Underrated Actors/Actresses

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Cachoo, May 28, 2011.

  1. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Ok--without skating (and college basketball) I'm bored: So my question to you is this: Whether old or young or middle-aged, and dead or alive, who do you feel are underrated actors/actresses?

    My selection is (or I think they still are) a couple:

    British actors David Thewliss and Anna Friel. David especially but he is not conventionally handsome so that must make him a difficult fit for producers looking at the bottom line. From what I've read they are also fine stage actors though I've not seen them. I think Anna gets some throwaway parts sometimes but I love that she had comedic skills I've read are often more difficult than dramatic roles.

    Tell me who I should be watching for when I'm flipping through all of those cable channels this summer.
  2. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Naomi Watts. She was amazing in Mulholland Drive. She hasn't had many roles worthy of her talent since.

    Edward Norton. Loved him in The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Illusionist and The Painted Veil (with Naomi Watts).

    Agree about David Thewliss.
  3. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    Among those actors I feel are underutilized on film, Stephen Dillane (Leonard Woolf in The Hours), Kelly MacDonald (Carla Jean in No Country for Old Men), David Paymer (Dan Enright in Quiz Show), and Michael Pennington (the eponymous hero of the 1984 BBC production of Oedipus the King) are my favorites. In Pennington's case, however, all of his best work seems to be on television and in the theater, but I for one will be looking out for his performance as Michael Foot in The Iron Lady.
  4. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    I LURVE them in The Painted Veil. Beautiful movie :swoon:

    James McAvoy. Great in Atonement, The Last King of Scotland, Becoming Jane, and he was even good in that schlock Wanted.

    Ever since Wimbledon, I've quite liked Paul Bettany.
  5. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    Kevin Bacon, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox, Tim Roth

    The following are all from an earlier era and may not really belong in the category of underrated. They just weren't as famous as others of their time. The names may not be familiar, but the faces would be. They all show up on TCM.

    Beulah Bondi, Edward Arnold, Donald Crisp, Sterling Holloway, Spring Byington, Gladys Cooper. Also from this era, the marvelous Jack Carson and Joel McCrea, who was a fine comedic actor before his western movie days.
  6. MR-FAN

    MR-FAN Kostner Softie

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    cillian murphy
  7. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    ITA about Kevin Bacon. Love him.
  8. cailuj365

    cailuj365 New Member

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    YES. Completely agree.
  9. pollyanna

    pollyanna Don't blink

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    Hugh Bonneville. I always admired how brilliant he was with comedy, and then he blew me away with his cruelty in Daniel Deronda.
  10. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I like him, too.
  11. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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    Brittany Murphy
    Juliette Lewis
  12. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Kirsten Dunst. Glad to see her win the major acting prize at this year's Cannes.
  13. Eden

    Eden Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree regarding Naomi Watts and Edward Norton.
    Would like to add to that list:

    Paul Giamatti, who was absolutely amazing in Sideways & The Illusionist;

    Helena Bonham Carter, whom I loved in A Room with a View, The Wings of the Dove & The King's Speech;

    Stanley Tucci, who was wonderful in The Devil Wears Prada & Julie & Julia;

    Billy Crystal did a great job in Soap (as Jodie, who was probably among the first gay characters on US TV), Throw Momma from the Train & When Harry Met Sally;

    Michelle Pfeiffer who was fabulous in The Fabulous Baker Boys, Dangerous Liaisons & The Age of Innocence;

    Leonardo DiCaprio deserved an Oscar for his roles in What's Eating Gilbert Grape & Shutter Island.
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  14. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Donnie Wahlberg. Yes, *that* Donnie Wahlberg. He's really very good.
  15. Satellitegirl

    Satellitegirl New Member

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    Bruce Willis. He may do a lot of action movies, but the ones where he actually has dialogue and has to do more than just jump from building to building...he's excellent. Unbreakable is one of my favorite with him :)

    Claire Danes is another one. Temple Grandin was great, but not a lot of people saw it and you rarely hear people talking about her acting abilities.
  16. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    I loved him in Band of Brothers. But I loved just about everyone in that.
  17. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    ITA! Daniel Deronda was actually my first exposure to him so I was pleasantly surprised by how well he does comedy. I love him as the patriarch in Downton Abbey. He is a really versatile actor.

    Actually Daniel Deronda had quite a few actors who I think are underappreciated: Ramola Garai, Jodhi May and Hugh Dancy (he even has a great American accent to boot). Jodhi and Hugh D. also are quite versatile and I would love to see them in more productions.
  18. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    When I was thinking about my list I wanted to add Liev Schreiber: the mention of Naomi Watts made me think of him. And I agree about Naomi...she is first rate.
  19. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    He was the voice of Winnie the Pooh, and he also was in a Sonja Henie movie Iceland (the first movie of hers I ever saw).
  20. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

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    :respec:
  21. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Ciaran Hinds! Yes! I totally agree.

    This actor has been around and had lots of roles, and he's a familiar name, but to me he has never gotten the respect he deserves: Gary Oldman. Yes, he's had roles, but he's never been that "celebrated" actor who gets the top choices of character parts. He's made a lot of junk, and he's fought some personal demons. But he seems to be coming out of that now. His abilities are far beyond the Harry Potter movies...fun though they are. I remember him in The Professional...he was unbelieveable! And here's one for all the Black Swan/Natalie Portman "did she or didn't she" crowd....In "Immortal Beloved" Gary Oldman actually played the exact notes of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto third movement along with the London Symphony....I'm sure he didn't sound like the greatest of pianists, but I can tell you from personal experience...those notes are not easy to play! In fact, I can equate the difficulty of performing that piano concerto with performing Odette/Odile. Natalie gets an Oscar...Gary gets....????? Not knocking Natalie-just sayin'. I mean Gary played the actual notes! Natalie struck some poses....both had doubles.

    Maybe with Gary having "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" coming out, he'll start getting that respect he deserves-it's supposed to be a fabulous movie.

    Of course, it could be all Gary's fault....bad choices in both lifestyle and in roles. But-I think he's highly deserving of better roles and praise.
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  22. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I agree, Claire Danes is an excellent actress. And I think she gets praise for the significant roles she plays, don't forget Brokedown Palace and Romeo and Juliette. Temple Grandin was an exceptional portrayal of an exceptional woman. I think she is very selective (we'll forgive her for doing Mod Squad) and that might be why she doesn't do as many films as some other actresses.

    Love Edward Norton, I just re-watched Red Dragon last night. I will forgive him for the misguided The Hulk.

    Agree about Michelle Pfeiffer, she is an amazing actress. I wonder if Grease II effected her?

    Leonardo DiCaprio is also great, I couldn't stand him in Titanic, but he has proven himself over and over, since then.

    Holley, I think Gary Oldman started out with a lot of respect. I remember him being considered one of the most talented, young, up and coming dramatic actors. It seems that somewhere along the line that fizzled. I don't know why, maybe he became too risky?
  23. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Angela Bassett - she should be doing more - she's amazing in all respects.
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  24. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    :respec: She is an incredible actress and she should definitely be getting more work.
  25. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    I thought that she'd be working more after her knockout performance in the Tina Turner bio, but I've heard that she's very, very selective when it comes to picking parts. She even turned down Monster's Ball, the role that won Halle Berry her Oscar. Halle was good, but I do think that Angela would have done a lot more with the part.
  26. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Often actors do not get the recognition due to their own decisions with parts. sometimes they are wrong, by turning down a plumb role as in Angela Bassett and Monster's Ball, or doing a lame movie like Claire Danes in Mod Squad. Sometimes they just don't feel a part, but I respect their integrity. Sometimes they do drivel, and I respect their need to eat :).
  27. Sparks

    Sparks Well-Known Member

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    Ed Harris.
  28. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Definitely Ed Harris. Did a terrific job in Pollock. And who doesn't love Stanley Tucci.
  29. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

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    Love Jodhi May. She's done boatloads of theatre work in England, but ever since seeing A World Apart and Last of the Mohicans, I kept hoping she'd do more film and TV series. Catherine McCormack from Breaveheart is another actress that I'd like to see more of. She was very good in Lights Out, even though her American accent might need a little more work. Any producers willing to cast her in a new series and give her a chance to do just that :p?

    Don't think anyone's mentioned Andrew Scott from the new Sherlock series and Lennon Naked, or Tobias Menzies from Spooks and HBO's Rome.

    General trend seems to be most of the under-appreciated actors are from Ireland or the UK -not exactly a huge surprise:).
  30. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Grease II was very early in her career. Pfeiffer has proven herself many times since then. I think her career has cooled due to a combinations of her taking some time off to raise her kids, making too many dramas that failed at the box offices, and just not getting the juicy roles any more now that she's past 40. For a while it seemed like Susan Sarandon had first dip on roles for older actresses and then Meryl Streep became hot again and now Helen Mirren is the hot go to old dame for Hollywood.

    Would've loved to see Michelle as one of the leads in Mama Mia.
  31. KHenry14

    KHenry14 Well-Known Member

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    A couple of my favorites...

    Stephen Root--he works all the time and is consistantly good. From Dodgeball ("L for Love") to Finding Nemo and King of the Hill to The Men Who Stare at Goats and Office Space he makes an impact. And of course his break out role on News Radio was a hoot.

    Bruce McGill--starting wilth D-Day Lewis in Animal House all the way through My Cousin Vinny, Collateral and Cinderella Man, he delivers varied and important performances. Plus he's a great guy.

    Stephen Lang--Talk about an intense performer. He plays crazy (The Hard Way) Obsessed (Avatar) an outlaw (Tombstone) a prima donna (Gettysburg) and brings it every time. You can hardly believe it's the same guy playing a serial killer The Party Crasher, George Pickett and Colonel Quaritch
  32. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    Thought of another actress I feel is underrated--Samantha Morton. I've loved her in just about everything I've seen, especially In America. And the actor who played her husband was wonderful as well.

    Regarding Angela Bassett, she's talented as well as one of the most beautiful actresses out there.
  33. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

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    Definitely!

    Band of Brothers has to be one of the best-cast projects I've ever seen, and Wahlberg was certainly one of the standouts.

    Oh, yes, considering how good she was in Hairspray, that would have been fantastic. She's much more versatile than people give her credit for.
  34. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I agree, but sometimes actors can get labeled.

    I wonder if Michelle is almost too pretty, still, to be cast in the juicy older women roles.
  35. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    I don't think that anyone thinks that Liev is underrated, what with his multiple Tony's and rep as an "actor's actor". I think he's just little known outside of acting/Broadway circles. I know he's been trying to find his big break in film. I hope he does.
  36. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Ed Norton underrated? He got an Oscar nom for his first major film (Primal Fear). He starred in Fight Club and got another Oscar nomination for American History X. He's not underrated, he's one of the most respected A-list actors. (And I love him)

    My pick for an underrated actor is Jim Carrey. I wish he'd be given (or choose) more serious roles, because Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and The Truman Show are two of my favourite movies.

    I also think Marisa Tomei's Oscar was completely deserved. I think her acting is wonderful.

    Oh- and every movie that requires a romantic leading man (not a youth) should just go ahead and cast Sean Bean and I'd be very happy. The fact that he got so typecast as a villain in NA is just a tragedy.

    I just went to see Pirates of the Carribean 4 - to see the amazing Ian McShane. He's right up there with DeNiro in filling the screen with his presence.

    eta - Stephen Root- I agree he is great. He's one of those "Look it's that guy" actors, who I'm always happy to see.
    Last edited: May 30, 2011
  37. TygerLily

    TygerLily Well-Known Member

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    I saw him in two different things this weekend and he was just great in both!
  38. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    We're watching all three years of Deadwood for the first time....we're just starting year 3 tonight. I have been enjoying the lovely Mr. Olyphant, but the longer we watch, the more I look for and enjoy the scenes with McShane...yes, presence! I even find him somehow attractive in a gnarly kind of way. Those eyes! That series was HIS.
  39. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    Agreed. She was very highly rated for her role in My So-Called Life, which is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and won a Golden Globe for it.

    I LOVE her!!! My family was on vacation when BBC's production of Tom Jones was serialized on A&E, and we rushed back to watch it every night. She was so good. And what a departure her part in Minority Report was from typical actressy roles.


    Agreed on both points. I was disappointed Carrey wasn't nominated for Eternal Sunshine, he really dove into that performance and it's one of my favorite movies (not in the least because of Miss Kate).

    Who could argue with Tomei?! "Imagine you're a little de-ah, just wanting a sip of wah-tah, then BAM!" :rofl:
  40. rudi

    rudi New Member

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    I always thought that Eric Roberts is underrated and is 10 times the actress his sister is. (I think Julia Roberts is an overrated actress. She seems to act the same in every movie.) Haven't seen him in anything lately, so I'm not sure if he is still out there acting.

    I also agree with those of you who said Leonardo DiCaprio. I think that he was overlooked for a few Oscar nominations and possibly overlooked for an Oscar win for What's Eating Gilbert Grape. (I can't remember who won that year.)

    I also think Johnny Depp and Claire Danes are fantastic actors and perhaps underrated. I'd like to see both of them win an Oscar at some point.