10 Most Underrated Actors in Hollywood

Some actors get all the credit that they deserve in Hollywood. We all know how popular Al Pacino is, or for that matter how Tom Cruise is the most famous man on planet Earth. However, amidst all this talent, there are certain actors who get completely lost or overshadowed. These are actors who are equally talented, if not more, and yet they either get stereotyped, or they themselves choose roles which are not worthy of their impeccable talent. With Matthew McConaughey winning an Academy Award for his performance in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, there is some hope for many such actors. Here is a list of some of the most dedicated talents of Hollywood, who are still waiting to get a little recognition for their outstanding acting performances.

Edward Nortan

Edward Nortan

1. Edward Nortan

He is an American actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He has given some unbelievable performances in his life in movies like 'American History X', 'Fight Club' and many more. What he did in 'Fight Club' was simply outstanding. He brought so much to the complicated character for the narrator in the film. His acting was at par with the ever-so-established Brad Pitt. He has recently started working with another upcoming talent in the form a director, Wes Anderson. He was wonderful in the film ‘The Illusionist’. Norton also tried his hand at comedy with Woody Allen’s musical 'Everyone Says I Love You', and he is one of the most diverse actors that Hollywood has ever seen. He has also played the 'Incredible Hulk!' He was in ‘Leaves of Grass’ acting against himself (double role). The coolest thing about him is that in his real life, he is an environmentalist and social activist. He has also written scripts for films he was uncredited for. He is quite an exceptional person and a great actor.


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Mark Ruffalo

Mark Ruffalo

2. Mark Ruffalo

The second person on this list also happens to be an actor who has portrayed the Marvel superhero Hulk. He has given some really interesting acting performances in films like ‘Now You See Me’, ‘Zodiac’, ‘Shutter Island’ and ‘The Kids Are All Right’. He started his career by doing small time roles, and today, he has reached a position where he is considered by important filmmakers and has been getting roles that suit his acting capabilities. He acted in ‘Shutter Island’ opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and still managed to look promising. He made his directorial debut with the film ‘Sympathy For Delicious’, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He was hugely appreciated in the film ‘Avengers’, and is someone a director can always bank upon. He is consistent and hardworking.


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Amy Adams

Amy Adams

3. Amy Adams

Amy Adams is one of the most talented actresses of her time. She worked in two of the Academy Award nominated films this year, 'American Hustle' and 'Her'. Both the films were simply brilliant. In fact, she is a five time Academy Award nominee. She has given some really versatile performances in her acting career, and has a really bright and promising path ahead of her. She started her career with a black comedy ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’. Needless to say, she was gorgeous in the film. Her first breakthrough performance was in an independent film 'Junebug', for which she received her first Oscar nomination. She played pivotal roles in the recent films 'The Fighter' and 'The Master', both being films which were widely appreciated. Amy Adams is the kind of actor who can hold films on her shoulders. It’s time she is given her due credit.


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Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper

4. Bradley Cooper

Who would have thought that an actor who was busy acting in chick-flicks and not-so-serious fluffy movies would give such improved and honest acting performances in movies like 'Limitless', 'Silver Linings Playbook' and 'American Hustle'? He has evolved as an actor over the years. He has reached a stage where he is brilliant in whatever he does, and clearly, he has worked dedicatedly for this. The director, David O Russell in some way found the brilliance in him. People’s magazine has also called him the ‘Sexiest Man Alive’. He started his career by playing a small time character in the famous television series 'Sex And The City'. He has also acted in Broadway with Julia Roberts and Paul Rudd. He has also been nominated for Razzies (which are awards for the worst films and performances of the year) for his series Hangover, and has come a long way since then. Lately, he has definitely been choosing his films very wisely.


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Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt

He is 33 years old and doesn’t look that age! He was first seen in the high school romantic comedy ‘10 Things I Hate About You’. In the last few years, he has come in 'Inception', 'Dark Knight Rises', '300 Days of Summer', 'Sin City', 'Looper', and many more. He has not been absolutely ‘bang on’ with the kind of roles he has chosen for himself, but he surely is promising. He is a perfect combination of someone who looks great and can act well. He has also chosen diverse films in his career, and surely has a long way to go from here. Last year, he made his directorial and screenwriting debut with 'Don Jon'. This film was appreciated critically, and did well at various film festivals as well.


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Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling

6. Ryan Gosling

In this list of multitalented actors, Gosling is one who is not just a screenwriter, actor and director, but also a musician. Gosling started his career as a child actor. Once he grew up, he started acting in independent films. Some of them include 'The Believer', 'Murder by Numbers', 'The Slaughter Rule' and others. He got stereotyped in those kinds of films until he bagged the leading role in 2004’s biggest romantic film, 'The Notebook'. Since then, he has consistently been giving incredible performances in films like 'The Ides of March', 'Blue Valentine', 'Lars And The Real Girl', 'Drive' and many more. He has finished directing a fantasy noir film called 'The Lost River', which is up for release this year. The coming years seem exciting for him.


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Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett

7. Cate Blanchett

This year, she finally received an Academy Award for her outstanding performance in the movie 'Blue Jasmine'. She is an Australian actor who has also acted for the stage. She is a part of this list simply because the Academy took so much time to recognize the brilliance of Cate Blanchett. She earlier won an award for her performance in 'Aviator'. Her best performance so far has to be in ‘I Am Not There’, in which she played a man. Yes, she was one of the several people who played Bob Dylan in that film. She was so convincing that a lot of people did not even recognize her. She has also been a part of the prolific 'Lord of The Rings' Trilogy by Peter Jackson. In 'Blue Jasmine', she not only proved that she was an actor ignored by people for long, but also how she can outdo herself with each and every challenging role.


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Jake Gyllenhall

Jake Gyllenhall

8. Jake Gyllenhall

He is the son of a director father and a screenwriter mother. He was first noticed in the independent cult movie 'Donnie Darko', but his most popular performance has to be in 'The Brokeback Mountain', opposite Heath Ledger. The film was directed by Ang Lee. He was beyond brilliant in that film. His career has seen some fabulous work, be it 'The Good Girl' or 'The Source Code'. In David Fincher’s film 'Zodiac', he portrayed his complicated yet interesting character with a lot of ease. He was also in 'End Of Watch', which according to Roger Ebert was the best police film ever. For his romantic comedy, 'Love And Other Drugs', he received a Golden Globe nomination. He has always been consistent with his stellar acting performances. This guy deserves more challenging roles to bring out the best in him.


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Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr.

9. Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. is surely very popular, but he is definitely not considered in the lot of the best of the best actors. However, if one looks at his career carefully, they can easily find several interesting acting performances. In 1992, he starred in a film called 'Chaplin' where he played the role of Charlie Chaplin. This role helped him get his first Academy Award nomination. His performance in 'Tropic Thunder' (the 2008 action-comedy film) was beyond hilarious. He was again nominated for the Academy Awards for that. He has revamped the image of a super hero for us with his 'Iron Man' series. One can be sure of the fact that if he is in the film, it will turn out to be an interesting watch.


Photo Courtesy: Alan Light

Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey

10. Jim Carrey

All his life, he has played extremely hilarious characters. Nobody could imagine him doing anything else. He was often accused of hamming as an actor, but when this guy did 'Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind', everybody ate their own words. He not only fit well in the role, but also proved that he is quite an incredible actor. If given a chance, this actor has a lot of caliber inside him. In 'Christmas Carol', he played multiple characters and did full justice to the film.


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  • Edward Nortan
  • Mark Ruffalo
  • Amy Adams
  • Bradley Cooper
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Ryan Gosling
  • Cate Blanchett
  • Jake Gyllenhall
  • Robert Downey Jr.
  • Jim Carrey

The problem with most actors is that as soon as they do well in a certain character, they get stereotyped. This is essentially the reason why some actors, in spite of being incredibly talented, remain underrated. It’s time that we start paying a tribute to these actors as well. For without them, some of the greatest films would have remained bland and boring.

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