6. Guy Pearce - The Hurt Locker
The Hurt Locker came out of nowhere in 2008 to steal our hearts and hoover up all the awards. The war drama also made a star out of Jeremy Renner, who plays a risk-addicted bomb disposal expert. You may not have known he was the lead if you walked into it blind since Guy Pearce is introduced as the leader of the bomb squad.
He puts on a special suit to inspect a possible device, and after a couple of sweaty, intense minutes the bomb explodes and wipes out Pearce with it. Even if people walked into the cinema knowing Pearce wasn’t the star, it was still startling to see him get taken out so quickly. This was likely to send the following message to the everyone watching; these characters can die at any moment.
The movie reinforces this halfway through, where Ralph Fiennes suddenly shows up and is killed about five minutes later.