Thursday, June 29, 2006

David Jude Law

Jude Law wears the crown. He's the Film Experience Blog's choice for #1 in the long gestating "Top 100 Actors of the Aughts Countdown". Messy divorce, nude sunbathing, babies with ecstacy tablets, and nanny scandals aside ... he's a real goddamn actor.

Read the Rest

You can also see the Top 100 In Full and Vote on Your Favorite Actor

Previous TFE Notes on Law
I Heart Huckabees top ten capsule
Measure Your Pleasure Jude and his penis
2004 FB Gold Medal I Heart Huckabees
2003 FB Nomination Best Actor Cold Mountain
2003 Oscar Race Best ActorCold Mountain
Road to Perdition review
2001 FB Nomination A.I. Artificial Intelligence
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence review


Anonymous said...

This has been fun. I have my qualms with the list here and there, e.g. Orlando Bloom's inclusion and the baffling vitriol towards Phil Hoffman and, to a lesser extent, Paul Giamatti (vitriol that is seemingly echoed by almost all of your readers).

I think, though, that you nailed it big time with your number one pick. Quantity over quality isn't even an issue with Jude cos he has scads of both. I'm convinced that he deserved another nom for Huckabees.

Also, despite my belief that Film Experience readers occasionally and irksomely conflate 'being photogenic' with 'having acting talent', I have to admit that Mr. Law is a good looking dude, and that certainly doesn't hurt when spending two hours in his presence.

adam k. said...

Law was really even more of a no-brainer than Kidman, if you ask me. Well, they both were. But still... A.I., Road to Perdition, Cold Mountain, Alfie, Sky Captain, Closer, Aviator, and his best perf ever in I Heart Huckabee's? How could anyone NOT name him actor of the decade? Plus he's probably excellent in All the King's Men, which was supposed to be released before the list was done.

I really hope Jude finds favor with the public again and keeps having a big career and wins that oscar... he may even have a double shot this year, who knows. But he deserves all the praise in the world. Great, great actor. I love him.

Javier Aldabalde said...

Er... I won't say I'm not disappointed (Bernal is clearly *the* Actor of the Aughts to my clouded eyes) but I loved the list, and like Jude Law quite a lot too.

Yet another wonderful project.

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't going to be a popular opinion around here...but what fun is unanimous concensus? I'm not complaining about Jude Law being on the top but to the question - "How could anyone NOT name him actor of the decade?" I'd have to raise my hand and say 'Me.' I just don't care about Jude Law. I don't dislike him or anything, I just feel indifferent towards him.

But this has been a very interesting countdown. It's so boring when people make lists like these but don't explain their reasons for the placements. And even when they do explain their reasons, they don't always seem as well thought out and justified as this list does. Bravo.

Joe R. said...

Excellent, both this entry and the whole list. Well done, sir.

One thing that I'm glad you touched on: On Jude "losing" his scenes in Closer to his co-stars. Certainly, he does. I think he's supposed to. Dan's the one character who loses the most in that movie, so to have him trampled by his co-stars repeatedly is a part of that. It's natural to view every scene in Closer as a competition, because that's what the movie is. Relationships as warfare. I think Jude's actually quite good in the movie, partially because he lets his co-stars have their way with their shared scenes. My opinion, at least.

Anyway, awesome stuff, Nat. And a perfectly chosen #1.

Anonymous said...

Totally, abso-effin-lutely deserving of the #1 spot. I LOVE JUDE LAW! He's one of the most talented beautiful actors of our times. Seriously, actors who are as breathtakingly beautiful AND that talented, charismatic and multi-facetic are very very rare.

And what's great about him is that, as Nat said, he puts his looks in service of the character and story.

He's truly one tremendously gifted thespian, incredibly charismatic, chamaleonic, unafraid to take chances and always being an intriguing presence onscreen. Hopefully there's more success for him and an Oscar coming his way in the near future.

Love him!

John M said...

Congrats on completing the Actors of the Aughts list. It's been a real treat.

Anyway, can't wait to see what else you have cooking in that head of yours.

thales said...

Well... kinda hard to disagree when the guy appears in 8 different movies in one year (7 movies, the other one he just narrated or something). I was hoping for Gael though. And Nicole defintely kicks Jude Law's ass.

NicksFlickPicks said...

I'm in the camp who woulda flipped Gael with Jude, but there's really no arguing with the whole Top 10, and part of the fun of reading your site is being surprised, challenged, and welcomed into all of your lovingly written tributes. Way to go! *Lots* of fun, this feature.

adam k. said...

*Nicole definitely kicks Jude Law's ass!*

...or grabs it, depending on whether or not you're in Cold Mountain land.

Anonymous said...

I MUCH prefer Jude's ass to Nicole's. ;-)

Glenn Dunks said...

Does Nicole have an ass? She's very skinny.

But, yes, definitely a wise choice for #1. It just feels right. When you think of actors that were everywhere this decade so far you think of Jude (just like Nicole). And while some of his movies aren't the greatest, he's always value for money.

He will definitely win an Oscar some day (even if it is a career "thank you" type later in his career ala Pacino). How many of the greats have notorious pasts? Quite a lot, yet they get through it and people remember them first and foremost for their acting.

Jude's the tops.

Anonymous said...

Nate, I wonder if this Top 10 differs very drastically from "Top 10 Men Nathaniel Would Like to Sleep with". Don't take that too personnally, because it doesn't differ too much from "Top 10 Actors Goran Would Like to Sleep with" - except Jude Law wouldn't come anywhere near mine, and Jake Gyllenhaal would be at the top (of the list).

In terms of acting, Jude Law has rarely really impressed me - only in Road to Perdition did he convince me he was not playing a man who was in love with Jude Law. And in Huckabees his egotism actually contributed to the performance immensely. Otherwise it's a matter of effort over achievement when it comes to Jude Law in my books.

I actually have similar qualms with Bernal and McGregor, but they've generally picked better roles. Plus, Bernal was well and truly acting (a terribly complex part) in Bad Education, while I feel McGregor often demonstrates he's actually quite talented beyond the blatant self-love (next time he gets naked in a movie for no reason, I'm just gonna look away, I swear!). Of your top 5 however, Tony Leung would be my personal choice. He's always subtle, thoughtful and compulsive to watch, plus he's Wong Kar-wai's muse.

On the other hand, I have no desire whatsover to sleep with Philip Seymour Hoffman, but he'd easily rank within my top 10 actors of the decade. And I'm surprised Gyllenhaal didn't score a higher spot on your list, based on Donnie Darko, Jarhead and Brokeback Mountain alone (furthermorre, I thought he played the same part exceptionally well in both The Good Girl and Lovely and Amazing).

Anonymous said...

Nat, your top 3 actors of the 00's EXACTLY match with my top 3. Jude Law deserves the top spot for sure. Brilliant, proficient actor. One of my faves.

- Duncan


Goran --i thought a lot about that "actors i'd like to sleep with thing' and i don't really take it as a criticism that some people would feel it is because the truth is this: Movie stardom has to a large degree always been based on sex appeal. From the silents onward. There's been numerous academic pieces on the erotic component of the popularity of movies and stars.

no one questions it when the mainstream world worships an actress because of her beauty. it's considered part of their talent (i'm not kidding) --probably because the world of movies is by and large a voyeuristic heterosexual one. which is totally fine with me. I love looking at hot women too.

but i think it's outright stupid that the same feeling isn't spread to the men --or rather that opinions about the men that are attraction-based are considered suspect. that's just an idiotic double standard.

Brooke Smith to me is a more interesting actor than Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Neither are particularly hot. ( lol) But notice that only the schlubby man is permitted to get the big juicy parts.

There are men in this top 100 list that i'm not remotely attracted to. so it's not entirely about that. but then, i'm honest enough to admit that movie fandom DOES include the sexual component. so that's in there too.

the truth about PSH is this. He didn't make the list because, apart from Capote, I don't think much of him as an actor. I really don't. To me he's the definition of "ham", always overdoing it. If he continues to pull back and do work as good as Capote (rather surprisingly a role you'd expect him to overplay only he didn't) he will DEFINITELY be in the top 100 in another 4 years.

the only actor who I'm like "BRING IT ON" with the endlessly purple interpretations is probably Annettte Bening. For her I forgive and love that stray sofa stuck between her teeth. But most of the time, scenery chewing for the sake of 'LOOK AT ME. I'M AN ACTOR.!' is my number one turnoff and pet peeve for movie stars.

RC said...

i think law is an excellent choice.

--RC of

adam k. said...

I too noticed that the top 10 were all majorly majorly regarded for their looks and sex appeal, in addition to their acting... unlike, say, Jim Broadbent and Tom Wilkinson, who I thought might make it into the top tier. But I have no problem with that.

What is it about Annette Bening? She really seems to "get" that she overplays everything, which I think makes it okay... or maybe she just chooses roles that call for that. I dunno. But I like her hamminess, too.

adam k. said...

You know, the thing about PSH not overdoing Capote is probably that Bennett Miller didn't let him. Fine acting and directing across the board in Capote = good on Miller. Being directing by his close friend who clearly knew what he was doing probably benefited Hoffman immensely.

Anonymous said...

I don't PSH overdid it in 25th Hour, either. Or Owning Mahowny, but nobody saw that.

Anonymous said...

Also, Nat - I definitely agree that there is a double standard in place wherein less-than-attractive men can succeed while less-than-attractive women have a tougher time. However, I would personally like to see the scales tip the *other* way - I would love to see less Orlando Blooms and more Camryn Manheims or Kathy Bateses. I mean, are we talking about *celebrities* or *actors* here?

I have nothing against beautiful actors, as long as they have the chops to match.

Glenn Dunks said...

But there's also the fact that a lot of leading men (ie; the ones that feature prominently in the top 10) are good looking is pretty standard.

Good looking celebrities have always landed more lead roles than less attractive ones, and that it's still happening today is obvious. It just happens that people like Jim Broadbent or Tom Wilkinson get less big roles, which means they don't have as much of a shot at getting as high up on a list like this.

And the less-attractive men that get lead roles at the current time haven't really been as prominant this decade. People like the Jack Nicholsons, the Robert DeNiros, the Al Pacinos, the Phillip Seymour Hoffmans, the Tommy Lee Jones', the Kevin Spaceys (i could go on forever) just haven't been as strong this decade as people such as Jude, Gael, Christian, George, etc.

BTW, Jake's position is perfectly adaquate. I loved him in Donnie Darko and Brokeback as much as anyone, but most of the men above him have all done work to justify their spots.

And people (not just Goran) need to realise that not everyone thinks PSH is the great actor a lot think he is. This decade he's had Red Dragon, Almost Famous, Cold Mountain and Mission Impossible 3 which have all been quite bad performances (I haven't seen Owning Mahoney or Love Liza.

I personally think he's just not very nice to watch. I find myself repelled by him (not physically), but occasionally he's great such as in Capote.

rant. over. :P

Anonymous said...

agreed that jude deserves the number one spot. he has always tried to play away from his looks. in his mind sometimes it's a deterrent. he is a totally undervalued actor because of his outstanding beauty. but he's daring and fearless. he'll try anything. that is why the best directors request him even wong kar kai....his best work is yet to come as he matures and yes there will be an oscar for's just a matter of time.

Jason Adams said...

Really fantastic job, Nate.

I've got my quibbles - your top five wouldn't have even been in my top ten... well, Jude might've made #10 if I were able to scrub Alfie from my brain completely... ;-) - but that's what these sorts of things are made for.

Anonymous said...

i'm glad Jude came out on top, but skeptical of the notion that people associated him with Dickie Greenleaf. It seems to me that not enough people actually saw The Talented Mr. Ripley for this to have any sort of impact on the public perception of Jude...

good list -- well done.


right -- well Ripley was actually a hit. Not a blockbuster by any means but it did well... and it did make him a star so i stand by my assertion ;)

think of how people still talk about To Die For in regards to Nicole Kidman and that barely made a cent. Your starmaking role is often defining in some way (though it's certainly debatable as to how defining

Anonymous said...

Yeah actually, according to BoxOfficeMojo
'The Talented Mr. Ripley' did
pretty darn well. Law's only bigger
movies are 'Road to Perdition,'
'Cold Mountain', and 'Lemony Snickets' and 'The Aviator' (the latter two of course he played a pretty small part in.) I think Nathaniel's assertion that the public's image of Law was created early on by 'Ripley' is valid, especially since it doesn't necessarily take seeing a movie to be familiar with it (take 'Alfie,' which everyone seems to talk about even though it was a big flop).

adam k. said...

I think the To Die For thing with Kidman is a perfect analogy. Instead of even talking about her 2001 work, a LOT of people still associate her with that bitch of an anchorwoman (in a bad way). Same how a lot of people, maybe more unconsciously, associate Jude with Dickie despite Cold Mountain, the 2004 plethora, etc. Part of it is just that they just naturally still project the qualities of these characters (the beauty, the coldness, etc.), but another part is the enduring imprint that first glimpse will leave. You usually have to work REALLY hard at being chameleonic, a la Streep or Blanchett for example, in order to shake it. But of course people still first think "Sophie" or "Elizabeth I" so there you go.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a sparkling read throughout. We really appreciate it.

I don't QUITE agree with Jude, just as I didn't with Nicole, but you argue valiantly for both, and neither choice is offensive as a result. Nor could they ever be, such talents as both clearly are.

My only regret is that you'd struggle to chart a third sex, and that it's pretty much the end of a glorious era in Film Experience history. Sigh.

Still... Bravo!



oh rob, you're making me well up.
it may be the end of one project... but you know i'll come up with another. i'm OCD like that.

and you're so right about the third sex thing. damn... even if i tried to go there there'd be lawsuits I'm sure. ;)

Anonymous said...

Bravo for the spirited write-up on Law’s career (so far). I appreciate this bit especially:

“It matters little to me if any of these characterizations are true. What I care about is what's onscreen. And apparently it matters even less to the actor himself. For unlike his mindblowingly beautiful female counterparts, with one exception, he doesn't "de-glam" for respect and statues. This man just keeps taking roles that spin from his beauty.”

Absolutely. Law is emotionally fearless actor who relies on his looks only as a tool. He exploits physical beauty by using it as a starting point for an internal transformation. In Cold Mountain (in which, I agree, he is the one true thing of grace), his transformation is both physical and spiritual. In both Huckabee's and Closer, Law used his good looks to subvert. This is true even for the much-maligned Alfie. He has never overplayed a character at the expense of the film – you can see this especially in Closer. I’ve been consistently impressed with how far Law has been willing to go; it's as if he has no sense of vanity or ego about himself on screen.

I am so impressed with him, for the calibre of his talent and the integrity of the man. Your choice is well justified. He is #1, no argument from me.

goatdog said...

I guess I'm the odd one out on Cold Mountain: I think Law was completely uninteresting in it. He'd still make my top ten, though. I might have dropped Ewan McGregor lower (but not much) and raised Peter Sarsgaard up. Great list overall.

Anonymous said...

#1 Jude Law ... great choice.
#1 Nicole Kidman ... great (if not obvious) choice.

Great work Nate. What about a smackdown for supporting actress nods for the past six years?


totally obvious and yet I didn't even notice:

my #1s co-starred in a film i don't even like. weird.

adam k. said...

I definitely noticed that, but i never said anything, cause it seemed so random and inconsequencial.

Glenn Dunks said...

hah. Interesting. I didn't notice that.

Anonymous said...

jude should be number one. his beauty very often gets in the way of people absorbing his tremendous acting chops. we will defintely see an oscar in his future because he is fearless in what he undertakes. this man has no vanity. if he did he would have gone another route chosing to become tom cruise. instead he tears away from jude law to become whatever the role and the director require. this is a pure actor. the best, definitely, is yet to come.he deserve so much credit for turning away from roles that would have made him a bigger star. instead he chooses the parts that fulfill him and i believe no matter what kind of money they dangle in front of his nose...he'll be true to himself and that in the long run will pay off.bravo to you for understanding this and giving jude his just dessert.

Anonymous said...

Jude law has been #1 with me for a
long time. I became enchanted with
him officially in COLD MOUNTAIN not
just for his looks but for his soul
which I think he poured into this
role that he said had a profound
impression on him and then proceeded to see eBerything he has
done from the very beginning to
the HOLIDAY in which he plays a
gorgeous hunk 9but still no conceit
even when she says he is 'insanely
handsome' and when he tells her she is 'lovely' she says you are too.
But he is also a three-dimensional
men with a problem as well as a
regular guy on the make and he is as usual increidbly believable. He
is alwaus incredibly believable no
matter who or what the character he
plays. His eyes act as well as
every part of his body with wonderful body language and incredible grace. No wonder Wong kar Wai chose him for his first english-language film and i can't wait to see it. how well some of
your readers understand him - it is a delight to see after reading
slews of dumb reviews these past
years from people who just don't get it. I agree with your other
choices too but not the order. But
on Mr. law you are 1005 RIHT.

Anonymous said...

What a great site » »