Monday, 1 February 2010

Vic's Top Actors and Directors of the Decade

Below is my list of top ten male and female actors of the decade (limited to actors making regular films of interest to me in the past ten years, so old favourites like Sean Connery and Harrison Ford are not on the list - they just didn’t make enough of my kind of films this decade). Keep in mind, again, that this is not a list of the ten best actors/actresses but a list of my personal top ten (i.e. knowing these people are in a film automatically sparks my interest). The lists are alphabetical. My favourite in each list is indicated with an asterisk. Following each actor is a scene from my favourite film of the decade in which they appeared (when possible).

Below the two lists of actors is a list of 22 directors whose names I watch for in the 21st century (i.e. these are the directors who, when I see their name attached, automatically make me want to see the film).

Amy Adams - great in every film in which I have seen her (Enchantment, Sunshine Cleaning, Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, Junebug, Julie & Julia, etc.).

Marion Cotillard * - one of the best female actors of our time, superb in La Vie en Rose.

Judi Dench - pure class; apparently I was standing right beside her in an airport and didn’t notice.

Scarlett Johansson - Janelle would give me a dark look if I failed to admit she is on my list.

Nicole Kidman - always a pleasure to watch; and she can sing too (Moulin Rouge, Nine).

Kelly Macdonald - underused Scottish actress - great in A Girl in the Cafe and No Country for Old Men. We walked past her in London on my birthday last year but decided not to bother her.

Ellen Page - a brilliant up-and-comer from Canada (Juno has been her best work so far).

Charlize Theron - great actress and one of my all-time favourites.

Naomi Watts - another underused actress, though she’s ranked number one on IMDB Pro today.

Kate Winslet - who doesn’t love Kate?

Nicolas Cage - he may not have a wide range, but he’s capable of great things (Adaptation) and I just love watching him.

George Clooney * - ditto (O Brother, Michael Clayton, Syriana, Up in the Air - enough said).

Russell Crowe - he does have a wide range, and he’s one of the very best.

Matt Damon - he exudes innocent intelligence and I like that.

Johnny Depp - who doesn’t love Johnny? And he can sing, too (Sweeney Todd was a great film)!

Ralph Fiennes - one of the greatest actors of our time, always the best actor in every film he’s in.

Tom Hanks - he’s even fun to watch in the films based on Dan Brown novels.

Philip Seymour Hoffman - the master (should have had a handful of Oscars by now).

Ian McKellen - the old master, who just keeps getting better.

Denzel Washington - a favourite for a very long time, I even enjoyed him in Training Day, The Taking of Pelham 123 and John Q.

Woody Allen - his films have not been as good this decade, but he’s still making them and I keep watching them (his frequent use of Scarlett Johansson doesn’t hurt - I loved Match Point).

Pedro Almodovar - consistently excellent.

Paul Thomas Anderson - after Magnolia, I watch for everything he does.

Darren Aronofsky - one of the best filmmakers of the decade.

Coen Brothers - always quirky and entertaining.

Tim Burton - another maker of quirky films that are almost always worth repeated viewings.

David Cronenberg - he’s had a great decade.

Clint Eastwood - one of the best directors ever.

Terry Gilliam - if Gilliam makes it, I know it will be weird and wonderful.

Paul Haggis - two of my favourite dramas of the decade made by him.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - ditto.

Mike Leigh - my favourite British director has never made a dud.

Richard Linklater - most thought-provoking director out there.

Ken Loach - another great British director telling the story of the common people.

Sam Mendes - after American Beauty, I watch for everything he does.

Jason Reitman - THE up-and-comer.

Carlos Reygadas - you know it’s going to be unique; one of our most daring and innovative directors.

Martin Scorsese - one of the greats and still busy.

Steven Spielberg - ditto.

Quentin Tarantino - I’ve said I’m not a Tarantino fan, but I can’t resist seeing whatever this crazy genius makes.

Tom Tykwer - my favourite German director whose films have always captivated me.

Yimou Zhang - my favourite Asian director.

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