6 Actors Quietly Enjoying A Career Renaissance While Everybody's Been Watching McConaughey
5. Woody Harrelson
Jared Leto is not the only actor whose own renaissance has been overshadowed by the fact of it happening in the orbit of the "McConaissance". One of the best things that McConaughey has appeared in recently has not been on the big screen at all. HBO's gothic Louisiana serial killer hunt True Detective has been described as the best show currently on TV and, thanks to its anthology mini-series format, has been able to attract top film actors for an eight episode run. McConaughey as Detective Rust Cohle has received a lot of the critical plaudits for the show, but his co-star and onscreen partner Woody Harrelson, as Detective Marty Hart, has been just as good. Like McConaughey, Harrelson is on an impressive run of form in his screen roles. Yet unlike McConaughey, this does not seem to have resulted in enormous amounts of gushing praise and Academy Award nominations. While on the one hand, you might say that Harrelson has never been away to be now having a career renaissance, when you look at the run of movies he made in the 00s it's hard even to remember them: Scorched, After the Sunset, She Hate Me, North Country, The Big White, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, Free Jimmy, The Walker, The Grand, Nanking, Sleepwalking, Transsiberian, Surfer Dude, Management. Does anybody have fond memories of these films? The last few years, though, have been different. Harrelson has been getting bigger and bigger roles and delivering increasingly strong performances once again, starting with 2009's The Messenger. Harrelson won an Independent Spirit Award and was nominated for various other critics prizes for his role as a recovering alcoholic army captain, a performance he quickly followed up by demonstrating his range as a very funny zombie killing hardman in Zombieland. A corrupt cop in Rampart and a political strategist in TV movie Game Change also showed Harrelson's quality, but it was his casting in the Hunger Games franchise that really saw him step up another level. Following the commercial success of Zombieland, the Hunger Games films have become Harrelson's most popular movies. Behind star Jennifer Lawrence, it's Harrelson's performance as extremely damaged mentor Haymitch that stands out amongst the Hunger Games ensemble and, now magic heist picture Now You See Me is being lined up for a sequel, suddenly the erstwhile Cheers star has two big franchises on the go.