Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blokes from Across the Pond

When Stevee celebrated her blog's third birthday last week, she listed the blogs that she calls favorites. When she mentioned my blog, she said this:
Any movie I wanna know about, she's likely got it covered. Any British actor I wanna know about, she's likely got it covered.
The second sentence got me intrigued. I mean, I'll admit I like actors from the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales) but am I really an expert on them? I highly doubt it. That said, I do have my favorites. So here are my 25 favorite actors from across the pond. (Also throwing in a few actors from Ireland because why not?)

Cary Grant
Who better to start the list than with a classic actor like Grant? I mostly like him because he was perceived as suave and sophisticated even though he never took himself too seriously. (Expect that to be a running theme for some of the blokes on this list.)

Laurence Olivier
Charming, elegant, talented...what's not to like about Sir Olivier? At the moment, my favorite performance of his is the mysterious Maxim de Winter in Rebecca. The mysterious element of his character is something I think only Olivier could display.

James Mason
In an era where English actors were usually cast as the romantic lead, Mason veered far away from those roles and accepted roles that he could sink his teeth into. Not surprising that a few of those roles stirred up some controversy. (Lolita, anyone?) But that gorgeous voice of his made all those roles appealing.

Richard Burton
Even though he garnered seven Academy Award nominations during his career, I think he didn't get the recognition he deserved. Maybe it could have been because some of his role choices were lacking. Maybe it was because he didn't think much of his talent. I don't know precisely, but he was sort of a neglected name of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Peter O'Toole
The one thing I like about O'Toole is that nonchalant behavior of his. It just amuses me so. Even with his eight Academy Award nominations (and his Honorary Oscar), he doesn't really seem to mind what people think of him. Not that I'm complaining.

Anthony Hopkins
Many may prefer Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, but I like his more subtle roles like The Remains of the Day and The Elephant Man. Personally, I hope he gets another role like that sometime soon. I hate seeing a great actor going to waste.

Ian McKellen
Another example of a great actor immortalized by that one role. (Again, another running theme for some of the gents on this list.) For Sir McKellen, it's as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Though I hope more people will see his fantastic work in Gods and Monsters. That was the kind of role only McKellen could do.

Liam Neeson
I'm somewhat intrigued by the path of Neeson's career lately. How did he go from Schindler's List and Kinsey to Taken and The Grey? I'm not saying it as a bad thing, but I would like to see him in a legit dramatic role again.

Daniel Day-Lewis
Man, the great lengths this man goes in preparing for a film role. (Not gonna lie, he makes Brando's method looks puny.) Some complain about the fact he doesn't do many films as he should. (He only did five films within the last ten years.) I don't mind; I think of when he does do a film, it's like an early Christmas present.

Gary Oldman
I honestly cannot be the only person who thinks he should have at least three Oscars by now. (He definitely should have won for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.) The man's a freaking living legend. Seriously.

Colin Firth
When I saw the telephone scene in A Single Man, I was so convinced that he would win the Oscar that year. (I didn't mind Jeff Bridges winning, though I was a little upset.) I pretty much fell in love with him from Love Actually and Bridget Jones's Diary. I mean, how could you not?

Ralph Fiennes
Anyone who wasn't blown away by his work in Schindler's List clearly has no taste for great performances. The complete coldness of his Amon Goeth is unlike any other performance of this scale. It only makes his Oscar loss all the more egregious. (And it makes his next role in Quiz Show all the more bewitching, seeing Fiennes go from sociopath to genuinely charming within a year.)

Clive Owen
It's interesting. He has shown his acting skills in films like Croupier, Closer ("FUCK OFF! You WRITER!") and Children of Men, and yet he's still not a desired actor. Well, desired by studios anyway. (Desired by women, that's another matter.) Maybe in the near future he'll get that role that'll have everyone talking but for now, let's appreciate him while he's still slightly known.

Guy Pearce
Now here's someone who's a great actor who, like Day-Lewis, doesn't do as many films as he should. When he does, it's basically a gift for those waiting. (Even if sometimes it's one you want to return.) Still, sometimes I think a film gets better when he's in it. (Also, I think he should have been nominated for L.A. Confidential.)

Ewan McGregor
I don't get it. He's been in the business for almost twenty years, and yet he doesn't really have anything to show for it. (You'd think by now he would have at least one Academy Award nomination by now.) Who knows? Maybe he'll get such recognition in the near future.

David Tennant
Okay, I'm cheating a bit since I haven't seen Doctor Who yet, but that performance of his in Hamlet is truly fantastic. Oh, and the fact his interviews are thoroughly entertaining also help. (Believe me, Nikhat. A watching of Doctor Who is imminent.)

Idris Elba
Most US audiences are familiar with Elba from The Wire (a show which I apparently need to see pronto), but I got familiar with him from Luther (a show which I hope other people will watch.) Man, he just oozes charisma. Hopefully Hollywood will catch on and give him a nice meaty role.

Jude Law
Ah, my first British actor crush. (I have good taste, no?) No denying he's gorgeous but those good looks of his get in the way of his acting abilities. As Andrew points out from time to time, Law is a very good actor (Road to Perdition and Closer are solid proof of that) whose time in the spotlight is overdue. Come on, Hollywood. Quit giving him the pretty boy roles and give him something he can sink his teeth into.

Christian Bale
I admire any actor who goes to insane lengths to prepare for a role. The fact he went from skin and bones in The Machinist to completely ripped in Batman Begins just shows the great lengths he'll go for a role. Oh, and he was wonderfully maniacal in American Psycho. ("Did you know I'm utterly insane?")

Cillian Murphy
Murphy could be doing a number of big-budget films where he's playing the villain like Batman Begins. Instead, he does a number of independent productions between each big film. That's what I like about him. He is someone who appreciates their craft instead of a big paycheck.

Benedict Cumberbatch
I am never going to forgive my sister for introducing me to Sherlock. If only I had known its leading man is someone who is very versatile in his roles, prompting me to keep an eye on his work. (I know of someone who was thoroughly affected by his work in Atonement.) Also, I wish someone had told me about that voice of his beforehand too.

Tom Hardy
Admit it. You were one of those people who saw him in Inception and thought, "Oh, he's good. What else has he done?" Fortunately, Hollywood caught on as well, and his work in Bronson, Warrior and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has confirmed he'll be around for some time.

James McAvoy
He's someone I've recently taken a liking to. He was one of the things that I liked about Atonement (should have been nominated), and he's great in The Last King of Scotland (also should have been nominated). Basically, he's another actor I hope Hollywood will give a proper role to.

Ben Whishaw
At the moment he's getting recognized for his work in Cloud Atlas and Skyfall, but those who delve into independent film often got familiar with Whishaw from the brilliant Bright Star. (I also got familiar with him from the television show The Hour, also equally brilliant.) Hopefully he'll be a recognizable name in the near future.

Tom Hiddleston
He garnered worldwide recognition from Thor and The Avengers, but it's his subtle role in The Deep Blue Sea that made me realize he's an actor I'm keeping an eye on. (His small part in Midnight in Paris is also lovely.) And the fact he's basically the nicest actor in Hollywood makes him all the more appealing.

Sorry if this sounded like a...strange post. But can I blame the United Kingdom for churning out great actors? Nope, I can't. Might do an actress list in the near future as well since, like I said, the United Kingdom churns out great actors and often.

Who are some of your favorite names from the United Kingdom?


  1. I love it. So many of my favourites here. I guess in a way the one I am the biggest fan of is Ewan McGregor because seriously what the hell is wrong with this world?!
    So many I love here- Grant, McKellen, Hopkins, Fiennes, Whishaw, Firth, Cumberbatch, Hiddles, Elba, McAvoy, Oldman, Day Lewis and many I admire a lot like Tennant (yes, watch WHO), Law, Owen, Burton.

    In my list, there will be Daniel Radcliffe and Matt Smith there, because duh.

    Oi where's Fassy?? (or are half-German people not allowed?)

    1. I practically made a list tailor made for you. I don't usually do posts like this for many bloggers.

      I didn't include Fassy because he was born in Germany. Not exactly the UK.

  2. Wonderful post! Especially love the Grant, Burton (underrated), Oldman (3 Oscars indeed!), Owen, Pearce, McGregor, Law (YES! Wish I could've seen him play Hamlet), Bale, Hardy, and McAvoy mentions.

  3. This list is just too awesome. I think I'm just going to stare at it for the next hour.

    1. You're very welcome for it then. (Who doesn't like a little bit of eye candy every now and again?)

  4. Nice list :). It also reminds me that I need to see Deep Blue Sea (really didn't care for Thor, and found The Avengers to be a touch overrated). Also, you say Oldman should have won 3 Oscars, so I'm curious - what performances do you think he should have won for?

    1. Oh, please watch The Deep Blue Sea. It's a very lovely film.

      As for Gary Oldman, let's, The Contender, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and, uh...maybe Sid and Nancy.


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