Best Voice Acting Performances from A-List Actors, Ranked

There is no better feeling than recognizing a beloved voice from an animated film bringing to life a non-human character. The medium of animation opens up a world of options. The creators are no longer tethered to the physical limitations of the real world, and because of this, animated films can be quite fantastical. The bridge from the fantasy world to the material is through voice acting; they bring familiarity and an enjoyable experience to the film.

Voice acting can be quite freeing for an actor. Actors known for their appearances can bring in a refreshing new tone when voice-acting for a character. They are no longer bound to the implications of their aesthetic, which can push them to explore different types of characters or help them escape the cyclical nature of type-casting that prevails throughout Hollywood. Here are the very best voice acting performances from A-list actors, ranked.


8 Christian Bale – Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)

Howl’s Moving Castle is a Studio Ghibli production directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The English version of the film features the performance of Christian Bale, as well as Emily Mortimer, and Josh Hutchenson. Within the quite fantastical universe, a story is told about a young woman cursed with a much older body who must then seek out the help of a wizard to reverse the spell. Hearing Christian Bale in a Studio Ghibli film is quite unexpected but makes for a great combination.

7 George Clooney – Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Fantastic Mr. Fox is directed by Wes Anderson and stars George Clooney, as the main character, Mr. Fox, as he enjoys a spree of thefts, and then is later hunted down by a group of three farmers. The upbeat stop-motion film is a great example of the advantages of voice acting. Clooney has a distinct look, and often plays a much more macho cool persona, but in this film, playing Mr. Fox, he is able to portray a refreshingly different sly and colorful character.

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6 Samuel L. Jackson – The Incredibles (2004)

Directed and written by Brad Bird, The Incredibles follows a super-human family after they come out of hiding and are forced to save the world. Samuel L. Jackson plays a minor role, but a very memorable one. The well-known actor plays the supporting role of Lucius Best, a friend of the super-family and superhero himself known as Frozone. The film went on to win Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Sound Editing.

5 Eddie Murphy – Shrek (2001)

As one of the most hilarious and lovable animated characters, Eddie Murphy does an absolutely stellar job playing Donkey in the Shrek Franchise. Starting as more of comic relief, but developing into a character with one of the greatest personalities, Murphy redefines how to bring energy and charisma to an animated persona. The film was directed by first-time directors Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

4 Tom Hanks – Toy Story (1995)

An incredibly touching character in a moving story, Tom Hanks plays Woody in the Toy Story franchise. He works alongside the incredibly talented Tim Allen to create a masterpiece. Hanks’ soft and approachable tone is perfect for voice acting and was a great cast for this role. The director of the film, John Lasseter, later received a Special Achievement Academy Award for the innovation the film brought through its medium of computer animation.


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3 John Goodman – Monsters Inc.

The tenured and talented actor, John Goodmanplays a character that feels almost father-like in Monsters Inc. A bit of a change of pace for the actor who normally plays more serious roles; the actor brings a big personality and a range of emotion to his character, Sully. Goodman, alongside Billy Crystal, performs in the award-winning song “If I Did Not Have You”Which won Randy Newman his first Academy Award after 15 previous nominations.

2 Ellen DeGeneres – Finding Nemo (2003)

The 2003 marine-themed animated film Finding Nemo was directed by Andrew Stanton and tells the story of a clownfish father, Marlin, and regal blue tang companion, Dory, on a search for his lost son. There is a lot of talented voice acting in this film, but Ellen DeGeneres as Dory really takes the cake. She brings a lovable personality to the sometimes-absentminded fish. The film went on to take home the Academy Award for Best Animated Film.

1 Robin Williams – Aladdin (1992)

The 1992 animated fantasy film Aladdindirected by John Musker and Ron Clements won both an Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song with “A Whole New World. ” In a masterpiece of a film, one of the most shining elements is Robin Williams‘character, Genie. The great performance did, however, come with some controversy. Williams took a massive pay cut on the role with the agreement that his name or character not be used in excessive advertising. Disney went back on their agreement, understandably upsetting Williams. As an attempt to mend the discord, Disney sent Williams and Pablo Picasso self-portrait, but this failed to reconcile the relationship. It was not until a public apology was made that Williams would return to the role in the 1996 feature Aladdin and the King of Thieves.

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