Many actors are said to be talented, "era-defining" etc... [insert pompous, grandiose epithets]. So...can we all agree on one actor that is truly talented and that truly deserve to the adjective talent. I honestly think that only two guys deserve the term talented and that's Heath Ledger and Matt Damon. What do you think?
Lol@ op's choices. Damon?!
Watch more movies, OP.
The names you are looking for are guys like Daniel Day Lewis and Phillip Seymor Hoffman.
I will give you that Heath Ledger showed great talent in his career.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Ryan Gosling are the two young A Listers than spring to mind.
Y'all are gonna' laugh, but you know who impresses me on tv? Ryan Kwanten from True Blood. I had absolutely no idea that he was Australian. His accent is spot on . . . now that's not to say he has the acting chops of Meryl Streep, but he can sure pull off an accent, that's for sure.
For longevity of career and a couple of genre-defining roles, I'd go with Clint Eastwood.
Christian Bale, seriously. He was cursed with perfect looks and a dislikable personality, a combination that ruins the chance to be thought of as truly talented. He's a truly talented actor and I say that as someone who dislikes him. Christian Bale is an era-defining actor.
Toni Collette, Frances McDormand, Robert DeNiro.
Agree with Daniel Day Lewis. And Christian Bale can be terrific. I will add Jim Broadbent, Ian McKellan, Samuel L. Jackson, Denzel Washington. I have to leave off Johnny Depp because he's become a caricature.
It's impossible to agree, really. Ideas of desirable acting have varied, and no one transcends all genres and characters with his or her talent (at least not anyone famous).
It can also be hard to tell in film and some TV, thanks to casting, directing, and editing.
We're left with subjectivity, and this is going to become another "favorite actors" thread.
Joaquin Phoenix. Russell Crowe.
I want to thank you all for sparing me the embarrassment of yet another accolade.
Christian Bale and Russell Crowe are my choices also. I can watch anything these two do.
Best out there now who have shown range are (that is, they have not been typecast like Bale) .... Robert Downey, Jr, Sean Penn, Daniel Day Lewis, Benicio Del Toro.
Old timers like De Niro, Nicholson, and Pacino are way past their prime. Pacino in Godfather 2, Dog Day Afternoon or Scarface - he was incredible. Now, he has become the character he played in Scent of a Woman. So sad. De Niro... ruined his career with the Focker movies. Jack is just a mess, can't carry a film anymore.
Honorable mention to Clooney, he's made some good shit, like Damon (and his fabulous butt).
Megan Cavanagh, whether you like it or not.
Agree with r8. Clint Eastwood.
Bill Murray. I don't get the lve for Clint Eastwood. He always plays the same character--hardened tough guy.
Johnny Depp, 10 years ago.
Matt Damon? Bullshit.
Daniel Day Lewis
Jamie Foxx (seriously)
Julianne Moore (SERIOUSLY)
Christian Bale, Daniel day Lewis is fucking amazzzing. Ryan Gosling.
For the "younger" guys:
Are you smoking crack??
Matt Damon is really just sufficient, not great. He's never bad, but he never hits a home run.
Ryan Gosling is the first man who comes to mind.
In addition to the already mentioned Daniel Day Lewis, Christian Bale, Robert Downey Jr and Russell Crowe, I would add David Straitharne (sp?).
I don't disagree with the younger guys mentioned but I will throw out that Joseph Gordon Levitt should be in there with him.
He has been terrific in an impressive range of roles already. Definitely a legitimate talent.
Working now? I love some of the young Brits - Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddleston. Matthew Goode. Eddie Redmayne. Talented and charismatic.
For women - Jessica Chastain, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Judy Davis. All amazing, stronger than most.
Some of the hot younger American film actors now are tofu to me - Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone. Meh. All seem too emo and want to be famous. Joseph Gordon-Levitt has real actor potential. Same with Leo.
Older men - Daniel Day-Lewis and Sean Penn. Both truly talented. Sean Penn is in danger of becoming a DeNiro or Hoffman due to arrogance.
I like R5's choices.
meryl streep,charlize theron and javier bardem
John Malkovitch, William H Macy
Great actors show consistency in great performances. There are not that many IMHO.
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Javier Bardem, Judi Dench, RDJ (he needs to get involved in some serious acting every now and then though, those stupid Sherlock movies are bad for his reputation as a respectable actor - I like him in the Iron Man movies though) Viola Davis, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Jacki Weaver, Ben Mendelsohn, Guy Pearce, Sam Rockwell, Toni Collette - all great actors. Ryan Gosling is not nearly as good as he wishes audiences to believe. I am also doubtful regarding Fassbender, Levit and Jennifer Lawrence. As they say, don't believe the hype.
I'll probably get hissed at for saying it but Andrew Garfield. Not so much for Spiderman but The Social Network, Never Let Me Go and especially the work he did in British TV/Theatre before like Boy A, Red Riding, Beautiful Thing, Sugar Rush.
Jessica Chastain, Kate Winslet, William H Macey and I also like Paul Dano a lot, he was just as great as DDL in There Will Be Blood, but unfortunately hardly anybody mentioned him. I would like to add those names to R36. Most A-lister are terribly untalented strangely
Most of R36's choices are 45 years or older, and none of them are under 40. Shocking.
R37 Andrew Garfield was great in Never Let Me Go, as was Carey Mulligan (she was way more interesting than Fassbender in Shame and she was great in Drive too. Carey and Michelle Williams are both great
R39, well acting is also a craft you just have to learn. And that just takes time.
Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. Both can do hilarious comedies or the darkest drama, romantic leads, scene-stealing cameos, and everything in between.
I agree that the real "talents" are not the big stars, but the character actors who work forever.
R37 I agree he is something special.
There is a hierarchy of talent.
Premier league: Meryl Streep (peerless).
Second league: Vannesa Redgrave, Isabelle Huppert, Tilda Swinton, Glenn Close, Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Melissa Leo, Naomi Watts.
Third league: Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Emma Thompson, Rachel Weisz, Penelope Cruz, Charlize Theron, Angela Bassett, Joan Cusack, Adjani, Deneuve, Beart, Bonnaire, Jessica Lange, Sigourney Weaver, Cher, Debra Winger, Anjelica Huston, Sally Field, Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, Judy Davis, Viola Davis, Charlotte Rampling, Kristin Scott-Thomas, Toni Collette, Frances McDormand, Alfre Woodard, Jacki Weaver, Emily Watson, Kate Winslet, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Carey Mulligan, Jennifer Lawrence.
Overrated: Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Jessica Chastain, Michelle Williams, Helena Bonham-Carter.
Beyond overrated: Nicole Kidman.
Who cares: Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Reese Witherspoon, Gwnyneth Paltrow.
For male actors, the hierarchy is:
Premier league: Daniel Day-Lewis (peerless).
Second league: Ralph Fiennes, Michael Fassbender, Anthony Hopkins, Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Christoph Waltz, Forest Whitaker, Kevin Spacey.
Third league: everybody else.
Overrated: Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, Shia Labeouf, Robert Downey Jr., Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington (has played the same character for 30 years now).
Beyond overrated: Leonardo DiCaprio.
Formerly great, but now shit: Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino.
Who cares: Tom Cruise, Clint Eastwood.
I forgot Kathy Bates, Susan Sarandon and Jodie Foster - they belong in the third league.
Liv Ullmann isn't working as an actress anymore, otherwise she'd be second league.
Oh, George Clooney and Brad Pitt are BEYOND OVERRATED as well.
Forgot about those two joke actors.
Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Daniel Day Lewis
Aaron Taylor Johnson
Haven't seen him mentioned but Jeffrey Wright deserves to be a part of this discussion.
Streepie, I'm glad to know you have found your passion in life.
Streep troll, P S Hoffman deserves promotion (from 'everyone else') to at least your second league.
Stage and screen after all, and DDL doesn't touch theatre these days. (I bet he went to see PSH in 'Salesman' though.)
Michelle Pfeiffer deserves an honorable mention on this thread.
Ewan McGregor - top of the list, imho. He's amazingly versatile, always committed, makes anything watchable
Robert Downey, Jr
Benicio Del Toro
r53, I'm not sure about that.
PSH seems to play the same character over and over, albeit brilliantly.
The priest in Doubt is the same type of guy as the Master. Capote was a slightly camp variation of that same character type.
He's a one-trick pony.
All the actors in my second league are more versatile than PSH is, and DDL.... is FAR more talented than PSH can ever dream to be.
Streep troll, I do think 'one-trick pony' is too harsh about PSH.
Freewheeling arrogant playboy in 'Ripley', homely intelligence wonk in 'Charlie Wilson', depressed son and teacher in 'Savages', tough political hack in 'Ides Of March.' And 'Capote' was at a far remove from 'The Master'! As for stage work, well being a Brit I missed PSH's Willy Loman, to my regret.
PSH works more than DDL, so maybe some character overlaps are more evident. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing 'Lincoln' as soon as it opens here.
Rating these actors is very subjective.
In the end, what matters to the studios is who has the most box office clout.
I agree that Clooney is hugely overrated. In fact, he's McBongo without the accent.
Definitely there is a difference between truly talented actors and stars. To me, stars can light up the screen and have an appeal to the audience. A star's acting abilities are almost secondary. For example, Julia Roberts is an OK actress, but she lit up the screen in Pretty Woman, which made her a star. Clooney is a good actor but more of a star.
Truly talented actors? Well, Meryl Streep obviously. I agree with another poster that she is in a class by herself. I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is truly talented, as is Daniel Day Lewis. Interesting that each has really shied away from trying to be a star. I also think Tom Hanks is a versatile actor.
Aaron Paul! He's won two well-deserved Emmys for his work on Breaking Bad. He should have Gyllenhaal's level of fame (I was going to say "career", but on second thought...) And he's hot to death.
He should have been Jack Twist. /gavel down
It's actually hard to think of people THAT talented.
Frances McDormand - versatile, and I believe her.
I haven't seen Jessica Chastain yet - hope she's all that.
Nina Arianda (Broadway actress, also film)
I hate Sean Penn with the fire of a thousand suns to where I can't see his films, but I've seen him enough in the past - especially in bad movies - where he was the best thing in it. He could have calcified into a personality at this point though - been too long.
Jill Scott from her role in #1 Lady Detective.
Yes, R65. She really surprised me in that role. I would really like to see more of her.
[quote]He should have been Jack Twist. /gavel down
I rolled my eyes when I read this a couple of days ago, but the more I think about it, the more I realize you're right. Aaron Paul's physical slightness would have made more visual and logical sense for that character. Jake Gyllenhaal, as hot as he was at that time, just didn't look like someone who grew up as rural Wyoming trash; he looked too contemporary, well-nourished, and urban.
Aaron Paul is small enough to be more convincing as a would-be horseman and rodeo star, pretty enough to be believable as an object of a closeted man's lust (and as a bottom), and talented enough (with that voice!) to handle the dramatic intensity of the role. So, good choice.
[quote]he looked too contemporary, well-nourished, and urban.
Something tells me that "urban" here is code for Jewish. I'm not saying you're wrong, though.