Disclaimer: This list is my list, not your list. It is also not set in stone. Today, this is my top ten, but the list is flexible and breathable, so please don’t freak out.
1. Bill Murray – I’m not going to insult you by actually asking you if you’ve seen a movie with Bill Murray in it, but I will ask you for stylistic reasons. Have you seen a movie with Bill Murray in it? He’s a comedic genius. Him and possible the late Robin Williams could walk into a room, onto set, wander in off the street ANYwhere on the planet and own the room. He is so funny. I love movies like Ghostbusters because he can walk circles around people with what he says and does. He schmoozes and shoots off one-liners. He makes fun of people on a level where they’d laugh at the joke even though it’s about them. He is gold.
2. Emma Thompson – The amount of fucks she doesn’t give is an inspiration to me. I don’t mean “watch her not do her hair and wear pajamas to the red carpet because she’s crazy” no fucks. I mean, she’s herself. She has fun everywhere she is. She does really amazing work that deserves recognition. From the interviews I’ve seen, she cares about others and she’s curious, but also, she just doesn’t give a fuck about how society thinks she should be. She’s herself; deal with it. I’m both envious and in awe. Plus, she was married to Kenneth Branagh whom I have an undying crush on.
3. Alan Rickman – I first fell in love with Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber from Die Hard. The fact that he went on to play Severus Snape, one could almost say become Severus Snape, is icing on my fangirl cake. His voice is seductive and every facial expression he makes ever is completely on point. I’ve loved every character he’s played ever, good or bad. He has a way of playing a part that makes the person so real they defy stock terms like good or bad. They’re real. That’s awesome.
4. Jessica Lange – No one commands attention like her. I’ll admit that I haven’t seen any of her work outside of American Horror Story, but I’ve seen her play four staunchly different characters. Each one drew me in and kept me watching. She pulled me in like a jack-in-the-box. I knew at the end I was going to be scared shitless, but I could not stop turning the crank. She is stunning.
5. Bill Nighy – I enjoy this man thoroughly. Although, part of me wonders if my appreciation of Bill Nighy is magnified only because I love watching his movies with my dad. My dad thinks he’s awesome. You know how you love watching an actor? Something about how he moves across the screen just captivates you. I’m a sucker for comedic actors, so I love the things an actor can do that make me genuinely laugh out loud while watching a movie. Bill Nighy not only does that for me, but also for my dad, so when we watch him perform together it’s like his awesomeness triples because he’s funny and my dad and I are bonding and, for that moment, nothing is bad in the world.
6. Dame Judi Dench – When I started making this list, I didn’t just want to choose actors I found attractive. I wanted to make a list of actors that I actually found talented. Judi Dench is simply someone I love to watch. I love to hear her speak and see her move. She’s effortlessly regal. She could out royal the Queen, which I can say because I’m not English. Still, I feel like a top ten actor needs to capture your attention and keep you from wandering. I’m always up for a Judi Dench film. If she’s in it, I will be entertained and delighted.
7. Martin Freeman – I have an undignified crush on him. Seriously, it’s not even normal. I’m both in love with him and a little terrified. As a rule, I don’t want to meet actors ever. I like the image I have of them rooted in what I’ve garnered from the movies I’ve seen them in and a special blend of YouTube clips and Pinterest. I genuinely fear meeting Martin Freeman because he is perfect. He’s funny and smart and sassy. I love it. I love him, really, but I also know that I’m a raging idiot and if I ever met him, I’d produce ample fodder for him to use in a cutting remark towards me. I would both cherish the remark and let it cut my soul to ribbons. Why do I even like him if I think he’d insult me? He’s a brilliant actor that’s why. He makes me invested in movies and shows I wouldn’t even watch otherwise. His career is one big, “Hey, idiot, watch this. It will make your life better,” to my soul. (And he’s usually right.)
8. Maggie Smith – When I grow up, I want to be Maggie Smith. Currently, I want to be Jennifer Lawrence who grows into Joan Cusack who then ends at Maggie Smith. She has bite and wit. She knows her shit, you know? And she’s funny. She has this subtle comedic know how that you always know is there, but when she deigns to show it is so surprisingly delightful that you love it even more.
9. Tom Hiddleston – I like the movies of his I’ve seen. I’ve even found several Shakespeare productions he’s been in on the internet to watch. (Sorry about all of the prepositions that sentence had.) Is it weird that I like him more for his impressions and smiles? I don’t trust that he’s as nice as people claim all of the time. I firmly believe we all have asshole moments. I’m intrigued as to when and where his inner asshole presents itself, but I digress. His ability to mimic voices and behaviors is astounding, and that he seems to do it out of fun and genuine admiration for the people he’s imitating. “I love you so much, I’m going to steal your voice!” But, not in a creepy way. (Although, if you were looking for a writing prompt, you’re welcome.)
10. Usually, I find it hard to have favorite female actors anywhere near my age. When I watch movies, I mentally subtract them from the movie and insert myself into the situation. That’s why many of my favorite female actors are older, and I often want to grew up to be them. This being said, I’m a fan of Jennifer Lawrence. Do I hate her a little because I want to be her so badly? Yes, of course. Am I still swept up with everyone else in her brilliance? Yes, of course. She’s a real person– awkward and weird and passionate. You can’t not love that. People are wired to love others that are real. Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t hold back from you. You don’t get the sense that there’s this very expensive, clear divide standing between who you are and who she is. I respect that.
**Harry Potter actors as far as the eye can see.