Tom Hanks is America's Favorite Movie Star, Followed by Johnny Depp and Denzel Washington

John Wayne and Harrison Ford close out the top five

Jan 28, 2016, 05:05 ET from The Harris Poll

NEW YORK, Jan. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- His roles over the years have taken him into the past and the future, out into space and even into a child's toy chest, and this year Tom Hanks – currently in theaters as attorney James B. Donovan in Bridge of Spies – returns to the role of America's Favorite Movie Star. This is Hanks' fifth time at the top of the list (with previous wins recorded in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2013) and represents a four-spot jump from the No. 5 spot last year.

Johnny Depp, most recently onscreen in an acclaimed portrayal of mobster Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, is in the No. 2 spot this year (up from No. 4 a year ago).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,252 U.S. adults surveyed online between December 9 and 14, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.

Fast (moving) Five
The next two performers on the list have both fallen two spots since last year. First, Denzel Washington – who topped the list last year but didn't appear in any major releases in 2015 – falls to the No. 3 position. Meanwhile, the late John Wayne, who hasn't appeared in a major release in… well, quite a bit longer, nonetheless remains a mainstay on the list; at No. 4 this year (down from No. 2), the Duke is the only person who has never dropped off of the top 10 in over two decades.

Closing out the top half of the list – and soaring from No. 9 last year to No. 5 this year – is Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford.

Repeat performances
Both the top and bottom halves of this year's top 10 are composed of familiar faces who have spent time on this list before.

  • Sandra Bullock, who voiced a criminal mastermind in Minions and played a political consultant in Our Brand is Crisis, is at No. 6 this year (after taking a break from the list last year).
  • Jennifer Lawrence hit the holiday season box office with the one-two punch of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 and Joy, and with a repeat in the No. 7 spot she has plenty to be joyful about indeed.
  • Despite neither starring in nor directing any films in 2015, Clint Eastwood – America's favorite movie star as recently as 2009 – is in the No. 6 position this year, up two spots.
  • Two occasional costars are tied in the No. 9 spot this year:
    • Brad Pitt, currently in theaters in The Big Short (he held the No. 3 spot last year), and
    • Julia Roberts, most recently seen in Secret in Their Eyes, who returns to the top 10 after a 1-year hiatus.

The Perfect Score
Many of these top-10 performers are garnering other strong scores as well. Perfect scores for endorsement potential, in fact. According to Nielsen Talent Analytics data, many of these stars show perfect N-Scores of 100 out of 100 among many, if not all, Americans:

  • Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Sandra Bullock each show perfect N-Scores among all U.S. adults (aged 18+).
  • Harrison Ford and Julia Roberts each earn this distinction among those aged 35 and up.
  • Johnny Depp achieves the same among Millennials (aged 18-34).
  • Jennifer Lawrence, on the other hand, "scores" among Gen Z (those aged 13-17).

The Lady Vanishes
With Sandra Bullock and Julia Roberts returning to the top 10 list this year, we thus bit a tearful adieu – at least temporarily – to two of last year's top 10. Meryl Streep drops off the list after a No.7 showing last year, while Angelina Jolie drops off after holding the No. 10 spot last year.

Top. Men.
A great many factors seem to impact Americans' favorite movie star selection:

  • John Wayne is again the top pick among men, while women turn to Johnny Depp.
  • Millennials also name Depp as their top pick, while Gen Xers call out Harrison Ford, Baby Boomers point to Tom Hanks and John Wayne rides away with the top spot among Matures.
  • Looking at Americans by region: Harrison Ford takes the East, Johnny Depp rules the South, Denzel Washington commands the Midwest and Tom Hanks on top in the West.
  • Urbanites look to Washington and Suburbanites cite Hanks as their top pick, while Depp takes the top spot among Rural Americans.
  • The Duke, John Wayne, is again Republicans' top pick, while Democrats again lean toward Washington. Independents – drawn perhaps by the roguish streak epitomized by his two most iconic roles – choose Harrison Ford.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between December 9 and 14, 2015 among 2,252 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® #9, January 28, 2016
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. For more information, or to see other recent polls, visit us at

About Nielsen N-Score:
N-Score is Nielsen's syndicated tool for evaluating the endorsement potential for personalities across the Sports, Television, Film, Music, Book Publishing and Radio industries. Approximately 1,000 U.S. consumers who are representative of the U.S. population are surveyed on a weekly basis (English-only) where they are asked to assess 50 different personalities. A personality's total "N-Score" is then determined using a proprietary calculation incorporating a personality's awareness and likeability along with 10 other attributes. Nielsen N-Score survey data are then linked to other Nielsen solutions to produce additional segmentation and demographic information (i.e. Nielsen Talent Analytics)

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