In anticipation of “Doctor Strange,” which opened on November 4, we asked our readers to tell us what actor Benedict Cumberbatch‘s best role really is, and the result was decisive: Sherlock Holmes, the brilliant detective who made Cumberbatch a star in the British series “Sherlock,” is his best character according to 56% of respondents.
Sherlock Holmes was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887, but in 2010 writer and producer Steven Moffat (“Doctor Who”) brought him to 21st century London for a modern update of some of the detective’s most famous stories. Cumberbatch has played the role on and off ever since, winning an Emmy for Best Movie/Mini Actor in 2014. The series returns for its fourth season next January, but it may be a victim of its own success: Cumberbatch and his co-star Martin Freeman are so busy lately that these could be “Sherlock’s” last mysteries.
The only other Cumberbatch role that received significant support was Alan Turing in the 2014 biopic “The Imitation Game.” Turing was a math genius who helped England crack the Nazis’ Enigma code and also a computer-science pioneer. He was also gay at a time when homosexuality was a criminal offense. He was prosecuted and chemically castrated, and he ultimately committed suicide at age 41. Playing the conflicted character earned Cumberbatch an Oscar nomination for Best Actor, and 31% of readers think that was his best role.
In third place with 5% was the dragon Smaug, whom Cumberbatch voiced in the “Hobbit” trilogy: “An Unexpected Journey” (2012), “The Desolation of Smaug” (2013) and “The Battle of the Five Armies” (2014).
Another blockbuster role was in fourth place with 3%: Khan in “Star Trek Into Darkness.” That role had previously been played by Ricardo Montalban in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” (1982), so Cumberbatch had big shoes to fill.
Ranked fifth with 2% was William Ford, the plantation owner who first buys Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in the 2013 Oscar winner for Best Picture, “12 Years a Slave.”
Then there was a three-way tie at 1%: closeted spy Peter Guillam in the film “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” romantically conflicted Christopher Tietjens in the TV miniseries “Parade’s End” and shy milquetoast Little Charles Aiken in the film adaptation of “August: Osage County.”
Do you agree with our poll results? Do you have a favorite Cumberbatch role that we left out? And will his new film “Doctor Strange” be better than all of the above? See our complete results below, and discuss Cumberbatch and more in our movie forum.