Yesterday’s review of Killer Elite and lack of any other inspiration for a Top Ten has meant that this week’s countdown is going to take a look at my favourite British actors. For the first time in a couple of weeks, I have managed to put the list in an order as well, so you’re properly spoilt with this one. Let’s get started!
10. Anthony Hopkins
Before any riots start, the only reason Anthony Hopkins only just makes this top ten is because I have only seen one film… THAT film. Yes, The Silence Of The Lambs is the film that shows Hopkins in all his glory, and proves that you don’t have to come directly from Hollywood to shake audiences for generations to come. In fact, West Glamorgan in Wales will do you just fine.
9. Dominic West
This man was a big part of my life for a very long time when I worked my way through five seasons of The Wire last year, and I thought he was great. He’s been in a few films I’ve seen since, and also that other show, The Affair, which I’m not so fond of. Nonetheless, Dominic West has proved that the northern boys can do it, although I think private education may have also helped him out a little.
8. Daniel Day-Lewis
There is so much that can be said about Daniel Day-Lewis. He is a truly magnificent actor who can seemingly take on any role and just absolutely own it. He’s the only actor have ever won three Best Actor Oscars, and each was for a role that was so very different to the last. Day-Lewis just has a way of becoming whoever he seems to set his mind to, and Old Blighty is very proud of him for that.
7. Tim Roth
Another very gifted character actor is Tim Roth. Much like Day-Lewis, he doesn’t play characters, he becomes them. He is also talented when it comes to accents, something that all British actors have be if they want success across the pond, it would appear. However, Roth’s accent was so good in Reservoir Dogs that I didn’t question it – I mean, why would you? It wasn’t until I heard his character in Pulp Fiction that I looked him up, and there was London written as his place of birth.
6. Idris Elba
Idris Elba spent three years starring opposite West in The Wire and he was fantastic. Since then he has become a household name here in his home country after taking lead roles in the TV series Luther and a number of films. It’s kind of disheartening to think that if it hadn’t have been for The Wire, we may never have heard of Elba though, or at least not until much later, as British screens, much like last year’s Oscars, used to be quite lacking in diversity.
5. Jason Statham
This bloke epitomises the British gangster film. Jason Statham is that man who Guy Ritchie always has in mind when he’s making a film – you only need to look at Snatch and Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels for proof. Yes, his acting can be questionable at times, but he’s been in some bloody brilliant all-out in-your-face action films and he has a special place in my heart for these reasons – plus, he’s from Derbyshire, which is pretty local to me.
4. James McAvoy
After seeing Split at the weekend, James McAvoy has quickly risen through the ranks for me. He has incredible acting skills, and has shown this on a number of occasions, not just recently. The Last King Of Scotland ring any bells? That was a while ago now, wasn’t it? I’ve always been aware of him, but he’s now well and truly in the spotlight for me.
3. Christian Bale
It took American audiences a while to cotton on to the fact that the guy who played Batman for so long was not one of their own. This was something that Christian Bale actually tried to hide from the public, speaking with his put-on American accent in interviews. He is yet another chameleonic actor, with famous performances in The Machinist and American Psycho making up just a fraction of his filmography.
2. Tom Hardy
I think everyone loves a cheeky bit of Tom Hardy. He has been one of the top British actors in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. During his career he has provided us with some absolutely fabulous performances in a variety of genres, and has made his mark on TV screens in the last couple of years with appearances in Peaky Blinders as Alfie Solomons. He surely will remain a favourite for years to come.
1. Clive Owen
My favourite British actor however has to be Clive Owen. I’ve loved his work since first seeing him in Children Of Men, and have watched a number of his films since (Closer and Inside Man are a couple). What makes him my favourite Brit actor is that he is about as close as you can get to a working class actor in this country, something that has become bit of a rarity lately. And, coming from Coventry, he’s another one who is reasonably local to me.
There you have it – another week, and another top ten is out the way. You had my favourite actors ages ago, and this list has brought things a little closer to home. It’s been fun for me to look through what big names have come from the British Isles over the years, and some of the iconic performances they have been responsible for. However, glancing over the names has revealed to me that it is getting tougher for aspiring actors and actresses to make a career for themselves in Britain if they’re anything below middle-class. Nonetheless, there is plenty of talent to be found here, even if you need to look a bit harder for it.