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Who is the Best Actor in the World?

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Who is the Best Actor in the World
29 Apr, 2024

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In the vast and dynamic realm of cinema, the question of “who is the best actor in the world?” is one that sparks endless debate and fascination among enthusiasts and critics alike. Delving into the rich tapestry of film history, we embark on a journey to unravel the timeless performances and enduring legacies of some of the most iconic actors to have graced the silver screen.

From the method acting prowess of Marlon Brando to the unparalleled versatility of Meryl Streep, each luminary has left an indelible mark on the landscape of cinema. Join us as we explore the top ten best actors of all time, each deserving of recognition and acclaim in their own right.

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Top 10 best actors in the world

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando
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Birth and place: (April 3, 1924 – July 1, 2004)

Best-known movies: On the Waterfront (1954), The Godfather (1972), and The Wild One (1953)

Marlon Brando Jr. was an American actor who was one of the greatest and most influential actors of all time. Thus, he has topped the list of ‘Who is the best actor in the world?’

Throughout his six-decade career, Marlon Brando left an indelible mark on cinema. His ascent began with the iconic portrayal of Stanley Kowalski in “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951), earning him his inaugural Academy Award nod. Brando’s embodiment of the rebellious motorcycle gang leader Johnny Strabler in “The Wild One” (1953) became an emblem of the era. Despite a downturn in the 1960s marked by commercial disappointments like “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1962), his triumphant return as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” (1972) secured his second Oscar and cemented his cinematic legacy.

While his later years saw fewer film roles, Brando’s enduring influence endures, with his performances revered for their depth and authenticity.

Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson
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Birth and place: April 22, 1937

Best-known movies: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), As Good as It Gets (1997), and Terms of Endearment (1983).

Jack Joseph Nicholson stands out as one of the most prominent American actors of his generation, celebrated for his versatile portrayals of unconventional and alienated outsiders. His illustrious career spans over five decades, starting with an office job at MGM’s animation department after high school.

In addition to his acting prowess, Nicholson has explored his interests in directing, helming notable films such as “Drive, He Said” (1971), “Goin’ South” (1978), and “The Two Jakes” (1990).

Nicholson’s journey in the realm of awards is nothing short of impressive. He has won three Academy Awards, three BAFTA Film Awards, six Golden Globe Awards, and even a Grammy Award. His contributions to the industry have been duly recognized, with accolades including the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 1994 and the Kennedy Center Honor in 2001.

Furthermore, he shares the rare honor of being one of only two actors nominated for an Oscar for acting in films made in every decade from the 1960s to the 2000s, alongside Michael Caine. With an astounding 12 Academy Award nominations, he remains the most nominated male actor in the history of the Academy. These remarkable achievements firmly cement Nicholson’s place in the list of ‘Who is the best actor in the world?

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep
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Birth and place: June 22, 1949, in Summit, New Jersey, USA.

Best-known movies: “Sophie’s Choice” (1982), “The Iron Lady” (2011), and “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006).

Meryl Streep, born Mary Louise Streep, is an acclaimed American actress known for her versatility and proficiency in portraying various characters. She is considered one of the greatest actresses in American cinema history. Streep has received numerous accolades throughout her career, including three Academy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, and eight Golden Globe Awards.

Streep developed an early interest in acting. She attended Vassar College and later graduated from the Yale School of Drama. She made her professional stage debut in 1971 and her film debut in 1977 with a small role in “Julia.”

In addition to her success in film, Streep has worked on stage and television. Her work includes “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981), “Angels in America” (2003), and “Big Little Lies” (2019).

Beyond her acting career, Meryl Streep advocates for gender equality and environmental issues. She remains a respected and influential figure in the entertainment industry, landing her third position in the ‘Who is the best actor in the world?’ list.

Dustin Hoffman

Dustin Hoffman
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Birth and place: August 8, 1937, in Los Angeles, California.

Best-known movies: Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), The Graduate (1967), and Papillon (1973).

Dustin Hoffman is an esteemed American actor renowned for his portrayal of antiheroes and emotionally vulnerable characters. He has played a pivotal role in the New Hollywood era, earning a spot among the top 5 in the ‘Who is the best actor in the world?’ ranking. With a collection of accolades that includes two Academy Awards, four BAFTA Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and two Primetime Emmy Awards, Hoffman’s talent and impact on the industry are undeniable.

Hoffman’s journey into acting began after initially pursuing music, studying at Santa Monica City College. However, his passion for the performing arts soon took precedence. He honed his craft at institutions like the Pasadena Playhouse and the Actors Studio, laying the groundwork for a career that has spanned over six decades. Along the way, he has served as an inspiration to new generations of actors, solidifying his legacy as one of the finest performers of his time.

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Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks
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Birth and place: July 9, 1956, in Concord, California, United States.

Best-known movies: “Sleepless in Seattle” (1993), “Apollo 13” (1995), and “The Green Mile” (1999).

Thomas Jeffrey Hanks, widely known for his iconic role in “Forrest Gump,” is an American actor and filmmaker of immense renown. Hanks has earned acclaim for his adeptness in both comedic and dramatic roles, solidifying his status as an American cultural icon and one of the most recognizable film stars globally. His films have amassed staggering box office returns, surpassing $4.9 billion in North America and exceeding $9.96 billion worldwide, establishing him as one of the highest-grossing actors in the industry.

Notable for his collaborations with esteemed directors such as Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Nora Ephron, and Robert Zemeckis, Hanks has garnered widespread recognition for his versatile performances. He clinched two consecutive Academy Awards for Best Actor, portraying a gay lawyer with AIDS in “Philadelphia” (1993) and the titular character in “Forrest Gump” (1994). Additionally, Hanks lent his voice to the beloved “Toy Story” film series (1995–2019), embodying the iconic character Sheriff Woody.

Beyond his acting endeavors, Hanks has made significant strides as a director, producer, and screenwriter through his production company, Playtone, established in 1998. Notably, his collaboration with HBO has resulted in numerous critically acclaimed television projects. His contributions to television have garnered him seven Primetime Emmy Awards as a producer of various limited series and television movies.

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro
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Birth and place: August 17, 1943 in New York City.

Best-known movies: “Goodfellas” (1990), “Casino” (1995), and “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012).

Robert Anthony De Niro is an American actor and film producer renowned for his collaborations with Martin Scorsese. His training at H.B. Studio, Stella Adler Conservatory, and Actors Studio laid the foundation for his stellar career. De Niro’s talent has garnered him numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, and the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille Award. In addition to his acting prowess, De Niro has ventured into directing, with notable films like “A Bronx Tale” (1993) and “The Good Shepherd” (2006) under his belt.

Furthermore, De Niro’s contributions extend beyond the screen; he is a co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, established in 2002 to rejuvenate lower Manhattan after the September 11 attacks. His unwavering dedication to his craft, combined with his meticulous approach to character preparation, has earned him immense respect in the film industry.

Al Pacino

Al Pacino
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Birth and place: April 25, 1940 in New York City

Best-known movies: “Dick Tracy” (1990), “Insomnia” (2002), and House of Gucci” (2021)

Al Pacino, of Italian and Sicilian descent, is an esteemed American actor who is one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. His journey into acting began with studies at the H.B. Studio and the Actors Studio under the tutelage of esteemed mentors such as Charlie Laughton and Lee Strasberg. It was here that Pacino’s commitment to method acting laid the foundation for his illustrious career.

Throughout his career, Pacino has garnered numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, and two Primetime Emmy Awards, a feat known as achieving the Triple Crown of Acting. Additionally, he has been honored with prestigious awards such as the Cecil B. DeMille Award, the AFI Life Achievement Award, and the Kennedy Center Honors.

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Paul Newman

Paul Newman
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Birth and place: January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008, in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Best-known movies: The Color of Money (1986), Nobody’s Fool (1994), and Road to Perdition (2002)

Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, racing driver, philanthropist, and entrepreneur who stands as one of the finest actors of his time. From a young age, Newman displayed a keen interest in theater, laying the foundation for his remarkable career. Following World War II, he furthered his education in acting at Kenyon College, Yale University, and the Actors Studio in New York City, attributing much of his success to these experiences.

Newman’s illustrious career garnered him numerous accolades, including one Academy Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, a BAFTA Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and three Golden Globes. Beyond his contributions to film, Newman dedicated himself to philanthropy through Newman’s Own, a food company that donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity.

Throughout his over 50-year career, Newman captivated audiences with his compelling performances in iconic antihero roles. His enduring legacy earned him a place on the ‘Who is the best actor in the world?’ list, solidifying his status as a cinematic legend.

Spencer Tracy

Spencer Tracy
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Birth and place: April 5, 1900 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Best-known movies: 20,000 Years in Sing Sing (1932), Man’s Castle (1933), and Captains Courageous (1937).

Spencer Tracy, an American actor celebrated for his natural performances and versatile acting abilities, was one of the screen’s greatest during Hollywood’s Golden Age. His name found a well-deserved place in the top 10 of the ‘Who is the best actor in the world?’ list.

Tracy’s journey began in the theater before he seamlessly transitioned to the world of film in the early 1930s. A significant highlight of his career was his professional and personal partnership with Katharine Hepburn, which spanned nine films over 25 years.

Over the course of his illustrious career, he appeared in an impressive 75 films, earning him prestigious honors, including two Academy Awards and one BAFTA Award. Notably, he also clinched the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actor for his role in “Bad Day at Black Rock” (1955).

A significant highlight of Tracy’s career was his professional and personal partnership with Katharine Hepburn, which spanned nine films over 25 years.

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington
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Birth and place: December 28, 1954, in Mount Vernon, New York, United States.

Best-known movies: Philadelphia (1993), Man on Fire (2004), Inside Man (2006), and The Equalizer trilogy (2014–2023)

Denzel Hayes Washington Jr. is a versatile American actor, producer, and director whose career spans over four decades. Throughout his illustrious journey, Washington has garnered numerous prestigious awards, including a Tony Award, two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and two Silver Bears.

Initially studying journalism at Fordham University, Washington’s path took a turn when he discovered his passion for acting. He made his feature film debut in the comedy ‘A Carbon Copy’ (1981) and subsequently gained widespread recognition for his role on the hit TV medical drama “St. Elsewhere” (1982-88).

In recognition of his exceptional contributions to the entertainment industry, Washington was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, followed by the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2019 and 2020. The New York Times also acknowledged his extraordinary talent, hailing him as the best actor of the 21st century. Additionally, Washington’s impact transcends the realm of entertainment, as evidenced by his receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022.

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FAQs

Who are the top 10 best actors of all time?

The top 10 best actors of all time:

  1. Marlon Brando
  2. Jack Nicholson
  3. Meryl Streep
  4. Dustin Hoffman
  5. Tom Hanks
  6. Robert De Niro
  7. Al Pacino
  8. Paul Newman
  9. Spencer Tracy
  10. Denzel Washington

Who is the best actor in the world?

Renowned for his timeless performances, Marlon Brando has left an indelible mark on cinema history with iconic roles such as Terry Malloy in “On the Waterfront” (1954) and Vito Corleone in “The Godfather” (1972).

Who is the greatest actor of the 21st century?

According to the New York Times, Denzel Washington, an American actor celebrated for his remarkable versatility, is the greatest actor of the 21st century.

Who is the current best actor?

Brendan Fraser, an American-Canadian actor, was awarded Best Actor—Male (2023) for his incredible performance in the movie The Whale at the 2023 Academy Awards.

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