations don’t tell the whole story.

#51  –  Kevin Kline

456 points
b. 1947, American
Oscar, 2 NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, 4 Globe noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  A Fish Called Wanda
Kline has only earned the one Oscar nomination (and win) for A Fish Called Wanda and he only does one better at the Nighthawks with another nom (and win) for Sophie’s Choice but that’s not to say that he didn’t give nomination worthy performances (even if they didn’t make my Top 5) in The Big Chill, Grand Canyon or The Ice Storm not to mention performances that earned him points from over half a dozen other films.

#50  –  Russell Crowe

457 points
b. 1964, New Zealand raised in Australia
Oscar, BAFTA, SAG, Globe, 3 BFCA, LAFC, NSFC, NBR
3 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 4 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, 5 BFCA noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Insider
Many would probably think this is all about that stretch when he was the biggest actor at the awards shows from L.A. Confidential through to the trifecta of The Insider, Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind.  But even adding his early points for Proof and Romper Stomper that wouldn’t have been enough.  Crowe might have proved he was nuts way back in 2002 but he’s still done some really good work since then (Master and Commander, Cinderella Man, American Gangster, 3:10 to Yuma) with those four films actually earning him more points than his three straight Oscar nominations.

#49  –  Kevin Costner

460 points
b. 1955, American
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, 3 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  A Perfect World
The Academy finally nominated him for Dances with Wolves after passing him over for better performances in Bull Durham and Field of Dreams.  After A Perfect World people mostly ignored him thanks to Waterworld and The Postman but The Upside of Anger and The Company Men showed that he was still an awards worthy actor.

#48  –  Morgan Freeman

463 points
b. 1937, American
Oscar, SAG, Globe, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, NBR (twice)
5 Oscar noms, 3 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Street Smart
His days as Easy Reader on Electric Company quickly faded in the late 80’s when he made, in just three years, Street Smart, Clean and Sober, Lean on Me, Driving Miss Daisy and Glory.  But those were only two of his Oscar nominations and the future would bring Shawshank, Million Dollar Baby and Invictus plus making him the narrator everyone wants for their life after March of the Penguins.

#47  –  William Holden

479 points
1918-1981, American
Oscar, 2 NH
3 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 5 NH noms
Best Performance:  Sunset Blvd.
There was a time when Holden was actually the winner of four Nighthawk Awards but I decided that De Niro’s performance in 1976 couldn’t be denied and that Chimes at Midnight belonged in 1969 knocking his performances in Network and The Wild Bunch down to second place.  But, given that he has as many Nighthawk nominations as Oscar nominations, BAFTA nominations and Globe nominations put together shows that his acting was never truly appreciated properly.

#46  –  Max von Sydow

483 points
b. 1929, Swedish
2 Oscar noms, 2 Globe noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  Hour of the Wolf
His points span a period of well over 50 years, from his magnificent work for Bergman (The Seventh Seal, The Magician, Hour of the Wolf, The Rite), his other foreign work (The Emigrants, Pelle the Conqueror) and then his English language work (The Exorcist, Voyage of the Damned, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close).

#45  –  Peter O’Toole

484 points
1932-2013, English
BAFTA, 3 Globes, NSFC, NBR (twice), 2 NH
8 Oscar noms, 4 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 8 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Lawrence of Arabia
O’Toole was well-liked by the Academy but not loved as his record 8 Oscar nominations without a win clearly show.  To me, it mostly comes down to those two magnificent performances that earn the full amount of points possible (Lawrence, Lion in Winter) but his work that showed a sly comedic hand (The Stunt Man, My Favorite Year) can’t be overlooked and unlike Spencer Tracy, the Academy never nominated him for a performance that was completely unworthy.

#44  –  Robert Duvall

498 points
b. 1931, American
Oscar, BAFTA, SAG, 2 Globes, NYFC (twice), LAFC (twice), NSFC, CFC, NH
6 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 3 SAG noms, 3 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Apocalypse Now
One of the most formidable actors of the 70’s (and early 80’s) with M*A*S*H, The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Network, Apocalypse Now, The Great Santini, True Confessions and Tender Mercies.  In later years, the Oscars would continue to love him, over-rating his performances in The Apostle and A Civil Action but they are still good (if not to the level of a Nighthawk) and continue to add to his point total.

#43  –  Sidney Poitier

502 points
b. 1927, born in America, raised in the Bahamas
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe
2 Oscar noms, 6 BAFTA noms, 6 Globe noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  In the Heat of the Night
Poitier didn’t retire after 1968 and in 1992 he would be in one of my favorite of his films (Sneakers).  But he seemed like he had done what he needed to do, having won an Oscar (Lilies of the Field), earned another nomination (The Defiant Ones), given several amazing performances (No Way Out, Blackboard Jungle, A Raisin in the Sun, The Slender Thread) before his amazing 1967 that saw three incredible performances, all dealing with race relations (In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, To Sir with Love) that saw him completely ignored by the Oscars.

#42  –  Ben Kingsley

503 points
b. 1943, English
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA, NYFC, LAFC, BSFC, NBR
4 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 4 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  Sexy Beast
Kingsley was already an accomplished stage and television actor when he hit movie screens with his fantastic performance in Gandhi.  That won him the Oscar (if not the Nighthawk) and he would earn more for Bugsy, Sexy Beast and House of Sand and Fog.  But outside of those, there are his performances in Betrayal, Schindler’s List, Death and the Maiden, Twelfth Night and Oliver Twist, almost all of them as good as some of those nominated performances.  More recently, Shutter Island and Hugo prove that he continues to be a formidable screen presence.

#41  –  Warren Beatty

510 points
b. 1937, American
Globe, NBR, 2 NH
4 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 6 Globe noms, 6 NH noms
Best Performance:  Reds
Warren Beatty, in 1978, became the first person to earn four Oscar nominations for the same film since 1941.  And yet, his acting on Heaven Can Wait is just even with The Parallax View and Shampoo and considerably weaker than Bonnie and Clyde, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Reds, Bugsy and Bulworth.  He can do it all but acting is still what he does best.

#40  –  William Hurt

519 points
b. 1950, American
Oscar, BAFTA, NYFC, LAFC (twice), NBR, 2 NH
4 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, 3 Globe noms, 5 NH noms
Best Performance:  Kiss of the Spider Woman
At the start of 1980, William Hurt had never acted in a film.  By the start of 1989 he was in the Top 45.  That meteoric rise came courtesy of Body Heat, The Big Chill, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Children of a Lesser God, Broadcast News and The Accidental Tourist and it showed that Hurt could move between Comedy and Drama with ease.  He’s slowed up since which is why he is where he is but every now and then he still gives a hell of a performance (like Smoke or A History of Violence) to remind people what he’s capable of.

#39  –  Charles Laughton

522 points
1899-1962, English
Oscar, NYFC, 3 NH
3 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, Globe nom, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  Mutiny on the Bounty
Great actors who weren’t also good looking had an easier time finding success in England which is why it’s ironic that Laughton’s move to Hollywood won him an Oscar and earned him another nomination just two years later.  Though he would continue to give solid performances right up until his death (he would die just six months after the release of Advise & Consent) his best year, by far (actually as the list above proved, anybody’s best year) was in 1935 where he wins both Nighthawk awards (lead in Mutiny on the Bounty, supporting in Les Miserables) while also giving a great comedic performance in Ruggles of Red Gap.

#38  –  Marlon Brando

537 points
1924-2004, American
2 Oscars, 3 BAFTAs, 2 Globes, NYFC (twice), NSFC, 3 NH
8 Oscar noms, 7 BAFTA noms, 6 Globe noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  A Streetcar Named Desire
Method was already on screen before Brando did The Men in 1950 but the next year he took film acting to a new level with Streetcar that has never been equalled.  Even if the Academy didn’t award him for that he would become the only person in history to be nominated for Best Actor four years in a row, culminating in a well deserved Oscar for On the Waterfront.  The next two decades would be on and off but his double whammy of The Godfather and Last Tango in Paris (the former winning the Oscar and the latter the Nighthawk) would prove once and for all how great an actor he was and if he had just focused on making good films he would be a lot higher.  The evidence is that though he is down at #38 he is one of just 11 actors to give 4 different 8 point lead performances and only he and Daniel Day-Lewis have more than two 9 point lead performances (Streetcar, Waterfront, Tango).

#37  –  Jeremy Irons

540 points
b. 1948, English
Oscar, Globe, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC (twice)
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, Globe nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Reversal of Fortune
In some ways, Irons is the opposite of Brando.  He rarely gives a bad performance (Dungeons & Dragons being the exception) but it’s the rare occasion where he rises high enough to land in the Nighthawk nominations (Betrayal, Dead Ringers, Reversal of Fortune).  But to just look at those three ignores The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Moonlighting, Swann in Love, The Mission, Damage, M. Butterfly, Stealing Beauty, Lolita, The Merchant of Venice, Being Julia and Kingdom of Heaven and that’s one hall of a resume.

#36  –  Johnny Depp

548 points
b. 1963, American
SAG, Globe, NH
3 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 10 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Ed Wood
Clearly I am more in the embrace of my friend Terry Lopata who practically worshipped Johnny around the time that Pirates came out and he finally started being recognized (in spite of Edward Scissorhands, Benny and Joon, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Ed Wood, Don Juan DeMarco, Donnie Brasco and Fear and Loathing having already come out) rather than my mother’s view (“But he’s so weird“).  The weird, of course, is the point, as proven since with Sweeney Todd his best performance since he started getting more attention.

#35  –  Claude Rains

549 points
1889-1967, English
3 NH
4 Oscar noms, 11 NH noms
Best Performance:  Casablanca
If Rains’ points weren’t almost all in supporting he would be a good ten spots higher.  But he is the greatest character actor of them all.  He earned four Oscar nominations and yet somehow never won any of them.  Well, he’s had no problem at the Nighthawks, not with performances like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca or Notorious.  His 11 Nighthawk nominations, even with almost all of them in supporting (his one lead was for The Invisible Man in which we don’t see his face until the final shot) lands him with 425 Nighthawk points, good enough for 6th all-time.

#34  –  Orson Welles

556 points
1915-1985, American
3 NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, Globe nom, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  Citizen Kane
There, but for the lack of God goes God.  That’s what one person supposedly said about Welles and I should point out that while he earns 7 nominations and wins three Nighthawks that’s just for his acting.  He also wins for Director and Screenplay for Citizen Kane and Touch of Evil.  Because of the range of what he does he rivals Chaplin for total Nighthawk wins and nominations.  What should not be lost is his brilliant acting in films that he didn’t direct like The Third Man, Compulsion or Catch-22.

#33  –  Leonardo DiCaprio

559 points
b. 1974, American
Globe, NBR, NH
3 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 4 SAG noms, 8 Globe noms, 4 BFCA noms, 5 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Aviator
When he made the jump from television to film in the early 90’s, performances in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Romeo + Juliet proved he was a real actor.  But Titanic, while a decent performance from Leo moved him into stardom and it derailed his actual acting.  Thankfully he started working with Marty and became a massive powerhouse of acting.  Not all of his great performances have been for Marty (The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island) because there are also Catch Me if You Can, Blood Diamond and Revolutionary Road (the latter one of his most under-appreciated performances).  The awards line is thin but it’s gonna get a lot bigger.

#32  –  Jeff Bridges

572 points
b. 1949, American
Oscar, SAG, Globe, BFCA, LAFC
6 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 3 SAG noms, 4 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  True Grit
In 1998 when Jeff Bridges plained what is clearly his most iconic role he was not yet 50 years old and it had been 14 years since his third and most recent Oscar nomination (Starman).  He was in the Top 100 with almost 300 points earned in a career that included The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Fisher King.  But then, in spite of only earning a Satellite nomination (and a Nighthawk nomination), Bridges moved into a different realm.  Since then have come three more Oscar nominations and a win (The Contender, Crazy Heart, True Grit) and he’s now in the Top 35 and it doesn’t like he’s stopping any time soon.

#31  –  Philip Seymour Hoffman

573 points
1967-2014, American
Oscar, BAFTA, SAG, Globe, BFCA, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC, NBR (twice)
3 Oscar noms, 4 BAFTA noms, 3 SAG noms, 4 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  Capote
He broke through with a really strong year in 1999 earning 100 points for The Talented Mr. Ripley, Magnolia and Flawless.  Then, less than a decade later he managed to eclipse that with a year for the ages, earning 156 points for Charlie Wilson’s War, The Savages and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.  In between all he did was win an Oscar (and almost everything else).  Since then he’s only added to his already impressive total with Doubt and Moneyball.

#30  –  Tom Hanks

576 points
b. 1956, American
2 Oscars, SAG, 4 Globes, NYFC, LAFC, CFC (twice), NBR
5 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 3 SAG noms, 7 Globe noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Saving Private Ryan
Hanks’ career reminds me of Jude Law.  I always liked Hanks and Big clearly proved he could act but when he won back-to-back Oscars for performances that I didn’t think were close to the best performance of the year (especially Gump) I started to see him as overrated.  But then came Saving Private Ryan and Cast Away which proved he really was one of the better actors around and then Road to Perdition which was better than most of his Oscar nominated performances but failed to earn him any award traction and Charlie Wilson’s War which showed a different side of him.  If only he would get back to the good stuff and get away from crap like Angels and Demons and Larry Crowne.

#29  –  Clint Eastwood

582 points
b. 1930, American
LAFC, NBR, NH
2 Oscar noms, BFCA nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  Unforgiven
The next few actors on the list aren’t going to make the Academy look good.  The first two barely even earned any nominations and the following three earned several but never managed to win.  Because Eastwood didn’t go the normal route to acting stardom (television, off to Italy and giving good performances, then back for Westerns) and then turned to directing, it took the Academy a long time to realize he had become a brilliant actor.  What’s amazing is what he did just in his 60’s: White Hunter Black Heart, Unforgiven, In the Line of Fire, A Perfect World, The Bridges of Madison County, Absolute Power.

#28  –  Cary Grant

590 points
1904-1986, English
NH
2 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, 5 Globe noms, 5 NH noms
Best Performance:  His Girl Friday
As I type this, The Philadelphia Story is on TCM and I am reminded that while Jimmy Stewart won the Oscar in that film, Grant only earned two Oscar nominations, neither of them for Comedies.  That’s in spite of a career that includes, not only that film, but also The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, Arsenic and Old Lace, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest.  That’s right, that list, with Suspicion and Notorious thrown in for good measure, earned him no Oscar nominations.  My mother’s favorite actor and with good reason.

#27  –  Richard Burton

602 points
1925-1984, Welsh
BAFTA, Globe, NH
7 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 6 Globe noms, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf
The Academy would nominate Burton for two early performances (My Cousin Rachel, The Robe) then pass him over for a better performance in Look Back in Anger.  In 1964, they would nominate him for Becket rather than his better performance in Night of the Iguana.  He would earn nominations but fail to win in 1965 (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold), 1966 (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf) and 1977 (Equus) in spite of giving performances better than the winning one each time.  His final performance (released after his death) in 1984 would go unnoticed by awards groups in spite of its brilliance but by then his hard drinking had already taken the toll.

#26  –  Kirk Douglas

603 points
b. 1916, American
Globe, NYFC, 2 NH
3 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, 2 Globe noms, 8 NH noms
Best Performance:  Paths of Glory
Also never to win an Oscar, he would be even better than Burton but with far fewer Oscar nominations to show for it.  Yes, they nominated him for Champion, The Bad and the Beautiful and Lust for Life.  But he would be almost completely ignored for brilliant work in Out of the Past, A Letter to Three Wives, Detective Story, Ace in the Hole and Paths of Glory not to mention numerous other films that earn him points.

#25  –  Albert Finney

608 points
1936-2019, English
Globe, SAG, NYFC, LAFC, BSFC, NBR
5 Oscar noms, 8 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 7 Globe noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  Under the Volcano
Finney, like Lemmon below, fails to make the Top 10 in any decade but manages to score at least 70 points in five straight decades.  Finney was fascinating because he was so often so good and yet people couldn’t agree on when he was the best.  Not only is he the only person to win at least four critics awards but to have them be all, first, from different organizations, but second, all for different performances (in order by award listed above: Tom Jones, Under the Volcano, The Browning Version, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning) but his Globe win (Scrooge) and his SAG win (Erin Brockovich) were also for different films.  And those don’t even include two of his Oscar nominations (Murder on the Orient Express, The Dresser) of one of his Nighthawk nominations (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead).

#24  –  James Cagney

611 points
1899-1986, American
Oscar, NYFC (twice), NH
3 Oscar noms, 6 NH noms
Best Performance:  Yankee Doodle Dandy
My mom always likes to claim she had three favorite actors and they all died within the space of a year (Grant, Cagney, Robert Preston).  Really, she had one favorite actor and two favorite performances (Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Music Man).  But while that’s Cagney’s best performances, let’s remember The Public Enemy, Footlight Parade, Picture Snatcher, Angels with Dirty Faces.  And those are just the ones before he won the Oscar.  After that came my college roommate’s favorite film (White Heat), another Oscar nomination (Love Me or Leave Me), one of my mother’s favorite movies (Mister Roberts), one of my favorite performances (One Two Three) and his brilliant return (Ragtime).

#23  –  Sean Penn

623 points
b. 1960, American
2 Oscars, SAG, Globe, 2 BFCA, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, NBR, NH
5 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 4 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Milk
In the 80’s in spite of performances that showed his potential, Penn was known more for being belligerent and married to Madonna.  In the 90’s, the 1-2 punch of Carlito’s Way and Dead Man Walking made people really notice the talent as did Sweet and Lowdown before his knockout year of 2003 (Mystic River, 21 Grams).  And after all that, who still could have guessed he could play a kind, hopeful man like Harvey Milk?

#22  –  Fredric March

638 points
1897-1975, American
2 Oscars, Globe, 2 NH
5 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 3 Globe noms, 5 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Best Years of Our Lives
Fredric March is such a great actor that he won an Oscar for a performance in a Horror film (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), something no male has ever done again and no female would do for 36 years after his win.  Is that his best performance?  Or is it when he played Jean Valjean?  Or is it when he originated the role of Norman Maine in A Star is Born?  Or maybe his soldier returning from the war in The Best Years of Our Lives?  Or his Willy Loman?  Or his portrayal of William Jennings Bryan (even under another name) in Inherit the Wind?  The point is, those are all legitimate choices.

#21  –  Humphrey Bogart

666 points
1899-1957, American
Oscar, 3 NH
3 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, 11 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
It’s easy to make the case that Bogie belongs higher and that it’s a flaw in my system.  I will point out that he died at an age younger than anyone in the Top 30 and that if he had lived longer he would have been higher because he was still giving good performances.  I pointed out that Brando had four 8 point lead performances (which translates to 70 points) but Bogie actually had five of them (The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The African Queen, The Caine Mutiny) and he didn’t even earn Oscar nominations for two of them.  It’s also clear from his 11 Nighthawk nominations that it’s not all about those five performances either.

#20  –  Denzel Washington

669 points
b. 1954, American
2 Oscars, 2 Globes, NYFC, LAFC, BSFC (twice), CFC, NH
5 Oscar noms, 2 SAG noms, 6 Globe noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  Glory
On the one hand, the Academy gave him an Oscar for Training Day, a performance where I don’t even award him any points and didn’t nominate him for A Soldier’s Story.  On the other hand, they rightfully nominated him for Cry Freedom and correctly gave him the award for Glory.  Denzel has moved into superstardom land and seems less interested in pure acting lately, only earning points for two films since 2002 (The Manchurian Candidate, American Gangster).

#19  –  Tom Cruise

675 points
b. 1962, American
3 Globes, CFC (twice), NBR, NH
3 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, 2 SAG noms, 7 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Magnolia
I used to think that Tom Cruise winning an Oscar was inevitable.  But his last Oscar nomination was in 1999 and since 2004 the only film he’s even earned points for was his hilarious short performance in Tropic Thunder.  Perhaps when the Oscars passed him over in 1999 for his career best performance to instead give Michael Caine a second Oscar and when he followed that up in the five years after with Vanilla Sky, Minority Report, The Last Samurai and Collateral and couldn’t even snag a nomination that he might as well just do the less Oscar oriented films.

#18  –  Jack Lemmon

676 points
1925-2001, American
2 Oscars, 3 BAFTAs, 3 Globes, NBR, NH
8 Oscar noms, 8 BAFTA noms, 16 Globe noms, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Apartment
Lemmon is the ultimate career actor.  By that, I mean he’s the highest actor on this list who doesn’t make the Top 10 in any decade though he did manage to have at least 100 points in four straight decades and 70 points in five straight decades.  The only other actors to do the former are Olivier, Hoffman and Nicholson and the latter are Olivier, Hoffman, Finney and Caine.  The Oscars really liked him (his second Oscar, Save the Tiger, is, at best, his seventh performance behind The Apartment, Mister Roberts, Some Like It Hot, Missing, Glengarry Glen Ross, The China Syndrome) but the Globes absolutely loved him and with good reason because he’s brilliant at both Drama and Comedy.

#17  –  James Stewart

706 points
1908-1997, American
Oscar, NYFC (twice), 2 NH
5 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 Globe noms, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  It’s a Wonderful Life
I’ve always liked Jimmy Stewart but I was a bit surprised when I did my chart and discovered that for a stretch in the early 60’s he was actually in first place on the chart.  I don’t usually think of him in the same terms that I do the others surrounding him here on the list, perhaps in part because he didn’t receive the same kind of awards acclaim that the others did.  But when you have two powerhouse performances like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It’s a Wonderful Life and great leading performances in The Philadelphia Story, Harvey, Vertigo and Anatomy of a Murder you’re already over 400 points and only then go back and add in all the other films he earns points for (10 different ones) and the numbers really add up.

#16  –  Ralph Fiennes

727 points
b. 1962, English
BAFTA, NYFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC, 2 NH
2 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 3 Globe noms, 6 NH noms
Best Performance:  Schindler’s List
He came out of nowhere to give the definitive film performance of evil and didn’t win the Oscar (Schindler’s List).  He was brilliant the next year in Quiz Show and didn’t even earn a nomination.  Two years later he was masterful in The English Patient and didn’t win the Oscar.  The next year he got ignored by everyone in Oscar and Lucinda.  I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who realized just how brilliant an actor Ralph Fiennes was.  What more?  In 1999 he did The End of the Affair, Onegin and Sunshine and got just a BAFTA nom.  The rest of the decade saw Spider, The Good Thief, The Constant Gardener, In Bruges, The Duchess, The Reader and multiple portrayals of Voldemort and got him mostly ignored.  He was in his third Best Picture winner (The Hurt Locker) and started directing (Coriolanus).  Someday people will look back and realized they had never appreciated Fiennes and his film work properly.

#15  –  Gene Hackman

727 points
b. 1930, American
2 Oscars, 2 BAFTAs, 3 Globes, NYFC (twice), LAFC, NSFC (thrice), BSFC, CFC, NBR (thrice), 4 NH
5 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, 8 Globe noms, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  Unforgiven
In the Studio days there were stars like Stewart and Bogie and there were character actors like Rains.  As the Studio Era died out you still had stars like Newman and Beatty but the character actors would kind of get lost in the shuffle.  But Gene Hackman seemed to be the first person to be a true character actor in films like Bonnie and Clyde and I Never Sang for My Father (which is perhaps why he was nominated for supporting in the latter in spite of clearly being the lead) who then became a star in films like The French Connection, The Conversation, Night Moves, Hoosiers and Mississippi Burning.  But then he could go back to being the supporting role in films like Superman, No Way Out and Unforgiven.  The only reason Hackman is as low as he is, is because he was older than the others who came up with him in the late 60’s and he decided to retire back in 2004.

#14  –  George Clooney

731 points
b. 1961, American
Oscar, 3 Globes, BFCA, NBR (thrice), NH
4 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, 4 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, 4 BFCA noms, 8 NH noms
Best Performance:  Out of Sight
The Academy waited too long to get this right.  Clooney is one of only two English language actors in the Top 30 to not even earn an Oscar nomination for his best performance (Bogie is the other).  What’s most impressive is not that Clooney is this high but that he reached this point in just 14 years.  He earns at least 17 points in every year from 1998 to 2011 except 2006 (where he earns none).  And he proved he could do it in Comedy (O Brother, Intolerable Cruelty), Drama (Solaris, Good Night and Good Luck) or a combination of both (Out of Sight, Three Kings, Up in the Air, The Descendants) and that he could be a star (Ocean’s Eleven, Michael Clayton) or supporting (Syriana, Burn After Reading, The Ides of March).

#13  –  Henry Fonda

731 points
1905-1982, American
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, NBR, 2 NH
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 Globe noms, 6 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Grapes of Wrath
Just a couple of days ago, TCM did their Henry Fonda day and they programmed it bouncing back and forth between Comedy and Drama.  Some bizarre programmer than set things up so that in primetime Yours, Mine and Ours was between 12 Angry Men and The Grapes of Wrath which is insane since Fonda’s Comedies include The Lady Eve and Mister Roberts (both played earlier in the day).  Fonda would have ranked even higher had he not taken seven years off from film at the end of the Studio Era in order to go back on stage.

#12  –  Al Pacino

751 points
b. 1940, American
Oscar, BAFTA, 2 Globes, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, NBR (twice), NH
8 Oscar noms, 4 BAFTA noms, 13 Globe noms, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Godfather
Lon Chaney and Leslie Howard lead the 20’s and 30’s in points but died in 1930 and 1943 respectively and earned no points the following decade.  Pacino lead the impressive group in the 70’s with 380 points even while he only acted in one film between 1975 and 1979 thanks to The Godfather, Scarecrow, Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon (earning four straight Oscar noms) and And Justice for All.  Then he disappeared in the 80’s, earning zero points.  But the 90’s began with an Oscar nomination (Dick Tracy), a film he should have been nominated for (The Godfather Part III) and his double Oscar nom resulting in a very undeserved win (Glengarry Glen Ross, Scent of a Woman).  He was very uneven after that, bouncing between horrible performances and giving, every couple of years, another really good performance that reminded you of what he was capable of and kept his point totals moving higher (Donnie Brasco, The Insider, Insomnia, The Merchant of Venice).

#11  –  Burt Lancaster

753 points
1913-1994, American
Oscar, 2 BAFTAs, NYFC (thrice), LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, Globe
4 Oscar noms, 4 BAFTA noms, 4 Globe noms, 6 NH noms
Best Performance:  Atlantic City
Stanley Kauffmann, one of the greatest films critics of all-time, would be appalled by this placement.  If you read my obit on him you’ll find several digs at Lancaster at the end because Kauffmann couldn’t stand Lancaster as an actor.  But, while Lancaster had an early good performance (Brute Force) and a masterpiece late one (Atlantic City) followed by two strong supporting ones (Local Hero, Field of Dreams), it’s what he did when he was a star from 1952 to 1966 that is most impressive.  In that stretch he earned 538 points, landing in the Top 10 in both decades, something that many above him on the list managed to do.

#10  –  Anthony Hopkins

727 points
b. 1937, Welsh
Oscar, 2 BAFTAs, BFCA, NYFC, LAFC, BSFC, CFC, NBR (twice), 2 NH
4 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 9 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Silence of the Lambs
His performance as Hannibal followed in the next several years by Dracula, Howards End, The Remains of the Day, Shadowlands, Nixon and Amistad shouldn’t have been such a surprise given that before 1991 he had already done The Lion in Winter, Magic, The Elephant Man and The Good Father but those hadn’t earned awards attention outside of the BAFTAs and so it did come as a surprise.

#9  –  Toshiro Mifune

818 points
1920-1997, born in China to Japanese parents
2 NH
BAFTA nom, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  Rashomon
Here’s a good reason why awards don’t factor into this list.  The BAFTAs just once nominated him (for Seven Samurai as a lead but they didn’t have a supporting category at the time – he wins the Nighthawk for supporting for both that and Rashomon).  Most of his films with Kurosawa landed in the States in the early 60’s and they were Oscar eligible but the Academy didn’t really bother to notice so brilliant performances in Stray Dog, I Live in Fear, Throne of Blood, The Hidden Fortress, The Bad Sleep Well, Yojimbo, High and Low and Red Beard were the kind of thing that the Nighthawk Awards were created to reward.  He is so linked with Akira Kurosawa that there is a wonderful dual biography (The Emperor and the Wolf – check your local library) and they were my top pic for my now 11 year old piece on the best actor-director collaborations.

#8  –  Laurence Olivier

833 points
1907-1989, English
Oscar, 2 BAFTAs, 2 Globes, NYFC (thrice), NBR (twice), 2 NH
10 Oscar noms, 9 BAFTA noms, 5 Globe noms, 12 NH noms
Best Performance:  Richard III
The first actor ever to be made a peer which shows he great he is.  And it feels weird to have him this low (and by the update below he’s out of the Top 10).  But that’s because he spent so much of his career on the stage (which was his real passion) and really did film to make money more than the art of it (except for the Shakespeare films).  He is still the consummate Shakespeare actor on film (Henry V, Hamlet, Richard III, Othello) but just to limit yourself to his Shakespeare films is to miss so much brilliant work aside from that.  He never earned a 9 for a film performance but he earns an astounding six 8’s as a lead (Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Henry V, Hamlet, Richard III, Sleuth) and two in supporting (Spartacus, Marathon Man).

#7  –  Daniel Day-Lewis

837 points
b. 1957, English
2 Oscars, 3 BAFTAs, SAG, Globe, 2 BFCA, NYFC (4), LAFC (thrice), NSFC (twice), BSFC (thrice), CFC (twice), NBR, 4 NH
4 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 6 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 9 NH noms
Best Performance:  My Left Foot
How great an actor is Daniel Day-Lewis?  Through 2011, he had made just 19 films.  Two of them were tiny roles (Sunday Bloody Sunday, Gandhi) and three of them I have been unable to see (Nanou, Stars and Bars, Eversmile New Jersey).  Of the other 14 he earned at least 26 points for each one and at least 44 for each one except The Bounty and Nine.  He doesn’t waste performances.  Most other people have at least a number of films where they earned no points.  DDL racks up points for every film and by a large, large margin has the highest points per film appearance.  And just look at how long his awards line is and think about how films he has made.  In spite of his few appearances, he joins Jack Nicholson as the only actors to earn more than 200 points in three different decades.

#6  –  Alec Guinness

864 points
1914-2000, English
Oscar, BAFTA, Globe, NYFC, LAFC, NBR (twice), 2 NH
5 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 3 Globe noms, 10 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Bridge on the River Kwai
As revealed in the previous post, although it should come as no surprise, he’s my favorite actor of all-time.  I first knew him as Obi-Wan Kenobi, a performance which earned a Nighthawk win and an Oscar nomination.  Then I got into David Lean and discovered his performance for the ages in The Bridge on the River Kwai.  Eventually I would discover the Ealing Comedies and see what a brilliant comedic actor he could be in films like Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit and The Ladykillers.  Oh, and there’s also The Horse’s Mouth, Tunes of Glory, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, The Quiller Memorandum and Little Dorrit.

#5  –  Robert De Niro

892 points
b. 1943, American
2 Oscars, Globe, NYFC (5), LAFC (twice), NSFC (twice), BSFC, NBR (twice), 5 NH
6 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, 8 Globe noms, 8 NH noms
Best Performance:  Raging Bull
After his double whammy in 1973 of Mean Streets and Bang the Drum Slowly, De Niro had a meteoric rise up the chart.  By 1981 he was already at almost 400 points thanks to The Godfather Part II, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter and Raging Bull.  The 80’s were a slow rise but the 90’s began with GoodFellas, Awakenings, Cape Fear and Guilty by Suspicion and he earned in two years almost more than he had from 1981 to 1989.  In the late 90’s, De Niro decided to start doing dumb comedies and hasn’t earned any points since 1998 but there’s still hope he’ll go back to better work.

#4  –  Dustin Hoffman

927 points
b. 1937, American
2 Oscars, 2 BAFTAs, 3 Globes, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC (twice), BSFC, NH
7 Oscar noms, 7 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 10 Globe noms, 7 NH noms
Best Performance:  Rain Man
I list him fourth all-time and he’s not even the best American actor born in 1937.  But he hits major milestones.  He’s got five level 8 performances (The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie, Rain Man).  He hits 100 points in five straight decades (60’s-00’s).  That’s remarkable given that he’s only earned more than 37 points for a performance once since 1988 (Wag the Dog) but he continues to do solid work (mostly as supporting now) and moving up the lists.

#3  –  Paul Newman

960 points
1925-2008, American
Oscar, BAFTA, NYFC, NSFC, NBR, 2 NH
10 Oscar noms, 5 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 9 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 9 NH noms
Best Performance:  The Hustler
He’s really well liked but not loved.  The Oscars finally gave him the award for his 8th nomination after he had been nominated for at least five better performances (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, The Verdict).  The Globes nominated him a lot but never gave him the award (actually he won three – Best Newcomer Male for The Silver Chalice which might be his worst performance, Best Director for Rachel Rachel and Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series for Empire Falls which was definitely the right choice).  Even I have only given him his two Nighthawks after having times when those years had different winners.  But he was a consummate actor and he continued to be great for a very long time (his first points are in 1958, his last in 2002).  I also have a soft spot because of the night he came into Borders, 15 minutes after Robin Williams did.  He and Joanne bought some DVD’s for their grandkids and some classical music.  My cashier didn’t recognize him.  At the time, I thought the only bigger people who could come in were Jack, Eastwood or Harrison Ford and my cashier had no idea who he was (made infinitely worse by the other cashier who said “You know, the salad dressing.”).  The mold for Clooney: as good looking as they come, as good an actor as can be, important social activism, an awesome spouse and partner.

#2  –  Michael Caine

967 points
b. 1933, English
2 Oscars, BAFTA, SAG, 2 Globes, NSFC, 3 NH
6 Oscar noms, 8 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 9 Globe noms, 9 NH noms
Best Performance:  Hannah and Her Sisters
Michael Caine once went 10 years without earning any acting points (1988-1998).  To be fair, he only made 10 films from 1989 to 1997, the same amount he made from just 1986 to 1988.  But it’s notable because Caine has earned at least 70 points in every decade (he earned almost 90 points in the last two years of the 90’s with Little Voice and The Cider House Rules).  Just the fact that he earned Oscar nominations in five different decades (Alfie, Sleuth, Educating Rita, The Cider House Rules, The Quiet American) shows how long he’s been a great actor.  Though he’s long been a great actor with some truly great performances (not even mentioned there are California Suite, Mona Lisa and Hannah and Her Sisters) his place on the list is also about sheer accumulation of points.  Take 2005-08 where he earned over 200 points without earning more than 37 points for any single performance just because, in his mid 70’s he was so good in Batman Begins, The Weather Man, The Prestige, Children of Men, Sleuth and The Dark Knight.  His entire career is like that and it doesn’t look like he has any intention of stopping anytime soon which is astounding because back in January of 2008 when I came in the kitchen and told V that I hoped filming on The Dark Knight was complete she (reasonably, since he was almost 75) asked if Michael Caine had died before I told her it was Ledger who had died.  Yet, here we are and Caine is still doing great work.

#1  –  Jack Nicholson

1249 points
b. 1937, American
3 Oscars, 3 BAFTAs, SAG, 6 Globes, 2 BFCA, NYFC (6), LAFC (thrice), NSFC (5), BSFC (thrice), CFC, NBR (5), 4 NH
12 Oscar noms, 7 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 17 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, 13 NH noms
Best Performance:  Chinatown
“This poem’s no Jack Nicholson.  /  This poem can’t abide a man who admires  /  the Lakers.  This poem will stop  /  to say just that.  /  This poem loves the Boston Celtics.”  (“Poetry is Carnal Knowledge, It’s True”, Doyle Wesley Walls).  Doyle’s poem (I feel fine calling him by his first name since he was my English professor as an undergraduate which is why I know this fantastic poem) puts forth the only reason I wouldn’t like Jack.  Jack is the king.  He’s almost the Meryl of male actors but he retired and Meryl shows no sign of retiring.  Plus she actually has a lot more points.  Jack worked in B-movies for years before suddenly bursting forth into the acting lists, awards lists and stardom with Easy Rider.  From 1969 to 1975 he gave a string of performances that earned him at least 35 points every year (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Carnal Knowledge, The King of Marvin Gardens, The Last Detail, Chinatown, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest).  He was not yet 40 but he was already at #25 on the all-time list.  He made just three movies in the next four years, none of them earning him any points but then he followed that up by earning more points in the 80’s than any other actor thanks to films like The Shining, Reds, Terms of Endearment, Prizzi’s Honor, Ironweed and Batman.  He had become the first actor (and still only) to ever earn over 350 points in multiple decades and was up to #4.  By the end of the 90’s, having earned another Oscar nomination (A Few Good Men) and another Oscar (As Good as It Gets) not to mention films like Hoffa and The Crossing Guard he had become the first actor to ever earn over 200 points in three separate decades.  In 1992 he became the #1 actor and in 1997 became the first to pass 1000 points.  He only made six films in the 00’s and two of them were awful (Anger Management, The Bucket List) but he still managed, with just the other four (The Pledge, About Schmidt, Something’s Gotta Give, The Departed) to earn enough points to become the first and only actor to earn over 200 points in four separate decades.

Post-2011

Top 10 Points:  2012-2018

  1. Tom Hanks  –  280
  2. Christian Bale  –  263
  3. Jake Gyllenhaal  –  261
  4. Bradley Cooper  –  256
  5. Matthew McConaughy  –  255
  6. Joaquin Phoenix  –  226
  7. Steve Carrell  –  220
  8. Leonardo DiCaprio  –  219
  9. Hugh Jackman  –  201
  10. Denzel Washington  /  Eddie Redmayne  –  183

note:  The following several lists I saved for here so that I could include everything through 2018 instead of having to do two versions.  So they reflect the current points.

Top 10 Actors Who Have Never Won an Oscar

  1. Ralph Fiennes
  2. Toshiro Mifune
  3. Tom Cruise
  4. Johnny Depp
  5. Albert Finney
  6. Clint Eastwood
  7. Kirk Douglas
  8. Richard Burton
  9. Cary Grant
  10. Orson Welles

note:  Leo would have been 5th in 2011.
note:  Eastwood and Welles have non-acting Oscars.

Top 10 Actors Who Have Never Been Nominated for an Oscar

  1. Toshiro Mifune
  2. Ewan McGregor
  3. Donald Sutherland
  4. Gunnar Bjornstrand
  5. Steve Martin
  6. Alan Rickman
  7. Hugh Grant
  8. Jean Gabin
  9. Lon Chaney
  10. John Cusack

Top 10 Years for Actors

  1. 1937  (Jack Nicholson  /  Dustin Hoffman  /  Anthony Hopkins  /  Warren Beatty  /  Morgan Freeman)
  2. 1925  (Paul Newman  /  Jack Lemmon  /  Richard Burton)
  3. 1899  (Humphrey Bogart  /  James Cagney  /  Charles Laughton)
  4. 1974  (Leonardo DiCaprio  /  Christian Bale  /  Joaquin Phoenix)
  5. 1930  (Gene Hackman  /  Clint Eastwood  /  Sean Connery)
  6. 1962  (Ralph Fiennes  /  Tom Cruise  /  Jim Carrey)
  7. 1889  (Claude Rains  /  Charlie Chaplin  /  Clifton Webb)
  8. 1916  (Kirk Douglas  /  Gregory Peck  /  Peter Finch)
  9. 1950  (William Hurt  /  Bill Murray  /  Ed Harris)
  10. 1943  (Robert De Niro  /  Ben Kingsley  /  Klaus Marie Brandeur)

note:  1937 is far and away the best year as I had already made clear here.  Interestingly, none of these overlap with the Top 10 years for Actresses.

Top 4 Actors, age 8-12

  1. Haley Joel Osment  –  52
  2. Freddie Highmore  –  22
  3. Daniel Radcliffe  –  17
  4. Justin Henry  –  15

Top 5 Actors, age 13-19

  1. Daniel Radcliffe  –  131
  2. River Phoenix  –  104
  3. Jamie Bell  –  61
  4. Sal Mineo  –  52
  5. Jean-Pierre Leaud  –  52

Top 10 Actors, age 20-29

  1. Edward Norton  –  193
  2. Marlon Brando  –  191
  3. Heath Ledger  –  184
  4. James Dean  –  166
  5. Tom Cruise  –  162
  6. Tom Courteney  –  157
  7. Elijah Wood  –  152
  8. Daniel Day-Lewis  –  150
  9. Gael Garcia Bernal  –  148
  10. Ewan McGregor  –  141

note:  Lucas Hedges (age 23, 118 points) and Timothee Chalamet (age 24, 97 points) have the potential to make this list.

Top 10 Actors, age 30-39

  1. Leonardo DiCaprio  –  524
  2. Ralph Fiennes  –  468
  3. Christian Bale  –  453
  4. Jack Nicholson  –  409
  5. Daniel Day-Lewis  –  409
  6. Cary Grant  –  408
  7. Robert De Niro  –  399
  8. Al Pacino  –  380
  9. Kirk Douglas  –  376
  10. Toshiro Mifune  –  375

Top 10 Actors, age 40-49

  1. George Clooney  –  432
  2. Humphrey Bogart  –  383
  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman  –  375
  4. Leslie Howard  –  371
  5. Burt Lancaster  –  369
  6. Alec Guinness  –  362
  7. Gene Hackman  –  342
  8. Robert De Niro  –  329
  9. Sean Penn  –  305
  10. Woody Allen  –  305

Top 10 Actors, age 50-59

  1. Anthony Hopkins  –  442
  2. Claude Rains  –  341
  3. Henry Fonda  –  315
  4. Morgan Freeman  –  292
  5. Jack Nicholson  –  286
  6. Al Pacino  –  283
  7. Michael Caine  –  280
  8. Ian McKellen  –  253
  9. Harvey Keitel  –  245
  10. Gunnar Bjornstrand  –  243

note:  Bear in mind that Hopkins, Freeman and Nicholson are all the same age, so those are all the same years (87-96) while Pacino (90-99), Caine (83-92), McKellen (89-98) and Keitel (89-98) are all overlapping in that period as well.

Top 10 Actors, age 60-69

  1. Clint Eastwood  –  330
  2. Jack Nicholson  –  262
  3. Paul Newman  –  255
  4. Michael Caine  –  203
  5. Dustin Hoffman  –  203
  6. Denholm Elliott  –  179
  7. Jeff Bridges  –  174
  8. Tommy Lee Jones  –  166
  9. Ian McKellen  –  163
  10. Michael Keaton  –  157

note:  Michael Keaton won’t be 70 until 2021.

Top 5 Actors, age 70-79

  1. Michael Caine  –  205
  2. Clint Eastwood  –  122
  3. Christopher Plummer  –  112
  4. John Geilgud  –  97
  5. Paul Scofield  –  97

Top 5 Actors, age 80 and above

  1. Christopher Plummer  –  168
  2. Michael Caine  –  71
  3. Hal Holbrook  –  71
  4. Victor Sjostrom  –  70
  5. Robert Redford  –  69

note:  Plummer is now 90 but Caine is only 86 and it looks like as long as he continues to work, Nolan will continue to put him in films.

Highest Percentage of Points after the Age of 40 in the Top 100

  1. Claude Rains  –  100%
  2. Ian McKellen  –  100%
  3. Morgan Freeman  –  100%
  4. Viggo Mortenson  –  100%
  5. Bob Hoskins  –  100%
  6. Walter Matthau  –  100%
  7. Leslie Howard  –  100%
  8. Gunnar Bjornstrand  –  100%
  9. Nick Nolte  –  100%
  10. William H. Macy  /  Alan Rickman  /  Tom Wilkinson  /  Jason Robards  /  Walter Huston  –  100%

note:  Judi Dench was the only actress in the Top 100 to earn all of her points after the age 40.

Lowest Percentage of Points after the age of 40 in the Top 100

I’m not going to bother with this list and that just proves my point about how Hollywood doesn’t use actresses as they age.  I had an entire Top 10 from the Actress list all of whom earned no acting points after the age of 40 without including anyone born after 1976 or Natalie Wood (who died at age 43).  The only three on the Actor list with no points after the age of 40 were all born after 1976.  There are only three actors on the list born before the year 1970 who earn less than 20% of their acting points after the age of 40 (Nicolas Cage, Jean Gabin, Edward Norton).

Progressive #1 All-Time by Age

  • 8-10:  Justin Henry  –  15
  • 11-12:  Haley Joel Osment  –  52
  • 13-15:  Haley Joel Osment  –  96
  • 16-17:  Daniel Radcliffe  –  113
  • 18-19:  Daniel Radcliffe  –  148
  • 20-21:  River Phoenix  –  191
  • 22-23:  Daniel Radcliffe  –  226
  • 24-29:  Daniel Radcliffe  –  248
  • 30-31:  Marlon Brando  –  269
  • 32-33:  Leonardo DiCaprio  –  368
  • 34-35:  Leonardo DiCaprio  –  429
  • 36:  Leonardo DiCaprio  –  533
  • 37:  Leonardo DiCaprio  –  559
  • 38:  Leonardo DiCaprio  –  604
  • 39-40:  Leonardo DiCaprio  –  700
  • 41-47:  Leonardo DiCaprio  –  778
  • 48-49:  Toshiro Mifune  –  783
  • 50-51:  Daniel Day-Lewis  –  811
  • 52-53:  Daniel Day-Lewis  –  837
  • 54:  Ralph Fiennes  –  877
  • 55-56:  Daniel Day-Lewis  –  915
  • 57:  Jack Nicholson  –  926
  • after this it’s Nicholson in increasing numbers

To give a good idea for this, here are some actors and what rank they are at given their current age (end of 2018, since I’ve done no 2019 points yet):

  • Jake Gyllenhaal  –  #5
  • Ryan Gosling  –  #6 (tie)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio  –  #1
  • Christian Bale  –  #2 (tie)
  • Ralph Fiennes  –  #4

Jack Nicholson doesn’t enter the Top 10 until age 38 and doesn’t enter it permanently until age 44.  To get an idea of how good Philip Seymour Hoffman was, he stays in the Top 10 until the age 58 even though he died when he was 47.  Michael Caine, on the other hand, doesn’t enter the Top 10 until the age 72.  I will also point out that Leo has 61 points coming from OUATIH which means he’s at 839 and will be #1 all the way through age 53 even if he never acts in another film.

Progressive #1 All-TIme by Year

  • 1928:  Lon Chaney  –  282
  • 1929-36:  Lon Chaney  –  299
  • 1937:  Fredric March  –  356
  • 1938-40:  Leslie Howard  –  371
  • 1941-42:  Fredric March  –  373
  • 1943:  Claude Rains  –  392
  • 1944-45:  Claude Rains  –  422
  • 1946:  Claude Rains  –  482
  • 1947-48:  Cary Grant  –  486
  • 1949-50:  Claude Rains  –  519
  • 1951-53:  Humphrey Bogart  –  579
  • 1954-55:  Humphrey Bogart  –  649
  • 1956-58:  Humphrey Bogart  –  666
  • 1959-61:  James Stewart  –  697
  • 1962-66:  James Stewart  –  706
  • 1967:  Alec Guinness  –  752
  • 1968-75:  Toshiro Mifune  –  783
  • 1976:  Laurence Olivier  –  789
  • 1977:  Alec Guinness  –  819
  • 1978-87:  Laurence Olivier  –  833
  • 1988-91:  Alec Guinness  –  864
  • 1992-present:  Jack Nicholson in increasing amounts

The Updates

Without re-typing the whole 100 again, I will just cover major movements and actors who have entered the list since 2011.  Everyone below 316 points has been knocked off the list.

This first list are actors who moved up enough to merit listing them and their new point total.  It’s not everyone who moved up (which is why if you try to total the lists it might not work) but those who earned a significant amount of points since 2011.  I will also list below them, their new point total and any awards or nominations they have earned since 2011 and notes including their best performance if it came since 2011.

#78  –  Gary Oldman

373 points
Oscar, BAFTA, SAG, Globe, BFCA, NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  The Darkest Hour
He’s only earned points for one performance since 2011 but what a performance.

#75  –  Jude Law

379 points
With films like Anna Karenina, Dom Hemingway and Fantastic Beasts, Law continues to slowly creep higher and higher up the all-time list.

#73  –  Jim Broadbent

389 points
Like Law, slowing moving up the list with points from Le Week-end, Brooklyn and The Sense of an Ending.

#66  –  Edward Norton

423 points
LAFC, NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, Globe nom, SAG nom, BFCA nom, NH nom
Best Performance:  Birdman
Since 2011 his only points have been for his Nighthawk winning performance in Birdman but it moved him up 60 points.

#63  –  Ewan McGregor

438 points
Globe nom
Ewan continues to move up the list and is now the top living actor without a single Oscar nomination.  Since 2011 he’s done Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, The Impossible, August: Osage County and T2.  At some point he’ll get that nomination.

#61  –  Harrison Ford

447 points
The only points that Ford has earned since 2011 were for 42 and Force Awakens but his wonderful return performance as Han moved him up a number of spots in this tight area of the list.

#54  –  Matt Damon

465 points
Globe
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, NH nom
The Martian might be responsible for all the awards but not all the points because there’s also Behind the Candelabra and Downsizing and he might earn more points later this year for Ford vs. Ferrari.

#53  –  Bill Murray

465 points
2 Globe noms, BFCA nom
Hyde Park on Hudson and St. Vincent might not be great but Murray’s performances earned him enough points to move him a number of spots.

#52  –  Kenneth Branagh

470 points
Branagh had been sitting in the same spot for a while before 2017 came along and he earned some points for Murder on the Orient Express and a lot more for Dunkirk.

#47  –  Robert Redford

495 points
NYFC
Globe nom, BFCA nom
Best Performance:  The Old Man and the Gun
As promised above, Redford has soared past Tracy because he’s done some of his best work in his 70’s (All is Lost) and 80’s (The Old Man and the Gun).  Who the hell gives the best performance of their career in their supposed farewell film at age 82?

#40  –  Ian McKellen

523 points
Even though he turned 80 a couple of months ago, McKellen continues to give first-rate film performances with three more turns as Gandalf and a great lead role in Mr. Holmes.

#30  –  Johnny Depp

609 points
BFCA nom, SAG nom, NH nom
It’s been rough to be a Johnny fan the last number of years with films like the latest crappy Pirates sequels or even worse, Yoga Hosers or Mortdecai.  But he also did a hell of a job as Whitey in Black Mass and that kind of performance can’t be ignored.

#27  –  Jeff Bridges

624 points
NBR
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, NH nom
It was interesting to watch the terrible Seventh Son (truth be told, many Bridges films since 2011 have been terrible) and point out that he was younger in Lebowski than his co-star in that and this film, Julianne Moore was in Seventh Son (Moore is insanely good looking for her age).  But thankfully not all of his choices have been terrible and his fantastic performance in Hell or High Water earned him numerous nominations and enough points to move into the Top 30.

#26  –  Christian Bale

638 points
Globe, BFCA
3 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 3 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 3 NH nom
Best Performance:  Vice
Winning that Oscar seemed to have spurred Bale on because since then he’s earned three more (well-deserved) nominations and as you can see from the above list he’s earned the second most points since 2011.  Aside from his three Oscar nominations (American Hustle, The Big Short, Vice) he also finished off the Dark Knight Trilogy (earning more points) and also earned points for Out of the Furnace and Hostiles.  His career trajectory gives me hope for my own life.  Hell, he could earn more points this year for Ford vs. Ferrari.

#21  –  Philip Seymour Hoffman

686 points
BFCA, CFC
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, NH nom
Hoffman was clearly a Top 10 talent.  Given that he was just 46 when he died who knows where he could have reached.  Between 2011 and his death he added over 100 more points thanks to The Master and A Most Wanted Man.

#15  –  Leonardo DiCaprio

778 points
Oscar, BAFTA, SAG, 2 Globes, BFCA, BSFC, CFC, NBR, 2 NH
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 3 Globe noms, BFCA nom
Best Performance:  The Revenant
What’s astounding is that Leo didn’t appear again in a film after winning the Oscar four years ago until last week.  But, thanks mostly to Wolf of Wall Street and The Revenant (with some points as well for Django and Gatsby), Leo has moved way up the list and where he is for his age is simply astounding and shows that he easily will be one of the all-time best.  He has now joined Jack and De Niro as the only actors to earn more than 300 points in two different decades.  Bear in mind that this total doesn’t include the 61 points he’s getting from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.  A brief mention here for Brad Pitt who was actually knocked off the list a couple of years ago but who also earns 61 for OUATIH (I can’t actually decide which is the better performance) and that will actually move him back on the list but he didn’t get a update because these are the first points Pitt has earned since 2011 and I haven’t counted them.

#14  –  George Clooney

803 points
Clooney’s gains since 2011 have been modest for low scoring performances in Gravity, Tomorrowland and Hail Caesar.

#13  –  Anthony Hopkins

812 points
Hopkins earned enough points from Hitchcock to keep him at this spot on the list.

#10  –  Denzel Washington

852 points
SAG
3 Oscar noms, 2 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 2 NH noms
Denzel moved back into the pure acting realm in 2012 with a great performance in Flight and followed it up with an even more impressive one in Fences (which just barely doesn’t win the Nighthawk) and then wasted a very good performance in the not very good Roman J. Israel.  But those three performances (all of them Oscar nominated) were enough to move him past Olivier and into the Top 10.

#9  –  Tom Hanks

856 points
NBR
BAFTA nom, SAG nom, 2 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, NH Nom
Best Performance:  The Post
Hanks is now up to 19 years since his last Oscar nomination which is astounding to me because I think he’s doing the best work of his career.  Since 2011, he’s earned more points than any other actor with Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, Bridge of Spies, Sully and The Post.  What’s more, he’ll be playing the ultimate good guy this fall (the trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood in the theater before OUATIH almost made V start crying) so by the end of this year he could be just behind Dustin Hoffman.  Thanks to his impressive work this decade he has joined Jack and DDL as the only actors to earn over 200 points in three different decades.

#7  –  Ralph Fiennes

877 points
BAFTA nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, NH nom
Well, at least The Grand Budapest Hotel saw him earning some more nominations even if the Oscars passed him over yet again.  Aside from that, he’s done solid supporting work in Skyfall, Great Expecations, A Bigger Splash and Hail Caesar.

#5  –  Robert De Niro

937 points
Oscar nom, SAG nom, BFCA nom
De Niro hasn’t done much lately but he did earn some nominations (and some points) for Silver Linings Playbook.  Let’s not forget he has The Irishman coming this fall and that could put him back into the race for the first time in a while.

#3  –  Daniel Day-Lewis

985 points
Oscar, BAFTA, SAG, Globe, BFCA, NYFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC, NH
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, SAG nom, 2 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Lincoln
Since 2011?  He’s made just two films (supposedly his last) and those two lines above show how lauded he was for them.

#2  –  Michael Caine

1038 points
With solid supporting performances in Interstellar and Youth, Caine does what he has always done – continues to accumulate points and move higher.  As long as he’s alive, it seems that Nolan will put him in films and he will move up (the trailer for Tenet just hit theaters on Friday, so Caine has at least one 2020 film).  Caine, by the way, is now the only actor on the list to earn at least 70 points in six straight decades which is astounding.  And no one else can do it until at least 2030 because of those who started in the 70’s, they are all short in at least one decade.  It just shows how amazing his career has been.

Actors who are new to the list since 2011

Five Actors to Watch For, moving up the list

  1. Javier Bardem  –  313
  2. Liam Neeson  –  312
  3. Hugh Grant  –  309
  4. Forest Whitaker  –  305
  5. Christopher Plummer  –  297

#100  –  Tom Wilkinson

316 points
b. 1948, English
BAFTA, NYFC, 2 NH
2 Oscar noms, 4 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, Globe nom, BFCA nom, 2 NH Noms
Best Performance:  In the Bedroom
Wilkinson can be enough of a chameleon that I honestly didn’t realize when I saw Shakespeare in Love in the theater that the man with the money was the same man who had been the depressed man whose wife wouldn’t stop spending in The Full Monty.  By 2001, of course, when he gave a magnificent performance that should have won the Oscar in In the Bedroom I knew who he was and by 2007 when told by George Clooney in Michael Clayton “I’m not the enemy” and gave him the most brilliant look and reply “Then who are you?” I was a big fan.  He’s in his 60’s now but continues to be good in films like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Selma.

#99  –  Joaquin Phoenix

317 points
b. 1974 in Puerto Rico
BFCA, LAFC, NBR
3 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  The Master
When he was just a kid in Parenthood (and still called Leaf) he was interesting.  By 2000, he had gotten good (in Quills though, not in his Oscar nominated performance in Gladiator).  But after Walk the Line he got nuts and everyone began to wonder if he was done.  But then came the back-to-back-to-back years with The Master, Her and Inherent Vice when he proved once and for all that he’s really a great actor.  Just in 2018 he returned with strong but very different performances in You Were Never Really Here and Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far on FootJoker looks like it will move up him more even if the film itself seems pointless.

#93  –  Michael Fassbender

331 points
b. 1977 in West Germany to German-Irish parents
LAFC (twice), NBR, NH
2 Oscar noms, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 3 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Steve Jobs
Fassbender had teased with performances like Hunger and Fish Tank before exploding in 2011 with Shame, Jane Eyre and A Dangerous Method while continuing with 12 Years a Slave and Steve Jobs.

#91  –  Hugh Jackman

332 points
b. 1968, Australian
Globe
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, 3 Globe noms, BFCA nom, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  Les Miserables
For a while he was Wolverine on film and saved his best acting for Broadway.  That changed in 2006 (The Fountain, The Prestige) then he finally broke through with awards groups playing Jean Valjean and has continued on with Prisoners, The Greatest Showman and The Front Runner.

#83  –  Michael Keaton

355 points
b. 1951, American
Globe, BFCA, NYFC, NSFC, BSFC, NBR, NH
Oscar nom, BAFTA nom, SAG nom, Globe nom, BFCA nom, 3 NH noms
Best Performance:  Birdman
Just before he became Batman he proved he was a hell of an actor with Beetlejuice and Clean and Sober.  But after Much Ado About Nothing he basically disappeared from my points system for almost two decades before Birdman put him back on top and the follow up of Spotlight and The Founder pushed him into the Top 100.

#80  –  Willem Dafoe

362 points
b. 1955, American
NYFC, LAFC (twice), NSFC, BSFC, CFC, NBR, NH
4 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, 2 SAG noms, 3 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, 2 NH Noms
Best Performance:  The Florida Project
Dafoe has a completely unique awards line in that he’s won every critics award but none of the five awards groups.  That’s because after he won all those awards, the idiot awards group dumped him for a far inferior performance from Sam Rockwell.  But even before The Florida Project he had earned Oscar nominations for Platoon and Shadow of the Vampire (and would earn another the following year for At Eternity’s Gate).

#70  –  Viggo Mortensen

405 points
b. 1958, American, raised in Venezuela
NBR
3 Oscar noms, 3 BAFTA noms, 3 SAG noms, 4 Globe noms, 3 BFCA noms, 4 NH noms
Best Performance:  A History of Violence
He was just off the bottom of the list in 2011 after his great performances as Aragorn, combined with his Oscar nominated performance in Eastern Promises and his career best in A History of Violence.  But recently he managed two more nominations for Captain Fantastic and Green Book and not only made the list but went up quite a bit.

#69  –  Ryan Gosling

410 points
b. 1980, Canadian
Globe
2 Oscar noms, BAFTA nom, 3 SAG noms, 5 Globe noms, 6 BFCA noms, 2 NH noms
Best Performance:  First Man
Like Edward Norton, he proved early on that his chiseled good looks weren’t getting in the way of his acting ability.  Women (and men) swooned over The Notebook but Half Nelson started the award swooning and it was followed in short order by Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine, Drive and The Ides of March.  After a couple of weak years he then started earning points in a big heap with The Big Shot, The Nice Guys, La La Land, Blade Runner and First Man.

#68  –  Jake Gyllenhaal

411 points
b. 1980, American
NBR, NH
Oscar nom, 2 BAFTA noms, 2 SAG noms, 2 Globe noms, 2 BFCA noms, NH nom
Best Performance:  Brokeback Mountain
Even though he’s five weeks younger, Gyllenhaal was already doing movies, playing Billy Crystal’s son in City Slickers before Gosling even started on The Mickey Mouse Club.  Thanks to Donnie Darko and Brokeback he already had 100 points before Gosling had any.  And while Gosling has almost caught up, that hasn’t stopped Gyllenhaal in films like Prisoners, Enemy, Nightcrawler, Southpaw, Nocturnal Animals and Stronger.