We all have our favorite actors, though would they make it onto an actors’ version of Mount Rushmore? In a recent online discussion, film lovers share their choice for which faces should be chiseled in glory on a mountainside.
1. Philip Seymour Hoffman
“The only one I can absolutely commit to, 100%, no questions asked, would be Phillip Seymour Hoffman,” claims our first moviegoer. “Everyone else, there would have to be a discussion.” It’s hard to disagree with this choice. What strikes me about Hoffman is how easily he allowed viewers to forget they were watching an actor.
2. Walter Brennan
One gentleman asks, “Would you leave Walter Brennan off because some people don’t watch old movies? That guy was amazing.” Brennan won three Oscars for acting in the late ’30s and early ’40s, so his inclusion must be considered. “He was essentially in a class all on his own for a whole period of cinema history,” another fan adds.
3. Michael Caine
“What about Michael Caine?” suggests someone who must have tried the impersonation at some point. “He’s a great character actor!” The decorated English actor has had a mesmerizing career spanning seven decades, winning an Oscar in 2000 for the brilliant The Cider House Rules. I would back this claim.
4. Chris Cooper
“I know he’s won several awards (including an Oscar), but I feel like Chris Cooper is a tad underrated as a character actor,” is one observer’s thought. You probably think, “Oh, I forgot about Chris Cooper—a great actor.” This notion only exemplifies this fan’s point. Cooper is a much-underrated actor, though is he Rushmore material?
5. Judi Dench
Dame Judy is an actor’s actor. I recall a story involving Dench in a school play crying out during a Shakespearean monologue, “Where are you, Mother; where are you, Father?” to which her mother, who was in the audience, responded, “We’re right here, my love!” Dench’s rise from evident humble beginnings to A-list fame is remarkable, and the British acting stalwart’s face would grace any mountainside.
6. Nicolas Cage
Of course, there has to be some comedy on this mountainside. Who would begrudge Cagey his granite-sculptured escarpment of glory? Cage is fertile meme territory for some, but they must remember he has some jewels in his filmography: Moonstruck, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and Wild at Heart are all fantastic generational movies. When Cage hits his stride, there is no stopping him.
7. Meryl Streep
“Not sure why nobody has mentioned Meryl Streep, who pretty much disappears into any role she’s in,” asks a film lover. Some might say if there were a Mount Rushmore for actors’ faces, Meryl Streep would sit in a prominent position. The actress oozes class, making each role her own. It’s not easy to do angelic or pure evil perfectly, but the award machine Meryl Streep can—somehow.
8. John Cazale
“Any Mount Rushmore of character actors that doesn’t prominently feature John Cazale,” begins the following thread, “is an incorrect Mount Rushmore of character actors.” John Cazale’s name should be a household one; he appeared in five groundbreaking ’70s movies, including as Fredo Corleone in the two Godfather movies, The Deer Hunter, and Dog Day Afternoon.
9. Samuel L. Jackson
Who wouldn’t love to see a three-hundred-foot, stone-carved Samuel L. Jackson’s face smiling down on us? Although he might not be smiling, and would probably be mid-profanity with that perfectly-engineered look of disdain he has mastered. Younger film lovers don’t know what they missed discovering an emerging, devastating Samuel L. Jackson in the late nineties.
10. Michael Stuhlbarg
“Stuhlbarg does so much with such a weird, out-there role that, in the wrong hands, could have ruined everything,” offers one commenter who appreciates the unseen brilliance some perennial supporting actors give. “Stuhlbarg is one who I feel like by the end of his career will have to be on it,” adds another commenter.
11. Gene Hackman
The actor is still with us, though he retired some years ago at the peak of his powers. They never dipped once in a six-decade career, including colossal movies like The French Connection, Unforgiven, and the original Superman trilogy. “Gene Hackman,” agrees another fan. “Every performance feels natural.”
12. Gary Oldman
“Gary Oldman,” says the next thread leader. “A super-underrated and talented guy.” Oldman found his groove quite late in life, winning his first Oscar for a vivid portrayal of Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. It took a while for the world to see Oldman’s value finally, and a brief review of his filmography shows how talented the Englishman is.
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