Recaps & Reviews

Best Performances By An Actor Playing The U.S. President

In celebration of the Fourth of July by our friends to the south, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the best performance by actors who’ve played the president in the career.

Daniel Day-Lewis:  It shouldn’t be too shocking that Abraham Lincoln is the most portrayed president (28 movies and 19 more television portrayals to date), but it wasn’t until last year’s movie Lincoln by Steven Spielberg that an actor won an Academy Award for his work portraying him.  Day-Lewis wasn’t the first actor cast in the role for the project, but came in to replace Liam Neeson after the actor backed out.  It earned him his third Academy Award.

Anthony Hopkins:  The Welsh actor has received not one, but two Academy Award nominations for playing presidents, and both are worth mentioning here.  The first was in the 1996 Oliver Stone movie simply called Nixon in which he played the disgraced former president.  The movie may not have done great at the box office, but Hopkins’ performance is definitely worth watching.  The second nomination came for 1998’s Amistad where he played John Quincy Adams.  The role was smaller in this picture, but the acting was just as good.

James Whitmore:  In this one man movie Whitmore played Harry S. Truman to critical acclaim.  The biographical flick earned Whitmore an Academy Award nomination, and the distinction of being in one of three movies in which all the actors were nominated for awards.  Of course in his case he was the only one.

Frank Langella:  The American actor won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Richard Nixon in Frost/Nixon on stage, and was nominated for an Academy Award for the same role in the movie version.  Both are based on a series of interviews Nixon did with David Frost in 1977 about his administration, and his role in the Watergate scandal.

Bruce Greenwood:  The Canadian actor played president John F. Kennedy in Thirteen Days, a movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis on 1962.  He not only looked the part, but sounded like Kennedy as well.

Bill Murray:  This might shock some people, but Murray is much more than a comedic actor.  He showcases his acting chops in Hyde Park on the Hudson where he plays Franklin D. Roosevelt during his affair with his mistress Margaret ‘Daisy’ Suckley.

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