I recall declaring when I was growing up, “Tom Hanks doesn’t make bad movies!” A League of Their Own! Forrest Gump! Toy Story! Then he made The DiVinci Code. Later, Ewan McGregor caught my attention as an actor whom I consistently enjoyed. Rogue Trader! Black Hawk Down! Moulin Rogue!! Then he made Angels & Demons… with Tom Hanks. (I kid, kid; I actually enjoyed both Dan Brown movies with annoyed amusement.)
As recently as 2011, Leonardo DiCaprio was the highest paid actor in the world. Does this mean that DiCaprio is now better actor than both Hanks and McGregor? Our evaluating metric will be the Rotten Tomatoes ratings of the movies they have acted in.
Let’s begin with Hanks’ movies from 1980 to present:
It seems that Tom Hanks had a middling beginning, an amazing decade, and then less consistency of late. It can be hard to get good roles just starting out, so let’s consider his work since the time that he made it big, with Big in 1988:
Here is Ewan McGregor’s movie work since 1994:
And this is DiCaprio’s body of work since 1991:
That 0% in 1991 is not a typo, it’s Critters 3: You Are What You Eat. For the same reasons as Hanks, let’s limit our chart to the movies since DiCaprio’s Oscar Nominated What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1994):
Based on all of the actors’ rated movies (without exceptions) their average movie ratings are as follows:
Hanks – 68.2% from 61 movies
DiCaprio – 61.4% from 31 movies
McGregor – 55.4% from 46 movies
Therefore, over their lifetimes to date, Tom Hanks has proven to be the actor who makes the best movies among the three.
The trendlines, however, would indicate that DiCaprio will surpass him in just five years’ time:
A Final Note: Definitely see Ewan McGregor’s Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2012) if you get the chance. WARNING: This preview, like most previews, reveals the entire plot. I recommend seeing it cold, like I did.