Any attempt to assess the best performances of a decade since the end of the so-called Studio Era in Hollywood will lead you to the same conclusion: American movies are a men's medium. In the '30s, '40s and '50, there were as many plum roles for the period's leading ladies as for the leading men and the names of Bette Davis and Katharine Hepburn shined as bright on the marquees as Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant.

But in the decades since, the window for actresses narrowed while that for men lengthened. Winnowing my selections of the best lead male performances of the 2000s, I found myself including Clint Eastwood, who was a major star 45 years ago, and leaving off the top 10 such great work as Jamie Foxx's portrayal of Ray Charles in 'Ray,' Daniel Day-Lewis' turns in 'Gangs of New York' and 'There Will Be Blood,' Mickey Rourke's beefy comeback in 'The Wrestler,' and Philip Seymour Hoffman's fey rendition of Truman Capote in 'Capote.'
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