Monday, September 10, 2012

Hitting that sweet spot...

So, I thought about doing a list of the top ten performances in film by a singer, and I realized that there are a lot of singers who have attempted the big screen, so I had a lot to weed through and I know I’ve missed a ton.  There are also a lot of singers turned actors from the 40’s and 50’s that I’m just not familiar enough with to actually toss a bone here (Sinatra has an Oscar, but I’ve only seen a handful of his films, and none of those performances would make this list).  I also didn’t want to shoot for solidified actors who dabble in music, since that would be unfair, so despite headlining Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts, Russell Crowe is not on this list.
I know that I have a lot to actually see in this regard, so many may find this list pointless and yet, in searching the web there were a lot of ridiculous lists with performances by Rihanna, Beyonce and T.I. making the list, so at least I’m not going there.
I want to mention a few who are not on the list that deserve a mention.  First that come to mind as notable snubs are Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who were all sorts of sensational in ‘Once’.  It’s almost like they weren’t acting at all, which may be the very reason why they aren’t on this list.  Justin Timberlake, while not the greatest actor (and I’ve mentioned before that his voice makes it really hard to take him seriously at times) had an extremely good performance in 2007 with ‘Alpha Dog’.  He pulled out complexities in emotion I was dumbfounded to find in him.  Will Smith is also absent from this list, which may surprise a lot of people since he’s probably the first person you think of when you think ‘singers turned actors’.  He’s an Oscar nominee and a GIANT star who has obviously left singing far behind him at this point, but I couldn’t really think of one performance that was so stellar it deserved a placement here.  He’s a very good actor, but I don’t think I’d nominate him for anything.  Mark Wahlberg is also very well-known and well liked and yet I’ve never truly warmed to him as an actor (or a singer), and while I shortlisted his performance in ‘Boogie Nights’ I wound up shafting him for…
Well, you’ll see.


So what do you think of this list?  Who would you consider the best singer turned actor?  Which performance would top your list?  I was obviously shooting for singular performances and not full-fledged careers, for that would have engineered a far different list (including the likes of Will Smith and excluding the likes of Bjork).  As a side note, all but two of these performances would actually land a Fisti nomination (at this point in time).  Those two performances are Eminem’s (he comes in #7 for me in 2002) and Ice Cube, who is edged out, but just barely, in 1991 (Fisti Awards to be posted for 1991 sometime next month).  So, which singers turned actors do you nominate?


  1. Great list. I haven't seen Parton's, Cher's, Ross's, or Streisand's performances yet, but I can't think of anybody to add. Your honorable mentions are spot-on, and I wouldn't nominate Sinatra either. Incidentally, I'm glad Ice Cube and Eminem placed so highly. They might not have the greatest range (though, can't say for sure on Em), but they gave great performances.

    1. yeah, range didn't play a factor here, since I was basing this off of sole performances, and Eminem's and Ice Cube's perfs were stellar. I was particularly blown away with Eminem back in 02. That was such a deeply moving portrayal that never felt self promotional at all, and it really could have been.