Who is America’s favorite movie star for 2008?

Denzel Washington in American Gangster
Denzel Washington in American Gangster

For the third year in a row, Denzel Washington comes in on top as America’s favorite movie star. Returning to the list this year at number two, after a one year absence, is Clint Eastwood. The perennial favorite, John Wayne, who died 30 years ago, is tied with Will Smith at number three.

These are the some of the results of The Harris Poll, a new nationwide survey of 2,388 U.S. adults surveyed online by Harris Interactive between December 9th and 15th, 2008. Other findings include:

  • With a return as Indiana Jones this past summer, Harrison Ford leaps from the number 10 spot in 2006, to off the list last year, to number 5 this year;
  • Rounding out the top ten is Julia Roberts at number 6 (down from No. 4 last year), Tom Hanks at number 7 (down from number 2), Johnny Depp at number 8 (down from 3 last year), and two new additions to the list tied at number 9 – Angelina Jolie and Morgan Freeman;
  • Four actors have dropped off of the list since last year – Matt Damon, Sean Connery (last year both were tied for the number 7 spot), Sandra Bullock (number 9), and Bruce Willis (number 10);
  • Different groups have their favorite actors. For men, their favorite actor, Clint Eastwood, really “makes their day” while Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts is the favorite among women;
  • There are also regional differences as well – those in the East say Indiana Jones, or rather Harrison Ford, is their favorite movie actor, while Midwesterners cite Julia Roberts as their favorite. Southerners say that Denzel Washington is their favorite movie actor and Westerners, perhaps due to the large number of Westerns he starred in, say John Wayne is their favorite movie actor;
  • Each generation also has a favorite movie actor. For Echo Boomers (those aged 18-31) it is one of the Men in Black, Will Smith. Generation Xers (those aged 32-43) are fans of Lara Croft, or rather Angelina Jolie, who comes in as number one for them. For Baby Boomers (those aged 44-62), Denzel Washington is number one and the favorite for Matures (those 63 and over) is Dirty Harry, or rather Clint Eastwood; and,
  • It is not just politicians and policies that cause differences between Republicans and Democrats, it’s also movie actors. The favorite for Republicans is John Wayne and the favorite for Democrats is Denzel Washington. Independents don’t help break the tie – their favorite actor is Harrison Ford.