TGIF: Who is Your Favorite Movie Actor of All Time?

(8PM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

Crossposted at Daily Kos

How does one answer such a subjective question?  Is it the performance, commercial success and popularity of the particular movie, or the number of prominent awards won that endears an actor to his or her audiences?

Some actors like Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro are capable of turning in one superb acting performance after another over the years and establishing a particular bond and connection to the audience.  Others are applauded for a once-in-a-lifetime movie role — such as Ben Kingsley’s masterful portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi for which he won universal acclaim and the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1982.

Meryl Streep as Sophie Zawistowski in Sophie’s Choice and Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone in Godfather Part II in two of the finest movie roles ever by an actor


Whenever I post diaries like this — What is Your Fav TV Sitcom of All-Time? and Snowy TGIF: What is Your Favorite Classic Rock Song — some of you with dial-up, older pc’s, slower processors, not enough RAM, and the like complain that you could not easily scroll through the comments as way too many videos had been posted.  If you’d like to post a few favorite videos of movie scenes, feel free to do so but just don’t go overboard. Embed one YouTube video and post links to the others.

Example: This is a YouTube link to the trailer from Lawrence of Arabia.…



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It is safe to assert that both Streep and De Niro fall into the first category.  The multitude of difficult roles that these two actors have played over the course of their brilliant movie careers certainly separates them from their contemporaries.

If one were to judge the actors by the number of awards won, here’s the complete list of Academy Award nominations and ‘Best Actor’ awards from 1928-2006 with interesting information on some of the winners.  

For example, did you know…

Marlon Brando as 1st Lieutenant Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty and Vanessa Redgrave as Julia in Julia

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1. Seven men have won the Best Actor Award twice; in chronological order, they are: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks and Jack Nicholson.  Tracy and Hanks each won their awards in consecutive years.

2. The actors with the most nominations in this category are Spencer Tracy, Jack Nicholson, and Laurence Olivier with nine each.  Paul Newman and Peter O’Toole tie for third place with eight nominations each.

3. Nicholson won his awards a record 22 years apart; O’Toole holds the record for the most years between his first and last nominations (44).

Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Milk and Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton in The Remains of the Day

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4. Peter Finch is the only posthumous winner, and James Dean, Spencer Tracy and Massimo Troisi are the only other posthumously nominated performers in this category.

5. Two winners have declined the award: George C. Scott and Marlon Brando.

6. De Niro and Marlon Brando are the only actors who won Academy Awards for portraying the same character: Brando won for playing the elderly Don Vito Corleone (though he declined the award) in The Godfather while De Niro later won the Best Supporting Actor award for playing the young Vito in The Godfather Part II.

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Similarly, if one were to examine the records of some of the best movie actresses in movie history, quite a few interesting facts pop out.

Did you know that…

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Jack Lemon as C.C. “Bud” Baxter in The Apartment

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1. Katharine Hepburn, with four wins, has more Best Actress Oscars than any other actress.  Eleven women have won two Best Actress Academy Awards; in chronological order, they are Luise Rainer, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Vivien Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, Elizabeth Taylor, Glenda Jackson, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Jodie Foster, and Hilary Swank.

2. Only two actresses have won this award in consecutive years: Luise Rainer (1937 and 1938) and Katharine Hepburn (1967 and 1968).

3. Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Maggie Smith, Meryl Streep, and Jessica Lange have each won both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscars.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in Forrest Gump and Kate Winslet as Hanna Schmitz in The Reader

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4. Emma Thompson won a Best Actress Oscar for Howards End (1992) and a Best Adapted Screenplay Award for Sense and Sensibility (1995).

5. Meryl Streep holds the record of 13 nominations in the Best Actress category. Streep has been nominated 16 times (13 for Best Actress and 3 for Best Supporting Actress), which makes her the overall most-nominated performer in all acting categories.

6. Halle Berry, who won in 2002 for her role in Monster’s Ball, is the only woman of African-American descent to win the Best Actress award.  Seven other black actresses have been nominated: Dorothy Dandridge, Diana Ross, Cicely Tyson, Diahann Carroll, Whoopi Goldberg, Angela Bassett, and Gabourey Sidibe.

So, who is your very favorite male or female actor?  I know everyone has more than one and certainly the poll only lists a few of such actors.  For example, three of my favorites are Meryl Streep, Peter O’Toole, and Robert De Niro and if someone were to force me to choose one, I would probably choose Streep.  🙂

Remember to vote in the diary poll.  

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Peter O’Toole as T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia and Katherine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter


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  1. … were played by these two brilliant actors and in the same movie too.

    Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine and Ingrid Bergman as

    Ilsa Lund in Casablanca

    Tips and the like here.  Thanks.  

  2. worst actor ever.

    • RiaD on May 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Paul Newman

  3. heh


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