Emma Kiely looks at the careers of those actors who are trying to find the light they deserve.
There are millions of actors in the world. Some have Oscars and live in mansions in Beverly Hills and some live in London apartments and play the same part in the same play four nights a week. Some actors are extremely talented, whilst others just have famous fathers or perfectly sculpted cheekbones.
With an ever-flowing sea of new and old, male and female faces, it’s hard to keep track of who really deserves the recognition and appreciation. The likes of Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Gary Oldman all deserve the hype surrounding them because of their incomparable talent and extensive range. There are hundreds of actors however, who work just as hard, extend their talent across a wide spectrum of genres, and yet don’t gain the recognition they deserve.
With an ever-flowing sea of new and old, male and female faces, it’s hard to keep track of who really deserves the recognition and appreciation.
There are multiple reasons why actors don’t get their warranted appreciation. Maybe they’re not good-looking enough or they’re not as active on social media or in the press as much. For many, it is because their unique and incomparable acting style makes their performances an ‘acquired taste.’
An obvious example is Steve Buscemi, an actor that receives more attention through internet memes than his talent. Due to his jumpy, uneasy demeanour and villainous voice, his work isn’t noticed by a wide audience. Buscemi, although indeed can give off a creepy vibe, is an outstanding actor as he offers comic relief within the tension of Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, fits the perfect villain in Fargo and gives a surprisingly sweet and lighter performance as a poet/bank thief in Burton’s Big Fish.
Buscemi’s talents also stretch to television, as he was nominated for Golden Globes and Emmys for his role in Boardwalk Empire. When stripped of the repercussions surrounding him because of his appearance, it’s clear that Buscemi is just as deserving of roles, awards and attention as the likes of George Clooney or Matt Damon.
Another example of why we shouldn’t judge actors by their headshots in Hollywood can be seen in Paul Giamatti. Many know him as the greedy movie director in Big Fat Liar and because of this he is always tied to villainous roles. There is no denying that Giamatti fits a great villain as he portrays Brian Wilson’s destructive psychiatrist in Love and Mercy, or as the ruthless DA in the HBO series Billions. Giamatti also showcases his skill in the black comedy Sideways which has become somewhat of a cult classic as well as his Oscar-nominated performance in Cinderella Man, opposite Russell Crowe.
Buscemi and Giamatti are just two from a whole range of actors who are shadowed by big names. To mention a few, Tim Roth, Paul Bettany, the late John Hurt, and our very own Andrew Scott. Just because they are not in consistently high-budget Hollywood blockbusters and are not ambassadors for Dior does not make them any less talented or deserving of worldwide recognition.
Actresses can be shunt into the dark as both Hollywood and the public love the idea of an ‘It-girl’ who hogs the limelight. The likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Alicia Vikander, and Margot Robbie are all objects of both producers’ and movie-goers’ attention. This can be extremely destructive as it guides people’s attention away from actresses who are just as talented and deserving.
A must-see you probably missed last year was Christine starring English actress Rebecca Hall, who you probably know from Starter for Ten or Vicky Christina Barcelona. Hall’s noticeable roles have been scarce in recent years and Christine is a prime reason why she shouldn’t be forgotten.
Another actress who is no stranger to living in the shadow of others is Elizabeth Olsen, younger sister to Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Olsen started off with small parts in her sisters’ films and it wasn’t until 2011 when she had her breakout in the independent films Silent House and Martha Marcy May Marlene, which both earned her critical acclaim. Now, Olsen can be seen as the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers films and in her venture into comedy in last year’s Ingrid Goes West. She’s a fantastic actress who should not be in the shadow of anyone.
The best thing about underrated actors is their opportunity to defy the preconceptions people have of them.
The best thing about underrated actors is their opportunity to defy the preconceptions people have of them. With the monumental success of Stranger Things in recent years, it not only rebooted the world’s obsession with the 1980s, but also with Winona Ryder. Ryder rode a long wave of success in the 80s and 90s with teen classics such as BeetleJuice, Heathers, and Edward Scissorhands into more mature roles in Little Women and The Age of Innocence, both for which she was nominated for an Oscar.
There was little to be seen of Ryder in the 2000s, following personal trouble, and everyone thought her talent was left in the 90s. Now, with the success of Stranger Things and her iconic performance, Ryder has reclaimed her position as an acting legend.
Actors really are like vintage clothing, the best ones, are always the hardest to find.