Best Canadian Actors: Top 5 Stars, According To Experts

Canada, our friendly northern neighbor, has produced a wealth of great acting talents that are more popular today than ever before. Thanks to wide-ranging appeal and a common trait of staying out of Hollywood gossip, our list of the top five best Canadian actors might include several of your favorite film stars.

The impact of celebrities in our daily lives has been illustrated in a recent study. Six in 10 (59%) Americans credit a celebrity with helping them push through some sort of “limit” in their lives, new research reveals. A recent poll of 2,000 U.S. adults over the age of 30 finds people have overcome a tough time personally (44%), taken on a challenge they didn’t think they could do (44%), and improved their physical health and nutrition (41%) thanks to a celebrity role model.

Conversely, another recent study highlights the harm that celebrities are able to cause. It’s fairly common knowledge these days that not all accounts and users on social media are actually real people. Some are “bots” programmed to convey and promote a particular political slant or talking point, while others just spam the web with advertisements. Interestingly, however, researchers from the University of Edinburgh find celebrities are actually bigger culprits than bots when it comes to spreading misinformation and harmful rhetoric on social platforms. Scientists report that comments and messages posted by bots on sensitive topics hold far less sway on actual human readers’ opinions than comments posted by celebrities on the same topics. More specifically, study authors say tweets shared by people with more than 10,000 followers appear to have the biggest influence on the views of the public.

The men on our list of top five best Canadian actors are by no means squeaky-clean, but they do manage to avoid the gossip headlines by living relatively low-key lives outside of their film work. Let us know your favorite Canadian actors in the comments below!

Waving Canada flag photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash
Waving Canada flag (Photo by sebastiaan stam on Unsplash)

The List: Best Canadian Actors, According to Experts

1. Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling is the epitome of leading man material. “The golden boy of Hollywood, Ryan Gosling. Born and raised in London, Ontario, Gosling started showbiz as a cast member of ‘The Mickey Mouse Club’ alongside future A-listers like Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. However, his riveting portrayal of a passionate, love-struck man in ‘The Notebook’ propelled him to global fame,” says 1883.

Ryan Gosling at the 2017 Palm Springs Film Festival Awards Gala
Ryan Gosling at the 2017 Palm Springs Film Festival Awards Gala (Photo by Featureflash Photo Agency on Shutterstock)

Not afraid to appear in a wide variety of genre-specific roles like the upcoming “Barbie Movie” slated for release in summer 2023, Gosling is a shining cinematic star. “Ryan Gosling began his career as a child actor and gained recognition as an adult after starring in the commercially successful film, ‘The Notebook,’ in 2004. ‘Half Nelson,’ ‘The Ides of March,’ ‘The Big Short,’ ‘La La Land’ and ‘Blade Runner’ are some of his other popular films,” writes The Famous People.

“A recipient of a Golden Globe Award, he is popular for having played a part in both independent productions and blockbuster mainstream movies. Gosling may have found fame after headlining the cult romantic drama ‘The Notebook,’ but he went on to prove his mettle as an actor in critically acclaimed motion pictures… He’s also done his best to charm the viewers worldwide by portraying Ken in Greta Gerwig’s live-action ‘Barbie’ film adaptation,” adds Entoin.

2. Ryan Reynolds

The second famous Canadian Ryan on our list is a beloved leading man. “Reynolds’ claim to fame arrived with his prominent performance in the comedy cult hit, ‘National Lampoon’s Van Wilder’ in 2002, which established Reynolds as a rising cinematic sensation. He proceeded to act in a series of popular films such as ‘Blade: Trinity,’ ‘The Amityville Horror,’ and ‘Smokin’ Aces.’ However, it was Reynolds’ portrayal of Deadpool in the 2016 film under the same name that elevated him to Hollywood A-lister status,” writes Best Rated In Canada.

Simply put, “He is the most famous Canadian actor who majorly plays in the Hollywood films… He is one of the highest-grossing actors of all time as his films are always popular among the audiences… Besides [this], he is the founder of production company ‘Maximum Effort,’” explains Primes World.

Reynolds has mastered interacting with his fan base on social media, which he was able to leverage into the launch of film hit “Deadpool” by creating a viral teaser and also to drive sales for Mint Mobile as its spokesman. “Moving on, we have Vancouver’s very own Ryan Reynolds. Best known for portraying the fast-talking antihero in ‘Deadpool,’ Reynolds is as adept at action-packed roles as he is at comedy. His career boasts diverse roles, from a charming love interest in ‘The Proposal’ to a haunted father in ‘Buried,” opines 1883.

3. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey first entered the entertainment spotlight in the ’90s hit show “In Living Color” with his wild and over-the-top sketch comedy characters. “Was there any doubt who number one on our list would be? The highly energetic man with the rubber face is one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. While his stand-up routines tend to poke fun at Canada, it was a reviewer from the Toronto Star that raved about the unknown Carrey, which helped launch his comedic career. His slapstick, over the top comedic style and hilarious on-screen antics have made him one of the most successful comedic actors of all time, and earned him a well-deserved spot on the Canadian Walk of Fame as well as in cinema history,” raves Watch Mojo.

Jim Carrey en el Festival de Cine de Cannes 2009 (Foto de Denis Makarenko en Shutterstock)

“James Eugene ‘Jim’ Carrey is a Canadian American actor, comedian, impressionist, screenwriter, and producer… He has been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for ‘The Mask,’ ‘Liar Liar,’ ‘Man on the Moon’ (for which he won), ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.’ In 1999, he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for ‘The Truman Show,’” adds The Top Tens.

“Although largely typecast as a comedic actor, Carrey has had success in dramatic roles. His first dramatic success was for starring in the Emmy-nominated made-for-television film ‘Doing Time on Maple Drive’ (1992). Carrey gained attention for his leading roles in ‘The Truman Show’ (1998) and ‘Man on the Moon’ (1999), earning Golden Globe Awards for each film. He later starred in the psychological science fiction romantic drama film ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004); this performance is repeatedly lauded as the seminal in Carrey’s career and for which he was nominated for both the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and another Golden Globe Award,” writes Pantheon.

4. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves is a film action star who is well known for his warm personality and appreciation for his fans. “Reeves primarily grew up in Toronto and is a naturalized Canadian citizen. As a child he excelled in hockey, but after an injury, he shifted back to acting, which he started at the age of 9 when he appeared in a theatre production. Keanu’s big break came in 1994 with a starring role in the movie ‘Speed.’ He quickly transformed into an A-list actor as a result of the international success of this film, though continued to accept supporting roles in movies throughout the 1990s until he landed a starring role in the hit ‘The Matrix.’ His work on ‘the Matrix series’ has helped him accumulate a staggering estimated net worth of around $350 million,” details The Richest.

Keanu Reeves at the Premiere of Lionsgate's John Wick: Chapter 4 in 2023
Keanu Reeves at the Premiere of Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 4 in 2023 (Photo by Joe Seer on Shutterstock)

Reeves’ generosity is also well-documented. “The star of ‘John Wick,’ ‘Speed’ and ‘The Matrix’ films, Keanu Reeves has displayed his wide range as an actor, time and again. The humble Canadian actor has also famously given away his money to recognise the work of crew and to enable the production team to hire [other] good actors,” claims The Famous People.

“Reeves’ career breakthrough transpired with the iconic 1989 comedy ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,’ in which he portrayed the endearing underachiever Ted Theodore Logan. Subsequently, he featured in an array of high-grossing films such as ‘Speed,’ ‘The Matrix trilogy,’ and ‘John Wick,’ garnering commendation for his thespian versatility and remarkable physical prowess,” posits Best Rated Canada.

5. Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox has a prolific entertainment career that peaked with his role as Marty McFly in the “Back to the Future” film trilogy. “Michael is famous for his role in the sitcoms Family Ties and Spin City. He has been inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame as well as being appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada. After a successful acting career, Michael retired in 2020 due to his declining health. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991,” writes DW.

MICHAEL J. FOX at the Peoples Choice Awards in 1997
MICHAEL J. FOX at the Peoples Choice Awards in 1997 (Photo by Featureflash Photo Agency on Shutterstock)

Now a respected activist, Fox was one of the most famous faces of the ’80s. “Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Michael J. Fox started gaining fame in the sitcom landscape and has revisited it several times, however he is best known for his movie exploits… Sadly, he was forced to semi-retire from acting after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but has since become a leading advocate for research for the disease and founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000. His perseverance and commitment to charity and Parkinson’s research have made him one of the most famous and important Canadians not just in Hollywood, but in the entire world,” praises Watch Mojo.

“One of his best-known roles was as Marty McFly from the ‘Back to the Future’ movie trilogy. (The first movie in the series grossed over $381 million worldwide). He was also a very familiar face on television in the 1980s and 1990s, appearing on the television sitcom ‘Family Ties,’ for which he won three Emmys. He also had a starring role on ‘Spin City,’ which earned him another Emmy as well as several other awards. Although he largely retired from acting in 2000, Michael J. Fox has been an advocate and spokesman for Parkinson’s Disease and has worked in many roles as a voice-over actor and a published author,” adds The Richest.

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  1. None of these actors could come close to the acting ability of older Canadian actors Raymond Massey and Christopher Plummer. They are simply in another league.

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