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The 30 best Hispanic actors

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Best Hispanic actors
  • The best Hispanic and Latino actors.
  • How do we measure their talent?
  • They are outstanding, superior and truly sublime actors!

Without a doubt, the Hispanic/Latino world has produced a great variety of impressive actors.

Several have won some of the most prestigious awards in the television and cinematic industry.

Our criteria for choosing the best Hispanic and Latino actors: international impact or reach, critical acclaim, longevity, demand and, of cours,  popularity.

Below, we present the 30 most outstanding actors from the Hispanic and Latino world. By the way, we bring you another CHALLENGE. Of the 30 movies and series mentioned here, how many can you identify? Good luck!

We start this list of the best Hispanic actors with Anthony Quinn

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We start our list of the best Hispanic actors with a classic man and a symbol of virility. He’s a Chihuahuan who really made a mark in the acting world.

The late Manuel Rodolfo Antonio Quinn Oaxaca was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, on May 21, 1915. The multifaceted star was an actor, sculptor, painter, writer, screenwriter and film director.

He had a long and illustrious career spanning sixty-five years. Impressive! He was recognized for his performance in numerous critically acclaimed films such as La Strada, The Guns of Navarone and A Walk in the Clouds.

The virtuoso Mexican was a two-time Oscar winner (a historic achievement in the Hispanic world), winning twice for best supporting actor for the films Viva Zapata! (1952) and Lust for Life (1956).

Javier Bardem

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We continue with an actor widely praised for his consistently impeccable and believable performances.

This native of the Canary Islands has captivated Hollywood and the entire world with his truly impressive transformations, as he fully commits to his characters.

IBardem has numerous awards including: two Screen Actors Guild Awards, five Goya Awards, a BAFTA Award, a Golden Globe and an Oscar for best supporting actor for his performance in No Country For Old Men.

At 51 years old, he still has a long way to go, many awards to win, and many characters and roles to embody. We are eager to see what he brings in his upcoming projects: Dune and The Little Mermaid.

Benicio del Toro is another of the great Latino actors

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Benicio Monsterrate Rafael del Toro Sánchez was born in San Germán, Puerto Rico, on February 19, 1957.

The world knew the moment they saw his portrayal of Fred Fenster in The Usual Suspects (1995) that a true cinematic star was born.

His incredible performances have earned him a series of awards among which stand out: An Oscar and an American Latin Media Award for best supporting actor for Traffic.

He also has two British American Film Awards, a Golden Globe, a Goya Award and two SAG Awards. Del Toro is widely considered one of the best actors of his time and in history.

Antonio Banderas

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The renowned Spanish actor Antonio Banderas has had a lengthy career in the world of cinema and television.

The famous Zorro, a role for which he will always be recognized around the world, has not had much luck with awards, but doesn’t mean he’s not talented.

His versatility as an actor has grown over the years. The Andalusian began his acting career working hand in hand with Pedro Almodóvar, and from there, he branched out.

The beloved actor has a quite extensive fan base around the world and has established himself as a benchmark since he meets all the criteria: international fame, extensive cinematic history and he’s still relevant after almost 40 years in the business.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Now, we focus on a more recent talent… Lin-Manuel Miranda was born on January 16, 1981, in New York, and even his name has poetic roots, as it is derived from the verses of Nana Roja Para Mi Hijo Lin Manuel.

Perhaps his parents foresaw his extraordinary artistic abilities since he turned out to be a true polymath. Miranda stands out in various spheres: acting, producing, rapping, singing, musical composition and playwriting.

His musical theater production Hamilton has been an international sensation! It is a critical and commercial success. The most impressive thing of all is the fact that he did it all himself.

Lin-Manuel has been widely praised for his genius and has received several awards such as: a Pulitzer Prize, three Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards and an Emmy Award.

Esai Morales is one of the best Hispanic actors

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Esai Manuel Morales Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 1, 1952. Many may recognize him as the tormented half-brother of Richie Valens, from the biographical film, La Bamba in 1987.

The actor, of Puerto Rican descent, made his debut many years ago in 1982 in the film Forty Deuce, with Orson Bean, and shortly thereafter in Bad Boys alongside actors such as Sean Penn and Clancy Brown.

Since then, he has appeared in various television series and movies. Morales has a total of 38 solid years in the field of cinema and television.

In 2015, he was honored by the ARPA Foundation for Film with an award for his invaluable contribution to the entertainment industry. He is an immensely versatile actor and after so many years, remains more active than ever.

Andy García also ranks among the best Hispanic actors

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Another veteran on our list is Andy Garcia, born Andrés Arturo García Menéndez in Havana, Cuba. García really is a Latino icon whose career spans an impressive 42 years.

Although he made his cinematic debut in Blue Skies Again in 1983, his rise to fame came a bit later in 1987 when he appeared alongside Sean Connery, Kevin Costner and Robert De Niro in The Untouchables.

Over the years, the actor has managed to keep a low profile regarding his personal life, although he spends most of his professional life in front of cameras.

This gentleman has truly earned his stripes in Hollywood and beyond.

John Leguizamo

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When we think of a prolific Latino actor who has appeared in countless films, we envision John Leguizamo. It seems he has appeared in almost every Hollywood movie.

His list of film credits is vast and diverse. He has tried his hand at everything: movies, series, Broadway plays, video games and music videos.

John Alberto Leguizamo was born in Bogotá, Colombia, on July 22, 1964. The accomplished actor is also a stand-up comedian, producer, writer, playwright, and author. He started his career as a live comedian.

However, it was his co-starring role in Super Mario Bros, as Luigi, and in the same year, his supporting role as the gangster Benny Blanco in Carlito’s Way, that really opened the door to fame for him, and the rest is history.

Jimmy Smitts

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Jimmy Smits, an actor of Puerto Rican descent, is best known for his roles in television series such as L.A. Law, NYPD Blue, The West Wing, Dexter, Sons of Anarchy and others.

He usually plays balanced, rational and tremendously composed characters. He plays these roles so well that they have earned him several awards, including an Emmy, a SAG Award, a Golden Globe and a Satellite Award.

As if that were not enough, the actor has also excelled in film with critically acclaimed performances in Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones and its continuation Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith.

From his brief initial role in Miami Vice, Smitts has matured a lot as an actor, now being a veteran who has enjoyed almost four decades of a stable and fruitful career.

Gael García Bernal is one of the best Hispanic actors

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Undoubtedly, Gael García Bernal is the cream of the crop of his generation of actors. Coming from a family of thespians, his affinity for acting is apparently embedded in his DNA.

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, on November 30, 1978, the actor has worked closely with some of the most esteemed directors in the world.

Fame came with González Iñárritu’s first film Amores Perros. It was obvious he had a prodigious talent.

After almost 30 years, Gael has established himself as synonymous with prestige and diversity in the Mexican acting world and the entire world.

Cheech Marin

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A true veteran in the world of entertainment, Cheech became famous during the 70s and early 80s, alongside his sidekick Tommy Chong.

He also gained some prominence in all three of the Spy Kids movies and in the television series Nash Bridges and Lost. The actor, who is of Mexican descent, was born on July 13, 1946, in Los Angeles, California.

He identifies as Chicano (although he speaks very little Spanish) and his stage name comes from the word chicharrón, a very popular Mexican snack.

The list of movies and television series in which Cheech has appeared is perhaps longer than his entire life and has a career that has spanned five complete decades.

Edward James Olmos

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Raised in a family of Mexican immigrants, Edward James Olmos was born in Los Angeles, California, on February 24, 1947.

Among his most iconic roles are, of course, Lieutenant Castillo in the mythical American series of the 80s: Miami Vice; Commander William Adama in Battlestar Galactica; Detective Gaff in the unforgettable Blade Runner.

We can’t leave out his portrayal of Abraham Quintanilla in the cult film Selena. Encompassing a whopping 43 years, the career of Edward James Olmos speaks for itself.

He has an Oscar nomination, two Golden Globes and an Emmy, and has appeared in more than fifty film and TV projects.

Diego Luna

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We continue with the native of Toluca, Mexico, Diego Luna. The actor, who had an early debut in the acting world, at only 8 years old, in the short film El Ultimo Fin de Año, has been acting for many years.

Alongside Gael García Bernal, he appeared in his first telenovela El Abuelo y Yo in 1992. It was his role in the film Y tu Mamá También that propelled him to stardom in 2001.

His most notable films includ Y Tu Mamá También, Open Range, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Nicotina, The Terminal and of course, Milk.

Diego has become one of the most respected and recognized actors in his native country and globally. The actor has impacted and won many with his incredible performances and, of course, his versatility.

Eugenio Derbez is definitely one of the best Hispanic actors

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A truly multifaceted and doubly gifted talent, Eugenio Derbez is another outstanding Mexican actor on our list. He was born in Mexico City on September 2, 1961.

He is the son of the renowned and now deceased Mexican actress Silvia Derbez, so it seems that acting is in his genes.

The chilango — who is both an actor, producer, comedian, screenwriter and filmmaker — has produced and starred in multiple films and television series like La Familia P.Luche, XHDRBZ, Vecinos, Derecho y al Derbez and La Misma Luna.

His feature film Instructions Not Included has been, to date, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film of all time.

Bobby Cannavale

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The two-time Emmy Award winner was born in New Jersey on May 3, 1970. Contrary to what many fans of Will and Grace think, he is not gay in real life.

He played the role of Vince so well that years later, it remains his signature role. The actor, who is of Cuban and Italian descent, made his cinematic debut in the movies I’m Not a Rappaport and Night Falls on Manhattan.

Since then Cannavale has accumulated a really extensive and diverse catalog of film, television and theater productions.

In short, Cannavale has an abundance of talent.

George Lopez

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After his tormented and heartbreaking childhood, George Lopez overcame adversity and managed to build, over the years, a career and a life worthy of admiration and truly inspiring.

The actor was born in Mission Hills, Los Angeles, on April 23, 1961. He began in the entertainment world as a stand-up comedian in the 80s.

He has been nominated several times for Grammy Awards for his high-quality comic albums and has an extensive and impressive repertoire of performances.

Between 2002 and 2007, Lopez had his own eponymous TV show which aired for 6 seasons, which served as an ethnographic educational tool through which he drew attention to the struggles of the Latino community in North America.

Demián Bichir

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When talking about prestigious Mexican actors, it’s clear that one of the first names that comes to mind is that of Demián Bichir.

Demián Sandero Bichir Nájera was born in Torreón, Mexico, on August 1, 1963. He is the second Mexican actor to be nominated for an Oscar for best actor for his simply superb performance in A Better Life.

His acting career began, like many Latinos, in the realm of telenovelas, and fame came to him at 26 years old with the film Rojo Amanecer.

Bichir ranks among the most acclaimed actors in his country and has won, apart from the aforementioned nomination, numerous other nominations, among them: two for the SAG Awards, six Ariel Awards (winner of one) and three ALMA Awards.

Lou Diamond Phillips

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Even though more than thirty years has passed since the premiere of La Bamba, Lou Diamond Phillips is still Richie Valens to so many!

Lou was born in the Philippines on February 17, 1962. He began his acting career at 22 years old, with a small role in the modest television movie Time Bomb, before his leap to fame in 1987.

Since then, he has appeared in various movies and television series and in 1996, debuted on Broadway in The King and I as King Mongkut of Siam, for which he won a Tony Award nomination.

Among his other notable performances are: Stand and Deliver, Young Guns I and II, Courage Under Fire, and Che.

Michael Peña

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Miguel Antonio Peña, or Michael Peña, was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 13, 1976. The son of Mexican immigrants, Michael grew up in a humble and modest family.

The actor and musician has managed to succeed despite challenges and his unfavorable background. The success in Hollywood he currently enjoys was also not handed to him.

After appearing in some school plays, the future star developed an affinity for acting. One day, with a seed of hope, he attended a casting call for a role in the television series Rebelión en las Aulas.

It was 1996 and, against all odds, he was chosen by the producers from hundreds of candidates. Once the door was opened, his career as an actor had begun.

Pedro Pascal is on our list of the best Hispanic actors

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Born in Chile, José Pedro Balmaceda Pascal had to flee shortly after he was born with his family to Denmark, where they sought asylum due to their political affiliations during Pinochet’s dictatorship.

Now, at 45 years old, he is at the peak of his acting career. Before Oberyn Martell was conceived, Pedro Pascal was not a well-known name, although he had been acting for many years before.

His career exploded when he became the adoptive father of Baby Yoda in Jon Favreau’s series, The Mandalorian. However, the role that really put him on the international map came at 40 years old in Game of Thrones.

Pascal, playing the beloved Oberyn, became the most famous Chilean actor in the world.

José Ferrer

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The renowned Puerto Rican actor José Ferrer was born on January 6, 1912, and passed away eighty years later on February 26, 1992. There are several reasons why we think he deserves a place on our list.

In addition to succeeding in an era when Hispanic actors in Hollywood were extremely rare, he did so brilliantly, as he was nominated for an Oscar three times. Incredible!!

The actor’s filmography includes Joan of Arc (1948), Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), Moulin Rouge (1952), The Caine Mutiny (1954) and Voyage of the Damned (1947).

In 1950, Ferrer won an Oscar for his simply divine performance in Cyrano de Bergerac, a film for which he also won a Tony Award.

Édgar Ramírez

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Édgar Filiberto Ramírez Arellano, born in San Cristobal, Venezuela, rose to fame in 2010 for his portrayal of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, in the biographical miniseries Carlos.

This role, in addition to earning him much critical acclaim, also won him a Cesar Award, a Golden Globe nomination and an Emmy nomination.

The Venezuelan actor has had many good moments in recent years, taking on important roles in a series of movies, 4 of which are currently in post-production.

Among his most impactful performances, are: Paz in The Bourne Ultimatum; Roberto Duran in Hands of Stone; Ares in Wrath of the Titans and Gianni Versace in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.

James Franco

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This heartthrob is much more than a feast for the eyes, although that doesn’t hurt. James Edward Franco is an actor of Portuguese descent.

Franco was born in Palo Alto, California, on April 19, 1978. At 42 years old, he has won a total of 33 awards from a whopping 112 nominations. He has won two Golden Globes, several Film Critics Awards, and two Independent Spirit Awards.

Among his most memorable and praiseworthy performances are: Aron Ralston in the movie 127 Hours, which earned him an Oscar nomination for best actor; Scott Smith in Milk and Saul Silver in Pineapple Express.

He also played David in Eat, Pray, Love and Dr. William Rodman in Rise of the Planet of the Apes. It should be noted that he is also a film director, producer, and teacher!

Rodrigo Santoro

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Rodrigo Santoro was born on August 22, 1975, in Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rodrigo is one of the most renowned and awarded actors in Brazil, and he has also carved a reputation for excellence in the United States.

Throughout his career, the actor has collected a total of eight Best Actor awards including one from the Brazilian Academy of Arts and Cinema for his role in the movie Brainstorm.

Santoro has been part of various television and cinematic productions. He’s very versatile, but usually plays more serious roles.

His rise to international fame was catalyzed by the controversial film Carandiru, directed by Hector Babenco, which was critically acclaimed and won more than a dozen international awards.

Jordi Mollà

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His intense, fearless, and at the same time, sinister gaze is what makes him so perfect for the mafioso, villain, or drug trafficker roles he usually plays.

Jordi Molla has that something of a sophisticated gangster, a very subtle and natural charisma. He definitely exudes a bit of danger since with just one look he can threaten, warn you…

He is a well-known actor in Spain, his native country. Before his arrival in Hollywood, he had already appeared in several Spanish films. He has worked with the most elite of the television and cinematic world of his country.

His debut in Hollywood was in 2001 in the movie Blow, his prototypical genre. Since then, he has appeared in a series of films.

Danny Trejo is one of the most unique Latino actors

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An extremely prolific actor who has appeared in just about everything, Danny Trejo really is that inescapable actor we’ve seen in more than a couple of movies.

The actor was born in Los Angeles, California, on May 16, 1944, to Mexican parents. At 76, he has appeared in countless movies, television series, video games and music videos.

Trejo, who really had very difficult beginnings, managed to transform his life and succeed in the acting world. It’s gratifying to contemplate another success story in Hollywood given the extremely tough and competitive nature of the industry.

His appearance was what got him his first role in Hollywood and is largely responsible for the success he has had. He is best known for the character Machete, but he has also had other memorable roles in movies and series.

Luis Guzmán is one of the great actors of our time

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In a career that has spanned the impressive total of 45 years, Luis Guzmán has managed to accumulate a quite extensive repertoire.

The actor was born in Puerto Rico on August 8, 1956. Since his debut in the world of television and cinema in a series of independent films, the actor has harvested a quite impressive repertoire of movies.

His most notable movies include: Carlito’s Way, Out of Sight, The Limey, Traffic and Boogie Nights. His most outstanding film has perhaps been Carlito’s Way alongside Al Pacino and John Leguizamo.

His most outstanding television roles include How to Make it in America as the character René Calderón and also Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha in the renowned Netflix series, Narcos.

Wagner Moura

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Wagner Maniçoba de Moura, born on June 27, 1976, is a renowned Brazilian actor best known for his leading role as Roberto Nascimento in the Brazilian movies Elite Squad 1 and 2.

More recently, he played Pablo Escobar in the Netflix series Narcos. It was the latter role that really gave him international fame and even more so, earned him his first Golden Globe nomination.

Moura was truly sublime in his role as Pablo Escobar, very believable and emotional. He perfectly embodied the character in every sense.

The actor is also a filmmaker, vocalist and journalist and is very recognized in his native country as he has starred in and appeared in various telenovelas, movies, and theatrical productions over the years.

Diego Boneta

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Diego Andrés González Boneta was born in Mexico, on November 29, 1990. He began his acting career in his native country by appearing in the reality show Código F.A.M.A. from 2002 to 2003.

In 2004, he participated in the telenovelas Alegrijes y Rebujos, and Misión S.O.S. He also was part of the cast of the infamous telenovela series Rebelde.

He made some other television and film appearances, but the milestone of his career came in 2012 with the movie Rock of Ages where he played Drew Boley. Shortly afterward, he was handpicked to star as Michael in City of Dead Men.

Boneta received praise and much recognition for his performance in the eponymous series Luis Miguel in which he portrays the renowned singer the ‘El Sol de Mexico’.

Wilmer Valderrama is the last of the Latino actors on our list

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Who doesn’t remember Fez? The foreign exchange student of unknown origin, somewhat weird and funny. No matter how many times they air it, we watch every rerun of That 70s Show and laugh as if it were the first time.

After the Fez era (1998 – 2006), Wilmer Valderrama was part of the main cast of the horror series From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series as Carlos Madrigal, another genre that allowed him to show a bit of versatility as an actor.

Valderrama, who is of Venezuelan and Colombian descent, has also appeared in various movies. He has also been in several music videos and released his first musical single in 2011.

For his unforgettable role in a television series that lasted 8 seasons, and for having remained active for more than two decades, we think Fez deserves his spot on our list among the best Latino actors.

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