Your Voices: On Underrated Actors

Your Voices

I’m amazed at how some actors have managed to become huge movie stars despite their mediocre talent while other immensely talented actors struggle to get the recognition or bigger roles that they deserve. There are several examples of fantastic actors who just can’t seem to gain the type of appreciate I think they deserve. Out of these talents there are two that top the list for me.

Guy Pearce and Karl Urban are two actors who have had a few smaller starring roles but are mainly reserved for supporting work. Urban has probably had the toughest time breaking in. It was his work in The Lord of the Rings that really caught my eye. But he’s also been really good in “Red”, “The Bourne Supremacy”, and of course the new Star Trek films. But it’s Pearce who I find to be the most underused and underappreciated. He’s one of my favorite actors and while he’s had more significant roles than Urban, he still seems like a second or third tier actor for some. His work in “Animal Kingdom”, “Memento”, “Lawless”, “LA Confidential”, “The Time Machine”, and “The Proposition” are some examples of his incredible talents.

Now that you’ve heard mine, it’s time for Your Voices. Who do you think are some of cinema’s more underrated actors?

Those are my examples of underrated actors (we’ll be talking about the ladies soon). I hope you’ll take time to list some of your choices and share a few comments about them. I can’t wait to learn who you think deserves more recognition! Thanks again!


55 thoughts on “Your Voices: On Underrated Actors

  1. I always felt that Joseph Gordon-Levitt was under appreciated, although it appears that he is being used a bit more since the Dark Knight Rises bump. True story, this is something I think about a lot, and now whoosh, all gone. Damn you with the putting on the spot thing. As they filter back, I will plague you here.

  2. A while ago I would have said Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender, but evidently this is not the case anymore!

    I’d have to say Cillian Murphy is one of my all time favourites and is still underused and underrated. Also, Kang-ho Song is hugely underrated! After starring in “The Good, The Bad, The Weird,” “The Host,” “Memories of Murder,” and “Thirst,’ you’d think he would skyrocket to stardom! Sadly, this hasn’t happened yet, in North America anyway. He is also set to star in “Snowpiercer,” maybe that will turn his fortunes around!

    Great post!

  3. Definitely with you on Guy Pearce, Keith. He’s consistently great but never really gets the plaudits. I think Sam Rockwell is very underrated too. I’ve only seen him in a couple of things but he’s been outstanding. I’d also maybe say John Hawkes as well. I know he’s had an Oscar nom (maybe two?) but I still think he’s pretty underrated.

  4. I totally agree with you on Guy Pearce. I think the most underrated actor is John Cazale. He only had a short career, but all of his performances were great.

    • He was really good an starred in some good movies. Yet he died in his early 40’s. Still he left us with some great performances that should be respected more. Nice mention!

    • Two gray mentions Cindy! Goldblum seems to have been thrown aside since his success in the 1980s. That’s a shame because he’s a great actor. I also agree about Reno. I have a review coming up for a French film he’s in and once again he’s great.

    • Some good mentions there. Amy Adams may get mentioned when we talk about the actresses soon. Someone else mentioned Hawkes too. I just decided to leave him off considering his two Oscar nominations. Still he does feel underappreciated doesn’t he.?

      • Oh sorry I missed the part where it was just dudes. But I said Ryan not Adams. 🙂 I think Hawkes is still in that boat because not many people know his name despite the nominations. Michael Shannon was in that boat but he’s blowing up now.

      • Michael Shannon would have been an immediate mention for me as well. Finally he’s getting attention. I love his work and I was really ticked that he didn’t get an Oscar nomination for Take Shelter.

  5. Goldblum is one of those actors that really sells the character he is portraying, and he does it consistantly. Even in Jurassic Park, with all his comical lines, it’s his part that makes the rest of the dialogue bareable. 🙂

  6. The ones that spring to mind are always the ones on the sidelines: William Fichtner, Giovanni Ribisi, Barry Pepper but the one that’s always top class and very often gets overlooked is Richard Jenkins. Such a top quality actor that only gets overlooked because he’s so damn natural at it. He makes it look easy.

    • Oh Fichtner is a GREAT mention. You know he’s one of those actors that always makes me smile when I see him pop up in a film. It seems he’s destined to be a character actor but I think he’s brilliant.

  7. I think all of mine have been mentioned already: Cillian Murphy immediately came to my mind. Also, Michael Shannon and Guy Pierce. One I would add is Richard Jenkins.

  8. Liev Schrieber, Sean William Scott, Jeff Daniels, Kurt Russel, Jim Caviezel, this is a start for actors who have made movies better because of their presence but who have largely been ignored at awards time. Some are big stars with success behind them but without the accolades they deserve.

  9. Urban was on Dredd right? I really liked his work there – he managed to create awesome performance under the helmet, that is pretty outstanding 🙂

    Oh there are so many underrated actors that I adore and name as my favorites – Michael Sheen, Richard Armitage, Idris Elba, Vera Farmiga, Andrea Riseborough, Sam Rockwell….also Michelle Fairley is definitely on the list. I’ve only seen her in Game of Thrones, but my goodness, what a talent. I hope she will have many great roles in the future.

  10. An actor who I feel has always been underrated is William Forsythe. I think he commands the screen with his dynamic presence whenever he gets a chance to shine in films such as “Gotti,” where he portrayed Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano, or in “Dear Mr. Gacy,” where he portrayed serial killer John Wayne Gacy. More recently, he appeared in the role of Manny Horvitz on “Boardwalk Empire.”

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