You see them all the time: the sort of actors that pop up, are amazing, and then disappear. Sometimes they get a bit part in a big picture; sometimes the Academy throws them a bone with a conciliatory Best Supporting nod. More often than not, they toil in obscurity, until they're either plucked out and made famous, land a sweet lead role on an AMC or HBO drama, or end up getting a Lifetime Achievement Award and a contrite handshake at the Oscars when they're 70 years old. Here, I've put together ten whom I consider to be among the most deserving, and underutilized, actors currently working. Maybe someday they'll get the recognition they deserve.
10. John Hawkes
You've Seen Him In: "Deadwood" (2004-2006) John Hawkes is one of the all-time "that guy"s; he's been working consistently since the mid-80s in both film and television, including guest turns on "Lost" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and he's only now starting to catch any kind of fire. Rangy and shifty-eyed, Hawkes has made a career of hang-dogs and hustlers, and was finally recognized with an Academy Award nomination in 2011, for his gnarled performance as Teardrop in Winter's Bone (he didn't win, of course), but subsequent knock-out roles in acclaimed indies like Martha Marcy May Marlene and The Sessions have gone mostly unnoticed by the powers-that-be. The Role He Needs: Anything like Appalachian meth-head Teardrop; something that lets him loose, lets him froth and rave like a maniac. Hawkins can be understated and sweet, but it's undeniable that he makes an incredible impression when he's let off his leash.