In order, divided by Front-Men (aka ability to be a strong LEAD) and Character Actor (aka ability to create masterful supporting characters). These are all actors who have done meaningful, premier work in the past few years. Front-Men: Christian Bale (It's a close race, and he's dwindled in my mind lately. But he's still the best, and has the best potential projects down the line). Leonardo DiCapprio Edward Norton Morgan Freeman Jack Nicholson Phillip Seymour Hoffman Daniel Day Lewis (His performance in There Will Be Blood trumps any performance the above men have ever done...) Character Actors: Javier Bardem (I dare you to find one better...) Benecio Del Toro Steve Buscemi Gary Oldman Luis Tosar John Turtoro John Ortiz Paul Giomotti James GandolfiniJosh Brolin Sergi López Chiwetel Ejiofor You'll notice I have a lot more character actors, and that's simpily because I enjoy character performances more.