It’s a given that strong stories are a prerequisite for a good movie, but stories alone cannot complete the ‘cinema experience’. Gripping performances by actors are often the aspect that elevates the movies with good stories to greatness. Realistic portrayal of raw emotions by actors in the New York Times Greatest Actors of 21st Century list has had us teary-eyed and gasping in wonder numerous times. Compiled by the publication’s movie critics ManohlaDargis and A.O. Scott, the list is subjective and doesn’t have any set formula for the selection and may make you question some omissions.
The list features some veterans of World cinema-like Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, Brazilian actress Sônia Braga, French actresses Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert, Italian actor Toni Servillo and South Korean stars Kim Min-Hee and Song Kang Ho, all well-deserved. Along with them, we have our usual Hollywood stalwarts like Joaquin Phoenix, Tilda Swinton, Mahershala Ali, Melissa McCarthy, Julianne Moore, Saoirse Ronan, Nicole Kidman, Rob Morgan, Alfre Woodard, Michael B. Jordan, Viola Davis, Wes Studi, Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaac, Keanu Reeves, and Daniel Day-Lewis.
Washington, a seasoned actor with a career of over 30 years, is at the top of the list, followed by Isabelle Huppert and Daniel Day-Lewis at second and third position. Keanu Reeves, the darling of the masses, is a surprise at number four and Nicole Kidman is at fifth. Gen-Z favouriteSairose Ronan is one of the youngest in the list at tenth position. One of the biggest snubs in the list would be Meryl Streep, a name you would naturally expect (and worthy) in lists like these. The list thankfully didn’t lack in diversity and acknowledged iconic actors of colour including Viola Davis, Rob Morgan, Mahershala Ali and Michael B Jordan, Indigenous actor Wes Studi, Latinx Oscar Isaac and Asian actors as well.