The 10 Most Iconic Movie Actors Of The 2000s

The 2000s marked a significant break with the cinematic landscape of the 90s. Franchises and major tentpoles became the order of the day, the musical made a successful comeback and the modern blockbuster consolidated, taking over the box office and leaving no survivors.

RELATED: The 10 Most Iconic Movie Actresses Of The 2000s

A few actors have become synonymous with the decade thanks to their many starring roles in some of the biggest moneymakers. Some were still-strong veterans, others were hugely successful newcomers, but all defined the 2000s, carving out their place among cinema’s best and brightest.

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Orlando Bloom


Legolas in LOTR Fellowship of the Ring

Along with Legolas and Will Turner, Orlando Bloom became the king of franchises in the 2000s. His roles in two of the most successful film series in Hollywood history, The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbeanmade him a global superstar and one of the most iconic actors of the new millennium.

Bloom has diversified his resume by working with high-profile directors, including Cameron Crowe in Elizabethtown and Ridley Scott in kingdom of paradise. His career declined after the release of the third pirate film in 2007, and while still a household name, he no longer garnered the same attention as he did in the first half of the 2000s.


Daniel Radcliffe


Daniel Radcliffe in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

And speaking of the franchises that defined the new millennium and the actors who starred in them, Harry Potter and Daniel Radcliffe are now synonymous with 21st century cinema. The young actor grew up in the public eye, spending the entire decade as the protagonist of the magic saga.

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Radcliffe made few films outside of Potter honesty, but he didn’t really need it. The series cemented his legacy, making him the ultimate role model for all the tweens who grew up alongside him since 2001, when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone created. Since Potter over, Radcliffe took on increasingly bold and challenging roles, but audiences will always remember him as the Boy Who Lived.


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Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain.

With the years 1999 10 things i hate about you, Heath Ledger rose to prominence, instantly becoming a teen idol. The actor played leading roles in several early 2000s films, including The story of a knight and The four feathers. However, his career took a turn in 2005, when he starred in the critically acclaimed drama Brokeback Mountainfor which he got his first Oscar nomination.

However, Ledger’s biggest success would come in 2008, playing the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, The black Knight. Although initially skeptical of his casting, fans ended up loving Ledger’s take on the iconic villain. After his tragic passing in early 2008, the performance earned him a posthumous Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.


Hugh Jackman


Hugh Jackman became an instant sensation playing Wolverine, one of the most iconic Marvel characters of all time. fox x-men The franchise arguably marks the beginning of the superhero frenzy that pervades to this day, and Jackman’s hardened performance was front and center.

Aside from his tenure as Wolverine, which extended through the mid-2010s, Jackman has branched out into the superhero genre. He worked with some of the best directors of the moment, including Darren Aronofsky in FountainChristopher Nolan in Prestigeand Baz Luhrmann in Australia.

Will Smith


Will Smith in Ali

Already one of the most iconic movie actors of the 1990s, Will Smith continued his dominance into the new millennium. He started the decade by earning an Oscar nomination for playing Muhammad Ali in 2001 Ali and would receive another for 2006 The pursuit of happiness.


Smith maintained his reputation as an action star and major box office attraction thanks to the sequels to two of his biggest hits of the 90s, Men in Black II and bad boys 2. He also starred in several other commercial hits, including I robot, I’m a legendand Hancock.

Samuel L. Jackson


Neville watches a dead snake in horror in Snakes on a Plane

Samuel L. Jackson rose to acclaim in the 90s thanks to his roles in pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. Yet the 2000s made him a true icon of pop culture, occupying a privileged place in the public consciousness.

movies like Treethe star wars prequels and The Incredibles cemented him as a cinematic icon with an on-screen presence that elevated all types of material. On the other hand, projects like Snakes on a plane and the xxx the franchise established him as an unexpected king of camp. In 2008, he started playing Nick Fury in the then burgeoning Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the rest, as they say, is history.

brad pitt


A scene from Inglorious Basterds brad pitt

The 2000s saw Brad Pitt become a “serious” actor. The actor has had several big hits under his belt, including Seven and fight club, but the new millennium has seen him take on increasingly challenging and diverse roles. He continues the supporting roles in Guy Ritchie To tear outthe oceanit’s franchise, and the Coen Brothers ensemble piece, Burn after reading.

Pitt was nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and played in babel, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Fordand Inglourious Basterds, adding even more prestige to his resume. However, the actor did not forget his status as a leading man and also starred in box office hits Troy and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Leonardo DiCaprio


Howard Hawkes speaks to reporters in The Aviator.

After his starring role in the highest-grossing film of the time, Leonardo DiCaprio had all of Hollywood’s doors wide open. DiCaprio’s career in the 2000s is full of acclaimed films directed by high-profile directors, many of which were also considerable box office successes.

DiCaprio received two Oscar nominations during the decade for his roles in the 2004 films the aviator and 2006 blood diamond. Other movies like Catch Me If You Can, New York Gangs, The deadand Revolutionary Road cemented him as one of the most acclaimed actors of the 21st century.

George Clooney


In the Air George Clooney

After becoming the ultimate television idol in the 90s, thanks to the hit drama series EmergenciesGeorge Clooney has made the leap to the big screen. batman and robin nearly derailed his burgeoning film career, but the 2000s welcomed him with open arms.


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Clooney starred in two Coen Brother films, O brother, where are you? and Intolerable Crueltyin 2001 and 2003. Major critical acclaim followed in 2005, thanks to his directorial efforts in Good night and good luck and acting in Syriac. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the latter and earned two additional nominations for 2007 Michael Clayton and 2009 In the air.

Johnny Depp


Jack Sparrow on the beach

Johnny Depp rose to prominence in the late 80s and became a true A-lister in the 90s. He established a reputation as a bold and experimental actor thanks in particular to his offbeat collaborations with Tim Burton, especially Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood. However, Depp’s career peaked in the 2000s, both critically and commercially.

Beginning in 2003, the actor played the hilarious and iconic Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean candor, earning accolades and his first-ever Oscar nomination for the role. Other Oscar nominations have come for Finding Neverland and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Depp also enjoyed other major box office successes, including Charlie and the chocolate factory and Public enemiesbut it was Jack Sparrow who cemented his place as the undeniable king of the 2000s.

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