The 10 best actors of 2008 gave wide-ranging, Academy Award nominated performances. From those who won Best Actor or Supporting Actor Oscars to those who were just nominated, the best actors of 2008 film gave us transformed on screen, changing the way film acting is viewed moving forward. Here they are, the ten best actors of 2008, brought to our attention.

  1. Heath Ledger - Sadly, Heath Ledger did not live to accept his Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the diabolical Joker in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight." His performance changed the role of the blockbuster film villain from something entirely evil to something more nuanced, a believable force of pure chaos. He tops our list of the best actors of 2008.

  2. Mickey Rourke - Rourke sealed his comeback, and his place on this list of the best actors of 2008, with a nomination for Best Actor for his transformative role in "The Wrestler." No one else could have played this role, heartbreaking and hilarious in equal measure.

  3. Philip Seymour Hoffman - Not only was Hoffman nominated for his work in "Doubt," he also gave a tremendous 2008 performance in "Synecdoche, New York." He is definitely one of the best actors of 2008.

  4. Frank Langella - Langella portrayed the disgraced president in "Frost/Nixon," bringing a transcendent stage performance to the screen. He earned both an Academy Award nomination and a place on our list of the best actors of 2008.

  5. Robert Downey Jr. - Downey received an Oscar nod for his comedic role in "Tropic Thunder." That, along with his surprising lead turn in "Iron Man," make him one of the best actors of 2008.

  6. Sean Penn - Penn is one of the greatest actors of his generation. He sealed this with the lead role in the biopic "Milk," which brought him to attention in 2008.

  7. Richard Jenkins - Jenkins had a fun turn in "Burn After Reading" in 2008. It was his lead role in "The Visitor," however, that nabbed him an Oscar nod and a place on our list of the best actors of 2008.

  8. Brad Pitt - Pitt is one of our biggest stars, which sometimes takes away from what a good actor he truly is. His work in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" brought him a nomination, and he also appeared with Jenkins in "Burn After Reading."

  9. Josh Brolin - Another nominee from "Milk," Josh Brolin has come into his own recently. He was definitely one of the best actors of 2008, taking on the real-life role of former president Bush in Oliver Stone's "W."

  10. Michael Shannon - His work in "Revolutionary Road" makes Shannon the final entry on our list of the best actors of 2008. A character actor, he is surely due to become a star.