In my opinion: Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe.
Add to the list plz
Ned Beatty is an actor's actor according to top critics.
George C. Scott
Robert Duvaul (sp?)
Ever? Maybe Alec Guinness
Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall are two of the best still alive.
I'm partial to Chris Cooper, Brendan Gleeson, Ciaran Hinds, Brian Cox and Jeffrey Wright.
Ned Beatty (I agree)
Early Jack Nicholson (I like his 70's films)
This thread is going to turn Inside The Actors Studio real quick and start listing actors who've appeared in movies.
Is Humphrey Bogart considered an actor or a Star? There is a difference. Marilyn Monroe was a huge star, but she couldn't act.
Agree Ned Beatty, Brian Cox, Alec Guiness, Gene Hackman but I'd also throw in Kevin Spacey. I know he's very disliked here but he is a talented actor. I also really like Ralph Fiennes and John Hurt.
I would be on this list if my schedule allowed it.
ladies - Meryl Streep (even other actors admit that they can't do what she does)
men - Daniel Day Lewis
intersex - Jamie Lee Curtis
Miss Barbara Stanwyck
My current top 5:
Helen Lawson, of course
You know what: I thought Willem Dafoe was great too and I just saw him on stage (two days ag) and while his voice is truly wonderful and he can do what he wants with it, I found him lacking in physicality. Suddenly made me see a limitation that I didn't know was there.
Theatre isn't the movies, and it's merciless.
His voice, really, is very amazing.
Saw Cate Blanchett last year, though, and she blew my mind.
To be fair, you can't really know if an actor's all that good until you've seen them on stage.
And, yes, Willem Dafoe is a fine movie actor and I've always enjoyed his performances on film.