The Ten Best Actors of All Time Relay Race

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I have been tagged! Well, not tagged, but the baton in the Ten Best Actors of All Time Relay Race has been passed on to me by Kristin at All Eyes On Screen.

Just in case you didn’t know what this is all about, here are some details and rules from the starter of this relay race, Nostra at My Filmviews:

So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the best actors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one actor (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. The idea is to make this a long race, so that enough bloggers get a chance to remove and add an actor. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best actors

The race started with Nostra at My Filmviews who then passed it on to Terrence at The Focussed Filmographer, it then went to Scott at Front Room Cinema, who passed it to Pete at I Love That Film, then to Ruth at FlixChatter, she passed it onto to fellow film girl geek Kristin at All Eyes On Screen who has now passed it on to me.

Phew, it’s getting longer and longer! I take it this isn’t just a 4x100m relay race then?

Onto the list!

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

Daniel Day Lewis

Daniel Day Lewis

Charlie Chaplain

Charlie Chaplain

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando

Robert Duvall

Robert Duvall

Christian Bale

Christian Bale

Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks

My addition: Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio
My addition to this list is Leonardo DiCaprio. Right, I know he doesn’t exactly have the years behind him that many of these actors have on this list, but I don’t think that means he shouldn’t be on the list.

Child actor turned wayward young adult and now he’s onto real greatness. Way back when, I remember watching The Basketball Diaries and getting blown away by a very young Leonardo DiCaprio. He showed an insane amount of maturity for such a dark role.

The roles that probably propelled him into Hollywood’s limelight were Romeo in Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet and Jacks Dawson in Titanic. Romeo + Juliet is one of my favourite films. Yes, he was mostly remembered for being a pretty face and while you could see he still had loads to learn in terms of acting, he had something. Then came Titanic, which firmly cemented Leo as the teen heart-throb.

Post Titanic has been his most prolific time. Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Revolutionary Road, Inception – those are some serious films right there! Leo’s got such a great emotional connection to the characters he plays and in turn, sucks the viewer right in there with you. I doubt I would have been so invested in Inception if it hadn’t been for Leo’s character, Dominick Cobb, whose motives were actually pretty relatable.

His characters are never perfect and that’s probably why I enjoy so many of his performances.

Looking forward to what the future has in store for this incredibly talented actor.

Who I replaced: Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman
It’s getting harder and harder to think of actors to add and then even harder to figure out who to replace them with.

I will admit. I’ve not seen a lot of these actors in this list, in a lot of the films they’ve been in. But their names alone inspire a bit of filmic respect from me.

That’s not to say that Philip Seymour Hoffman doesn’t – far from it! Though, I don’t think I’ve ever been totally won over by him. He was very good in The Ides of March and Charlie Wilson’s War. I think those are the only very notable films that he’s been in that I’ve seen. For shame, I know.

Where to next?

Now, it’s my turn to pass the buck. I’m going to break the girlie chain for now and pass the relay on to Eric at The Warning Sign.


  1. Yessssss. Great choice. Leo definitely deserves to be here. Basketball Diaries, R&J, The Departed. Great performances! Always a shame to see anyone leave this list but Philip Seymour Hoffman seems a fair choice compared to the rest.

  2. Wow. What a difficult task to have to remove one from the list. I have grown to love DiCaprio too. Out of interest, is anyone doing a similar list with female actors?

    • Me too! Even in films that I haven’t so much enjoyed, I’m looking at you Shutter Island, I still think his performance is excellent.

      I do believe Nostra, who started the relay race, will be doing an actress one. Maybe the fact that you’ve mentioned it by get it started sooner 😉

    • Yes, already have it in the works. Don’t know yet when that relay race will start though, but hope to be able to do it soon.

  3. Good addition and replacement. I do agree with you about Leo DiCaprio, although he may not have many years at the other actors, but boy can act. I was one of MILLIONS of girl who feel in love with him in the Titanic, but I didn’t realize how great of an actor he was until I saw Basketball Diaries. Wow…powerful stuff. Inception will always be the favorite DiCaprio movie.

    PSH, yes, I love him! He can play serious, evil, or funny. That’s what I love about him. He blew my mind in Capote, but my favorite movie that he starred in is Twister. LOL I know, I know, not his best work, but I loved him in that movie.

    • You know what Jen? I was going to mention Twister being my most memorable PSH role but for whatever reason, decided against it! That film is a massive guilty pleasure film of mine and I love PSH’s sorta stoner character!

      I was one of those girls too! I had a stupid number of Leo magazine tear outs stuck on my bedroom wall. Looking back… it’s a tad embarrassing, but all girls did it, right?

      I think The Departed, Revolutionary Road and Inception tie as my favourite Leo roles. Just can’t seem to be able to choose!

  4. Oh Mr. Hoffman was one I was considering to drop last time, but like you I really do respect his work. I’m not as enamored w/ Leo but I do think he’s a good actor, and I agree with this line “Child actor turned wayward young adult and now he’s onto real greatness.” I admire him for rising above the predicament of being a heartthrob (I bet he shudders hearing that word!) Nice pick, Jaina!

    • I think he’s done an incredibly well job of shaking off that stereotype. Must have been hard for casting bods to look at him any other way after Titanic.

      • Yeah I know! That’s why kudos to Leo for taking a bit of a break and taking on such edgy fare like The Beach, it’s not a great film but it certainly showcased what he could do. I’d say he’s a textbook example of what a teen heartthrob should do to escape the stereotype.

  5. Hi, Jaina and company:

    Congratulations on being handed the baton!

    I’m not surprised to see Philip Seymour Hoffman sent to the showers. I also think that Di Caprio has been very clever in slipping away from the trap of type casting while improving his overall body of work.

    I’d really like to see him tackle a smart, adult screwball comedy like ‘Bringing Up Baby’ with Emily Blunt , Ellen Page or Kate Beckinsale to test and expand his acting chops.

    • You raise a really good point – he hasn’t done a proper comedy as such, has he? That’d definitely expand his repertoire.

  6. I love Hoffman. I just watched The Ides of March and he was fantastic in a small supporting role. The guy is just excellent every time he appears on screen. Leonardo DiCaprio is a fine choice Jaina and I like him but I kind of getting used to his acting. Hopefully, Django Unchained will break the type.

    • You’ve got a point, Castor. His roles are fairly similar. Looking forward to Django Unchained – Tarantino has a way of bringing something else out of his players.

  7. Brilliant choice! Leo is one of my favourite actors of all time and I definitely think he deserves to be on this list. He has shown what a brilliant actor he is time and time again with films like Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Inception and Blood Diamond. He is one terrific actor and I just can not wait to see more of him!

  8. Hey, I’m new over here, trying to keep track of this long relay race.

    I like your choice of Leo Di Caprio but I’m not particularly happy about the fact he knocks P.S.H. out. I would have preferred to see Christian Bale leave, even though I like all 3 actors.

    Maybe you would have changed your mind if you had seen P.S.H. in other films. I think his very best is the incredible performance he put in for “Capote”, but he’s great in just about everything else I’ve seen him in, some examples you haven’t seen are “Moneyball”, “Doubt”, “Before the Devil knows you’re Dead”, “The Savages”, “Magnolia” and many more.
    Given he hasn’t been in many lead roles, but all of his supporting gigs have been either very good or great. Overall, I believe his work is slightly superior than Di Caprio’s though a little less poster-worthy.


    • PSH is definitely that character actor who mostly goes along un-noticed by the mass going cinema population, but I don’t deny he’s got some serious chops. You’re right, I might have had a different swap in had I seen more of his best work.

      I have a soft spot for Christian Bale – for all his media reported outbursts, I respect him as an actor. He always comes off very passionate and professional in interviews. That alongside his excellent work in the likes of Rescue Dawn, American Psycho, The Fighter, The Machinist and the Batman films. I couldn’t knock him out. Yet. I have a feeling his time in the list is short!

  9. Excellent choice. Di Caprio has had some amazing roles and I become more impressed every time I see him. I think PSH is also excellent though, and I would have rather seen Tom Hanks dropped from the squad. If you ask me Hanks peaked with Dragnet and never regained that glory!

    • But what about Forrest Gump? Philadelphia? I can’t drop Hanks. He’s just too damn likeable for me!

  10. Hey Jaina, thanks for passing this on to me! I am back in town and finally starting to get caught back up with blog stuff. I like your addition of Leo (always been a fan of him), but I am really tempted to put PSH back in there. 😀 He might be my favorite actor going today. It’s going to be hard to select just one actor for this and then remove another, but it should be fun to do so!

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