The Equalizer Knows No Equal: Denzel Washington is America's Favorite Movie Star

The Duke rides into the No. 2 spot while Brad Pitt comes in at No. 3

12:00 AM EST Jan 15, 2015 Rating
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The Equalizer Knows No Equal: Denzel Washington is America's Favorite Movie Star

New York, N.Y. - January 15, 2015 - He's played cops and criminals, fought in Civil War engagements, walked across apocalyptic wastelands, and this year Denzel Washington is once again America's Favorite Movie Star. This is the fifth time he's held this distinction, with previous wins being a three-year run from 2006-2008 and one more victory in 2012, before spending 2013 in the No. 2 spot.

Riding all the way from No. 7 last year to a second place finish is the only star who has appeared on this list since it first began in 1994 (at which time his most recent film was nearly two decades old), John Wayne. Wayne's high standing despite having not made a film in so long may come as a surprise to some, but with a recent Harris Poll finding the septuagenarian Civil War epic Gone with the Wind to be America's favorite movie, it would appear that we have plenty of room in our hearts for the oldies. Meanwhile, Brad Pitt certainly shouldn't be feeling any Fury at his fast rise from a 9th-place tie last year to this year's No. 3 spot.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,255 U.S. adults surveyed online between December 10 and 15, 2014.

Top Five

Rounding out the top five are two actors who have held the No. 1 spot more than once. Johnny Depp, whose 2014 films included Transcendence and Into the Woods, was America's favorite movie star in 2010 and 2011; this year he's is in the No. 4 spot, up two places from last year. Tom Hanks, who held the top position for the third time last year (with previous wins in 2002, 2004 and 2005) drops to the No. 5 spot this year.

The Usual Suspects

Despite being behind the camera for both of his major releases this year (Jersey Boys and American Sniper), Clint Eastwood - America's favorite movie star as recently as 2009 - is in the No. 6 position this year, up two spots.

The No. 7 spot is a tie between Jennifer Lawrence (whose 2014 résumé included The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 and X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Meryl Streep (with turns in The Giver and Into the Woods among her 2014 roles).

Harrison Ford may not have had much screen time in 2014, but his presence in - and injury during the filming of - 2015's the next installment in the Star Wars franchise was certainly a topic of pop culture discussion; after slipping out of the top 10 last year, Ford is in the No. 9 spot this time around.

Finally, rounding out the top 10 is Angelina Jolie, who had notable turns both onscreen (with the starring role in Maleficent) and behind the camera (directing the World War II era drama Unbroken) in 2014; for 2014 she holds the No. 10 spot. Like Ford, this marks a return to the top 10 list for Jolie; most recently, she held the No. 5 spot in 2010.

Gone Girl(s)

With Harrison Ford and Angelina Jolie returning to the top 10 list this year, this means we must unfortunately say goodbye - at least for this year - to two of last year's top 10. Julia Roberts, the Pretty Woman herself and a frequent resident of the top 10 list, falls off the list after a No.4 showing last year. And Gravity appears to have gotten hold of Sandra Bullock, another top 10 list veteran, who falls to earth after holding the No. 5 spot last year.

Divergent

Age, region, gender and many other factors can coincide with varied takes on favorite movie stars.

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TABLE 1

FAVORITE MOVIE STAR

Who is your favorite movie star?

Unprompted responses

Base: All adults

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

Denzel Washington

*

4

8

10

10

*

=7

8

7

9

John Wayne

2

1

2

4

2

2

2

6

6

7

Brad Pitt

*

*

*

*

=6

*

*

*

*

*

Johnny Depp

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

10

Tom Hanks

5

6

7

*

*

=5

6

2

1

4

Clint Eastwood

1

2

4

1

=4

4

5

7

8

8

Jennifer Lawrence

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Meryl Streep

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Harrison Ford

4

*

*

5

1

1

1

3

4

=5

Angelina Jolie

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

* Not in top 10; = prior to a number indicates a tie

Base: All adults

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

Denzel Washington

6

*

1

1

1

3

2

=2

1

2

1

John Wayne

7

=3

3

6

=3

7

3

5

6

7

2

Brad Pitt

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

=4

=9

3

Johnny Depp

4

2

=7

3

8

2

1

1

=4

6

4

Tom Hanks

1

1

2

2

7

5

=6

4

3

1

5

Clint Eastwood

8

6

1

*

2

1

9

=2

2

8

6

Jennifer Lawrence

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

3

=7

Meryl Streep

*

*

*

*

*

8

*

*

9

=9

=7

Harrison Ford

5

=3

10

*

5

*

4

8

8

*

9

Angelina Jolie

*

*

*

*

=9

*

5

*

*

*

10

* Not in top 10.

= prior to a number indicates a tie

 

DROPPED OUT OF TOP 10 IN 2014

Julia Roberts (#4) and Sandra Bullock (#5)

 

 

TABLE 2

WHICH MOVIE STAR IS #1 AMONG DIFFERENT GROUPS?

Group

Favorite Movie Star

Men

John Wayne

Women

Denzel Washington

Republican

John Wayne

Democrat

Denzel Washington

Independent

Clint Eastwood

Conservative

John Wayne

Moderate

Denzel Washington

Liberal

Will Smith

Millennials (18-37)

Jennifer Lawrence

Gen X (38-49)

Denzel Washington

Baby Boomers (50-68)

Denzel Washington

Matures (69+)

John Wayne

East

Denzel Washington

Midwest

Denzel Washington

South

Denzel Washington

West

Jennifer Lawrence

HS or less

John Wayne

Some College

Denzel Washington

College graduate

Denzel Washington

Post grad

Meryl Streep/Harrison Ford/ George Clooney (TIE)

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between December 10 and 15, 2014 among 2,255 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #5, January 15, 2015

By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®

Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. 

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