It’s kind of ironic that Viggo Mortensen has become somewhat of a symbol of rugged masculinity on the screen, because his best characters often undo that image. Like Michael Douglas before him, Mortensen frequently does movies that put the modern American male through some kind of brutal morality test. He finds the bruised souls of these characters, and shines even when he’s part of a large ensemble (Lord of the Rings.) However, he is at his best when he is front in center, paired with a director like David Cronenberg who has some mischief cooked up to counter his archetypal characters.
Few actresses in Hollywood that are this attractive get famous for their talent. That’s just how the business works, unless you’re Naomi Watts. Her career was launched by a David Lynch movie early in the 2000’s, and she’s been on an almost perfect hot streak ever since. Sure, she does venture into the mainstream (King Kong), but it isn’t because she’s looking for a paycheck. She is an actress who does movies she cares about. In 2010, after a couple years out of the spotlight, she makes a return in the new Woody Allen movie and takes the starring role in a thriller about the outed spy Valerie Plame. On her way to becoming one of the endearing performers of modern movies, let’s hope Watts continues to send volts through the system for years to come.