Episode 52 – Giving Them Their Due: Underrated Actors Part 1
Why Watch That
It’s not always the most talented person who gets to be the star, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t get the job. In this episode, the Critic and the Referee discuss underrated actors. While these actors don’t always make the big bucks, they consistently deliver performances worth talking about.
Frances McDormand (born June 23, 1957) is an American actress. She has won an Academy Award and a Tony Award. She married director and writer Joel Coen in 1984 and has starred in several of the Coen brothers’ films, including Blood Simple (1984), Raising Arizona (1987), Fargo (1996), which won her the Academy Award for Best Actress, The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) and Burn After Reading (2008).
McDormand is also a three-time nominee of the Academy Award For Best Supporting Actress for her performances in Mississippi Burning (1988), Almost Famous (2000) and North Country (2005).
Her other films include Short Cuts (1993), Primal Fear (1996), Wonder Boys (2000) and Something’s Gotta Give (2003). She has also been nominated for four Golden Globes, three BAFTA Awards and an Emmy Award.
She returned to Broadway for the first time in twenty years in 2008 to star in the revival of The Country Girl and received a Drama Desk nomination. In 2011, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for her performance as Margi Walsh in Good People.
Lauren Velez (born November 2, 1964) is an American actress and the twin sister of actress Loraine Vélez. Her most notable roles are María LaGuerta on Dexter, Detective Nina Moreno on Fox’s New York Undercover, Dr. Gloria Nathan on HBO’s prison drama Oz, and Elena on ABC’s comedy-drama Ugly Betty.
She made her film debut as Lisette Linares in the movie I Like It Like That alongside Rita Moreno and Jon Seda. She was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award and The Desi Award for Best Lead Actress. The movie was nominated for four Independent Spirit Awards and won an NYFCCA award. On June 24, 2006, she won the Best Supporting Actress award at the 2006 Long Island International Film Expo for her performance as Roseanne Crystal in the independent feature film Serial.
Sam Elliott (born August 9, 1944) is an American actor. His rangy physique, thick horseshoe moustache, deep, resonant voice, and Western drawl lend to frequent casting as cowboys and ranchers. His other credits over the years have included playing Marvel Comics characters General Ross in Hulk (2003), The Caretaker in Ghost Rider (2007), and Wade Garrett in “Road House” (1989).
Jackie Earle Haley (born Jack Earle Haley; July 14, 1961) is an American film actor. An Academy Award nominee, he is perhaps best known for his roles as Moocher in Breaking Away, Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears, pedophile Ronnie McGorvey in Little Children, the vigilante Rorschach in Watchmen, and horror icon Freddy Krueger in the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street and its upcoming sequel A Nightmare On Elm Street: Fallen. He also starred as Guerrero in Fox’s drama Human Target.
He played Willie Loomis in the 2012 film adaptation of Dark Shadows, directed by Tim Burton, and played Confederate States Vice President Alexander H. Stephens in Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg.
Parker Posey (born November 8, 1968) is an American actress. During the 1990s, she became known as the “Queen of the Indies” after a series of roles in independent films. She is known for her improvisational roles in Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries, as well.
Posey got her first break in television with the role of Tess Shelby on the daytime soap opera As the World Turns. Posey’s first major role in a feature film was in Dazed and Confused (1993), a cult classic featuring Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Jason London. Posey has had supporting roles in several big budget studio films, including You’ve Got Mail (1998), Scream 3 (2000), Josie and the Pussycats (2001), Laws of Attraction (2004), Blade: Trinity (2004) and Superman Returns (2006), in which she played Kitty Kowalski, Lex Luthor’s ditzy sidekick.
Anna Maria Horsford (born March 6, 1948) is an American television and film actress. She is perhaps best known for her roles as Thelma Frye on the NBC sitcom Amen, as Dee Baxter on the WB sitcom The Wayans Bros., and as Craig Jones’ mother Betty in the comedy films Friday and Friday After Next. She portrayed Helen on the BET sitcom Reed Between the Lines.
More recently, she was seen in the first season of Grey’s Anatomy. She returned to the big screen in Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas (2013) as one of Madea’s relatives.
Catherine Ann Keener (born March 23, 1959) is an American actress. She has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her roles as Maxine in Being John Malkovich (1999) and Harper Lee in Capote (2005). Keener also appeared in the critically acclaimed films Into the Wild (2007) and Synecdoche, New York (2008).
She guest-starred as an artist on an episode of Seinfeld called “The Letter.” She played Jerry’s girlfriend, an artist who painted a famous portrait of Kramer. Keener then earned her first starring role in Johnny Suede, which featured the then unknown Brad Pitt. Her performance gained critical acclaim, and she earned her first Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead.
She went on to work with director Tom Dicillo, again, in Living in Oblivion (1995). Two years later, she was once again nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for her performance in Walking and Talking, an independent cult-comedy film directed by Nicole Holofcener.
She earned her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Being John Malkovich (1999).
Sandra Miju Oh (born July 20, 1971) is a Canadian actress. She is best known for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on ABC’s medical drama Grey’s Anatomy, for which she won a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. Oh’s work on Grey’s Anatomy also earned her five nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. In addition, she had a supporting role in the HBO original series Arli$$.
She has appeared in feature films as well, most notably in Sideways, Under the Tuscan Sun, and Last Night, for which she won a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. She also appeared in The Night Listener, Blindness, Bean, Wilby Wonderful, Hard Candy, Rabbit Hole, and Sorry, Haters.
She starred in the acclaimed Canadian films Double Happiness, The Diary of Evelyn Lau, and Long Life, Happiness & Prosperity. She won her first Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Double Happiness.
Stephen Root (born November 17, 1951) is an American actor and voice actor. He has starred as Jimmy James on the TV sitcom NewsRadio and as Milton Waddams in the film Office Space. He provided the voices for Bill Dauterive and Buck Strickland in the animated series King of the Hill. He has won acclaim for both dramatic and comedic roles such as Captain K’Vada in the Star Trek: The Next Generation feature-length episode “Unification” and as Gordon Pibb in DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story.
He has played various characters in animated films, such as Ice Age, Finding Nemo, and Courage the Cowardly Dog. In other animated television, his series regular roles include Commander Chode in Tripping the Rift and Homebase in The X’s. Additionally, he has provided guest-starring vocal talent in many animated television series such as Chowder and Teen Titans. He recently lent his voice to Batman: The Brave and the Bold as Woozy Winks and The Penguin.
Elmore Rual “Rip” Torn, Jr. (born February 6, 1931) is an American actor of stage, film and television.
Torn received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role in the 1983 film Cross Creek. His work includes the role of Artie, the producer, on The Larry Sanders Show, for which he was nominated for six Emmy Awards, winning in 1996. Torn also won an American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Male in a Series and two CableACE Awards for his work on the show. He was nominated for a Satellite Award in 1997 as well.
He ventured into directing with the offbeat comedy The Telephone, starring Whoopi Goldberg. In 1990, he played the ultra-hawkish Colonel Fargo in the cold-war drama By Dawn’s Early Light. In 1991, he portrayed Albert Brooks’ defense attorney in the comedy Defending Your Life. In 1993, Torn played the OCP CEO in the science fiction film RoboCop 3 and was opposite Tantoo Cardinal in Where the Rivers Flow North, which featured a cameo role for Michael J. Fox. He played Gord’s dad, James “Jim” Brody, in the 2001 film Freddy Got Fingered.
Giancarlo Giuseppe Alessandro Esposito (born April 26, 1958) is an American actor, director, and producer. He is best known for his portrayal of Gustavo “Gus” Fring in the AMC series Breaking Bad for which he won the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama award at the 2012 Critics’ Choice Television Awards and was nominated for an Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series award at the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards.
He is well known for his roles in Spike Lee films such as Do the Right Thing, School Daze, and Mo’ Better Blues. Other notable films include The Usual Suspects and King of New York. He has portrayed Sidney Glass/Magic Mirror on ABC’s Once Upon a Time and Major Tom Neville in the NBC series Revolution.
He has joined the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. He played Ra’s al Ghul in Son of Batman and is set to portray Black Spider in the upcoming Batman: Assault on Arkham.
Joan Allen (born August 20, 1956) is an American actress. She has worked in theatre, film and television. She is a Tony Award winner, and a three-time Academy Award nominee.
Allen began her acting career in 1977 with the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She made her Broadway debut in the 1987 original production of the play Burn This, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. She also received a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1988 original production of The Heidi Chronicles.
Her Academy Award nominations include Best Supporting Actress for Nixon (1995) and The Crucible (1996) and Best Actress for The Contender (2000).
Her other films include Manhunter (1986), Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988), In Country (1989), The Ice Storm (1997), Face/Off (1997), Pleasantville (1998), The Notebook (2004), The Bourne Supremacy (2004), The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), Death Race (2008) and The Bourne Legacy (2012).