For reasons I can’t explain, I’m compelled to write a list of my top ten favorite male actors. In my limited experience, the best actors tend to be the most underrated. I assume this is because the best actors, when they’re really doing their jobs, cease to be actors and start becoming the characters they create on-screen.

Apart from the likes of Johnny Depp and Will Smith, who can make a movie better simply by being themselves (or at least the multimillion dollar versions of themselves).

Mandy Patinkin…I’ve loved his work from The Princess Bride to Chicago Hope and beyond. He has a gentle power and softness of heart that makes a role.

Anson Mount…Loved him in Hell on Wheels, but his credits include edgy theatre work like Venus in Fur as well as gritty indie films like Cook County. Not to mince words, the man can act. He’s also possibly the only actor I get googly-eyed over (sorry, Matt).

Common…Also seen in Hell on Wheels. I didn’t know he acted prior to watching the show, but I’ve been paying attention ever since. He’s intense, heavy, with a ton of heart. He’s got a strong potential as leading-man, but just needs the right role to launch him.

Colin Firth…Again, a quiet power that brings a high believability (and sometimes absurdity) to a role. A leading man, but really shines in a group cast, adding depth and dimension as a supporting character.

Eric Schweig…I’ll remember him best from Tom and Huck as Injun Joe, but before that, he was Uncas from Last of the Mohicans and Metacomet in The Scarlett Letter.

John C McGinley…One of the funniest actors I’ve ever seen, hands down. Displays great range from roles as abrasive Dr. Cox and meek, embattled step-father in Identity.

Alfred Molina…Prominent in Chocolat, Spiderman 2, and even Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof (stage) Molina can do anything. He has heart and presence.

Don Cheadle…This man has been in everything. Usually serving in an ensemble cast (Oceans 11,12 & 13), Swordfish, or second fiddle as in Iron Man to Robert Downey, Jr., Cheadle’s talents are oft overlooked or underplayed. Something which should have been remedied in the wake of the poignant hit Hotel Rwanda. Don only wants for a proper vehicle to bring him to the forefront, although it could well be said that his body of worthwhile work speaks for itself.

Gary Oldman…He’s been in virtually everything, but you might not know it was him: The Dark Knight, Harry Potter/Prisoner of Azkaban (as Sirius Black), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Fifth Element. While nominated for many awards, he’s yet to win an Academy Award, and has been nominated  for an Oscar only once.

James Wolk…After the fantastically-written but epically under-viewed Lonestar tanked after only 2 episodes, things looked bad for James. But when Mad Men picked him up as mysterious Bob Benson, he just might get the boost he deserves.

What about you? Who would you add to this list?