Top 10 current stars with amazing, yet overlooked performances

by brandon1930 | created - 13 Feb 2011 | updated - 13 Feb 2011 | Public

A lot of the biggest actors today gave some of their best performances in movies which, despite critical acclaim, hardly anyone saw or remembers.

1. Leonardo DiCaprio

Actor | Inception

Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom Growing Pains (1985) and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3 (1991), to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s,...

Most people seem almost unaware of his existence prior to Titanic, but at the age of 19, he became the 7th youngest actor to ever be nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, for his portrayal of a mentally challenged boy in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?", which also stars Johnny Depp as his older brother.

A little anecdote: I've been a Leo fan for a while but when a friend recommended Gilbert Grape, I didn't really know much about it and didn't know Leo was in it. I watched the ENTIRE THING and had no idea it was him until the credits rolled. He was THAT immersed in the role.

2. Jim Carrey

Actor | Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Jim Carrey, Canadian-born and a U.S. citizen since 2004, is an actor and producer famous for his rubbery body movements and flexible facial expressions. The two-time Golden Globe-winner rose to fame as a cast member of the Fox sketch comedy In Living Color (1990) but leading roles in Ace Ventura: ...

I don't feel that "Eternal Sunshine" really got the attention it deserved, but I think Carrey's most overlooked, underrated role is in "Man on the Moon" a biopic of Andy Kaufman. Kaufman was a brilliant comedian but also struggled with a lot of personal problems and Carrey captures all of this perfectly. If "The Truman Show" and "Eternal Sunshine" weren't enough to convince you of his dramatic ability, you need to watch "Man on the Moon".

3. Adam Sandler

Actor | The Waterboy

Adam Richard Sandler was born September 9, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York, to Judith (Levine), a teacher at a nursery school, and Stanley Alan Sandler, an electrical engineer. He is of Russian Jewish descent. At 17, he took his first step towards becoming a stand-up comedian when he spontaneously took ...

Probably the only truly good performance he's ever given was in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch Drunk Love", in which he plays a pretty familiar character (nice guy with violent tendencies) but in a much less comedic fashion. People expecting your typical Sandler movie won't be impressed, but if you go in with an open mind, I think you'll appreciate both the movie and the performance.

4. Alec Baldwin

Actor | The Departed

Raven-haired, suavely handsome and prolific actor Alec Baldwin was born on April 3, 1958 in Massapequa, New York, and is the oldest, and easily the best-known, of the four Baldwin brothers in the acting business (the others are Stephen Baldwin, William Baldwin and Daniel Baldwin).

Alexander Rae ...

Currently known for his role on "30 Rock", Alec Baldwin has actually done quite a few well-received dramatic movies. His most overlooked performance has to be "Glengarry Glen Ross". His co-stars are some of the most talented actors of the past century (Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, and Ed Harris) and he's on screen less than 10 minutes, but his monologue is still one of the most memorable parts in an incredibly well-written film.

5. Christian Bale

Actor | The Dark Knight

Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK on January 30, 1974, to English parents Jennifer "Jenny" (James) and David Charles Howard Bale. His mother was a circus performer and his father, who was born in South Africa, was a commercial pilot. The family lived in different ...

He shot to super-stardom with his portrayal of Batman, but before that, he appeared in many amazing movies that weren't quite able to slip into the mainstream. As usual, his best performance was in one of the least (financially) successful movies, "The Machinist", a thriller in which he plays an insomniac slowly losing his mind.

6. Johnny Depp

Actor | Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Johnny Depp is perhaps one of the most versatile actors of his day and age in Hollywood.

He was born John Christopher Depp II in Owensboro, Kentucky, on June 9, 1963, to Betty Sue (Wells), who worked as a waitress, and John Christopher Depp, a civil engineer.

Depp was raised in Florida. He dropped ...

He's well-known for his partnership with Tim Burton, and one of his absolute best performances is indeed in a Burton film, "Ed Wood", in which he portrays infamous Z-list director of the 'golden age of cinema', Ed Wood. Quirky, comedic, and pitiful, Depp portrays a very unique individual.

7. Robert De Niro

Actor | Raging Bull

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at...

Another actor well-known for his partnership with a famous director (Scorsese), De Niro gave one of his best (THE best, according to Scorsese) performances in Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" in which he plays an aspiring comedian who ends up stalking his idol, a late-night talk show host (played by Jerry Lewis). The film is all the more relevant today, considering the obsession with celebrities that's so prevalent in pop culture.

8. Mark Wahlberg

Producer | The Fighter

American actor Mark Wahlberg is one of a handful of respected entertainers who successfully made the transition from teen pop idol to acclaimed actor. A Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee for The Departed (2006) who went on to receive positive critical reviews for his performance in The Fighter (...

Paul Thomas Anderson's "Boogie Nights" was relatively successful, but I don't think a lot of the people who are Wahlberg fans have likely seen it, as they really should. It has an amazing supporting cast (Julianne Moore, John C Reilly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Heather Graham, Burt Reynolds) is likely a large part of the reason Wahlberg is successful today.

9. Will Ferrell

Actor | Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

John William Ferrell was born in Irvine, California, to Betty Kay (Overman), a teacher, and Roy Lee Ferrell, Jr., a musician. His parents were originally from Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, Ferrell became interested in performing while a student ...

A common theme to this list seems to be comedians who have tried their hand in more dramatic fare, and Ferrell is no exception. In "Stranger than Fiction", Ferrell plays an auditor whose life, he finds out, is being narrated by a famous author. A very unique movie and an excellent performance by Ferrell. There are comedic elements to the movie, but he manages to find just the right tone for the movie.

10. Natalie Portman

Actress | Black Swan

Natalie Portman is the first person born in the 1980s to have won the Academy Award for Best Actress (for Black Swan (2010)).

Natalie was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the only child of Avner Hershlag, an Israeli-born doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an ...

She's up for a Best Actress Oscar, she's a Harvard grad, she's appeared in a wide array of films, and she's not even 30. With her accomplishments, it can be easy to overlook her first feature film, "The Professional". She was only 13 in it, but it was not your typical child actor role: after her family is killed, she befriends and falls in love with a middle-aged hitman (Jean Reno), hoping to learn the trade. Definitely worth a look, as the talent was apparent even then.