The Ten Best Actors of All Time [Relay Race]

Nostra over at My Filmviews always comes up with some pretty rad ideas for blogathons and features, and his latest may be the best one yet. I had the honor of being selected by Jaina from Time Well Spent to take part in the “Ten Best Actors of All Time” Relay Race. For those who have missed it so far, here is Nostra’s description of the series:

So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the best actors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one actor (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. The idea is to make this a long race, so that enough bloggers get a chance to remove and add an actor. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best actors.
It will also mean that those who follow this relay race will get to know new blogs as well!

As a reference point, here is the order of the race so far (starting from the beginning):
My Filmviews -> The Focused Filmographer -> Front Room Cinema -> I Love That Film -> FlixChatter -> All Eyes On Screen -> Time Well Spent

I had to do some serious thinking about this list, as it is already pretty amazing. I didn’t want to have to remove any of these guys, but rules are rules. Here we go:

Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro

Daniel Day Lewis
Daniel Day Lewis

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin

Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

Robert Duvall
Robert Duvall

Christian Bale
Christian Bale

Gregory Peck
Gregory Peck

Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio

My Addition: Paul Newman

Paul Newman
How can you not like Paul Newman? He was so effortlessly cool in everything he was in. The ladies loved him because of his good looks and big blue eyes, guys loved him because he was a man’s man and could play the confident anti-hero so well, and he was a hell of a guy to boot. Not only was he a successful actor for SIX decades, Newman was a humanitarian who gave back to a wide variety of charities. Hell, his profits from his Newman’s Own line of salad dressings (and other foods) amounted to over $300 million, all of which went to charity.

But regardless of how awesome of a human being he was, he was just as great on the big screen. I became a fan after watching The Hustler for the first time last year, and I quickly made an effort to see more of his work. My favorite performance so far remains his lead role in Cool Hand Luke, where he just oozes charisma and proves that you don’t need guns or explosions to be a badass.

Paul Newman was nominated for countless awards before finally winning Best Actor for 1986’s The Color of Money (the sequel to The Hustler). Other highlights from his long and varied career include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Hud, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, The Verdict, and Road to Perdition.

Who I Replaced: Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks

Nothing against the guy — he has had A LOT of great roles and is one of the most charming and likable actors in the business, but I would put him a cut below the others. I feel bad for removing Mr. Hanks, but the questionable choices from his last decade of work make it a little easier for me to take him out.

Now I am passing the torch to Chris at moviesandsongs365. Good luck!

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50 thoughts on “The Ten Best Actors of All Time [Relay Race]

  1. ruth says:

    Woo hoo, another classic actor who’s drop dead gorgeous but with immense talent to boot! I’m afraid I have a LOT of catching up to do when it comes to Mr. Newman’s work, having only seen Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Road to Perdition. I want to see The Sting next and of course Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I’m sorry to see Hanks leave the least but I understand your reasoning, Eric.

    • Eric says:

      I just watched Cat on a Hot Tin Roof recently — amazing acting all around from Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and Burl Ives. Highly recommended.

      It was hard to remove Tom Hanks, but someone had to go, unfortunately. I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a reappearance at some point.

  2. ali says:

    I love Christian Bale, but I’m kind of surprised he made the list. Of course he’d be on my personal top ten, but of *all time*? I’d have some reservations. XD

    • Eric says:

      Yeah, it is a little early to call Bale one of the ten best actors of all time, but he would still be in my top 3 or 5 current favorites. I prefer him to Tom Hanks personally, so I didn’t want to be the one to remove him from the list. 😀

  3. Nostra says:

    Great addition to the list. I didn’t know he also sold food! Interesting little fact! Have seen the movies by him you mentioned and he’s a good actor. I should see more of him though!

    • Eric says:

      Thank you! I can’t take credit for the initial list — the other nine were selected by different bloggers. Can’t say I disagree with any of the selections, though!

  4. maroon5gurl88 says:

    I love the idea of this. If I wasn’t already set in my tourney I should have come up with something like this! I’d probably remove Robert Duvall if only because I’m more aware of his later work where he’s the a bit too hammy.

  5. jackdeth72 says:

    Hi, Eric and company:

    I’m very pleased to see your nomination of Paul Newman. Brando’s heir and rock solid performer, no matter what his role.
    His work in ‘The Hustler’ set the bar high and he has consistently met or exceeded that hurdle.

    Also pleased to see Ruth’s choice of Gregory Peck still hanging in there!

    • Eric says:

      Hi Jack, thanks for stopping by and commenting! The Hustler is the film that made me a Newman fan, and he hasn’t disappointed in anything I have seen him in since then. A terrific actor, and an even better person.

  6. Jaina says:

    You know, I haven’t seen nearly enough of Paul Newman’s work, but even though, don’t think I have any issue with his addition. I’m waiting for Bale to be kicked off next ….

  7. Stephen Eldridge says:

    Ha, I hadn’t seen this when I was talking about how awesome Newman is earlier. Nice choice. Also a nice antidote to the slightly modern skew of the list right now (I’m a little shocked Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, and Humphrey Bogart haven’t made appearances yet.)

    • Eric says:

      I considered all three of them, but I opted for Newman since I am most familiar with his work. It would be a travesty if none of them were included at some point, though.

  8. Olivia says:

    I like the addition of Paul Newman, but I’d take Tom Hanks over Gregory Peck any day. Also, (and maybe I’m writing this because I am currently writing a paper about ‘Psycho’) but I’d put Anthony Perkins on the list for that performance alone. No one else could pull off that role. I’m also going to go mainstream and say Michael Fassbender: any actor that can make me cry during X Men: First Class is worthy of being on a Top 10 list.

    • Eric says:

      Hi Olivia, thanks for commenting! Anthony Perkins’ performance in Psycho was amazing, and easily one of the greatest of all-time. Unfortunately, that is the only movie I have seen him in.

      I am a big Fassbender fan as well, and I think there is a very good chance he will be named among the all-time greats in the future.

  9. Chris says:

    I agree Eric, that Tom Hanks is good, but not great.
    Paul Newman certainly has an aura, I haven’t really noticed him acting, I suppose that makes me a good actor, if you forget its an act ( :

  10. The Blog of Big Ideas says:

    Great choice here. I pointed out that actors like Paul Newman needed to be included a couple of installments ago. I also liked seeing Hanks getting some love but you’re right to point out the fact that Newman had SIX decades of great films, some of which are unforgettable classics.

    The list is stronger today.

    • Eric says:

      Thanks, Niels! I would like to see some more classic actors added in the future, such as the ones that Stephen mentioned in a previous comment. This is definitely a fun blogathon to keep track of.

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