Thursday, April 22, 2010

YNE (Yes, No, Eh) -- Actors

I'm running with the idea talked about in another post to give us the chance to talk about our idiosyncratic likes, dislikes, or indifference to certain actors and actresses. Because there are SO many and I think we should approach this systematically, I decided to take the list of Academy Award Nominees for Best Actor (not supporting actor--at this point anyway) from the 1980s to the present. That was still WAY, WAY long a list, so I narrowed it down to thirty of them who have had multiple noms in this time frame (the numbers in the parentheses indicate the number of times nominated). I also listed them in alphabetical order by first name (which is how I sorted them in Excel). After this way of culling them down, I also chose a few (listed after this first group) who I thought might be actors that would be polarizing to some of us. I'm sure I left out people who some of you may want to talk about. I have kept my full list, though, so I will do a "catch all" for the rest of these some time in the future.

I don't know the best way to have everyone respond (at least in your first, most formal take), but I don't think you necessarily have to talk about every person on the list. Maybe a good plan would be to first list only those of these who are your HUGE YES guys and maybe give a line or two why you are so crazy about them. Then give your huge NO guys and perhaps reasons why. Then list your "EH" people. Sound okay? If not, go with however you want to format your responses, please!

My plan will be to put up a new group once per week, so plan on Best Actress nominees next week.

Now, let er rip!

Multiple Nominations for Best Actor:
Albert Finney (3)
Anthony Hopkins (4)
Ben Kingsley (2)
Clint Eastwood (2)
Daniel Day-Lewis (4)
Denzel Washington (3)
Dustin Hoffman (4)
Geoffrey Rush (2)
George Clooney (2)
Jack Lemmon (2)
Jack Nicholson (5)
Jeff Bridges (2)
Johnny Depp (3)
Leonardo DiCaprio (2)
Michael Caine (2)
Morgan Freeman (3)
Nick Nolte (2)
Nicolas Cage (2)
Paul Newman (5)
Peter O'Toole (4)
Robert De Niro (3)
Robert Duvall (4)
Robin Williams (3)
Russell Crowe (3)
Sean Penn (5)
Tom Cruise (2)
Tom Hanks (5)
Warren Beatty (3)
Will Smith (3)
William Hurt (4)

Single-time noms who may generate some commentary:
Al Pacino
Bill Murray
Billy Bob Thornton
Brad Pitt
Edward Norton
Gene Hackman
Harrison Ford
Heath Ledger
John Travolta
Kevin Costner
Matt Damon
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Richard Dreyfuss
Robert Downey, Jr.
Tom Wilkinson
Woody Harrelson


Pops said...

Okay, I'll take a shot at this for openers. It is a little overwhelming there is so much that could be said. First...I have always felt that the most overlooked, underappreciated actor ever was Jack Lemmon. He could do it all (except action hero flicks) funny movies..i.e. The Odd Couple, Out of Towners, Some Like it Hot, Mr. Roberts...drama..The China Syndrome, Days of Wine and Roses, The Apartment, Cowboy. Who could play Felix Unger better?? You decide where on the scale he fits.

Paul Newman: I saw Absence of Malice last week on cable. I marveled at how good looking he was at middle age. Thin, blue eyes, good smile. He was just a pleasure to watch physically. Good actor also. i.e. The Verdict, the Sting, Cool Hand Luke. on and on with some movies. He made some klunkers too. He seemed to get better and better with age....kinda like Robert Duvall. Props to him for his long marraige, lack of political activitism and charity work.

Plug for Peter O'Toole as an actor. I have often raved about Lawrence of Arabia. Best movie and best acting job ever in my opinion. Add Man of La Mancha, Lion in Winter and Becket and O'Toole ranks up there high.

Dustin Hoffman...great job in Tootsie, RainMan, The Graduate and many others. Oh,yah..Midnight Cowboy. Flat out good actor in his prime but falling out lately to bad scripts and movies.

Jack Nicholson: THE MAN! You just have to like everything he does. His face tells it all..the smile, the eyes, the gleem!! One of the all time best!!

Robert Duvall: Solid actor and great character actor. Ranks with all the greats over the long pull. Still fun to watch as an old guy.

Robert DeNiro: Whats to say? Always been a great actor. Godfather II, and all the others. He always catches your eye when he is on camera.. compelling guy.

Al Pacino: Such energy and talent. he can do so much, but has made some poor movies that I don't like, but many great ones. Scent of a Woman, I watch when on cable for the closing scene at the School and his monolog to the dean and then his relationship to his neice and nephew (sp). Watch him in An Justice For All. Good actor!

Younger ones: Brad Pitt.. I like Brad Pitt. He is fun to watch and really a pretty good actor. He has been in some fluffy pictures, but Fight Club, Mr Black and some others he has been good. Stud good looking!

Ed Norton: Maybe the best of the younger actors. Good in everything he does. Primal Fear!!

I can't leave off my boy Kevin Costner. Field of Dreams is the best. Dances with Wolves is the best. I even like that Coast Guard movie. The Bodyguard was sort of lame however.... nough of this....have fun peeps with this and thanks Dan for getting it started. I'll have to make comments from time to time as I thing about things.

B said...

Dan, you're a nerd.

That being said, the only ones on here that I would see a movie for just because they're in it are Anthony Hopkins Tom Hanks, and Edward Norton. And maybe young John Travolta. The others are just Eh, except for one who I'm sure you can all name, who will always be a NO!.

Emily said...

I want to post something here but have a headache tonight and the sure size of the list deterred me last night. I WILL get to it -you know I am full of opinions-, but I need to be at my best and up for it.

Dan W said...

I have no real problems with anyone on this list, though some have such quirky personalities that I think they are quite limited in their appeal (and possibly their talent—at least as actors able to disappear into characters). In this vein, I’m thinking mostly of Nicholas Cage, Robin Williams, and Woody Harrelson. I think all three are talented and have their own kind of charm, and they are especially good at intense roles, but I can’t say I hold out hope that they could successfully do subtle roles.

One of the guys on the list is, I think, a good actor, but he has just never really impressed me to the degree of his acclaim. Here I’m thinking of William Hurt. He’s fine in stuff but never so good that I don’t think others could have done just as well, if not better. Another in this category for me, except for Sling Blade, is Billy Bob Thornton. I can kind of see his charm that makes him appealing in some other roles, but is he really a great actor?

The guys who have blown me away are:

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter
Ben Kingsley—-his portrayal of Gandhi is the single best acting work EVER
Jack Nicholson—-my two favorite performances of his have both been kind of comic—-dudes with serious problems that he finds the humanity and humor in: As Good As It Gets and Something’s Gotta Give
Morgan Freeman—-Shawshank Redemption is my favorite portrayal of his; I also vote him for best God ever (most likeable) in the two “Almighty” films….
Sean Penn as Harvey Milk—-holy cow!
Tom Hanks for Gump, Philadelphia, and Apollo 13
Heath Leger WAS dang, dang talented. His Joker was worth all the acclaim it got, and if you haven’t seen Lords of Dogtown (about the birth of skateboarding), he’s a total crack-up in it. The dude committed to his roles.
Robert Downey Jr as Charlie Chaplin
Tom Wilkinson for the bi-polar lawyer in Michael Clayton. Oh my! I also loved him as Ben Franklin in the John Adams miniseries.

Dudes I just plain like and would want to hang with are:

I liked Jack Lemmon a lot in Tribute, but I really haven’t seen all that much of his work, so I’ll take George’s recommendation of him to heart and see about finding some more of his films.

Dan W said...

A side comment on the young guns on this list: I think Depp, DiCaprio, Pitt, Norton, and Damon all belong here. Depp and DiCaprio have the best range, but it's hard to beat Norton when he's in his zone. Pitt and Damon aren't quite as outright talented as these other guys, IMO, but I think they are smart and definitely talented and in no way begrudge them their fame and acclaim.

Pops said...

Good comments, Dan. I think Ed Norton is always in his zone. Very few misses with him. DiCaprio I have never liked and I don't know why. I agree with Kingsley and Ghandhi being the best, close behind O'Toole. I haven't seen Milk but Penn in Mystic River was super good. I didnt know Heath Ledger was is Lords of Dogtown, I'll have to re-check out Matts copy. Anthony Hopkins is one of the very, very few actors I will see a movie because he is in it. Always watchable. I agree with William Hurt as a eh. Was good in the Doctor. Tom Wilkinson is one I don't remember who he is. Woody in Kingpin was pretty dang good, but he was still Woody.