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He's played a dragon, a sorcerer, a detective, and an intergalactic evil genius, and that's just to name a few .
Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Benedict Cumberbatch Performances.
Before we begin, if you enjoy this video, please subscribe for more great content.
For this list, we'll be taking a look at the career highlights of one of Britain's biggest stars, Benedict Cumberbatch.
And today's video is a celebration of Benedict's best film and TV performances.
"Shall we let them enjoy our lands."
"Nay!"
Number 10: Smaug and the Necromancer—"The Hobbit" series.
"Thief... I smell you."
Cumberbatch covered two characters when he ventured into Middle-earth for Peter Jackson's“The Hobbit"— the dragon Smaug and the Necromancer, a shadowy figure revealed to be Sauron.
However, it's his role as the winged beast which audiences remember most.
"Do you think flattery will keep you alive?"
"No..."
"No, indeed."
Hoarding the treasures of Erebor, Cumberbatch throws himself into the part of Smaug, becoming a menacing, threatening and gargantuan on-screen presence.
"What will you do now... Bowman? You are... forsaken. No help will come."
The behind the scenes footage looks a bit goofy, but the final product is awesome.
Number 9: Richard III—"The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses."
As part of the popular BBC Shakespeare adaptation series, Cumberbatch stars as one of the Bard's most famous characters.
"And who doth lead them but a paltry fellow."
Though seizing the opportunity to go full-on wicked, Benedict manages to lace the role with enough tragedy that, even in Richard's vilest, most manipulative moments,
You can still see the human underneath simply looking for recognition.
"Victory for York and victory for Edward. Now Duke of York, soon to be a king."
Cumberbatch has shown his Shakespearian talents on stage plenty of times before, so it's no surprise he smashed this role.
Number 8: David—"Wreckers."
In this British indie film, Cumberbatch takes a break from larger-than-life characters for an original but bleak drama.
"Why didn't you just say?"
"You kept pushing it, your, your little project. I mean, why couldn't we have just waited for a couple of years?"
He and "The Crown's" Claire Foy play a married couple whose life is interrupted by the unexpected return of Cumberbatch's brother.
"Should we get rid of him?"
"Where to?"
"He's got mates. What about his ex?"
Initially painted as an absent but kind husband, the darker nature of Benedict's David slowly unravels, with the actor charting the change impeccably .
Sometimes, you don't need a big budget and special effects to make an impact.
"Stop it! Dawn!"
Number 7: William Ford—"12 Years a Salve."
"I am the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob."
In this Best Picture Oscar-winning period drama, Benedict plays plantation holder William Ford, who becomes the first owner of Solomon Northup after the former free man is kidnapped and sold into slavery.
Ford shows kindness and respect to Northup, but their relationship is short-lived.
"Well, I'll admit to being impressed even if you won't."
And, though Cumberbatch's role in the film is also fairly fleeting, he leaves a lasting impression, as a glimmer of hope for Northup throughout his struggles for freedom.
"My great thanks, Master Ford."
"No, my thanks to you. And it is the least of it. I hope it brings us both much joy over the years."
Number 6: Stephen Hawking—"Hawking."
Though Eddie Redmayne's Oscar-winning turn in "The Theory of Everything" has since overshadowed it,
Cumberbatch's take on the famed scientist, given ten years before Redmayne's, is a stand-out piece of dedicated acting in its own right.
"You have to know this is incredibly important. Time's not a background thing, it's not an absolute, it can switch, everything else is measured. It's dynamic."
Focusing on Hawking's time at University, Benedict expertly shows the physicist's astounding intellect and his struggles with motor neuron disease.
"Are you the Cambridge type? Yes, and I love you deeply and forever."
The role also bagged Cumberbatch a BAFTA nomination, helping to propel his then-fledgling career.
Number 5: Peter Guillam—"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."
Standing out even amongst an ensemble cast of Hollywood heavyweights (including Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy), Benedict's role in this John Le Carre adaptation is pivotal .
"Alwyn."
"Sir?"
"Get me my bag. Will ya?"
"But..."
"Just for a second."
Playing Peter Guillam, a regular confidant of George Smiley and entrusted in his hunt for a mole inside the British Intelligence services, he's involved in some seriously high-tension scenes.
"Well, I haven't been seeing him. So get your facts straight and get off my back!"
Also portrayed as homosexual, in a break from Le Carre's original novels, the character is surrounded by secrecy—and Benedict thrives on the drama.
"I stole that because of you. I spied on my own because of him. Do you know how that makes me feel?!"
Number 4: Khan Noonien Singh—"Star Trek Into Darkness."
To a casting choice which touted some controversy, but a role which Benedict made his own.
"My name... is... Khan."
Khan steals the sci-fi show for "Star Trek Into Darkness", as Cumberbatch balances the lingering menace and ruthless determination of Ricardo Montalban's original performance, but also brings a new personality and underlying sense of humanity to the role.
"Stand down."
"How many torpedoes?"
"Stand down!"
"The torpedoes, the weapons you threatened me with in your message. How many are there?"
All in all, it's a classic character reworked, and a distinct addition to one of the most popular sagas in science fiction.
"Captain."
Number 3: Stephen Strange—"Doctor Strange."
"This is how things are now. You and me, trapped in this moment."
Snagging himself a major part in the MCU as the sorcerer supreme, Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch's long-anticipated break into the superhero genre was well worth the wait.
"You reject the possibility?"
"No, I reject it because I do not believe in fairy tales about chakras, or energy, or the power of belief. There is no such thing as spirit!"
Taking a page from Robert Downey Jr's Tony Stark, Cumberbatch's character is an arrogant bloke brimming with snarky comebacks.
"I think I found the problem, Dr. Palmer. You left a bullet in his head."
"Thanks."
But he also undertakes a hero's journey from crippled surgeon to master of the mystical arts, with an especially inventive ride through the Marvel Universe.
It's an origins story quite unlike any other.
"No. It is Dr. Strange. Not Master Strange, not Mr. Strange; Doctor Strange."
Number 2: Alan Turing—"The Imitation Game."
A widely praised performance which almost earned him an Oscar, our runner-up sees Benedict become an influential figure in British history.
"Human brains can compute large sums very quickly, even Hugh can do that, but I want Christopher to be smarter. To make a calculation and then to determine what to do next."
In the role as the famed mathematician and AI pioneer, Cumberbatch brings Alan Turing's genius to the big screen.
The film follows Turing's recruitment as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park during World War II, right through to his infamous conviction for indecency and homosexuality.
"The interesting question is just because something, er, thinks differently from you, does that mean it's not thinking?"
Taking Turing's life story for a film which demands to be seen, it's Cumberbatch's finest hour in terms of feature-length cinema.
"I don't."
"What?"
"Care for you. I never did. I... I just needed you to break Enigma."
Number 1: Sherlock Holmes—"Sherlock."
"Anderson, don't talk out loud. You lower the IQ of the whole street."
The role which solidified Benedict's star status, it might've been difficult to put an original stamp on Sherlock Holmes, a world renowned character subject to countless reinventions.
But Cumberbatch makes it look easy.
Paired with Martin Freeman's Watson, his modern take on Arthur Conan Doyle's seminal detective brought fresh life to a famous story.
"I need a case!"
"You've just solved one! By harpooning a dead pig, apparently."
"Ah! That was this morning! When's the next one?"
Though there's plenty of competition with other modern Holmeses, including Robert Downey Jr's and Jonny Lee Miller's, Cumberbatch's version is another level of brilliant.
"No, no, no! Of course he's not the boy's father! Look at the turn-ups on his jeans!"
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Top 10 Benedict Cumberbatch Performances

10848 Folder Collection
Sunny Liaw published on December 19, 2018
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