16 Actors And Actresses With The Most Range!

Published on February 21, 2014. Updated April 2, 2017

Some actors and actresses have no range. They literally play the same character over and over again. Other actors and actresses, however, are so versatile that they are able to morph into their characters and provide convincing performances without fail. Here is our list of the 16 actors and actresses with the most range!

16. Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. has been demonstrating his versatility as an actor since the early ‘90s when he first gained critical acclaim for his performance as the title character in “Charlie Chaplain.” The Oscar-nominated actor has since gone on to gather more praise for the different characters he portrayed in films like “Tropic Thunder,”“Iron Man” and “Sherlock Holmes.”

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15. Hilary Swank

Hilary Swank isn’t intimidated by challenging roles. She played Brandon Teena in the film “Boys Don’t Cry” and Maggie Fitzgerald, a struggling waitress-turned-boxer, in “Million Dollar Baby.” For these roles, Swank was nominated and won two Academy Awards. She has since taken roles in “Freedom Writers,” “The Reaping” and “P.S. I Love You,” playing three very different characters.

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14. Edward Norton

Edward Norton has an incredible amount of range as an actor. He garnered Academy Award nominations for his performances in “Primal Fear” and “American History X” and he has also held a number of other diverse roles in films like “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Everyone Says I love You,” “Fight Club” and “The Illusionist.”

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13. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron’s acting abilities are incredibly versatile. She played mentally troubled Mary Anne Lomax in “The Devil’s Advocate, serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster” – for which she gained 30 pounds and won an Oscar – and outcast Josey Aimes in “North Country.”

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12. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger was an immensely versatile performer who was known for completely immersing himself in his roles. The Oscar-nominated actor was determined not to get typecast in young hunk roles, so he took on a variety of complex roles ranging from Wyoming ranch hand Ennis Del Mar to Bob Dylan in “I’m Not There” to the psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic Joker in “The Dark Knight.”

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11. Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett is known for having an incredible amount of range as an actress. She has starred in films like the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “The Aviator,” “The Good German” and “Notes on a Scandal” and she has morphed into each diverse character, always delivering a convincing and memorable performance.

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10. Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp has played an impressive scope of characters, proving that he is one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors yet. From his role as the title character in “Edward Scissorhands” to Ichabod Crane in “Sleepy Hollow” to Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” the Oscar-nominated actor has brilliantly portrayed a wide number of characters in his prolific career.

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9. Meryl Streep

As an actress, Meryl Streep has an incredible amount of range. She has successfully conveyed a whole range of characters from Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” to a Polish Holocaust Survivor in “Sophie’s Choice” to a single mother and former girl-group singer in “Mamma Mia!”

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8. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Before his untimely death this year, Philip Seymour Hoffman was an extremely versatile actor. He demonstrated his impressive range in films like “Capote,” “Doubt,” “The Master,” “Catching Fire” and “Mission Impossible III.” He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Truman Capote in the biopic “Capote,” a film where he literally became the famed writer.

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7. Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet has been described as “the best English-speaking film actress of her generation.” The Oscar-winning actress has the ability to make viewers forget that they are watching Kate Winslet. Whether she is playing a young wife and mother trapped in a Connecticut suburb in the 1950s or a 35-year-old ex-concentration camp guard, Winslet is flawless in her execution every time.

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6. Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman is known for his diverse acting portfolio. The Oscar-nominated actor has taken on a number of challenging roles ranging from Sid Vicious in the biopic “Sid and Nancy,” Sirius Black in the “Harry Potter” franchise and master spy George Smiley in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” In each role, Oldman has gone a step further, changing his appearance and voice to make each character unique.

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5. Annette Bening

Annette Bening has successfully portrayed a number of different characters throughout her career. From a giggly con artist in “The Grifters” to an adulterous suburban wife in “American Beauty” to a fading British actress in “Being Julia” to a well meaning but overbearing lesbian doctor in “The Kids Are All Right.” Bening – who has been nominated for four Academy Awards – is known for bringing emotional depth to all her roles.

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4. Kevin Spacey

Kevin Spacey’s acting abilities have been described as chameleon-like. The Oscar-winning actor morphs into all of his characters from the smooth talking eyewitness Verbal Kint in “The Usual Suspects” to the genteel, closeted murder suspect in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” to middle aged Lester Burnham, who is on the verge of a mental breakdown, in “American Beauty.”

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3. Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman has enjoyed a versatile career. She played an eccentric epileptic and compulsive liar in “Garden State,” a beguiling stripper named Alice in “Closer” and an emotionally disturbed ballerina in “Black Swan.” The Oscar-winning actress is known for transforming into her characters and providing convincing performances in all of her films.

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2. Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio has demonstrated a high level of dramatic versatility throughout his career. From his role as a mentally challenged teenager in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” to the villainous Calvin Candie in “Django Unchained” to an excess-obsessed stockbroker in “The Wolf of Wallstreet,” the Oscar-nominated actor always delivers intense and emotional performances.

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1. Jennifer Lawrence

The producers of the “Ends Of The World” – Steven Tisch and John Bradley – think that Jennifer Lawrence has an incredible amount of range as an actress. “Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most versatile actresses we have ever seen. Her performance in ‘Silver Linings’ was transcendent and was truly the heart and soul of the film. Jennifer was basically asked to play 4 personalities – depressed, sexy, romantic and a wild dancer – and did them all brilliantly.” We couldn’t agree more!

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