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The Top 50 Actors Countdown - You Casted Your Votes

Johnny Unusual

Thanks so much for participating, this was a lot of fun. I was a little afraid at first the Venn Diagram element that is essential to the enjoyment and creation of the list would be too scattered (on a similar note, I have been pondering if we could make great lists as broad as just movies or TV shows), as this is sort of a precursor to two ideas I really want to see done down the line; top 50 character actors and top 50 voice actors. And if anyone wants to steal those, do it because I also have way too many other ideas of lists I want to do anyway (my big tryptich is top 50 TV series first episodes/pilots, top 50 season finales and top 50 series finales. The problem is, I feel like, understandably most people want to jump to that last one.) Anyway, I thought the list was cool and I was happy to plop down some cash for some original art. I want to thank Sarah Wilkins AKA Basilisk Free for the art (I've gone to her in the last couple years for my fan-arting needs and she's the one who did the rad Falselogic Vs. JBear from a few years back).

I also now have a ton of movies and TV series I want to watch and feel bummed how rarely I get to see live theatre (I saw the Mousetrap in London and it was a delight). Also, Patrick Stewart as Percy was the result I wanted and I was not disappointed (though Nick Cage as Percy... Hmm...)


Yes, that Russian author.
Thank you for running this, Johnny. It was fun!

Here's my list with no apologies for my emphasis on theater history; picks that didn't make it in Bold:

1ThespisThe actor who started it all!
2Moliere (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin)Better known for his work as a playwright today, Moliere did it all in his time, and made a living making some of the finest neoclassic dramas as an actor, actor-manager, and business owner.
3Konstantin StanislavskiThe man who invented the Method.
4Vsevolod MeyerholdThe man who rebelled from the Method to search for a nonrealistic form of acting
5Sanford MeisnerThe man who said, "Stop paying attention to yourself, start paying attention to everyone else!"
6Ira AldrigeAn African-American actor who found fame throughout Europe for his nuanced portrayals of Shakespearean characters. He was planning his "return to America" tour when he died unexpectedly, and never got to be seen in his home country after achieving international fame.
7Richard BurbageThe original Hamlet. So well known in his time that we have reviews of him today.
8Sarah BerndhartOne of the first acting superstars of the 20th century, so important that it was a big deal when she started doing film acting along with stage acting.
9Frances McDormandGo watch Fargo. Then go watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
10Jodi FosterStrong roles throughout her career, but Silence of the Lambs is a personal favorite.
11Anna Deavere-SmithFires in the Mirror is a tour-de-force of one-person shows.
12Amy SedarisIt is easy to overlook the amount of nuance, work, and subtlety that goes into this woman's characterizations. Her commitment to her roles is stronger than many actors I've seen, even though she'll never get an academy award.
13Allison JanneyI will give anything she's in a chance. Her force of personality is second to none.
14Kyle McLaughlinIt takes a lot to be an effective muse of David Lynch, and then he goes and plays other roles too.
15Audra McDonaldOne of the strongest opera and musical theatre actors in America today.
16Alan CummingA man to be celebrated for his range and versatility.
17Catherine O'HaraO'Hara can build characters that are equally hilarious and believable, and do it time and again with fresh results.
18William Jackson HarperChidi in The Good Place is a master class in comic believability.
19Christine BaranskiI have literally never seen this woman be less than excellent in any role. She's not prominent due to casting type, but I can use her as a litmus test for wether or not a film, show, or play is worth seeing.
20Whoopi GoldbergGo watch Sister Act. Now go watch Star Trek: the Next Generation
21John GoodmanBeneath his more folksy roles, there is an endless amount of classical training and range. Always a pleasure to watch him sink his teeth into something bigger than Dan Conner
22Burt WilliamsA complex and amazing comic actor who came out of minstrelsy and the era of blackface. His life story is almost as amazing as how he had to work within an unfair system.
23Charlie ChaplainActing is physicality. Chaplain proves it.
24Gwen VerdonVerdon was multitalented and amazing, but often overshadowed by her leading partners due to the norms of society at the time. From what I can tell, she worked harder than them all.
25Neil Patrick HarrisBest known for his comic sitcom turns, There's a surprising amount of depth and presence in Neil, especially if you get to see him live on stage.

Only four hits for me this time around!


"This is not my beautiful forum!" - David Byrne
(Hi Guy)
Now we just need a fundraiser to pay some artist (a large amount of) money to do a group shot of the entire Salad Kingdom cast with these faces...



Eternal Skies
(he / his / him)
This was a super fun list, Johnny, thank you for running it! My list was all over the place, but I did have a few picks make it:
  1. Cary Elwes
  2. Florence Pugh
  3. Steven Blum
  4. Brie Larson
  5. Mark Hamill
  6. Laura Bailey
  7. Tom Hiddleston
  8. Elliot Page
  9. Carrie Fisher
  10. Patrick Stewart
  11. Tara Pratt
  12. Chadwick Boseman
  13. Angela Bassett
  14. Donald Glover
  15. Michelle Yeoh
  16. Orson Welles
  17. Zhang Ziyi
  18. Tony Leung Chiu-wai
  19. Kenneth Branagh
  20. Judi Dench
  21. Paul Newman
  22. Levar Burton
  23. Lupita Nyong'o
  24. Tim Curry
  25. Danai Gurira
Shockingly I forgot a few big ones. Sigourney Weaver, Keith David, Ian McKellen and ROBIN WILLIAMS all should have made my list. Such is the nature of doing these on the fly, haha.


????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
Here's my list:
  1. Frank Welker
  2. Mel Blanc
  3. David Warner
  4. Haruo Nakajima
  5. June Foray
  6. Maurice LaMarche
  7. Danny Devito
  8. Arnold Schwarzenegger
  9. Leslie Nielsen
  10. Rick Moranis
  11. Tress MacNeille
  12. Tim Curry
  13. Christian Slater
  14. Peter CuLLen
  15. Clancy Brown
  16. Matt Frewer
  17. Jackie Chan
  18. Kurt Russell
  19. Eddie Murphy
  20. Ming-Na Wen
  21. Ricardo Montalbán
  22. Sandra Bullock
  23. Ed O'Neill
  24. Paget Brewster
  25. SungWon "ProZD" Cho
(I feel bad about it being such a weisswurst fest.)

Haruo Nakajima
I doubt many people know his name or face or have ever even heard him speak a line of dialogue. But without him an important character beloved by millions (including many tyrants) would not exist. And that is because he was the original suit actor for Godzilla.


Patrick Stewart is a legend. For some reason one of the first things of his that always pops into my head is an answer from a panel at a convention. It's a passionate, intense response to a question on domestic violence with so much heart and power. It shows his voice, his delivery and his control are all just a damned master class:

(If the timecode doesn't come through, 5:40 is about where it starts)

1ThespisThe actor who started it all!
That's a good one I didn't think of!

My list, also bolded misses:

David Dukes (a few of you probably know why he's first but since this isn't the private forum I don't want to go into detail)
John Lithgow (surprised he didn't make it)
Steve Martin (also surprised by this)
Dame Judi Dench
Sir Ian McKellan
Sir Patrick Stewart
Robin Williams
Alan Alda
Katharine Hepburn
Martin Short

Alan Rickman
Carrie Fisher
Ali MacGraw
Whoopi Goldberg
Jeremy Irons
Maggie Smith
Mary Tyler Moore
Sidney Poitier

Meryl Streep
James Earl Jones
Morgan Freeman
Jack Lemmon
Walter Matthau
Rene Auberjonois
Hedy Lamarr

Thank you again for running this, really fun.

Johnny Unusual

1. Thespis
The actor who started it all!
I don't know why you voted for an infection but OK
Kyle McLaughlin
Dude almost made it and missed my last list. I think he's great in a lot of stuff he's in, adding a great menacing charm to his villains (as bored as I got by Agents of SHIELD, he was pretty great as Mr. Hyde) and often a sense of sweetness, decency and/or naivete to his protagonists and supporting characters.
1. Frank Welker
This one was interesting to make a high showing in the votes from two lists.

Patrick Stewart is a legend. For some reason one of the first things of his that always pops into my head is an answer from a panel at a convention. It's a passionate, intense response to a question on domestic violence with so much heart and power. It shows his voice, his delivery and his control are all just a damned master class:

(If the timecode doesn't come through, 5:40 is about where it starts)
There were a few actors with some pasts being survivors of abusive homes I found interesting but I felt including it in some cases would take the narrative too far afield. Interesting Schwarzenegger also came from an abusive home, something he found normal across the board with families in that era when he grew up. There was also a part in the biography section of Stewart's wikipedia where he grew a mustache for MacBeth... because his father didn't have one and he didn't want to see him when he looked in the mirror. Which is kind of devastating.

I should also saw reading and remembering Patrick Stewart's history with Star Trek, I think there is a great optimistic dramedy to be made on a thinly veiled Patrick Stewart (changed so it can be fictional) about a serious actor finding himself trapped in a TV show with make up and monsters he has little respect for, only for him and the actors to come together closely and influence each other and the lead still struggles loving his role but wanting to divorce it to return to his first love and restrengthen the muscles of playing multiple characters as opposed to one.
Here's my list with my favorite performance for each actor.

  1. Harrison Ford (Raiders of the Lost Ark)
  2. Kate Winslet (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  3. Allison Lohman (Matchstick Men)
  4. Steve Carrell (The Office)
  5. Peter O' Toole (Lawrence of Arabia)
  6. Jennifer Connelly (House of Sand and Fog)
  7. Lionel Barrymore (Grand Hotel)
  8. Tim Robinson (I Think You Should Leave)
  9. Paul Giamatti (Sideways)
  10. Will Ferrell (Harry Carray on SNL)
  11. Josh Holloway (Lost)
  12. Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings)
  13. Jenna Fischer (The Office)
  14. Natalie Portman (tie: Closer and V for Vendetta)
  15. Timothy Dalton (License to Kill)
  16. Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo on MST3K)
  17. Brie Larson (Captain Marvel)
  18. Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water)
  19. Claire Danes (My So Called Life)
  20. Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)
  21. Emma Watson (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
  22. Jim Henson (Kermit the Frog)
  23. Keegan Michael Key (Key and Peele)
  24. Daniel Craig (tie: Casino Royale and Knives Out)
  25. Jennifer Hale (Mass Effect trilogy)
I wasn't here for this list, but looks like it was a fun one. And however everything shook out, looks like the right person hit #1 🙃

Patrick Stewart is a legend. For some reason one of the first things of his that always pops into my head is an answer from a panel at a convention. It's a passionate, intense response to a question on domestic violence with so much heart and power. It shows his voice, his delivery and his control are all just a damned master class:
Yeah I've really appreciated it. And I'm pretty sure this personal backstory of his is gonna end up working its way into inspiring part of Picard Season 2.
list, and some notes on some, bolds made it
1. Nic Cage
2. Max Von Sydow
3. Sakda Kaewbuadee
- He hasn't been in much, but his performance in Tropical Malady is impeccable, as well as the rest of the joe movies he's been in. I had a little bit of trouble figuring out what to do with incredible performances from actors with small resumes, but i couldn't not put this up near the top
4. Willem Dafoe
5. Jennifer Jason Leigh - Name didn't come up when i first thought of the list, but i noticed her name constantly coming up in movies I was looking through. Probably too high on her ability alone, but her resume makes up for it
6. Jesse Plemons - The best actor that's currently in the zeitgeist i think. First appreciated him in Game Night of all things, but he's steller in everything he's done and quickly becoming legendary as far as i gauge it.
7. Takeshi Kitano
8. Shelley Duvall -
Her Shining performance is obviously great, but she is so good in a lead vehicle in altman's 3 women. Another I wish had a bigger resume
9. Toshiro Mifune
10. Bill Gunn -
Truly, this is just on his performance in Ganja and Hess. He really only has two feature films (neither as the lead lol) and a handful of tv appearances on his docket as an actor, but ganja and hess is poetry due to no short part his writing and performance. Duane Jones is incredible in the lead and also has an unfortunately small filmography
11. Harry Dean Stanton
12. Arnold Schwarzenegger
13. Sally Hawkins - Watch Happy-Go-Lucky
14. John Goodman
15. P.S. Hoffman
16. Keith David
17. Emily Watson
18. Naomi Watts
19. Ed Harris
20. Tony Leung
21. Billy Bob Thornton
22. Marlon Brando
23. Kyle Maclachlan -
I was 99% sure he'd be on the list, tbh.
24. Michelle Williams
25. Bolo Yeung -
Is this just because i like looking at his body? I will never tell. great role player, and he's in boxer's omen.

Johnny Unusual

My list...

My stuff that didn't make it listed in bold.

1. John Goodman
2. Tom Hanks
3. Patrick Stewart
4. Jeff Goldblum
5. Frances MacDormand
6. Michael Keaton - I feel like we forgot about Keaton for a time and became poorer for it.
7. Donald Sutherland - A fantastic actor and I'm a big fan of his work in 70s thrillers like Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Don't Look Now.
8. Kurt Russell
9. Boris Karloff
10. Bill Murray
11. Sigourney Weaver
12. Christopher Lee - Sure, Saruman is great but I remember him best for The Wicker Man. I kind of like him best with a sense of humour with his menace and deep voice.
13. Keith David
14. JK Simmons - I love this Oscar winner still has time to be a yellow M&M
15. Denzel Washington
16. Bob Odenkirk
17. Stephen Root
18. Jimmy Stewart - We didn't get a lot of older timey actors but he's up their for me. Love his pre-Hanks America's Dad thing but Vertigo turns it on it's head wonderfully.
19. Alan Rickman
20. Bryan Cranston - He's had decent roles since Breaking Bad but none quite so fully great and often allowing himself to be both menacing and pathetic. Godzilla 2014 has a lot to answer for due to killing him in act one.
21. John C. Reilly - Brilliant comedic and dramatic actor.
22. Tilda Swinton - Genuinely surprised I was the only one to go here.
23. Audrey Hepburn - Charm incarnate and Wait Until Dark works so well because we want to protect her.
24. Harrison Ford
25. Steve Buscemi


Summon for hire
Realized I didn't post my list yet - I am extremely basic on this one, with an 18/25 hit rate. Had very little time to put it together so it's super-duper arbitrary and I missed tons of people I'd have liked to include - especially like half of @WildcatJF's excellent list!

*01. Ian McKellan
*02. Patrick Stewart
*03. Judi Dench
*04. Charlize Theron
*05. Carrie Fisher
*06. Gary Oldman
*07. Alan Rickman
*08. Hugh Laurie
*09. Keanu Reeves
*10. Jackie Chan
*11. Morgan Freeman
*12. Samuel L Jackson
*13. Nicholas Cage
14. Megumi Hayashibara
15. Winona Ryder
*16. Sigourney Weaver
*17. Kristen Bell
*18. James Earl Jones
19. Robert Downey Jr
*20. Robin Williams
21. Patton Oswalt
22. Uma Thurman
*23. Jennifer Lawrence
24. Aya Hisakawa
25. Matt Barry


Here's my list:
1. Jennifer Lawrence
2. Robin Williams
3. Terry Crews
4. Arnold Schwarzenegger
5. Ted Raimi
6. Melissa McCarthy
7. Billy Dee Williams
8. Susan Sarandon
9. Linda Hamilton
10. Dwayne Johnson
11. Lin-Manuel Miranda
12. Betty White
13. Marion Cotillard
14. Robert Downey Jr
15. Jessica Chastain
16. Emilio Estevez
17. Andie MacDowell
18. Jada Pinkett-Smith
19. Lucille Ball
20. Nicole Kidman
21. Tom Hardy
22. Clint Eastwood
23. Cary Grant
24. Sharon Stone
25. Drew Barrymore


Post Reader
I know this went down a while ago but I just watched Tar (2022) and how the hell did Cate Blanchett not make this list??? She is the best living actress.
I know this went down a while ago but I just watched Tar (2022) and how the hell did Cate Blanchett not make this list??? She is the best living actress.
If I remember this list correctly, it was pretty short on capital-A Actors and more represented by just "I like this person and they're in a bunch of stuff that I like".