Home Movies NY Times 25 Best Actors of 21st Century Revised: Here’s Our List,...

Want to cause upset and wreck havoc? Just make a list of the best anything: singers, actors, baseball players. There will be howls of objections from all corners. The New York Times today has made a list of the 25 Best Actors of the 21st Century. It’s specious and nutty. Their list omits several people with serious theater chops, includes some who are popular but not exactly thespians. And where is Meryl Streep? They’ve excised her just to cause trouble. They’ve included several foreign actors and one of two total unknowns just to make you Google them. And of course, in the article, the tributes are written by their friends. Give me a break.

So first their list, then mine. My list includes three gentlemen who have passed away, but recently enough that their 21th century resumes are substantial:

1. Denzel Washington
2. Isabelle Huppert
3. Daniel Day-Lewis
4. Keanu Reeves
5. Nicole Kidman
6. Song Kang-ho
7. Toni Servillo
8. Zhao Tao
9. Viola Davis
10. Saoirse Ronan
11. Julianne Moore
12. Joaquin Phoenix
13. Tilda Swinton
14. Oscar Isaac
15. Michael B. Jordan
16. Kim Min-hee
17. Alfre Woodard
18. Willem Dafoe
19. Wes Studi
20. Rob Morgan
21. Catherine Deneuve
22. Melissa McCarthy
23. Mahershala Ali
24. Sonia Braga
25. Gael Garcia Bernal

Now mine:

1. Meryl Streep
2. Daniel Day-Lewis
3. Nicole Kidman
4. Philip Seymour Hoffman*
5. Denzel Washington
6. Judi Dench
7. David Oyelowo
8. Isabelle Huppert
9. Viola Davis
10. Saoirse Ronan
11. Julianne Moore
12. Joaquin Phoenix
13. Tilda Swinton
14. Oscar Isaac
15. Chadwick Boseman*
16. Cate Blanchett
17. Alfre Woodard
18. Willem Dafoe
19. Al Pacino
20. Robert De Niro
21. Catherine Deneuve
22. Jennifer Lawrence
23. Mahershala Ali
24. Michelle Yeoh
25. Jessica Chastain

And my list, if it had gone on, would have included Octavia Spencer, Anthony Hopkins and Frances McDormand (they’re going to win Oscars next April), Ethan Hawke, Claire Foy, Forest Whitaker, Dianne Wiest, Cherry Jones, Diane Keaton, Glynn Turman, Juliette Bincoche, Cicely Tyson, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, and so on and so on and so. Too many people discount Leonardo DiCaprio’s work, but it’s excellent, top notch, and never to be excluded. If Dustin Hoffman hadn’t been forced into early semi-retirement, he’d be at the top. Jane Fonda, Shirley MacLaine, Annette Bening are superstars. Don Cheadle will blow you away. The Times’s limitation of 25 simply isn’t fair, and even my extended list doesn’t do justice to the dozens, hundreds of great talents from every country. I’ll give the Times, credit for one name: Alfre Woodard. We can’t live without her.
PS If Philip Seymour Hoffman had lived and continued to work, he was the best actor of his generation. He would have been number 1.

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