Top 10 Underrated Actors and Actresses

by Kali Tuttle
Underrated Actors and Actresses

Some actors and actresses in Hollywood get all the glory. As much as I love George Clooney, he’s pretty overrated, and usually one of the first actors that comes to mind when people think of Hollywood. Same with Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, or Angelina Jolie — they’re some of the actors and actresses that seem to get the credit.

This leaves some severely underrated actors and actresses to fall through the cracks, despite their amazing talent. Ed Harris is in some amazing films and always gives great performances, and yet he is hardly mentioned in mainstream media. Marlee Matlin, a deaf actress, is one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood and she definitely does not get the attention she deserves. I’m here to give those underrated actors and actresses the credit they have earned.

Honorable Mentions

Amy Adams

Rachel McAdams

Stanley Tucci

Joaquin Phoenix

Djimon Hounsou

Emily Blunt

Julia Stiles

Harvey Keitel

Helena Bonham Carter

Sigourney Weaver

#10: Sam Rockwell

Sam Rockwell may be less of an underrated actor now that he is the proud winner of the 2018 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, but he still suffers from what I will deem “Supporting Actor Syndrome.” Rockwell always gives solid performances, but he tends to get looked over simply because he isn’t playing the lead role. He was phenomenal in The Green Mile (1999) as the psychotic “Wild Bill” Wharton, but he tends to fall into Tom Hanks’ shadow for that film. He was great in Iron Man 2 (2010), but of course he gets overlooked in favor of Robert Downey Jr. (I forgot he was in this actually). I think once Rockwell can cure himself of SAS, he will become a powerhouse actor.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via

#9: Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett is absolutely flawless. While recently starring in American Horror Story and Bojack Horseman, her film work is spectacular. She gave a moving performance in Boyz n the Hood (1991) and later in What’s Love Got to Do with It? (1993) as Tina Turner. However, I find her particularly inspirational because of her dedication to her education, earning not only a Bachelor of Arts from Yale, but a Masters of Fine Arts as well. Her roles suit her character, as they are often sophisticated, intricate roles that accentuate her amazing acting ability. She’s highly underrated in Hollywood today and she deserves way more credit.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via Variety

#8: CCH Pounder

I believe my first time seeing CCH Pounder was in Avatar (2009). Then, when I became a George Clooney fan, I began to admire her more and more for her work in ER. Ever since then, I’ve been a big fan of hers. I only wish she could gain more notoriety, simply because she breaks out of Hollywood’s skinny blonde stereotype that so many have succumbed to. Not only that, but she deserves better roles than what she receives. It seems that lately she’s been in lots of TV roles, but not as many movie roles. What’s up with that, Hollywood? She’s amazing! No matter what role she’s put into, she plays with heart and soul and creates memorable characters.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via Who’s Dated Who?

#7: John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly is a funny dude. He plays beloved roles in comedies like Step Brothers (2008) and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006). He also does stellar voice acting in Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018). However, his dramatic roles have always been what draws me to him, with roles in The Thin Red Line (1998), Casualties of War (1989), and Gangs of New York (2002). He’s such a versatile actor and it frustrates me to no end to see him being overlooked year after year. Like Rockwell, he suffers from SAS, but he also suffers from simply being a comedic actor in a Hollywood that can’t seem to look past drama during awards season. If Hollywood simply realized that comedy — even slapstick, rude humor — is also an art form, they would find that people would tune in a little more.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via Decider

#6: Ellen Page

My favorite performance from Ellen Page is not in one of her better known films, like Juno (2007) or Inception (2010). Her best performance was in an abysmally dark drama called An American Crime (2007). I watched this film not too long ago and it’s definitely made its mark on me and I think much of its impact comes from the great performance Ellen Page gives. I remember reading some trivia about the movie (which is based on a true story) that said Page starved herself during the film because the girl she was portraying was not being fed. While I’m not a huge fan of extreme method acting, I admire the tenacity and strength she possesses. Page does amazing in small indie films in both dramatic and humorous roles and I really think that more people should watch her films.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via Pride

#5: Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin is an absolute gem in Hollywood. I know that she gets hooked as the token deaf character in many films, but she always does a fantastic job with the roles she gets. My first time seeing her was in her role as Joey Lucas in The West Wing. Since Aaron Sorkin knows how to write well-rounded characters, the fact that she was deaf was not made to be her only defining personality trait; she hit the role out of the park. Even when the plot revolves around her deafness, such as in Children of a Lesser God (1986) — for which she won Academy Award for Best Actress — she still gives such intricate, beautiful performances. I truly admire Matlin for the amazing actress and person she is.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via JMore

#4: Paul Giamatti

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Leonardo DiCaprio of supporting actors — a man of many underappreciated talents. Paul Giamatti is one of the most prolific sufferers of SAS in Hollywood. He always seems to play the supporting role, like in Cinderella Man (2005), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), and Saving Private Ryan (1998). I’ve always loved his performances because they always leave me feeling like I’ve been truly immersed in the story. He’s a phenomenal actor and he deserves much more credit, especially much more than the 2006 Best Supporting Actor snub (sorry, Mr. Clooney, but Giamatti really deserved it that year).

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via Variety

#3: Bradley Whitford

I love Bradley Whitford. I’ve loved him ever since The West Wing and I continue to love him every year as he acts in better and more well-known films. While I think people are catching on — especially as of late — that Bradley Whitford is an amazing actor, he definitely should have been receiving all this praise years before. Starring in films like break-out hit Get Out (2017) and family favorites like Saving Mr. Banks (2013), he only seems to be increasing his star power every year. Yet, some of his older work, such as Scent of a Woman (1992), Presumed Innocent (1990), and Philadelphia (1993) are all still great performances that I feel he should be receiving way more credit for. Whitford should have been receiving all this praise way before now.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via TV Line

#2: Ed Harris

What I find interesting about Ed Harris is that he’s in a lot of our favorite movies and always seems to give an amazing performance and yet few people will call him their favorite actor. Of course, this often happens to actors and actresses who get stuck with supporting roles. However, Ed Harris has played the lead role many times, such as in Radio (2003) and Pollock (2000). It astounds me to see how underappreciated he is as an actor; he tends to hold great movies together. Would Apollo 13 (1995) or The Truman Show (1998) have been the same without him? I think not. Honestly, I think the one reason he probably gets overlooked is because he is the most plain-looking guy I’ve ever seen. He just seems to melt into his role very easily.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via The World News

#1: Timothy Omundson

Out of all the underrated actors and actresses in Hollywood, Timothy Omundson gets slept on the most. I’ll be honest, I do have a slight bias toward him, as I am a Psych fan, but that shouldn’t detract from his great film work in other projects. Some of his best performances were in the musical TV show Galavant, Carter and June (2017), and the indie flick Wild Honey (2017). He’s also been in a superb short called Voltron: The End (2011) and an edgier documentary called Hard Pill (2005). While relatively unknown in most circles, he is a fantastic actor. I especially admire the man for pulling through a recent stroke. Despite the scare, he still filmed a role in the TV movie Psych the Movie (2017). He’s basically Superman with way more hair.

Underrated Actors and Actresses

Image via Earn the Necklace

Thank you for reading! What are you thoughts on underrated actors and actresses? Comment down below!

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Vern L. Ripley February 6, 2019 - 5:23 am

Katee Sackhoff! She is completely underrated!

The Weekly Grok December 28, 2018 - 4:33 am

I don’t see Ed Harris as plain looking, he’s traditional handsome but not the cookie cutter variety as Evans or Hemsworth.

Sam Simon December 26, 2018 - 11:29 am

Interesting list!

I also think that Ellen Page is a great actress, I always enjoy seeing her in a movie!

akucbol December 24, 2018 - 4:32 pm

Definitely agree with you about Paul. His has been around for a while, but totally UNDERRRATED!!

Kali Tuttle December 26, 2018 - 12:33 pm

Ugh right? He’s such a great actor!

ThoughtsBecomeWords December 22, 2018 - 7:26 pm

Thank you, your post brightened up my day!

Kali Tuttle December 26, 2018 - 12:32 pm

You are very welcome! Thank you for reading!

Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café December 22, 2018 - 12:28 pm

I couldn’t agree more with your list.

The Animation Commendation December 22, 2018 - 12:15 pm

CCH Pounder is Guyanese like my family, so that’s cool!

For me, I think Emily Watson is incredibly underrated; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a performance of hers that was bad!

Kali Tuttle December 26, 2018 - 12:31 pm

Oh no way! That’s pretty cool. And I agree with you on Emma Watson! Always love her performances

The Animation Commendation December 31, 2018 - 3:09 pm

I was talking about EMILY Watson actually, not EMMA Watson.

Kali Tuttle December 31, 2018 - 7:27 pm

Oh wow maybe if I had actually read your comment lol Emily Watson is an amazing actress!

Nick Kush December 22, 2018 - 9:50 am

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