In this world of haters, venom-spewing blog commenters and generally petty individuals, it’s always possible to find someone with something negative to say about somebody else. Especially when that somebody else is a celebrity.
How many times have you mentioned how much you love a certain actor, only to hear your mom/roommate/spouse/weird co-worker who collects Snapple bottles say: “Oh, I don’t like him. His face bothers me.” Or, “I heard she got arrested once in 2005. I’ve never liked her since.” Or, “She’s so fake.” Or, “He’s way too political for me.”
Even the finest thespians in Hollywood, the ones with multiple Oscar nominations and universally acknowledged talent, may not be embraced by everyone. Example: A relative of mine who shall remain nameless went to see “There Will Be Blood” and walked out after the two-hour mark, right before the “drink your milkshake” scene — really, before “I drink your milkshake!”?! — because he didn’t like the movie. One of the key reasons he didn’t, in his words: “Daniel Day-Lewis can’t act.”
Clearly that which is obviously perfect can still be dismissed by someone out there. Yet, there are some actors — individuals I refer to as The Indisputables — that everyone, from your uber-cranky grandmother to your surprisingly discerning 8-year-old — tends to like. These are actors for whom we continue to harbor affection no matter how many bad movies they make; people who, generally speaking, lead seemingly normal (or at least non-controversial) personal lives; and stars that we would totally accept in the No. 1 spot atop a Forbes highest-paid actor list.
I’ve come up with a list of 10 currently working actors, three of whom are in films releasing in the next two weeks, who belong in the Indisputables category. I have eliminated people like George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Betty White, Michael J. Fox, Meryl Streep and Denzel Washington, simply because their indisputability is already well-established. (I have eliminated Ryan Gosling because even I think we get a little carried away about Gosling sometimes. Only sometimes.)
Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, so if you have other Indisputable nominees — or if you actually, somehow, have issues with any of the clearly likable individuals on this list— share them in the comments.
The star of “The Amazing Spider-Man” is talented. She’s relatable. She slept with Ryan Gosling — see how I still managed to work him in? — in “Crazy Stupid Love” and we didn’t resent her one iota. She even briefly convinced us the MTV Movie Awards are actually important. If you don’t like Emma Stone, then clearly you just hate humanity and should start looking for a new apartment on one of those distant planets in “Prometheus.”
Jon Hamm can be Don Draper one minute, then crack us up repeatedly on “SNL” the next while barely pausing to blink. He can make the “Taxi” theme song fresh and hip. He can be a total jerkwad to Kristen Wiig in “Bridesmaids” and we will somehow find that behavior endearing because it’s Jon Hamm and he’s so funny. He can do a racist bit on “30 Rock” and almost no one will get mad at him. Really, he appears to be good at pretty much everything and is crazy-handsome, but no one is bitter about this. Because he is Jon Hamm, and he is indisputable.
I haven’t conducted a scientific or even semi-authentic survey on this matter. And yet I feel confident in the following statement: No one on the planet dislikes Paul Rudd.
I chatted with him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this year and he very briefly tried to convince me that he was going to become a regular on “Parks and Recreation” during season five. After 30 seconds, he started laughing. “I’m sorry, that’s horrible, isn’t it?” he said of his attempt to pull one over on a member of the press.
But it wasn’t horrible. Not at all. Because, awww, who could ever be mad at Paul Rudd?
Davis is, first and foremost, one hell of an actress. But she’s also authentic in interviews, confident enough to ditch her wigs for the Academy Awards and the kind of woman that comes across as someone the rest of us females would be wise to emulate. She received an honorary degree from Brown University this year. But she also made time to return to her high school alma mater in Providence, R.I., an institution that is practically bankrupt, and make a commencement address encouraging graduates there to “dream big and dream fierce.” That’s class.
Have you ever met a woman who didn’t start fanning herself at the mention of Idris Elba’s name? I haven’t. But Elba’s sex appeal is only part of what makes him indisputable. Really, what compels both men and women to dig the dude — aside from the obvious, which is: Stringer Bell! — is his coolness. He comes across onscreen as ultra-cool and even in person as super chill. Hmmm. Maybe that’s partly because everyone around him is always fanning themselves.
Your mom loves him.Your snotty cinephile best friend loves him. Your kids don’t love him yet, but when they get old enough to see “The King’s Speech” or “Pride and Prejudice,” clearly they will. As evidenced by his superb 2011 Academy Award acceptance speech, Firth is the picture of British dignity and grace, without condescension or pretense.
I don’t care what anyone says: There has been a gaping hole in “The Office” ever since Carell departed and took Michael Scott, the awkward glue that held Dunder Mifflin together, with him. Carell has made some hilarious movies (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), some not-so-hilarious movies (“Dinner for Schmucks”) and movies that yield a mixed response (“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”). But we continue to want to watch the guy, who has a reputation for being one of the nicest guys in that business known as show.
Yes, this list is heavy on the Brits. But I didn’t think it would be right to make this list without putting Dench on it. (Maggie Smith has been reserved for The Indisputables Vol. 2). Dench is a Dame, with a capital D. She is a master of her craft. I mean, this woman won an Oscar for a role in “Shakespeare in Love” that lasted only eight minutes. Can you make that kind of impact in eight minutes? I can’t. It usually takes me at least eight minutes per day to figure out where my car keys are. But that’s because the rest of us aren’t Dames, whereas Judi Dench is, in title and spirit.
Some people may still be unfamiliar with Mackie, even though they’ve probably seen his work in “The Hurt Locker” or “The Adjustment Bureau,” and may see it this weekend in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.” I consider him an up-and-coming Indisputable. I mean, check him out on Jimmy Fallon last night, drinking an adult beverage on live television and admitting, with no sense of shame, that he wishes he were Tom Cruise and has no idea who Kenny Loggins is.
I respect that he wanted to train at Juilliard because Wendell Pierce (Bunk!) did, and that Mackie actually did wind up going to Juilliard. I love that during the first of two interviews I’ve done with him, he made this statement: “I thought ‘The Wire,’ other than, like, ‘Sanford and Son,’ was some of the best TV I’ve ever seen.” And I also love that he said this during our second interview: “I’m very happy being number four on the call sheet, because I can make fun of people and enjoy craft services all day.”
Sarah Anne Hughes nominated Uggie for this list, and I thought that was a solid choice. Aside from the people who wouldn’t let “The Artist” pup into the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, who has a beef with Uggie? Those who are anti-adorable? People who seek to rid the world of cuddliness?
Sure, he’s not a person per se. But if more of us followed Uggie’s example — were loyal, dependable, undeniably dashing in a bow tie — wouldn’t this world be a better place?