film The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood  

Ranker Film
1.8k votes 193 voters 6.3k views 58 items

List Rules Vote up any great actor who is a person of color.

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.

1
76 9
Morgan Freeman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Morgan Freeman The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman Begins

2
62 11
Denzel Washington is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Denzel Washington Remember the Titans, Glory, Training Day

3
52 11
Samuel L. Jackson is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Samuel L. Jackson The Avengers, Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas

4
51 11
Idris Elba is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Idris Elba Thor, Thor: The Dark World, Prometheus

5
44 9
James Earl Jones is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
James Earl Jones Star Wars, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, The Lion King

6
39 8
Viola Davis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Harrison Melton added Viola Davis The Help, Traffic, Out of Sight

7
44 13
Will Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Will Smith Men in Black, Independence Day, Men in Black 3

8
35 7
Don Cheadle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Don Cheadle Iron Man 3, Iron Man 2, Boogie Nights

9
40 11
Forest Whitaker is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Forest Whitaker Platoon, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Good Morning

10
42 13
Michael B. Jordan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Michael B. Jordan That Awkward Moment, Fruitvale Station, Hardball

11
43 14
Jackie Chan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Jackie Chan Kung Fu Panda, Rush Hour, Enter the Dragon

12
40 12
Sidney Poitier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Sidney Poitier In the Heat of the Night, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, Sneakers

13
33 7
Anthony Mackie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Anthony Mackie Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker

14
32 8
Benicio del Toro is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Benicio del Toro The Usual Suspects, Guardians of the Galaxy, Sin City

The Worst A-List Hollywood Actors

15
38 13
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Eddie Murphy Shrek, Mulan, Beverly Hills Cop

16
31 8
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Bruce Lee Enter the Dragon, Limitless, Fist of Fury

17
28 8
Dev Patel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Dev Patel Slumdog Millionaire, The Last Airbender, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

18
29 9
Laurence Fishburne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Laurence Fishburne The Matrix, Apocalypse Now, Man of Steel

19
23 5
Octavia Spencer is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Harrison Melton added Octavia Spencer Spider-Man, Being John Malkovich, The Help

20
24 6
Taraji P. Henson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Harrison Melton added Taraji P. Henson The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Hustle & Flow, Four Brothers

21
32 13
Jamie Foxx is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Jamie Foxx Django Unchained, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Ray

The Scariest Animal Movies Ever Made

22
24 8
Ben Kingsley is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Ben Kingsley Schindler's List, Iron Man 3, Shutter Island

23
27 12
Kevin Hart is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Kevin Hart The 40-Year-Old Virgin, This Is the End, Scary Movie 3

24
21 7
Halle Berry is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Harrison Melton added Halle Berry X-Men, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men 2

25
25 12
Danny Glover is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Danny Glover Saw, Lethal Weapon, The Color Purple

26
18 8
Terrence Howard is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Terrence Howard Iron Man, Crash, The Princess and the Frog

27
19 9
Michael Clarke Duncan is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Michael Clarke Duncan The Green Mile, Sin City, Armageddon

28
22 13
Antonio Banderas is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Antonio Banderas Shrek 2, Philadelphia, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles

Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles

29
16 8
Chiwetel Ejiofor is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Chiwetel Ejiofor Children of Men, Love Actually, American Gangster

30
20 12
Chris Rock is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Chris Rock Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Madagascar

31
20 12
Richard Pryor is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Richard Pryor Blazing Saddles, The Muppet Movie, Superman III

32
11 4
Michael K. Williams is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Michael K. Williams The Incredible Hulk, 12 Years a Slave, Gone Baby Gone

33
14 7
Oprah Winfrey is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Harrison Melton added Oprah Winfrey The Princess and the Frog, The Color Purple, Ocean's Thirteen

34
19 12
Cuba Gooding, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Cuba Gooding, Jr. Jerry Maguire, A Few Good Men, As Good as It Gets

35
14 8
Ken Watanabe is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Ken Watanabe Batman Begins, Inception, The Last Samurai

These Disney Princess Were Absolutely Terrible Role Models

36
14 8
Andy García is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Andy García The Untouchables, Ocean's Eleven, The Godfather Part III

37
16 10
Ving Rhames is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Ving Rhames Pulp Fiction, Mission: Impossible, Dawn of the Dead

38
17 11
Danny Trejo is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Danny Trejo Heat, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, From Dusk till Dawn

39
13 8
Djimon Hounsou is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Djimon Hounsou Gladiator, Guardians of the Galaxy, Amistad

40
11 7
Louis Gossett, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Louis Gossett, Jr. An Officer and a Gentleman, Jaws 3-D, Enemy Mine

41
11 7
Omar Epps is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Omar Epps Scream 2, Love & Basketball, Juice

42
8 4
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Harrison Melton added Jennifer Hudson Sex and the City, Dreamgirls, The Three Stooges

The Greatest Hollywood Comebacks of All Time

43
13 10
Gael García Bernal is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Gael García Bernal Y Tu Mamá También, Babel, Amores perros

44
9 7
David Oyelowo is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
David Oyelowo Lincoln, Interstellar, The Help

45
8 6
Billy Dee Williams is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Billy Dee Williams Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Batman, Return of the Jedi

46
11 10
Giancarlo Esposito is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Giancarlo Esposito The Usual Suspects, Do the Right Thing, Trading Places

47
8 7
Ossie Davis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Ossie Davis Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Grumpy Old Men

48
8 7
Jeffrey Wright is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Jeffrey Wright The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1, Casino Royale

49
6 5
LeVar Burton is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
LeVar Burton Star Trek: First Contact, Star Trek Generations, Ali

50
6 5
Keith David is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Non-White Actors in Hollywood
Keith David Platoon, The Thing, Requiem for a Dream