The first step in selecting the 10 best actors in Hollywood is to establish criteria. The best actors are performers who are still active, and who have a significant body of work. They also have the ability to entertain mass audiences. These criteria, unfortunately preclude the inclusion of some very fine actors with distinguished careers, and some younger actors who have shown great potential, but have yet to prove that they can sustain a high level of performance.

  1. Meryl Streep. Streep has been nominated for an incredible sixteen Academy Awards. She is widely considered the best actress of her generation and one of the best actors in Hollywood history. Some of her most notable roles were in “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Sophie's Choice,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” and “Th Devil Wears Prada.”

  2. Jack Nicholson. Nicholson has twelve Oscar nominations and three wins. No other male actor has won more Academy Awards. Some of Nicholson's noted roles include “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” “A Few Good Men,” “As Good as It Gets,” and “Chinatown.”

  3. Robert Duvall. The only actor in Hollywood today who can rival Streep and Nicholson in pure acting ability is Duvall. Although he has played relatively few leading man roles, his performance in any movies stands out. Some of his best-known performances were in “Apocalypse Now,” “Terms of Endearment,” and “The Godfather.”

  4. Johnny Depp. Depp is know for his eccentricities and for playing odd roles. His role on the TV show “21 Jump Street” made him famous, and he caught everyone's attention in the movie “Edward Scissorhands.” Depp is not only one of the best actors in Hollywood, he is also one of the most bankable stars with his “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. Depp is also known for his love of children and his generosity to charities.

  5. Will Smith. Smith was a rapper who rose to fame playing the lead role in the TV series “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” His breakthrough movie role came in the blockbuster film “Independence Day.” His other important roles include “Ali,” “Men in Black,” “Hitch,” and “The Pursuit of Happiness.” Over time, Smith's skill and stature as as an actor have increased steadily.

  6. Julia Roberts. Roberts is not only one of the best actors in Hollywood, but also one of its biggest stars. As beautiful as she is, her physical appeal has not overshadowed her acting ability. Since “Pretty Woman” made her a superstar, Roberts has gone on to play in a string of critically and financially successful movies. She won an Oscar for the title role in “Erin Brockovich.”

  7. Gwyneth Paltrow. Paltrow is both one of the best actors in Hollywood and one of the most likable. Her striking beauty and the quality of her work also make her one of the best-known actresses working today. Paltrow won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her performance in “Shakespeare in Love.”

  8. Tom Hanks. Hanks is an actor who makes movies people want to see. Equally at home playing comedy or drama, he has won two Academy Awards. Some of his notable movies include “Philadelphia,” Forrest Gump,” and “Apollo 13.” Hanks is still a popular box office attraction.

  9. Halle Berry. Berry toiled away in television for years before making a movie breakthrough as the star of “Jungle Girl.” She won an Academy Award in 2001 for her performance in “Monster's Ball.” Today, Berry is an international celebrity and has been named by several publications as the “Sexiest Woman in the World.”

  10. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman has been acting for awhile without attracting much notice. But, in recent years, he has blossomed into one of the best actors in Hollywood with multiple critically acclaimed performances. Hoffman won an Academy Award for playing the title role in the film “Capote,” and was nominated for his performances in “Charlie Wilson's War,” and “Doubt.