Tom Hanks: The Top 25 (Best Actor)


Yes, this time around I’ll be tackling one of the biggest of the big eight categories in an effort not to save them all for very last, much like with last week. This one is arguably the second biggest of them all…the Best Actor field. This is as prestigious a category as there is ladies and gentlemen. I could go on and on in preparation right now, but at this point I know how the game works here. You all mostly just want to see the lists that I do anyhow, so I have no problem obliging you good people there in that particular regard once again. All you have to do is just be patient over the next paragraph or so and you’ll get the goods front and center…

This time around, I’m once again going with the ever popular overview route for the discussion as you might have guessed. Also, it really just comes down to taste again here (surprise surprise), with your opinion influencing what sort of winner you’re particularly partial to. It’s pretty much a matter of taste once again for us all, which is commonplace at this point and even more so with acting. I know a couple of of my selections are going to seem a bit on the odder side of the equation, especially again when you see how high I ranked certain gentlemen, but that’s just the way it is. You can’t please everyone with this sort of a thing, so I won’t lie to myself in order to try.

I’ll basically just discuss my top ten a bit here now. To me, the best winner of this category so far to date has been Tom Hanks and his stunning performance in Philadelphia. Frankly, I wish I could basically have a tie throughout my entire top five, which also includes Marlon Brando for On The Waterfront (as opposed to his more widely praised turn in The Godfather) Nicolas Cage for Leaving Las Vegas (easily the most underrated winner in history to me), Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (controversially ahead of There Will Be Blood), and Robert De Niro for Raging Bull (to some the best ever). They’re almost all tied, they’re so phenomenal. I give the slight edge to Hanks though, just because of how long that turn has stayed with me. Rounding out the top ten we have the other beloved performances of Day-Lewis and Hanks in There Will Be Blood and Forrest Gump, respectively, along with Peter Finch in Network, Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs, and Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. All out perfect bits of acting, and that basically extends throughout my top 25. You could easily come up with 30 or 40 winners here and not have a weak one in the bunch…the category is just that strong In fact, someone could probably make a very respectable list only using actors that I snubbed, it’s such a deep group of winners.

Here now is how I’d rank the 25 top winners of the Best Actor Oscar:

25. Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
24. Jack Nicholson – As Good As It Gets
23. Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland
22. Dustin Hoffman – Rain Man
21. Cliff Robertson – Charly
20. Ben Kingsley – Gandhi
19. Kevin Spacey – American Beauty
18. Ernest Borgnine – Marty
17. Gene Hackman – The French Connection
16. Laurence Olivier – Hamlet
15. Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
14. George C. Scott – Patton
13. Gregory Peck – To Kill a Mockingbird
12. Marlon Brando – The Godfather
11. Sean Penn – Milk
10. Peter Finch – Network
9. Tom Hanks – Forrest Gump
8. Anthony Hopkins – The Silence of the Lambs
7. Daniel Day-Lewis – There Will Be Blood
6. Jack Nicholson – One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
5. Nicolas Cage – Leaving Las Vegas
4. Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln
3. Marlon Brando – On the Waterfront
2. Robert De Niro – Raging Bull
1. Tom Hanks – Philadelphia

Stay tuned for another one of these Top 25 installments next week as we begin to wrap up the series!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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