“Underrated” is a difficult term to use when referring to actors. Appreciation for a tangible work of art – a song, a painting, a movie – is easy to label as “underrated”: If the public (and critical) perception of a work does not line up with the strength and quality you believe the work has, it is “underrated” in your eyes.
But how does one rate actors exactly? Is it public awareness? Most people aren’t aware of any actors outside of the handful that are currently on the A-list. Ask an average person on the street who Philip Seymour Hoffman is, chances are they won’t know beyond “that guy”, if that. But that doesn’t make him underrated – Hoffman is one of the most revered and respected actors working today (though, ten years ago, the “underrated” argument could have easily been made for him).
Is it awards recognition? We all know the Academy is not the most forward-thinking organization, and often rewards actors who disappear into obscurity after their win for a novel performance that everyone forgets about a year later. You will find Oscar-nominated actors on this list, but that does not change their underrated status. If these actors got what they deserved, they would be Oscar winners by now.
As a matter of fact, I believe all of these factors and more contribute to an actor being underrated. On this list you will find twelve of the most hard-working, dedicated actors working today, delivering some of the most powerful performances and showing some of the most impressive acting range… and failing to receive the widespread recognition, respect, and awards they deserve. You may not recognize their names immediately, but hopefully, you will someday soon. These are the unsung heroes of the acting world today. These are… the top 12 underrated actors and actresses.
This article was first posted on November 5, 2012