Acting in Hollywood is a very competitive field, and everyone wants to be known as the best in this field. With so many talented stars who give their all to shows and films they feature in, it can be hard to determine who are the best actors of all time.
Our best actors list contains 50 men and women in Hollywood who have shown that they have what it takes to be considered as top actors today.
This list combines stars both dead and alive. It also includes those actively working as well as others who have taken a little step back from the camera.
Who are the best female actors today?
These women, both young and old, have broken the mould in this once male-dominated field. They have proven that women too have what it takes to be among the top actors in the world.
25. Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita made a splash in Hollywood with her incredible performance in 12 Years A Slave. The film earned her an Oscar win and a Golden Globe nomination.
Since then, she has won 86 more awards, received 92 other nominations, become a fashion icon and starred in other famous films such as US, Black Panther, Queen of Katwe, and Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi.
24. Amandla Stenberg
Amandla deserves to be recognized among the best actors because, despite being just 21 years old, she has won 11 awards for her acting.
Her best movies right now include Everything, Everything, The Hate U Give, and The Darkest Minds. She also played Rue in The Hunger Games series.
23. Sharon Stone
Sharon's best movies to date include Paul Verhoeven's Basic Instinct and Martin Scorsese's Casino. Stone has won 24 awards including a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama and has been a nominee for other awards 36 times.
22. Nicole Kidman
Anyone who has watched the HBO series Big Little Lies can attest to the star power and talent that Nicole possesses. Away from the big screen, her fashion sense on and off the red carpet is also something to be admired.
You can watch some of her best performances in films such as To Die For, The Hours, Eyes Wide Shut and The Stepford Wives. She has 97 award wins and 214 nominations. Nicole deserves her spot as one of the best actors of all time on this list.
21. Kerry Washington
Best known for her portrayal of Olivia Pope in the TV series Scandal, Kerry Washington is also one of the best top actors today.
She has also been praised for her emotionally charged performance in Django Unchained. Kerry is a two-time Golden Globe nominee and three-time Primetime Emmy nominee.
20. Octavia Spencer
Octavia Spencer is sadly quite underrated. Anyone who watches her on-screen can see that she deserves to be named among the best actors today in Hollywood.
Some of her best work can be seen in shows such as The Help, Hidden Figures, and The Shape of Water. She also star's in the Netflix series, Self Made. Octavia is also an Oscar and Golden Globe winner.
19. Viola Davis
There is no denying that Viola Davis is one of the best female actors today. Her performance as Annalise Keating in How To Get Away With Murder is nothing short of fantastic.
She has 97 award wins and 137 nominations under her belt. Some of her great films include The Help, Fences, Widows, and Doubt
18. Charlize Theron
The South Africa native is such a phenomenal and diverse actress. She is never typecast, and she brings such life to all her different films and shows.
She deserves a spot as one of the best actors of all time in the world due to movies like Atomic Blonde, Monster, Tully, Mad Max, Bombshell and Snow White and the Huntsman.
Charlize has won 65 awards and has received over 130 other nominations.
17. Angela Basset
She has often been described as captivating, gifted, and sensational, and we agree. Just watch her character, Ramonda, in Black Panther.
Angela has an amazing presence on screen. Her best movies include Strange Days, Contact, and Olympus Has Fallen. Basset also voices the character, Ana Spanikopita, in the Emmy nominated show, BoJack Horseman.
16. Angelina Jolie
Angelina dominated Hollywood in the 1990s and early 2000s as one of the top actors. Her portrayal of Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider movies still inspires Halloween costumes to date.
Despite her not working as much today, her previous movies have earned her recognition as one of the greatest actors of all time.
She has so many great films, but some exceptional ones include Maleficent, Girl Interrupted, Mr. and Mrs Smith, Salt, and Original Sin.
15. Barbara Streisand
Barbara Streisand deserves to be recognized as one of the best actors of all time in the world. She is deserving of this title as the star is the only person to have the following awards to her name.
Streisand has won an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, and Peabody awards, as well as the American Film Institutes Lifetime Achievement honor and the Film Society of Lincoln Center Chaplin Award.
14. Natalie Portman
Natalie's performance in Black Swan will most likely always be one of her best works as an actress. Her performance as The Swan Queen earned her an Oscar and Golden Globe win.
Her other great films are Jackie, Leon The Professional, Closer, and V for Vendetta. Portman's acting in these movies and more have made her one of the best actors today.
13. Taraji P. Henson
Despite this being her role as Cookie Lyon in Empire being her best-known role to date, she has featured in popular films such as Karate Kid with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, Hidden Figures, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with top actors Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett.
12. Jodie Foster
Fans of horror movies can recognize Jodie from her amazing performance as Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. Jodie has had 58 award wins in her career including two Oscars and two Golden Globes.
You can watch her brilliant performance in other movies such as The Accused, Little Man Tate, Freaky Friday, Taxi Man, and Panic Room.
11. Joan Crawford
Joan might not have won or been nominated for as many awards as some of her counterparts in this list, but this does not mean that she was not a phenomenal actress. Crawford was the leading lady in numerous films from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Joan passed away on 10th May 1977, but her films have outlived her and are still quite fantastic.
Some of her best ones include Our Dancing Daughters, Mildred Pierce, Autumn Leaves, Mommie Dearest, and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.
10. Whoopi Goldberg
Whoopi made a name for herself in Hollywood in the 1990s.
With great films such as Sister Act, The Color Purple and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit, Whoopi Goldberg in certainly one of the best actors of all time.
9. Alfre Woodard
Alfre is one of the best black female actresses today. Her top films include 12 Years A Slave, Captain America: Civil War, K-Pax and Star Trek: First Contact.
She also played Mariah Dillard in the TV series Luke Cage, and Aunt Josephine in A Series of Unfortunate Events
8. Judi Dench
Dame Judi Dench is a force to be reckoned with onscreen. Her performance as M in the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall is quite amazing.
7. Jane Fonda
Jane's best role to date is as Bree Daniels in the 1971 film Klute. The actress is also known for the aerobic exercise craze with the publication of"Jane Fonda's Workout Book."
If you would like to watch some of her most celebrated films, look out for movies such as Coming Home, Nine to Five, and Letter to Jane.
6. Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn's last film might have been Something's Got to Give in 1962, but her legacy still follows her to date. She was the biggest leading lady in Hollywood in the 1950s.
Her most famous songs are still used in films today with the latest one being Diamonds which was performed by Margot Robbie in the 2020 movie Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
5. Cate Blanchett
Cate Blanchett is a triple threat. Not only is she beautiful, but her fashion sense and talent in front of the camera are things to behold. She is truly one of the best actors in Hollywood today
Her portrayal of Hela, Thor's bloodthirsty sister in Thor Ragnarok, was spectacular and so was her character Carol Aird in the 2015 film Carol.
Blanchett has two Oscars and three Golden Globes to her name. In total, she has won over 150 awards and been a nominee for 189 more awards.
4. Elizabeth Taylor
Her beautiful violet eyes might have captivated the world to watch her on their screens, but her undeniable talent as an actress kept them glued on her.
Elizabeth Taylor is one of the greatest actors of all time. She is looked up to by many young persons who wish to make a name for themselves as top actors. Her talents were recognized through multiple award wins and nominations.
3. Audrey Hepburn
Audrey was more than a pretty face. Hepburn is also regarded as one of the best actors of all time.
Not only did she captivate the audience with her beauty, but also through her undeniable talent. Before her death on 20th January 1993, she had won one Oscar, a Golden Globe and had three BAFTA awards.
2. Grace Kelly
You cannot have a 'best actors of all time female' list without including Grace Kelly's name in it. Despite her death more than three decades ago, she is among the most revered best female actors in the world.
Known mostly for her beauty, she is also praised for great films such as Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, To Catch a Thief and The Country Girl.
1. Meryl Streep
When it comes to 'Who is considered the greatest actress of all time?', Meryl Streep wins. Many upcoming actresses today look up to her as the definition of acting greatness.
Meryl has been nominated for the Oscar award 21 times. This is probably the highest number of times that a person has been nominated for any award, let alone a prestigious Oscar Award.
Overall, she has 364 nominations and 174 wins throughout her career. Meryl is best known for films such as The Devil Wears Prada, The Bridges of Madison County and Sophie's Choice.
Best male actors in Hollywood
These men have captivated audiences for years. Their dedication to their craft is quite impressive and more upcoming actors should look up to them for inspiration.
25. Hugh Jackman
Could you go for 36 hours without water for a job? Well, for his role in Les Miserables, Hugh Jackman went on an extreme diet.
However, Hugh is mostly known as 'Wolverine', a role he has played in multiple films including Logan, all X-Men movies, and in The Wolverine.
He also had a fantastic performance in The Greatest Showman.
24. Benedict Cumberbatch
Watching Benedict Cumberbatch playing Sherlock Holmes is an experience that every movie lover should experience.
His other famous roles are in movies such as Doctor Strange, The Imitation Game, and Star Trek Into Darkness
23. Johnny Depp
No one can play a vast number of different characters as well as Johnny Depp can. Be it a pirate, a mad chocolatier or a Native American war hero; he does it all perfectly.
Johnny is certainly one of the most recognized best actors today.
22. Mads Mikkelsen
No one will ever come close to playing a cannibalistic serial killer as well as Mads did in Hannibal.
While he has been in multiple other shows and movies, this is his best role to date.
21. Will Smith
30 years later since he played himself in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will Smith has continued to maintain his star power.
Other than his series, he is known for films such as Men In Black, I Am Legend and Bad Boys.
20. Matthew McConaughey
Famous for saying 'Alright, alright, alright' with his Texas drawl, the actor/producer gets a spot on this best male actors list for productions such as Dallas Buyers Club, Magic Mike and Mud.
When it comes to awards, he has over 40 wins and 82 nominations.
19. Tom Cruise
No one plays the hero is action movies as well as Tom does. His highly popular Mission Impossible movies can attest to this.
What makes the actor stand out from almost all others is that Tom Cruise does his own stunts. No matter how dangerous they are, he will still do them and not use a stunt double as many in Hollywood do.
This, in itself, lands him recognition as one of the best actors of all time.
18. Forest Whitaker
Best known for his portrayal of dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland, he now plays the infamous crime boss Bumpy Johnson on the Netflix series Godfather of Harlem.
17. Michael Douglas
The top actor has won two Oscars, One Primetime Emmy and four Golden Globe awards. His best films are Wall Street, Basic Instinct, and Behind The Candelabra.
16. Leonardo DiCaprio
At just 45 years old, Leo is one of the best actors of all time. His movie characters are quite diverse.
Whether playing a heartthrob in a romance show, a drug-fueled gangster or a man fighting a bear in the snow, DiCaprio always puts his best foot forward.
His best movies include, but are not limited to, The Wolf of Wall Street, Inception, The Great Gatsby, Titanic, and The Revenant.
15. Russel Crowe
He is one of the best actors today. His most moving performances can be seen in films such as Les Miserables, Gladiator, and L.A Confidential.
14. Clint Eastwood
Born on 31 May 1930 in San Francisco to Clinton Eastwood Sr., a manufacturing executive for Georgia-Pacific Corporation, and Ruth Wood, a housewife, the actor is now one of Hollywood's top actors.
He made a name for himself through films such as Million Dollar Baby, Unforgiven, and Gran Torino.
13. Charles Chaplain
Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charles Chaplain is mostly recognized as an icon of the silent film era.
He started acting in 1914, and his last movie was in 1967.
12. Samuel L. Jackson
The highly famous star has appeared in over 100 films in his career. His most notable roles, however, are as Nick Fury in all Marvel movies, Neville Flynn in Snakes on a Plane and Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.
11. Morgan Freeman
If Morgan Freeman were to hide in the dark and speak, everyone would automatically recognize him by his voice. Morgan Freeman's deep, authoritative and calm voice is one of the best things about the star.
Known for films such as Se7en, Invictus and Driving Miss Daisy, he is now making a name for himself as a narrator. Morgan is using his famous voice for documentaries such as The Story Of God and March Of The Penguins, among others.
10. Robin Williams
When Robin Williams passed away in 2014, the whole world mourned together for the loss of one of the greatest actors of all time.
He was an Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy winner with popular films such as Good Will Hunting and Mrs. Doubtfire.
9. Denzel Washington
You cannot have a best male actors list without including Denzel Washington. Not only is he one of the best actors today, but he is also one of the most celebrated black actors today.
He has won numerous awards and is best known for his work in Training Day and The Equalizer.
8. Paul Newman
From 1955 to 1990, Paul Newman worked consistently and had one or more films premiering almost every year.
Some of his best films include The Hustler, Cool Hand Luke, and Road To Perdition. Sadly, this top actor passed away more than ten years ago.
7. Tom Hanks
Almost 20 years later and Tom Hanks' movie Cast Away is still regarded as a top-notch film. His other famous film Forrest Gump is also one of the most beloved films today.
At almost 64 years old, he is one of the best actors today
6. Dustin Hoffman
The Los Angeles native is best known for his performances in Tootsie, Rain Man, Midnight Cowboy, and Kramer vs. Kramer.
He has two Oscars, six Golden Globes and one Emmy award to his name.
5. Daniel Day-Lewis
With fabulous films such as Lincoln, Gangs of New York, and There Will Be Blood, it is quite easy to see why Daniel Day-Lewis is highly regarded among top actors today.
4. Al Pacino
Despite being almost 80 years old, Al Pacino is still getting Oscar and Golden Globe nominations proving that he is still among the best actors alive today.
He is best know for his work in The Godfather, Serpico, Dick Tracy and Dog Day Afternoon.
3. Robert De Niro
His performance in Raging Bull alone is almost enough to rank him as one of the best actors of all time. Robert's roles over the years have earned him 50 award wins and 133 nominations.
His latest film, The Irishman, received a 2020 Oscar nomination for Best Motion Picture.
2. Marlon Brando
Marlon is widely considered as one of the best actors of all time. His film, The Godfather, is one of the best crime movies ever made and he portrays his character phenomenally.
The other great movies that make him a top actor are A Streetcar Named Desire, Last Tango In Paris, and Sayonara.
1. Jack Nicholson
Who is the greatest actor of all time? Jack Nicholson is the best actor of all time. He has been nominated over ten times for both Oscar and Golden Globe awards.
In total, he has won 85 awards and been a nominee for 101 awards. Of all these, Jack has three Oscars and seven Golden Globes.
Some of his best performances can be seen in popular films such as Chinatown, The Shinning, A Few Good Men, and About Schmidt.
We consider these men and women as the best actors of all time, not only because their shows and movies are entertaining, but also because they put in a lot of work into their performances. Every time they appear on our screens, they offer something new to their audiences.