Of course, all top ten lists are relative and preferential. These are some of the actors that we think define the cream of the crop over the last ten or so years. If this were an all time list, we'd certainly find Robert DeNiro in there. We're just trying to keep it current.
10. Idris Elba - Often times a bit confusing in his choices of roles, Elba always scores with a diverse set of characterizations. From The Wire to Prometheus, he always maintains a coolness and range that undeniably makes him one of the best around right now. We'd really like to see him take on the role of Green Lantern, but that probably won't happen.
9. Tom Hardy - The man known as Bane to millions has actually turned out some great performances in indie films the past few years. 2008's Bronson is the movie that first turned me on to Hardy. If you haven't seen it, do it now. Although he's been taking on some roles in bigger productions, he always maintains integrity and artistic merit in everything he does.
8. Emile Hirsch - Poor Emile Hirsch. This dude has had it rough. He continually makes great movies, but the masses seem to ignore this man's talent. So what. He starred in The Darkest Hour. Everyone hits a bump in the road ever once in a while. The commercial and critical flop Speed Racer was completely misunderstood. I don't care what you say. His performance as Chris McCandless in Into The Wild was just phenomenal. It's a great picture over all. I bet you haven't seen it.
7. Philip Seymour Hoffman - Not always the best decision maker, Hoffman has always done his best to alter his choice in roles. Despite my minor dislike for The Master, Hoffman definitely managed to offer another great performance. From Boogie Nights to Doubt, Philip Seymour Hoffman's performances are always resting on stress riddled, emotionally charged characters that he never fails to embody.
6. Joaquin Phoenix - A bit crazy? Yes. A little of a pain in the ass? Definitely. But, he's an actor and he has never failed to bring the goods when he's making a movie. Joaquin played Cash with decisive attention to detail and a depth of character that most actors never even bother trying to reach. But, his decision to "retire" turned out to be a hoax and it's definitely done some damage to his career.
5. Ed Norton - Ed Norton. Oh, Ed Norton. Everyone says you're a prima donna and a true bastard to work with. Is this why everything you make is awesome? Honestly, Norton has never turned in a bad performance. From American History X to Fight Club, the man has a grasp on how to bring the human element to the screen even if he's playing a big green gamma radiated Hulk.
4. Michael Fassbender - Fassbender arrived on the scene way back in 2001, but finally started getting some notoriety with Inglourious Basterds. He's a great dramatic actor and definitely knows how to deliver a vast array of characters. He never repeats himself and is always looking for a way to do something different. His role in Shame is one of his best. If you haven't seen it, check it out.
3. Michael Shannon - Shannon is an actor that most people have seen but don't really know by name yet. Well, they should. A couple years back, he made a movie called Take Shelter. It was a vividly haunting performance that made me respect the man's talent and dedication to his craft. This year he portrayed Richard Kuklinski in the drama, The Iceman. Although the movie wasn't that great, Shannon did the best he could with a dire script and movie that lacked the details we all wanted to see. Shannon needs an Oscar, stat.
2. Sam Rockwell - If anyone were a hybrid human/chameleon, it's Rockwell. He can alter his personality to fit in to any scenario. This man has never, I repeat, never had a bad role. Even if the movie is a failure, you'll find Rockwell out performing everyone around him. The man can do comedy, drama, or whatever you want him to. His comedic routine in The Way Way Back was one of my favorite parts of this summer. It should be yours too.
1. Daniel Day Lewis - Although Daniel has been around for years, it's just the last ten or so years that he's really taken on some grueling roles. His portrayal of Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York is one of his best. But, his performance as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood is by far the whip cream on our milk shake. See what I did there? Lewis never phones it in. He takes every chance he can get to out perform his fellow actors and is truly the best in the business.
-Article by Chris George