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There are so many great actors and actresses out there in films who do fantastic jobs and never really get any recognition for their great performances. Which actors and actresses do you feel are underrated and deserve much more credit?
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Bradley Cooper, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Lawrence, etc, are a few recent stars who are still very underrated. If you saw Winter's Bone, you know that Jennifer Lawrence was incredible and has talents above her years. She should be a force in Hollywood for nearly another half century if she wants to.
Anyway, atop my list is James Spader, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bradley Cooper, Gary Oldman, John C. Reilly, Michael Shannon, to name a few. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon both played lead roles in the critically acclaimed Premium Rush, so I'm very ecstatic that they received some well-deserved time in the spotlight. We see John C. Reilly every so often, but it's almost never as a true, powerful lead role, even though he (along with the illustrious James Spader!) is very suited to play such roles. I'd like to see more from all of them!
Despite having played one of the most well-known characters in an incredibly popular sitcom running for a whole 9 seasons, I think John McGinley is one of the most underrated actors of our time. McGinley is one of those actors that as soon as you see him in a film/series you can tell that his character is instantly going to be very well played, and yet when the topic of "best actor" comes up his name is very rarely seen. In my opinion he's one of the best actors on our screens as he can play a huge range of different personalities within his characters, all of which manage to be incredibly convincing, and everything I've seen him in has been very entertaining. I wouldn't say he's not well-known, but when it comes to underrated actors he's definitely the first to cross my mind. I think it's mainly just because he's become labelled as Doctor Cox so when he's in other media it's hard to stop picturing him with the lab coat, but personally I think he's an amazing actor.
See, I wouldn't call Ms Lawrence underrated. Under-appreciated, maybe, but underrated? No, no. She's gotten plenty of critical acclaim for Winter's Bone alone, and I cannot wait to see how she moves and grows once the Hunger Games trilogy is done and dusted. She's already played various roles in other movies and I just don't see how she can be called underrated, her talent is being recognized all over the globe. Though I do wish people would focus less on her face and body and more on the raw talent she brings to the screen.
As for my personal list, let's see....
Bradley Cooper, Cillian Murphy, Lisa Kudrow, Montgomery Clift, Toni Collette and Laura Linney. Thank you!
When I think of underrated actors, I think of those who have appeared in lots of films whilst seemlessly blending into the background in each one: the actors who you go 'oh, I recognise him/her... but where from?' Off the top of my head, three come to mind: John Hawkes, Vera Farmiga and Tony Leung. The first two have been plugging away for years giving their all in small-ish roles; both have achieved a modicum of critical acclaim, but they both deserve so much more. Leung is justly lauded in his native China, but the Western world hasn't embraced him as much as he deserves as of yet. Hopefully that'll change in the future, though...
Vera Farmiga is refreshing in everything she's in. I'm not familiar with Leung (only having caught him in Chungking Express) but he was great as well.
I've always thought Mark Ruffalo was a great, hard-working actor who wasn't particularly known for pre-Avengers (and TKAAR), and I'm glad he's getting the star treatment he deserves. Amy Ryan also comes to mind. She's had her turns in dramas (The Wire) and comedies (Holly Flax!) and even in film (she was firing on all cylinders in Gone Baby Gone) but she still hasn't quite gotten her big break yet.
Vera Farmiga makes the Orphan. I have an odd obcession with that movie.
Speaking of the Orphan, and going by what Cat Dog said- (I think so too) Peter Saarsgard anyone? Liev Schreiber, David Thewlis. Tom Wilkinson, etc, are a few that I've seen in some very notable films, but seen in more movies than I can count and that I've had the "Where have I seen him before" moment like Jon said. Maybe not underrated per say, but they have performances that go unnoticed because of other more noteworthy roles. Also, yes! to Laura Linney and Cillian Murphy.
When I think of underrated actors, Leonardo DiCaprio is one that comes to mind. He's been in so many great movies, movies in fact that if you take him out of the role and place in a different actor, I'm not sure it would have gotten as much acclaim. He made the Aviator the great movie that it was (not to take anything away from Cate Blanchett). Tom Hanks and DiCaprio in Catch Me if you Can was a case of the actors making the movie, again. He was terrific in The Departed, he was great in Inception and Shutter Island. Even if the movie wasn't superior, his role in J. Edgar was again played well. He was sadistically entertaining in Django Unchained. Yet ever time, people pass him over, having not won a single award. Not one. An underestimated actor, an underrated actor, if there ever was one.
A few others that come to mind are Jeff Daniels, James Cromwell, and I agree with the above of Lisa Kudrow.
Robert Pattinson. I know he's extremely popular, but he's severely underrated by those who hate Twilight because not a lot of people realize that he hates Twilight more than anybody. He knew that he'd make a fortune off of the series so he did it, but holy crap he really hates it.