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Top 10 Ewan McGregor Performances

VO: Ashley Bowman
Written by JJ Heaton He’s been to a galaxy far, far away and back again...or was that just another one of Renton’s drug trips? Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Ewan McGregor Performances. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the work of Scottish actor and certified Jedi Knight, Ewan McGregor. Along with his many live-action film performances, we’ll also be taking into account animated voice-over characters and television roles. Special thanks to our users Simon Acker, governmentfree, Brennan Young, JosephT, travistenbrunsel, AltairGrandMaster, Andrew A. Dennison, TheDude and Zabe Rogue Fanfiction for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Ewan McGregor Performances


He’s been to a galaxy far, far away and back again...or was that just another one of Renton’s drug trips? Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Ewan McGregor Performances.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the work of Scottish actor and certified Jedi Knight, Ewan McGregor. Along with his many live-action film performances, we’ll also be taking into account animated voice-over characters and television roles.

#10: Phillip Morris
“I Love You Phillip Morris” (2009)

In this unconventional comedy, which is loosely based on a true story, McGregor plays the titular role. A prisoner who falls in love with a fellow inmate, Jim Carrey’s obsessive con man Steven Jay Russell, McGregor’s character is sweet and caring - a perfect counterbalance to Russell’s flamboyant edge. Once released, Russell makes it his life’s goal to stay with Morris, with McGregor and Carrey turning their on-screen chemistry into a funny, memorable and emotional story. It’s a must-see for fans of either actor.

#9: Dr. Alfred Jones
“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” (2011)

McGregor has done his fair share of romantic comedies, but this 2011 film is bolstered above the rest by a unique premise and charming performances. Playing a fisheries expert tasked with the impossible mission of bringing fly fishing to the Yemen desert, Alfred Jones cuts an unconvinced man for much of this movie’s beginning. But his pessimism over the Yemeni sheik’s lavish request is slowly turned around through his emerging relationship with the initiative’s financial adviser, played by Emily Blunt. McGregor gained recognition at the Golden Globes for this role - and rightly so.

#8: Alex Law
“Shallow Grave” (1994)

In the first of several collaborations with director Danny Boyle, McGregor plays one of a group of Edinburgh flatmates, attempting to cover up the sudden death of their latest tenant. In his first major starring role, the actor displays the dramatic promise he’d live up to in later years, flexing his range for a character who can be funny and charming throughout an increasingly dark and twisted story. “Shallow Grave” was the bright beginning of many a career, and McGregor more than took advantage of the movie’s success.

#7: Curt Wild
“Velvet Goldmine” (1998)

McGregor’s character in this Todd Haynes drama set around the 1970s glam rock scene was modeled on icons of the era, like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed - and Ewan excels in a role steeped in excess and sexual freedom. Engaging in a problematic romance with the David Bowie-inspired Brian Slade, McGregor is buoyed along by a stellar cast including Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Christian Bale. A film set to a fabulous soundtrack, this zany and vivacious performance is one of a kind - and one to savour.

#6: Henry Bennett
“The Impossible” (2012)

A film based on true events during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, “The Impossible” sees McGregor play patriarch of a family who are separated in the chaos of the disaster. Given the devastating situation, it’s one of the actor’s toughest and most dramatic roles, as he desperately searches for his wife and son. Though he didn’t receive as much praise for his performance as co-star Naomi Watts, who scored an Oscar nomination for her part, McGregor’s work is crucial to the film’s overall success.

#5: Emmit and Ray Stussy
“Fargo” (2014-)

In the third season of this series, which is loosely based on the Coen Brothers’ 1996 film, Ewan takes on two roles as Emmit, the Parking Lot King of Minnesota, and his less successful brother, Ray. Backed by his fiancee Nikki, Ray initially tries to rob Emmit, but ultimately becomes embroiled in something much more serious... McGregor’s two-fold performance is easily one of the actor’s most impressive achievements, showcasing his range, style and versatility. An Emmy nomination in 2017 was more than deserved.

#4: Obi-Wan Kenobi
The “Star Wars” Prequel Trilogy (1999-2005)

It’s a series of films which certainly divides opinion, to put it lightly, but one of the few elements most “Star Wars” fans can agree on is that McGregor’s performance as a young Obi-Wan was solid throughout. The actor captures the essence of Alec Guinness’ original character whilst adding flourishes of his own, showing that Luke Skywalker’s wizened mentor wasn’t always so prudent. Plus, there aren’t many actors who can list ‘jedi knight’ on their CV, and mean it.

#3: Edward Bloom
“Big Fish” (2003)

Sharing the role via flashback with Albert Finney, who recounts his youth while on his deathbed, Ewan plays the young Edward Bloom, at the centre of a fantastical tale, directed by Tim Burton. McGregor’s performance here is exaggerated but in a very intentional way, playing Bloom’s wholesome and idealized version of himself, for an adventure unlike any other. Even through the strange, sensational and fairly far-fetched touches, the story clearly focusses on a real, emotional and engaging person, and McGregor’s performance compliments Finney’s perfectly.

#2: Christian
“Moulin Rouge!” (2001)

From one hyper-stylized director to another in Baz Luhrmann, this colourful jukebox musical allows McGregor to show off not only his acting chops, but his vocal range too. Playing a hopelessly romantic writer who falls in love with Nicole Kidman’s courtesan Satine, the melodramatic tone and exaggerated production allow for McGregor to go all-out for one of his best-loved characters - and he’s a surprisingly skilled singer, too. Baz Luhrmann productions are rarely a quiet affair, and McGregor embraces the style and showmanship of the role with remarkable results.

Before we reach our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

SPC John Grimes

Andy Barrow

Rodney Copperbottom

#1: Mark Renton
“Trainspotting” (1996)

It’s the role that brought him to popular attention, and years later his character remains a cult icon. As a heroin junkie in Edinburgh, Renton is both a cautionary figure and a symbol of 1990s youth culture, with McGregor’s performance expertly capturing the highs and lows of his questionable lifestyle. And when Ewan returned to the character 21 years later for the long-awaited sequel, “T2”, it was as though he’d never been away. A definitive performance for McGregor, leading a standout movie in British film history, could we ever choose anything else?
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