If you’re wondering who the best British actors are right now, see our list.
When you think of outstanding Hollywood actors, our bet is that your first thought will be a string of talented American stars. And so it may come as a surprise that some of the best, big screen actors are, in fact – British.
Choosing Hollywood’s best British actors was no easy task, what with there being so many top British actors to choose from. Selection came down to a few considerations including the number of films they’ve featured in, whether they portrayed a believable character, how versatile they are, longevity and the number of awards achieved during their acting career.
Here are Hollywood’s best British actors.
10. Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig, now 50, is an outstanding actor who was born and raised in Chester, Cheshire County. He’s one of the best English actors going, starring in several, exceptional films including The Girl with Dragon Tattoo and Defence. But we think it’s widely accepted that he’s best known for his role as 007 Bond in movies such as Casino Royale and Skyfall (which he does so well, he may be deemed the best Bond yet). Craig always gives a solid performance in front of the camera, whichever role he’s been cast in, making him the best British actor for miles around.
Since Craig has been acting, he’s starred in 40 movies for which he has won 14 awards out of 31 nominations. Although Craig hasn’t yet received or been nominated for a major award, he has won one Critic’s Choice Awards for best actor in an action movie and one Empire Award for best actor for the (2012) movie Skyfall. For his full list of awards, see Wikipedia.
9. Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson is one of the best of British actors going in Hollywood. Born in Northern Ireland and now 66, Neeson is a firm favourite amongst film junkies globally. He’s best known for appearing in action films such as The Commuter, Unknown and his unmistakable hit film Taken. Neeson starred in his first film in 1981 (Excalibur) when he was 29 years old and so you can say he was a late bloomer in the industry. After that, we got to see him in Oscar winning movie Schindler’s List where Neeson delivered a powerful and dramatic performance.
Since Neeson has been acting, he’s starred in 87 movies for which he has received 22 awards and 40 nominations. Even though Neeson has not won any major awards, he has been nominated for best actor for his role in (1992) movie Schindler’s List and has won three Golden Globes and one BAFTA Award. For his full list of awards, see Wikipedia.
8. Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetel Ejiofor, now 41, was born in the city of London. When we ask people to name their best British actor, unfortunately, Ejiofor is often overlooked. This is a great shame as Ejiofor is an exceptional performer who is confident to take on a variety of roles (Doctor Strange, Secret in Their Eyes and The Martian to name a few). Undoubtedly, he’s best known for his powerful and passionate performance in 12 Years a Slave.
Since Ejiofor has been acting, he’s starred in 35 movies for which he has won 54 awards out of 74 nominations. His major awards include one BAFTA for best actor in a leading role (12 Years a Slave). He’s also been recognised by the British Independent Film Awards and the Evening Standard British Film Awards. For his full list of achievements, see Wikipedia.
7. Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy, now 41, was born and raised in London. His first movie was in Black Hawk Down back in 2001. Since, he’s gone from strength to strength and it wasn’t long before Hardy was considered best British actor by the masses. Roles which should be of note are Legend, where he gave a terrific performance like no other and as Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road. Hardy has impressed us with how versatile he is and with his ability to overshadow anyone else who is cast alongside him.
Since Hardy has been acting, he’s starred in 40 movies for which he received 7 awards and 36 nominations. Even though Hardy has not received any Academy Awards, he has been nominated for one (best supporting actor for his role in 2015 movie, The Revenant). He’s also won a Critics Choice Movie Award for best actor in an action movie for 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road.
6. Anthony Hopkins
Welshman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, is now 81. He’s also a Hollywood legend and one of the best British actors going. He can be seen in Meet Joe Black, Thor and Fracture but he’s best known for his incredible portrayal of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. We’re still reeling from this dramatic and chilling performance, one that will never be forgotten. He manages to portray the characters he is assigned to naturally, never forced or overly scripted. A true gentleman as well, filming with Hopkins must be a real pleasure.
Since Hopkins has been in acting, he’s starred in 75 movies for which he has received 51 awards and 63 nominations for. His major ones include one Academy Award for best actor for his role in 1991 movie The Silence of the Lambs, four BAFTA Awards and one Golden Globe. For his full list of awards, see Wikipedia
5. Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman, now 60, was born in London. He’s widely known as one of the best British actors to hit our screens, starring in a variety of different genres including action, drama and horror (lets not forget he played a fantastic villain in Dracula). With consistently good performances, Oldman is known for many movies such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Dark Knight, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and his most recent successful movie; Darkest Hour.
Since Gary has been acting, he’s starred in 62 movies for which he has received 59 awards and 74 nomination for. Major ones include one academy award for best actor for his role in 2017 Darkest Hour, several BAFTAs and one Golden Globe.
4. Ben Kingsley
Sir Ben Kingsley, now 75, is a legend of film born in Yorkshire, England. He’s featured in a range of different films including comedies, thrillers, and drama. With over 50 years acting experience under his belt, he’s one of the best British actors to grace our screens. He’s starred in Schindler’s List, Shutter Island and The Physician but is most recognized in the film Gandhi where we got to see a more dramatic and realistic performance. Over the years, he has truly proved himself as an exceptional actor, giving him a firm spot on our list.
Since Ben Kingsley has been acting, he’s starred in 86 movies for which he won 46 awards out 69 nominations. His major awards include one Academy Award for best actor in the (1982) movie Gandhi, one Golden Globe Award and one BAFTA Award. For the full list of achievements, see Wikipedia.
3. Michael Caine
Sir Michael Caine, now 85 was born and bred in London. With his broad, southern accent, Caine is truly one of the best British actors going. He’s been in acting for over 50 years and is well known for his Italian Job quote, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off”. He’s also starred in Harry Brown and Batman: The Dark Knight and has a huge catalogue of successful films and roles behind him.
Since Caine has been acting, he’s starred in over 125 movies which he received 34 Awards and 63 nominations for. His major awards include two Academy Awards, one for best supporting actor for his role in (1985) Hannah and Her Sisters and the same for (1989) The Cider House Rules. Others include one BAFTA and three Golden Globes. For his full list of awards, see Wikipedia
2. Daniel Day Lewis
Daniel Day Lewis is one of the most renowned names in the acting business. Lewis is picky and, as a result, hasn’t starred in a huge number of movies. However, this is no reflection on his acting ability which was recognised when he received a Knighthood from the Queen. His dedication to his roles is outstanding – he is known to stay in character whilst on assignment, even when he’s at home and away from the camera. He can be found in films such as The Last of Mohicans, Gangs of New York, There Will Be Blood, and his most recent – Phantom Thread.
Since Lewis has been in acting, he’s starred in 18 movies for which he has won a whopping 139 awards out of 212 nominations. His major awards include three Academy Awards for best actor for his roles in (1989) My Left Foot, (2007) There Will Be Blood and (2012) Lincoln. His other awards include four British Academy Film Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. See his full List on Wikipedia.
1. Christian Bale
Taking centre stage on our list is best British actor, Christian Bale. Bale was born in Haverfordwest, Wales and started his acting career at an early age. At only 13 years of age, he starred in Steven Spielberg’s 1987 film, The Emperor of the Sun (and there are no words to describe how good a performance he gave us in that). Other films include Shaft, American Psycho and The Machinist but he’s best known for playing Batman (the best Batman that’s ever been cast by DC, by the way). Bale is one of the most talented and powerful actors in the world, meaning he has the capabilities to take on the most challenging and dramatic roles with ease and confidence. He’s earned a well deserved, top spot on our list of best British actors.
Since Bale has been acting, he’s starred in 49 movies for which he has received 58 awards out of 128 nominations. Major ones include one Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in 2010 movie, The Fighter. Other awards include two Golden Globes and one Saturn Award.