Entertainment

The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood 

Ranker Film
Updated January 14, 2020 3.9k votes 483 voters 20.1k views 56 items

List Rules Vote up any great actor who is a person of color. Men only—there is a separate list for actresses.

With audiences pushing Hollywood towards increased diversity both on- and off-screen, now is the perfect time to celebrate the work of these famous people of color. The best non-white performers have made their mark across all genres. Some POC actors thrive in dramas while other great non-white actors specialize in comedies. Many of the greatest non-white actors have even been nominated for Academy Awards.

Who will you find on this list of the greatest non-white actors? Perhaps you'll vote Will Smith up to the very top. Since breaking into acting with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Smith has gone on to excel in dramatic parts. Denzel Washington specializes in instantly iconic performances, with starring roles in films including Glory, Training Day, and American Gangster. Sir Ben Kingsley, who is of Indian descent, won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1982 for his performance in Gandhi. Other great men featured on this top non-white actors list include Jackie Chan, Antonio Banderas, and Idris Elba.

Do you have a favorite non-white actor? Vote your picks for best performers up to the top of the list, and please add any notable stars who are missing. For favorite women in film and TV, check out this list of the best non-white actresses.

list ordered by
1
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins
2
Samuel L. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
The Avengers, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas
3
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day
4
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Men in Black, Independence Day, Men in Black 3
5
Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Prometheus
6
Jackie Chan is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Kung Fu Panda, Rush Hour, Enter the Dragon
7
Michael B. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
That Awkward Moment, Fruitvale Station, Hardball
8
James Earl Jones is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, The Lion King
9
Don Cheadle is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Iron Man 3, Iron Man 2, Boogie Nights
10
Anthony Mackie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker
11
Forest Whitaker is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Platoon, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Good Morning
12
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Shrek, Mulan, Beverly Hills Cop
13
Dev Patel is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Slumdog Millionaire, The Last Airbender, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
14
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Sneakers
15
Benicio del Toro is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
The Usual Suspects, Guardians of the Galaxy, Sin City
16
Laurence Fishburne is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
The Matrix, Apocalypse Now, Man of Steel
17
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Enter the Dragon, Limitless, Fist of Fury
18
Jamie Foxx is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Django Unchained, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Ray
19
Michael Clarke Duncan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
The Green Mile, Sin City, Armageddon
20
Danny Glover is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Saw, Lethal Weapon, The Color Purple
21
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island
22
Chadwick Boseman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Chadwick Boseman 42, The Express, Get on Up
23
Chris Rock is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Madagascar
24
Kevin Hart is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
The 40-Year-Old Virgin, This Is the End, Scary Movie 3
25
Antonio Banderas is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Shrek 2, Philadelphia, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles