Unfortunately, Dr. Jones missed THE LIST!

While there are a lot of great working actors out there, for the purposes of our list here today, we will be sticking to leading men. We are also basing this on acting ability as opposed to box office draw or popularity. Here they are (in order):


I kind of see Crowe as being the modern-day Bruce Willis. That is, the modern-day every man action star… only a little slower and pudgier. Though, he’s also a better actor and while his recent films have been a bit lackluster, don’t fool yourself. Crowe could easily be back at the Oscar podium in the years to come.


It’s a shame his marriage and looks tend to overshadow his abilities as an actor so often because the truth is this guy’s got mad skills.


I have a bit of a love hate relationship with Denzel. To me, he’s kind of himself in every role. However, “himself” happens to be one hell of a good actor. I’d go so far as to say, like most others I’m sure, that he’s up there with Poitier as one of the greatest black actors to ever grace the big screen.


Matt Damon has continued to pad his resume with great films and work with a variety of talented filmmakers. I would say he’s easily next in line to be the go-to actor when the likes of Clooney, Pitt and those other vets start to watch their careers slow down a bit. I could also see him being the next Tom Hanks.


Depp went the hard road to achieve his A-list status. Taking quirky and artsy films to destroy his Tiger Beat image and establish himself as an actor first. An accomplishment that allows him the right to do things like the Pirates films and feel no trepidation about being a sell out.


Hugely underrated due to his off-screen life and the types of films he tends to make. Cruise is one of the most intense actors I have ever watched and should never not be in a conversation like this.


Simply put, RDJ is great in everything he does. It’s strange to think how much he could have done had drugs and alcohol never entered the equation. Still, we love a good comeback story and that’s what we have here. An actor who blew up to the top of Hollywood and finds a way to bring great acting, even if he’s playing a comic book character in an iron suit.


Another man on this list who tends to be overshadowed by his recent more mainstream roles and offscreen antics. However, aside from #1 on this list, he’s probably the greatest chameleon in Hollywood. Just watch films like The Machinist and American Psycho and you’ll see that few have the ability to bring so much, physically and emotionally, to a role.


Beloved for almost 3 decades now, Hanks has kind of become the elder statesman of Hollywood. His every guy looks and charms makes him so easy to connect with and the comedies he did early on earned him a special place in all our hearts. His work in recent years has continued to be solid and until he hangs up his cleats, he has got to be considered one of the best in the game.


I honestly might consider DDL one of the greatest actors to ever live. I have never seen a more  intense and prepared actor in my life. Not to mention the fact that he seems like a shape-shifter, transforming himself perfectly into every role he plays. If you think you can come up with a better #1… I’m all ears!


  1. yeah solid list. walking round train stations this week and seeing posters for movies ive suddenly realised that matt damon is in every film thats being released in 2011

  2. Hmmm….

    Not a bad list. If the criteria is just raw talent…..not too much to argue with. I’d put Robert DeNiro in in place of Pitt.

    I’d put Crowe closer to #1 …..shuffling with Damon perhaps.

    Consider doing a supporting actor list soon?

  3. …yeah, there’s no way of getting away from Matt Damon at the moment. he’s one hard working guy!

    Day-Lewis would be my pick of best actor working at the moment followed by Depp

  4. Interesting picks, totally agree with your top 3 though. But I can’t believe how much shit Denzel and Crowe done in the past…I don’t even know how long. Starting to look like Depp might be going down that same path, too. What a shame.

    • Yeah… but there’s no denying their talent or their ability to elevate the schlock they take on. I blame Tony Scott! HA!!!
      I could see either of them being back at the Oscars in any given year if they got the right script though.

  5. Editor In Chief Says:

    this is a weak sauce list for working actors “right now”….i’ll give you maybe half, but come on….tom hanks? is he even ACTING anymore?

  6. This is completely unacceptable from the founder of the Jo-Go groupies association. Your glaring omission of Rob Schneider and Hayden Christensen is also threatening the peace treaty between The List and AM 😉

  7. I would say Daniel Day Lewis and Robert Downey Jr. are pure scene stealers in the way they act. If the two of them were to ever share the screen our minds would be blown.

    As to Hanks, he’s shown an ability to make good and bad films but never come off an ass for it. That’s real talent. Lots of actors of filmmakers get very defensive, even violent (vocally or otherwise) when their films get dumped on. Not Hanks, always comes off “oh well, time to move on.”

  8. I think I might be too young to remember Tom Hanks being particularly great in anything. Swap him out for Leonardo DiCaprio, who seems to be getting better and better every year.

    Also he might not qualify as a leading man, but what about Phillip Seymour Hoffman? He’s headlined a few movies now, and I don’t think anyone would question his chops as a performer

  9. I question the inclusion of Tom Hanks on the list – I feel like Hanks is riding the coat-tails of previous work wihtout demonstrating the continued ability to play a good part…I’d say the same for Tom Cruise, except I don’t think he’s ever had the roles or ability that Hanks had.

    It’s intersting you say this is not about box office, but you have a very “box office/hollywood” style list.

    • Well, good point, but with the exception of Pirates, Depp doesn’t have big box office numbers. Same with Damon if you eliminate the Ocean’s movies. Several of them in fact, don’t make 100 million dollar movies.
      I would also say that their box office success is in fact due to their talents as actors over the years.
      As far as Hanks, you’re right to a certain extent but he’s always enjoyable… even in littler recent films like Charlie Wilson’s War… but I see your point.

  10. RDJ and DDL would be a tie for me atop the list, but I would have Leo at #3, and he’s off your list entirely. Pitt and Damon following closely behind those three.

  11. Very solid list indeed. I might argue with the order of it, but definitely some solid picks and some of my favorite actors around today on here. I would put Damon and Depp a bit higher though.

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