In a 10.22 N.Y. Times interview, “Ralph Fiennes, Master of Monsters,” the 59 year-old star of David Hare‘s Straight Line Crazy has, to his immense credit, once again defended J.K. Rowling in the face of trans hate:

For the record, Fiennes said roughly the same thing to Telegraph theatre critic Dominic Cavendish on 3.17.21.

“I can’t understand the vitriol directed at [Rowling]. I can understand the heat of an argument, but I find this age of accusation and the need to condemn irrational. I find the level of hatred that people express about views that differ from theirs, and the violence of language towards others, disturbing.”

Here are HE’s choices for Fiennes 11 greatest performances, be they lead or supporting…if your performances ring true, the amount of screen time matters not:’

1. Monsieur Guystave H. in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Fiennes has a classic line about graceful aging and adjusting one’s appetites. Gustave is telling Tony Revolori‘s Zero Moustafa, a Grand Budapest hotel bellboy, that he Biblically “knew” Tilda Swinton’s recently deceased Madame D. Noting that she was “great in the sack,” Fiennes explains that “in your youth it’s all fine filet but as you get older you have to settle for the cheaper cuts.” Or words to that effect.**

2. Amon Goth in Schindler’s List — a performance that spoke for itself from the get-go. I interviewed Fiennes in the fall of ’93 for a regular Sunday column I did for the N.Y. Daily News — the piece called “The Reich Stuff.”

3. Harry Hawkes in Luca Guadagnino‘s A Bigger Splash. For the “Emotional Rescue” scene alone.

4;. Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show.

5. Laurence Laurentz in Hail Caesar!

6. Heathcliff in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.

7. Dennis “Spider” Cleg in David Cronenberg‘s Spider.

8. Count László de Almássy in The English Patient (though I find his performance a bit labored, a bit of a slog).

9. Coriolanus in Coriolanus.

10. Maurice Bendrix in The End of the Affair.

11. Justin Quayle in The Constant Gardener.

I have to add that I’ve always half-admired Fiennes for that 2007 seven-mile-high episode aboard Quantas Airlines. Only good-looking movie stars get away with this kind of thing, and I had to chuckle with I first read about it. Fiennes had most of his hair back then and his natural good looks were still untouched my middle-aged crease, and Quantas steward Lisa Robertson had loved him in The English Patient so he was in like Flynn.

** That’s generally true if you’re not married, but for the middle six months of 2013 I was utterly blessed by a relationship with an exquisite, marbled, grass-fed filet mignon, to go with the metaphor. God smiled, and I will never forget His generosity. Despite the woundings at the end I caught an amazing break.