Say it loud and there’s music playing. Say it soft and it’s almost like praying.
Just mentioning these two actors’ names can cause a smile to light up the face of many a film enthusiast — especially the female kind.
Not since the‘60s, when such British acting imports as Peter O’Toole, Alan Bates, Oliver Reed and Albert Finney invaded Hollywood movies, has there been such an excitement over a pair of incredibly talented English chaps. Steven Spielberg helped to initiate the frenzy by casting both posh Eton College grads Hiddleston, 33, and Cumberbatch, 38, as World War I cavalry officers in 2011’s “War Horse” (their press interview together below).
Ever since, these two good-looking, bright, self-effacing, plummy-voiced and highly talented London natives have racked up a slew of memorable performances, caused social media to be flooded with GIFs and clips of their antics (including their dancing ability as captured in this supercut also below) and attracted a huge network of fans.
The older Cumberbatch has had a head start career-wise, grabbing global plaudits in 2010 as TV’s modern-day “Sherlock.” But Hiddleston has made up for lost time since 2011, when he caught the public’s eye as the mischievous Norse god Loki in “Thor” and as a droll F. Scott Fitzgerald in Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris.” Not to mention his dramatic turn opposite Rachel Weisz in “The Deep Blue Sea.” (His TOH! video interview is here.)
While British Tom Hardy and Irish Michael Fassbender have their own passionate supporters, they don’t quite share the kind of rivalry that Cumberbatch and Hiddleston seem to stir up amongst their followings.
But who is ahead? Judging on fancy footwork, it’s Hiddleston. But let’s dig deeper to see where they currently stand.
Cumberbitches vs. Hiddlestoners
Winner: “Cumberbitches” is more bad-ass and naughty, while “Hiddlestoners” sounds hippie-dippy. However, Hiddleston scores points for having been bestowed with his own squee-worthy personal nickname – Hiddles.
Quotes about each other
Hiddleston discusses working with Cumberbatch on “War Horse” during an “Empire” magazine webchat: “It was great, fantastic to work with Ben. He is having such an incredible moment in the sun, and I think is at the top of his game. He’s been in this business for 15 years, and I remember when I was still in drama school going to watch him in theatre in a production of “Hedda Gabler” and thinking to myself, ‘I hope he gets the success he deserves.’”
When asked during an MTV video interview, “who is the most charming, you or Hiddleston?” Cumberbatch declares: “I’d like to thank the Internet in this interview for adoring me. The more charming person is the person that admits the other person is more charming, so Tom Hiddleston is more charming.”
Winner: Cumberbatch. Points to Hiddleston for being sincere and yet still brings up the fact that Cumberbatch is several years closer to senior citizenry. However, Cumberbatch has the obvious advantage, thanks to his cheeky wit.
Rank in “War Horse”
Hiddleston was a colonel. Cumberbatch was a major.
Hiddleston has appeared as Loki in three films — the original “Thor,” the 2013 sequel “Thor: The Dark World” and 2012’s “The Avengers.” Combined domestic box office: $1.01 billion. Combined worldwide box office: $2.6 million.
In 2013, Cumberbatch took up where Ricardo Montalban left off as Khan in 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness.” He also voiced the roles of Smaug the dragon and Necromancer in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” And, although he was barely heard as Necromancer in 2012’s “The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey,” let’s count that, too. Combined domestic box office: $791 milllion. Combined worldwide box office: $2.4 billion.
Winner: Hiddleston has the edge – watch him as Loki at Comic-Con, below–at least until this year’s third and final “Hobbit” chapter, “The Battle of Five Armies,” comes out on Dec. 17. UPDATE: But Cumberbatch has landed the much-coveted starring non-villain role as scientist superhero “Dr. Strange.”
Rave reviews for their defining roles
A love letter to Cumberbatch as “Sherlock,” his breakout role, from UK columnist Caitlin Moran in “The Times” newspaper:
“As one of the most dashing characters in literary history, however, Sherlock-facilitated Cumberbatch Love has never felt easier or more natural. He’s one of the cleverest men who ever lived! With the unexpectedly attractive quirk of being borderline sociopathic! In the first episode he thrashes a corpse with a riding crop by way of saying hello. He’s lavishly, wonkily beautiful, 900 ft. tall, has a voice like a jaguar hiding in a cello, and would clearly be able to work out in a second what a 15 per cent tip should be — even if the total were tricksy, such as an odd number, or ended in 78p or something.”
While critics liked Hiddleston’s Loki in the original “Thor,” they absolutely waxed rhapsodic over the baddie’s more substantial return appearance in “Thor: The Dark World.” A sampling from Joe Neumaier in the “New York Daily News”:
“The secret weapon is Hiddleston. The best thing the film’s army of five screenwriters did is set the odd couple of Thor and Loki on a sort-of celestial road trip. Loki is puckish, malevolent, peevish, magnetic and, with his Rooney Mara–like pale skin and dark hair, the polar opposite of (Chris) Hemsworth. Hiddleston’s villainous asides steal the show, and he brightens The Dark World when it needs it most.”
They also approved of Hiddleston as a swoony vampire still in love with mate Tilda Swinton after all those years in Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive.”
Winner: After reading no less than 23 mash notes masquerading as movie reviews, Hiddleston is the victor – for now.
Hiddleston essayed the choice role of Prince Hal to much acclaim in the BBC miniseries “The Hollow Crown,” which ties together Shakespeare’s historical plays “Richard II,” “Henry VI,” Parts 1 and 2 and “Henry V.” He also dreamily read Shakespeare love sonnet 18, below.
Cumberbatch, oddly enough, will star as Richard III in a second miniseries based on the Bard’s works, “The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses,” which is expected to arrive in 2016.
Winner: Until we see what Cumberbatch can do once he wears the crown, Hiddleston. Although Richard III is potentially a more potent part than Prince Hal.
Hiddleston donned long johns and a manly mustache in a cameo as a strongman performer known as The Great Escapo in this year’s “Muppets Most Wanted,” below.
Cumberbatch turns into a fox of a secret agent wolf named Classified the leader of an cover team of interspecies spies in the animated adventure “Penguins of Madagascar,” opening Nov. 26 (ComicCon panel video below).
Winner: Even a little Hiddleston goes a long way. But Cumberbatch’s silky rumble of a voice in a featured role is about the only thing that could upstage those cute and cuddly penguins in their own spinoff movie.
Cumberbatch: won an Emmy for 2013 season of “Sherlock”; nominated for a Golden Globe for the 2012 season of “Sherlock”; won a Broadcast Film Critics Association award for the 2012 season of “Sherlock” and the miniseries “Parade’s End.”
Hiddleston: Empire Awards Best Male Newcomer for 2011; BAFTA Rising Star Award nomination for 2011; Best Villain MTV Award and Best Fight for 2012’s “The Avengers.”
Who wins? Cumberbatch, considering he is also a frontrunner to grab a Best Actor Oscar slot for his role as brainy World War II hero Alan Turing in “The Imitation Game,” due Nov. 21.
Appearances in best-picture Oscar nominees
Cumberbatch: “Atonement” (2007), “War Horse,” “12 Years a Slave” (2013)
Hiddleston: “War Horse”
Winner: Cumberbatch, although Hiddleston could easily catch up some day.
Cumberbatch: The highly anticipated “The Fifth Estate,” the 2013 biopic about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, failed to take off at the box office – grossing only $3.3 million – and took critical hits with only a 37% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Hiddleston: His art-house drama “Archipelago” only took in $500,000 worldwide this summer. Yet it earned a 95% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, Hiddleston’s lowest Tomatoes score is 65% for “Thor: The Dark World.”
Who wins? Cumberbatch, unfortunately, has had more time to collect a few clunkers. That means Hiddleston is tops.
Cumberbatch: As the brother of notorious crime boss Whitey Bulgar, played by Johnny Depp, in “Black Mass” (Sept. 18, 2015); as the lead voice in the animated fantasy “Magik” (2016); the Iraq War drama “Yellow Birds” (no date); as the voice of tiger Shere Khan in “Jungle Book: Origins,” a CGI/live-action version of Rudyard Kipling’s classic directed by “Hobbit” co-star Andy Serkis; as part of a love triangle involving photography pioneer Eadweard Muybridge and his wife in Gary Oldman’s Flying Horses (2016).
Hiddleston: As the lead in “High-Rise,” a thriller about a self-contained skyscraper from hell (2015); opposite Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam in Guillermo del Toro’s horror thriller “Crimson Peak” (Oct. 16, 2015); as country legend Hank Williams opposite Elizabeth Olsen in “I Saw the Light” (2015); as the lead in “Skull Island,” a King Kong origin story (Nov. 4, 2016).
Winner: It’s a tie between these two in-demand lads – with moviegoers truly the winners.
The ultimate champ: Cumberbatch,with six wins vs. four for Hiddleston. But let’s see where they stand after all these upcoming projects are unveiled.