Clint Eastwood is America's Favorite Movie Star, Meryl Streep finally shown some love

Clint Eastwood is America’s Favorite Movie Star, according to the annual Harris Poll. Between December 7 and 14, 2,276 adults took part in an online survey that awarded the Gran Torino star and Invictus director the title he’d previously held in 1994, 1997, and 2006. Below, your Top 10. After the jump, the favorites broken down by sex, generation, political slant, and geography.

1. Clint Eastwood (was No. 2 last year after dropping off the list in 2007)
2. Johnny Depp (up from No. 8 last year; No. 1 among women, Echo Boomers (18-32) and in the South)
3. Denzel Washington (down from No. 1, a spot he’d held since 2006; No. 1 among Democrats)
4. Sandra Bullock (the Golden Globe winner’s previous best was No. 9 in 2007, last year she didn’t make the cut; No. 1 among Gen X (33-44) and in the South)
5. Tom Hanks (the former three-time champ is up from No. 7 last year)
6. George Clooney (his highest finish, the last time he was on the list was 2006 when he was No. 9)
7. John Wayne (only person in the Top 10 to be on the countdown every year since 1994)
8. Meryl Streep (15 Oscar nominations, including two wins, and it’s her first year on the list!)
9. Morgan Freeman (holds at No. 9 from last year, his first on the countdown)
10. Julia Roberts (her lowest spot on the list since the 2001 title holder made her debut in 1999)

Names that dropped off this year’s list: Will Smith (tied for No. 3 last year), Harrison Ford (No. 5 last year), and Angelina Jolie (tied for No. 9 last year).

Favorite Movie Star Among:
Men: Clint Eastwood
Women: Johnny Depp
Republican: Clint Eastwood
Democrat: Denzel Washington
Independent: Clint Eastwood
Echo Boomers (18-32): Johnny Depp
Gen X (33-44): Sandra Bullock
Baby Boomers (45-63): Clint Eastwood
Matures (64+): Clint Eastwood
East: Clint Eastwood
Midwest: Johnny Depp
South: Sandra Bullock
West: Clint Eastwood

Any surprises?

Read more: Oprah Winfrey is again America’s Favorite Television Personality, Leno and Letterman take hits

Photo credit: Chris Hatcher/PR Photos

Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • Ceballos

    Great for Clint, but it’s interesting to see how much the way movies are sold has changed (previously-known properties and big-budget spectacle rule!) that America’s favorite movie star this past year is almost 80 years old and has starred in two movies the last five years.

    Except for “The Blind Side” I don’t think another of this year’s top 10 grossing films were driven by star power.

  • Anna

    Isn’t Denzel Washington a Republican?

    • Ambient Lite

      Indeed, he is, and I believe Clint Eastwood is more democratic-leaning.

      • fancypants

        nope you’re wrong. Denzel is a staunch Democrat and Eastwood has always been a Republican.

      • Ambient Lite

        Okay, fancypants – I looked it up and Denzel is definitely republican. He’s made contributions to the party and is even a member of the National Black Republican Association. Clint Eastwood claims to be independent but is generally left-leaning.

      • fancypants

        Denzel donated to and voted for Obama in the 2008 race and Eastwood endorsed McCain. so they’re probably both independents now.

    • AK

      Denzel’s high ranking was probably driven by his huge popularity among the black community, the majority of which belongs to the Democratic party.

  • Stephanie Tanner

    Sorry, the greatest female actress was and always will be Judy Garland – she could do it all – sing, act in dramas (The Clock), had a great comedic sense (The Pirate, Harvey Girls, Easter Parade), and not a bad dancer. And she was more beautiful than any of these ‘fake’ actresses. When you look at what is considered good today (Nicole Kidman, Sandra Bullock), it is really no comparison.

    • AK

      Um, I think people would more likely name Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett or Kate Winslet as our top actresses today. No insult to Judy Garland (who I really do like and was probably never give an opportunity for some of the amazing roles they’ve had), but any of the three of them could blow her out of the water in the acting department.

    • Roxanne

      Judy Garyland must be probably T-Vooing Meryl Streep in heaven to finally see what great acting is all about.

  • Pfft

    Stephanie Tanner (as in, the kid from Full House?!), I find it really irritating when people complain about contemporary actors, comparing them to the greats of the past. Trust me, I’ve done my research and stars of yesteryear weren’t all exceptional either. Also, John Wayne made the same movie 300 times, Marilyn Monroe was a bad actress and well Miss Garland was a diva with a severe drug addiction.
    Believe it or not, there are quality actors/movie stars out there, this list only containing a couple.
    It’s a pole about personal opinions – personally, I would have added Reese Witherspoon & Matt Damon.

    • fancypants

      i agree. except i don’t really get what’s so great about reese witherspoon. she’s average to me.

      • to fancy

        you’re right about reese – she sucks

    • Stephanie Tanner

      I don’t think you have ever seen any Judy Garland movies or you would not insult her. Besides your point that she was a “diva with a severe drug addiction” does not refer to her work but her personal life – which unfortunately is how “great” actors today are judged, not on their acutal films. Also, her drug addiction was started by cruel MGM execs who gave her stimulants so she could work around the clock and insulted her for being ‘fat’. Her films were wonderful, her talent unique. Unlike Nicole Kidman who married well, put on a fake nose to garner praise and an oscar for ‘the hours’ – please.

      • to pfft & Stephanie

        never mind about the acting – she was a GREAT SINGER above all

      • Roxanne

        Wasn’t she the one who overacted in Wizard of OZ? The most rediculous little girl I’ve ever seen.

        Check out You tube and look at a 32 year old Meryl acting as a 7 year old girl in Alice In The Palace, a theater production.

        Judy Garland may be your favorite, but please, no comparison to Her Royal Streepness…

    • to pfft

      so Judy Garland had an addiction to prescription drugs — what does that have to do with her talent? do you have any clue about what the studio system was like? the pressures on these young people like her and Mickey Rooney to produce and the studios would hook them up with doctors who would prescribe drugs just so the actors could get the job done – so who wouldn’t become an addict after that??

      • Jess

        I always thought Judy Garland was overrated, replace her with Katherine Hepburn any day. Garland has nothing or Katherine or Audrey Hepburn.
        To me, there are “greats” of each decade. If you honestly believe that she was the best and will never be surpassed, you’re living in the past.
        As someone mentioned, Cate Blanchett, is a superb actress, as is Meryl Streep.

  • catalina

    i think it’s interesting that the 2 members of a certain ubiquitous/annoying couple are not on the list, and haven’t been so consistently for the past 5 years like Hanks or Denzel. magazines keep insisting the public adores them, but i don’t think it’s true. especially since many of their non-action films bomb at the box office.

  • Amanda Plummer

    Where the he** is Amanda Plummer on the list? Screwed again!

  • JJ

    I wasn’t polled. I would’ve chosen Leonardo DiCaprio.. because I’m younger than 50 (unlike all the Americans they polled at home during the day).

    • Ryan

      Agreed. Who actually took this poll? The results are really strange. I’m not saying Clint isn’t great, but I don’t believe he’s America’s “Favorite”… there are so many other quality actors, who I put ahead in popularity.
      Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Jessica Parker, Matt Damon, etc etc

  • ba’al

    I am younger than 50, I love clint and Johnny YEA

    • Roxanne

      I am below 50 and I love Eastwood but I wouldn’t put him as #1.

      EW, you have a serious credibility problem with the source of this poll.

      It’s crazy that John Wayne keeps making it into your polling every year. At a guess, your poll seems to have an over sampling of people over 80 years old.

  • Jason

    Echo generation? I’ve never heard that term before…

    And how skewed was the polling towards older voters that Eastwood came out on top? I’m 32 – no one I know would have said Eastwood – including my parents…

  • nointrospec

    I wonder if Clint has been the most long-term big box office star. It’s one thing to take a poll; it’s another to plunk down cash. Brad Pitt feeds the polls and tabloids, but I don’t think he’s much about “cheeks in the seats” (as my old boss used to say). Of course, if you look at box office, Adam Sandler was a pretty huge star for years. Just curious. People will say anything on the phone/online, but I think real stardom comes from who people pay to see, or the movies they pay to see. (Example: If Will Smith chooses a film, I’ll be more likely check it out than if Tom Cruise stars in it.)

  • Aprilcot26

    I’ve gotta say that Eastwood surprises me. It’s also appalling to me that Meryl is only number 8 and has NEVER BEEN ON THIS LIST! What the frak?! She’s easily the most talented actress around today. I’m glad to see Johnny Depp on the list, and I have to agree with JJ…it would have been nice to see some love for Leo.

  • hamm

    this is ridiculous!! meryl streep should definitly be before sandra bullock!! bullock is terrible!! the only reason she has been winning awards is because she did a good country accent in blind side. but just lettin ya’ll know, it wasn’t that magnificent. i’ve seen much better, from meryl streep!!

  • tg

    This poll is absurd. I can’t stand most of these people. Denzel Washington is completely overrated. Not a bad actor, but seriously? Clint Eastwood was wonderful, but way past his prime. We have so few good working actors today. Some good ones, maybe Matt Damon, Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro. It’s hard to say. Movies are so watered down. But movies are bad and good roles are hard to come by.

  • matt duckworth

    In answer to that person who commented re Eastwoods box office longevity go to the Quigley Poll – been going since 1932 – and it shows John Wayne is the box office champion of all time followed by Eastwood and Tom Cruise.

  • Allan

    There are stars; there are superstars; there are legends; then there is Clint Eastwood.

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