Benedict Cumberbatch

Happy 45th Birthday Benedict Cumberbatch!


To celebrate the beloved English actor's birthday, we're counting down our picks for the top ten best Benedict Cumberbatch performances.

10. Colonel Mackenzie - 1917 (2019)

Cumberbatch's role as Colonel Mackenzie in 1917 was spectacular. The only reason why this cameo isn't higher on our list is because it's just that: a cameo. This could've potentially been one of Cumberbatch's most powerful performances had he received more screen time. But alas, we only get two minutes of the colonel. 1917 went on to win four Academy Awards after being nominated in ten categories.

9. Patrick Melrose - Patrick Melrose (2018)

Patrick Melrose was a limited series in which Cumberbatch plays the titular role. The critically acclaimed limited series aired on Showtime in 2018 and received five nominations at the Primetime Emmy Awards; among the nominations was for Cumberbatch in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. You'll see why he received this accolade if you watch the attached clip. Cumberbatch's range is showcased extremely well as he portrays a drug addict who is battling his own demons.

8. Richard III - Hollow Crown (2016)

In what is possibly his most haunting role to date, Cumberbatch employs his theatre skills to portray Richard III. He filled the shoes of the notorious King of England for a film adaptation of Shakespeare's Richard III. The film was released in a BBC series called Hollow Crown along with other film adaptations of William Shakespeare plays including Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI. His performance in this role garnered him praise overseas and it even earned him a Best Actor nod at the British Academy Television awards.

7. Julian Assange - The Fifth Estate (2013)

In 2013, Cumberbatch was recognized as British Artist of the Year at the Britannica Awards. His performance as Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate was a big reason for that accolade. Cumberbatch has an undeniable ability to portray real people. As if this film wasn't intense enough, Cumberbatch nails everything from his facial expressions, to the cadence, right down to the accent.

6. Khan - Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

2013 proved to be an important year for Cumberbatch. When audiences saw him on the big screen as Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness, that's when it became clear that he is a star. He did everything he was supposed to do in this role: send shivers down your spine with his deadpan delivery.

5. Thomas Edison - The Current War (2019)

Cumberbatch's portrayal of Thomas Edison in The Current War is masterful. Although the film was delayed and thus didn't receive the acknowledgment that it deserved, Cumberbatch's performance is simply incredible. He proves time and time again that he is able to portray historical figures with poise.

4. Alan Turing - The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is the film that earned Cumberbatch his Academy Award nomination. His portrayal of the World-War-II era computer scientist Alan Turing was intricate, subtle, and brilliant. Cumberbatch's performance was praised by Human Rights Campaign for its realistic representation of Turing's homosexuality. Cumberbatch unfortunately lost to Eddie Redmayne at the 2014 Academy Awards. Redmayne won for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Ironically, Stephen Hawking is a role that Cumberbatch played in a British TV movie called Hawking. Nevertheless, Cumberbatch's loss doesn't take away from the work he put into The Imitation Game.

3. Smaug - The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2014)

Very few people can pull off looking cool while acting like a computer-generated dragon; Benedict Cumberbatch is one of those people. In The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smag, Cumberbatch portrays the titular character who just so happens to be a dragon. You may be thinking, why did this come out on top against so many great performances? The reason is, Cumberbatch put his all into this. He contorted his body during the motion capture sequences to the point where the line between human and beast is almost indistinguishable before Cumberbatch is even transformed into Smaug. Overall, this is a mind-blowing performance that you have to see to believe.

2. Doctor Strange - Doctor Strange (2016) / Avengers: Infinity War (2018) / Avengers: Endgame (2019)

It wouldn't be a list of the best Benedict Cumberbatch performances without Doctor Strange cracking at least top five. Once you become a superhero on screen, you become an A-List celebrity and Cumberbatch is no exception. His grandiose portrayal of Strange is truly awe-inspiring. The introduction of Doctor Strange into the MCU was a huge turning point for Cumberbatch's career and for Marvel as a whole.

1. Sherlock Holmes - Sherlock (2010-2017)

Now, you may be wondering, what could possibly be better than Doctor Strange? Well, it's elementary! Benedict Cumberbatch's best role is, of course: Sherlock Holmes in Sherlock. This role is what changed Cumberbatch from just a talented theatre actor to a household name. His portrayal of the iconic detective is spot-on. and the on-screen chemistry he has with his Hobbit co-star Martin Freeman is brilliant. Cumberbatch nails Sherlock's dry sense of humor and abstract way of thinking. Each episode in the series makes you appreciate Cumberbatch's acting abilities more and more. Not to mention this role earned Benedict Cumberbatch an Emmy! Although Doctor Strange is an extremely close second, there's no denying that this is Benedict Cumberbatch's best performance.

BECOME
AN INSIDER!
By clicking "Subscribe", you agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Team USA Olympic athlete Carissa Moore surfs with the USA flag on her surfboard

USA Surfing Instagram

This year, the 2021 Tokyo Olympics is introducing five new sports to the global games. Check out everything you need to know about them here!

KEEP READING Show less

Glastonbury Festival, 2015

As the entertainment industry gradually emerges from the shadow of COVID-19, it's time to assess the damage. Here's some of the most recent quarantine-induced postponements and cancellations.

KEEP READING Show less

Team USA takes on the Tokyo games! Here are some of the Olympic athletes expected to be the breakout stars of 2021.

KEEP READING Show less