Jennifer Aniston and Denzel Washington Win Popularity Race

The “Big Five” are considered the most prestigious awards at the Oscars, consisting of Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Direction as well as

Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress. While Best Picture is the overall standout and Best Direction and Best Screenplay honor the

people behind the cameras, Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress might be the most front-facing awards as they’re often connected to

the familiar faces of Hollywood veterans. Even when said veterans aren’t able to take home an Academy Award, they’re still topping the ranks in terms of popularity, according to a recent Statista survey.

As our chart shows, most of the actors and actresses most liked by U.S. survey participants who know the individual performers have been making TV shows and movies for decades. Denzel Washington is liked by 52 percent of respondents who know him and has been a Hollywood star since the 1990s. The same goes for Morgan Freeman and Samuel L. Jackson, both of whom had their commercial breakthroughs in the early to mid-90s and are liked by around half of U.S. residents surveyed. Dwayne Johnson is the odd one out in terms of seniority, having achieved his first major success with Fast Five in 2011.

In terms of actresses, Jennifer Aniston wins out over Angelina Jolie by three percentage points. Aniston’s popularity might be ascribed to her role as Rachel Greene in the 90s sitcom Friends, even though she’s been active and successful in front and behind the camera ever since the show ended after ten seasons in 2004. Following Jolie, who is just as active as an actress as she is as a philanthropist, are Anne Hathaway, Angela Bassett and Julia Roberts, which all tie for third place in terms of popularity.

Out of the ten actors and actresses mentioned, only one was nominated for Best Leading Actor or Best Leading Actress in the past five years. Denzel Washington scored a nomination as Best Leading Actor for his role as Lord Macbeth in Joel Coen’s adaptation of the classic Shakespearean tale in 2021 and lost to Will Smith’s portrayal of Richard Williams, the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in the biographical drama King Richard.