—Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight, 2008
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June 8, 2012
Prelude to A vs R: Top 5 actors within last 5 years
— Posted by The "Superior" Anthony
We’re a, mostly, talented group of individuals here on TMB with the common goal of spreading our love of films and catering to you guys with information and opions that we feel are relevant and with that we typically all get along and agree, right? Wrong.
Sometimes we just dont see eye to eye and certain subjects and agree to disagree. But what about when that isn’t enough? What about the moments when things escalate to an all out war? We prepare for battle. Ryan is a 20-something professonal living in the Virginia Area. Anthony is a 20-something individual in the NYC area. The distance is too far for physical resolution so we war with words. Welcome to the Prelude to “A vs R” where we state our Top 5 Actors within the last 5 years which is really only the beginning and us drawing a line in the sand.
Anthony’s Top 5
Leonardo DiCaprio has grown over the years from a teenage heartthrob to rise to become the best leading man in film today. He’s the most consistent, dynamic, and entertaining star who rarely takes a disappointing role let alone delivers a disappointing performance. From his early appearances in Critters 3 and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape their were signs that this young man had the potential to develop into something special. Titanic was his first look at being a megastar and once he teamed with Steven Spielberg for ‘Catch me if you Can’ the star never looked back and sicne that time he has been nominated for numerous awards in just about every film he appears. Gangs of New York, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Shutter Island, and Inception. There are just examples as to why DiCaprio is the top actor within the last 5 years.
Will Smith hasn’t done many films within the last 5 years. BUT Will Smith practically has the fairy tale story of starting out on the streets of philadelphia to rising to become one of the most bankable and most powerful leading men in Hollywood. Want another Independence Day? Ask Will. Want another Men in Black? When Will says so. How about another Hancock? Did Will say it’s ok? That’s the thought process behind the films that he’s made and their potential to be sequelized. Not only do they have to pay him an increased salary but he usually reserves a little more than average creative control with the projects in which he’s involved. The only reason we have a Men in Black 3 right now is because he wanted that to be his springboard to return to filmmaking. But he’s not on my list solely based on his decision making authority but also because he’s got the chops to back it up and mainstream America recognizes this. He started off as a rapper turned actor with his TV show ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ which aired on NBC for a good 6 seasons before catching Hollywood-itis and moving on from the show. His first breakout was in Michael Bay’s “Bad Boys” in which he played the charismatic and entertaining Mike Lowry and he has never looked back since. From that time he established himself as a leading action star Independence Day and Men in Black. After a few more leading action films he decided to return to dramatic roles which was something he dabbled in early in his career and won the hearts of many in films ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance” and “Ali”. Since this time Smith has consistently released films that exceed $100 million at the box office and made him one of the most sought after actors within the last 20 yrs. It’s because he’s able to attract an audience to his films and that he ensures that he attaches himself to peojects that provide quality. Will Smith has starred in 4 films within the last 5 years: I Am Legend, Hancock, Seven Pounds, and Men in Black 3 which combine to a total of over $1.8 Billion in total box office gross and that makes him one of the top 5 actors within the last 5 years.
Christian Bale had a following prior to Batman but things really kicked into the high gear when he donned the cape and cowl. I first took notice of the actor with his petrifying portrayal of investment banker turned serial killer Patrick Batemen in American Psycho. His performance seemed less like a facade and more like a revelation of the person within the role. Something about Bale has always seemed very controlled, almost to a fault. He doesn’t seem to let loose very often and has a passive aggression that perfectly epitomized the character within the film but was also applicable for his take as Batman. After watching Equalibrium it was clear that Bale had the personality and physicality to portray the Dark Knight in a way that we hadn’t seen before and paved the way for him to expose his talents to audiences he hadn’t reached prior. Once he received the exposure from The Dark Knight Bale was able to showcase his talents in many different ways starting off with his help in reviving the western genre of film, along with Russell Crowe, in 3:10 to Yuma. After which he snagged the leading role in Terminator Salvation, somehow, and followed up by handing in a pair of outstanding performances in ‘Public Enemies’ and ‘The Fighter’. He’s been around for a long time but it’s because of his intriguing dedication and alarming energy that he’s become one of the most distinguished actors in recent memory and certainly one of the top 5 within the last 5 years.
Robert Downey Jr. has re-emerged as one of the most lucrative leading stars in film today and you can thank 1 man for that: Tony Stark. Well not just Tony Stark but his portrayal of the galavanting billionaire certainly helped his re-emergence as a Hollywood leading man. RDJ had ups and downs in his career but within the last 5 years things have been looking incredibly ‘up’ for him with his participation in David Fincher’s “Zodiac” to his first foray as Billionaire Philanthropist Iron Man, to his incredibly well-received comedic turn alongside Ben Stiller and Jack Black in “Tropic Thunder”. Not one to pivot on a single film franchise he also helped re-introduce the world to his Sherlock Holmes alongside Jude Law. Those two franchises alone are enough to carry the actor for quite a few years but finds time to hop between dramatic roles like “The Soloist” and comedies like “Due Date”. As is RDJ has very strong potential to steer his career within major film roles for many years to come and still have his Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes films to rely on with regard to his mainstream fans. It doesn’t hurt that he’s also witty and charming and shows that off, along with his acting talent, any and every opportunity he’s given. Heck I’d pay just to watch some of his interviews.
Hands down the most consistent actor working today. Although he may not look it but Denzel Washington has been appearing within films fairly consistently for over 30 years and within that time frame has created a body of work that is incredibly tough to rival. Within the last 5 years Washington has been awarded a Golden Globe as best actor for his performance in “American Gangster” and followed up with his directorial effort in “The Great Debators” which helped usher the fledgling career of a talented Nate Parker. Since that time Washington has handed in several great performances starring in “The Taking of Pelham 1, 2, 3″, “The Book of Eli” and more. He has the type of charisma to make women swoon with the mere utterance of a word and consistently draws to attention any film in which he appears and has done this throughout the majority of his career. For the sake of sheer consistency Washington is one of the top 5 actors within the last 5 years.
Ryan’s Top 5
His name was known among a small clique who shared a love for films like American Psycho and Equilibrium. I was amazed at his split personality in American Psycho, playing a rich yuppie by day and a dark murderer by night. I immediately thought he would make a perfect Batman and years later he is cast in the role and it put his name in the public spotlight. When he auditioned for the role of Batman, he had just finished The Machinist where he dropped to 122 lbs. but still managed to be cast as the muscular crime fighter as he was able to pack the weight back on in a matter of months. Since Batman Begins he has gone on to be the star of one of the top grossing movies of all time (The Dark Knight) and managed to win an Oscar for his role in The Fighter. Christian Bale has definitely been an influence over the recent years and is now a name that everyone knows.
Joseph Gordon Levitt is an actor that has been around for quite some time but his recognition as a serious actor has just started to emerge over the past couple of years. Before his recent roles, his most recognizable role was probably in 10 Things I Hate About You which did not showcase his talents like more recent films have. He’s been in the business since a child and he’s now a contender to be one of the biggest talents in Hollywood. His role in 500 Days of Summer as a love sick young man was his transitional role to show people that he was no longer a kid, but now a talented dramatic actor. Since that he’s been on a climb in movies like Inception where he showed audiences that he could be a badass and he even chose to do his own stunts. Inception was the role that put him in the public eye and now the public gets to see his true abilities as the roles keep coming. He should have already been an Oscar contender for his role in 50/50 and to this day I am still perplexed as to why he didn’t get recognition for that film. Joseph Gordon Levitt is already a known talent and with his steady rise and assortment of contrasting roles, he is destined for even greater things.
Jeff Bridges is a name that has reemerged in recent years. After an Oscar winning performance in the film Crazy Heart, we got to see a very dramatic side of “The Dude” that put him back on Hollywood’s radar. After a stunning performance in 2010, Bridges came back the following year to take on the role of John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn in True Grit and be nominated for an Oscar again in 2011. He’s an actor that’s known from decade to decade as a different character in a different role, but that shows how truly versatile Jeff Bridges is as an actor and what an impact his roles have had on society. It’s hard to say he has just been an influence over the past five years when he is someone who has been influential to a generation.
Move over Brad Pitt, someone new is looking to take up the throne as the “King of Cool” and his name is Robert Downey Jr. When you’re playing a billionaire playboy who is also a genius who developed a suit of invincible armor for taking on Earth’s enemies…well it’s a little hard to compete with that. RDJ has come back strong after his long hiatus and right now he is box office gold. Even Stan Lee gave his seal of approval in a Maxim article stating, “The luckiest thing we did was get Robert Downey Jr. He was born to be Iron Man.” Besides Iron Man, he was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the comedy Tropic Thunder, which was a rarity for a comedic performance in a “slapstick” type movie to get recognition from the Academy. He’s an eloquently spoken individual that is very talented and I think the public is glad to have Robert Downey Jr. back on the big screen to portray such iconic characters that will live on for years.
Franco was unheard of after deciding to take a break from acting to further his education. He seemed to be at a low when he had taken a part on the daytime soap opera General Hospital but he came back stronger than ever. He received strong recognition for his critically acclaimed role in Milk and then two years later he gets a best actor nomination for 127 Hours. His performance in 127 Hours was incredible and emotionally captivating but even though he may not have won the Oscar, his role was definitely the most unique compared to the other list of nominees. Besides his dramatic roles, we got to see his comedic side in Pineapple Express. This role also gained the recognition of critics and showed how hilarious Franco can be. He’s a talent that has many good years ahead of him and I bet we’ll see an Oscar win for him in the future.
This is only the beginning and don’t think this posting alone will be enough. A vs. R is only beginning and don’t be surprised to see the battle continue within comments.
All photos courtesy of Shutterstock
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