My 20 most underrated actors & actresses...

Opinions come and they go but these are a few excellent actors who are instantly recognisable but you sometimes find yourself IMDB'ing the film/TV series to find certain names!
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1.
Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage is an American actor. Since his breakout role in The Station Agent (2003), he has appeared in numerous films and theatre plays. Since 2011, Dinklage has portrayed Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series Game of Thrones. For this he won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series...
“ Peter Dinklage (born June 11, 1969) is an American film, television and theater actor. Since his breakout role in the 2003 film The Station Agent, he has acted in Elf, Underdog, Find Me Guilty, the 2007 Death at a Funeral film and the 2010 remake, and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Dinklage was born with achondroplasia, causing dwarfism. His height is 4'5" (1.35m). When asked about this, he said: "When I was younger, definitely, I let it get to me. As an adolescent, I was bitter and angry and I definitely put up these walls. But the older you get, you realize you just have to have a sense of humor. You just know that it's not your problem. It's theirs."

2003's award winning film The Station Agent was a breakout role for Dinklage, and his first mainstream movie.He received Independent Spirit and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Actor for his performance in that film. That same year, he appeared in the direct-to-DVD movie Tiptoes with Gary Oldman. Before The Station Agent, Dinklage appeared in 1995's arthouse hit Living in Oblivion, his debut film. As well as appearing in films, Dinklage has starred multiple times in off-Broadway productions.

In Elf, Dinklage played a pretentious children's author who beats up Will Ferrell's character after he is unintentionally insulted. In 2005, Dinklage starred in the short-lived CBS science fiction series Threshold and appeared in the Michael Showalter comedy The Baxter as a "flamboyant" wedding planner. In 2006, Dinklage appeared in Sidney Lumet's courtroom drama, Find Me Guilty, opposite Vin Diesel, and in episodes of Nip/Tuck. He also played himself in one episode of the HBO television series Entourage and was featured on NBC's 30 Rock.

Dinklage also had a role in the 2007 British Death at a Funeral. He plays the same role in the American remake of the film. That same year, he played the villanous Simon Bar Sinister in Underdog.

Dinklage was chosen by director Andrew Adamson for the role of Trumpkin in the 2008 film Prince Caspian although film critic Bill Gibron described his role as a "cutesy stereotype [Dinklage] has tried to avoid."Comic book writer Gail Simone has cited Dinklage as the perfect choice to play the evil Dr. Psycho in a possible Wonder Woman film. On May 6, 2009, Dinklage was confirmed to be playing Tyrion Lannister in HBO's adaptation of author George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, called Game of Thrones.He stars also 2010 in the thriller Knights of Badassdom,directed by Joe Lynch. ” - Phil Rossi
 
2.
Harry Dean Stanton
Actor, Alien
Prolific character actor Harry Dean Stanton's drooping, weather-beaten appearance and superb acting talent have been his ticket to appearing in over 100 films, and 50 TV episodes. Stanton was born in West Irvine, Kentucky, to Ersel (Moberly), a cook, and Sheridan Harry Stanton, a barber and tobacco farmer...
“ Harry Dean Stanton (born July 14, 1926) is an American actor, musician, and singer.Stanton's career has spanned over fifty years, which has seen him star in such films as Cool Hand Luke, Kelly's Heroes, Dillinger, Alien, Repo Man, The Last Temptation of Christ, Wild at Heart, The Green Mile and The Pledge. More recently, he has starred in the HBO television series Big Love.

Stanton has appeared in both indie and cult films (Two-Lane Blacktop, Cockfighter, Escape from New York, Repo Man), as well as many mainstream Hollywood productions, including Cool Hand Luke, The Godfather Part II, Alien, Red Dawn, Pretty in Pink, Stephen King's Christine and The Green Mile. He has been a favorite actor of Sam Peckinpah, John Milius, David Lynch, and Monte Hellman, and is also close friends with Francis Ford Coppola. He appears as a complaining BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) Man (uncredited) in the very beginning of the Gregory Peck film Pork Chop Hill in 1959. He had a very small part in 1962's How The West Was Won as one of Charlie Gant's (Eli Wallach) gang.

His breakthrough part came with the lead role in director Wim Wenders' film Paris, Texas (1984). Playwright Sam Shepard, the movie's screenwriter had spotted Stanton at a Santa Fe, New Mexico, bar in 1983 while both were attending a film festival in that city, and the two fell into conversation. "I was telling him I was sick of the roles I was playing," Stanton recalled in a 1986 interviews. "I told him I wanted to play something of some beauty or sensitivity. I had no inkling he was considering me for the lead in his movie." Not long afterward, Shepard phoned him in Los Angeles to offer Stanton the part of protagonist Travis, "a role that called for the actor to remain largely silent ... as a lost, broken soul trying put his life back together and reunite with his estranged family after having vanished years earlier."

Stanton is a favourite of film critic Roger Ebert who has said that "no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad." However, Ebert later admitted that Dream a Little Dream (1989), in which Stanton appeared, was a "clear violation" of this rule.

His television credits are extensive, including eight appearances between 1958 and 1968 on CBS' Gunsmoke and four on the network's Rawhide, as well as a cameo as himself on Two and a Half Men (with his Pretty in Pink co-star Jon Cryer), and alongside Sean Penn and Elvis Costello. He has been featured since 2006 as Roman Grant, the manipulative leader/prophet of a polygamous sect in the HBO television series Big Love.

Stanton has also occasionally toured nightclubs as a singer/guitarist, playing mostly country-inflected cover tunes. He appeared in the Dwight Yoakam music video for "Sorry You Asked", portrayed a cantina owner in a Ry Cooder video for "Get Rhythm", participated in the video for Bob Dylan's "Dreamin' of You", and in 2003, appeared in the video for "Stop" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in 2003.

During 2010, he appeared on the NBC show Chuck for one episode, reprising his role as a repo man from the 1984 cult film Repo Man. ” - Phil Rossi
 
3.
Illeana Douglas
Actress, Ghost World
Born with show business in her blood, Illeana is the granddaughter of screen legend Melvyn Douglas. Illeana began studying acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. In 1987 working for a publicist in New York led to her first movie role. Illeana appeared in several Martin Scorsese films.
“ Illeana Douglas (born July 25, 1965) is an American actress, director, screenwriter, and producer.

Douglas is known for her part in Martin Scorsese's Cape Fear (1991) – one of four Scorsese films in which she has appeared – plus her starring role as singer-songwriter Denise Waverly in Allison Anders' Grace of My Heart (1996) and supporting roles in To Die For (1995) and Ghost World (2001).

On television, Douglas appeared briefly as Garry Shandling's love interest on The Larry Sanders Show, starred in the series Action (1999) with Jay Mohr, guest starred on Seinfeld , Frasier and The Drew Carey Show, and has played a public defender on several episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in 2002 and 2003. She appeared in two episodes of the critically acclaimed HBO TV-series Six Feet Under, both of which earned Emmy nominations for Guest Actress in a Drama. She also appeared as Mrs. Ari's sister Marci in the Season 7 finale of Entourage.

In 2006 she starred in the Lifetime TV movie Not Like Everyone Else and played herself in Pittsburgh opposite Jeff Goldblum. In 2007, Douglas was added to the cast of Ugly Betty, playing Sheila, an editor for MODE magazine.

At the Walt Disney World Resort in the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park, Douglas plays Aerosmith's manager in the preshow video for the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster attraction. She later appeared in an Aerosmith music video as Liv Tyler's mother.

Douglas has tried her hand at writing and directing, with a comedy short The Perfect Woman (1993), the documentary Everybody Just Stay Calm—Stories in Independent Filmmaking (1994), and the satire Boy Crazy, Girl Crazier (1995); and she has been the producer for several projects including Illeanarama, a collection of her short films for the Sundance Channel.

In April 2011, she was scheduled to begin a potentially recurring role as Lily's older sister, Carol, though Sheila Kelley replaced her as Carol due to scheduling conflicts.

From 1989 until 1997 Douglas was the companion of director Martin Scorsese.

On 16 May 1998 she married producer and writer Jonathan Axelrod, the stepson of producer George Axelrod; they divorced in 2001. ” - Phil Rossi
 
4.
“ Daniel Louis "Danny" Aiello, Jr. (born June 20, 1933)is an American actor who has appeared in numerous motion pictures, including Once Upon a Time in America, Ruby, The Godfather: Part II, Hudson Hawk, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Moonstruck, Léon, Two Days in the Valley, and Dinner Rush. He had a pivotal role in the 1989 Spike Lee film Do the Right Thing, earning a nomination for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Salvatore 'Sal' Frangione, the pizzeria owner, and also as Don Domenico Clericuzio in the miniseries Mario Puzo's The Last Don.

Aiello broke into films in the early 1970s. One of his earliest roles came as a ballplayer in the 1973 baseball drama, Bang the Drum Slowly, with Robert DeNiro. Aiello had a walk-on as small-time hood Tony Rosato in The Godfather Part II (1974), ad-libbing the famous line "Michael Corleone says hello!" during a hit on a rival gangster Frank Pentangelli (Michael V. Gazzo).

In 1980, Aiello had a co-lead role with Jan Michael Vincent in Defiance, about some Manhattan residents who fight back against the thugs terrorizing the neighborhood. He received considerable acclaim for playing a racist New York City cop in Fort Apache the Bronx (1981) with Paul Newman.

He was paired with DeNiro again for the 1984 Sergio Leone gangster epic, Once Upon a Time in America, as a police chief whose name was also, "Aiello." His many film appearances included three for director Woody Allen, who cast him in, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose and Radio Days.

Although his characters have often been vulgar and violent, Aiello has also portrayed sensitive, kindly men with an earthy sense of humor. He gained recognition as the befuddled fiance of Cher opposite her Oscar-winning performance in the romantic comedy Moonstruck (1987), and the actor made a comic appearance in drag for the Robert Altman fashion-industry film Prêt-à-Porter. He also had sympathetic roles in the 1990 horror thriller Jacob's Ladder and the 1991 comedy-drama 29th Street. In the early 1990s film The Professional, Aiello had a small cameo role as a nefarious cafe owner who assigns jobs to a hitman, played by Jean Reno.

He played nightclub owner and Lee Harvey Oswald assassin Jack Ruby in the 1992 biopic Ruby and a political bigshot with mob ties in City Hall, starring Al Pacino.

Aiello's singing has been on display in films such as Hudson Hawk, Once Around; and Remedy that starred his son Ricky Aiello and Jonathan Doscher. He has released several albums featuring a big-band sound including "I Just Wanted To Hear The Words" from 2004 and "Live From Atlantic City" from 2008. Aiello and EMI songwriter Hasan Johnson are releasing an album in 2009 of standards fused with rap entitled, "Bridges."

In 1981 Danny Aiello won a Daytime Emmy award for his appearance in an ABC Afterschool Special called, A Family of Strangers.

He played the title character for the video of Madonna's song, "Papa Don't Preach." ” - Phil Rossi
 
5.
Joan Cusack
Actress, Working Girl
Actress Joan Cusack was born in New York City, New York, and is the daughter of Nancy (née Carolan) and Dick Cusack. Her father was an advertising executive, writer and actor, and her mother was a math teacher. Her siblings - Susie Cusack, John Cusack, Ann Cusack and Bill Cusack also act. Her family is of Irish descent...
“ Joan Mary Cusack (born October 11, 1962) is an American film, stage and television actress. A well-respected comedic character actor, she has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her roles in the movies Working Girl and In & Out and is a three-time winner of the American Comedy Award as "Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture." Cusack was a cast member of the sketch comedy TV show Saturday Night Live in 1985-86. She is the sister of actor John Cusack.

Cusack has twice been nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for her work in Working Girl and In & Out. She appeared with her brother John in the movies Sixteen Candles, Grandview, U.S.A., Class, High Fidelity, Grosse Pointe Blank, Say Anything..., Cradle Will Rock, Martian Child, and most recently, War, Inc. She also starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom What About Joan? in 2001–02. For many years, Cusack was also the commercial spokeswoman for U.S. Cellular.

Cusack was a cast member on the NBC sketch show, Saturday Night Live, from 1985 to 1986. Her recurring characters on Saturday Night Live included, "Salena," a socially inept girl who tries to ask out her boyfriend, "Biff" (played by Jon Lovitz), who is also socially inept. In addition, she did celebrity impersonations of Brooke Shields, Jane Fonda and Queen Elizabeth II.

She has been nominated four times for the American Comedy Award, in the category of "Funniest Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture" and has won three times, for Runaway Bride, (1999), In & Out (1997) and Working Girl (1988). She has also won the New York Film Critics Circle Award and the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for "Best Supporting Actress" for In & Out.

In 2003, both Joan and her brother John signed the "Not in My Name" resolution (along with people such as Noam Chomsky and Susan Sarandon) opposing the invasion of Iraq. She also attended to the voice of Jessie in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.

Cusack currently narrates the public TV animated series Peep and the Big Wide World. She also recently signed on to guest-star on Law & Order: SVU. ” - Phil Rossi
 
6.
Tom Skerritt
Actor, Alien
Lean, ruggedly handsome leading man and supporting actor whose "outdoor" looks have improved with age, Tom Skerritt attended Wayne State University and UCLA, and was first noticed in a UCLA production of "The Rainmaker" before making his movie debut in War Hunt. However, he spent most of the next decade in television...
“ Thomas Roy "Tom" Skerritt(born August 25, 1933) is an American actor who has appeared in over 40 films and more than 200 television episodes since 1962.

Skerritt made his film debut in War Hunt, produced by Terry Sanders and released in 1962. Skerritt's notable film appearances include M*A*S*H (1970; his role was pared down considerably by director Robert Altman), Harold and Maude (credited as "M. Borman") (1971), Big Bad Mama, Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke (1978), Ice Castles (1978), as Captain A.J. Dallas of the commercial towing vessel 'Nostromo' in Alien (1979),as a would-be astronaut in Contact (1997) and SpaceCamp (1986), and in Top Gun (1986) as Commander Mike "Viper" Metcalf. In 1988, he starred with Nancy Allen and Lara Flynn Boyle in Poltergeist III.

Skerrit starred in the television series Picket Fences (1992–1996) in the role of Sheriff Jimmy Brock, for which he won an Emmy. More recently, he has starred in Homeland Security and The Grid.

He also portrays the deceased William Walker on Brothers & Sisters, having appeared in the pilot as well as in several flashbacks since. This is his second time playing the husband of Sally Field, the first being his role in the film Steel Magnolias. He played the role of Ezekiel on ABC Family's Fallen miniseries. He also appeared as the guide on the showcase website for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system. ” - Phil Rossi
 
7.
Stanley Tucci
Actor Stanley Tucci was born on November 11, 1960, in Peekskill, New York. He is the son of Joan (Tropiano), a writer, and Stanley Tucci, an art teacher. His family is Italian-American, with origins in Calabria. Tucci took an interest in acting while in high school, and went on to attend the State University of New York's Conservatory of Theater Arts in Purchase...
“ Stanley Tucci (born November 11, 1960) is an American actor, writer, film producer and film director. He has been nominated for several notable film awards, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his performance in The Lovely Bones (2009).

Tucci made his Broadway debut in The Queen and the Rebels on September 30, 1982. His film debut was in Prizzi's Honor (1985). Tucci is known for his work in films such as The Pelican Brief, Kiss of Death, Road to Perdition and Big Night, and in the television series Murder One as the mysterious Richard Cross. Big Night (1996), which he co-wrote with his cousin Joseph Tropiano, starred in, and co-directed with Campbell Scott, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The film also featured his sister Christine and mother, who wrote a cookbook for the film. It won him and Tropiano the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. He's typically cast in supporting roles such as the sidekick or the villain, but has had the lead in two films, both romantic comedies: A Modern Affair (1995) and The Whole Shebang (2001).

He has been nominated three times for Golden Globes, and won twice – for his title role in Winchell (1998), and for his supporting role as Adolph Eichmann in Conspiracy (2001), both for HBO films. He also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Winchell. He was nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actor in a Play for his role as Johnny in the 2002 revival of Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.

In July 2006, Tucci made an appearance on the USA Network TV series Monk, in a performance that earned him a 2007 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor – Comedy Series. Tucci's TV series, the medical drama 3 lbs., debuted on CBS in the 10:00 pm EDT time slot on November 14, 2006. It was canceled on November 30, 2006 due to low ratings. He can be heard as the voice over in the AT&T Wireless "Raising the Bar" marketing campaign. Tucci also played Nigel in the screen adaption of The Devil Wears Prada alongside Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway. In 2007, Tucci had a recurring role in medical drama ER. In 2009, Tucci again starred opposite Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia playing husband Paul Child to her Julia Child. Also in 2009, Tucci portrayed George Harvey, the murderer of a young girl in The Lovely Bones, Peter Jackson's adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel, for which he received a Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination. In 2010, Tucci is directing a revival of the Ken Ludwig play Lend Me a Tenor on Broadway, starring Tony Shalhoub. The show is expected to run through August. Tucci is cast as Dr. Abraham Erskine in Captain America: The First Avenger.

In July 2010 it was announced that Tucci will direct an upcoming comedy entitled Mommy & Me starring Meryl Streep and Tina Fey as mother and daughter.

In February 2011 it was reported that Tucci had been cast as the villain in Jack the Giant Killer. ” - Phil Rossi
 
8.
Treat Williams
Actor, Everwood
Richard Treat Williams was born in Rowayton, Connecticut, to Marian (Andrew), who dealt in antiques, and Richard Norman Williams, a corporate executive. Educated at prep-school, he first made a serious commitment to his craft during his days at Pennsylvania's Franklin and Marshall College. Working summers with the nearby Fulton Repertory Theatre at Lancaster in the heart of Amish country...
“ Richard Treat Williams (born December 1, 1951) is a Screen Actors Guild Award-nominated American actor who has appeared on film, stage and television.From 2002 to 2006, he was the star of the television series Everwood.

Williams made his film debut in the 1976 thriller film Deadly Hero.He came to world attention when he starred in the Miloš Forman film Hair (1979) which was based on the Broadway musical Hair. He has gone on to appear in over 75 films and several television series, including, most notably, 1941 (1979), Once Upon A Time In America (1984), Dead Heat (1988), Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) and Deep Rising (1998).

Williams was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his part in Hair as George Berger. He got a second Golden Globe nomination for starring in Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City (1981) and a third for his performance as Stanley Kowalski in the television presentation of A Streetcar Named Desire. In 1996, Williams was nominated for a Best Actor Emmy Award by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for his work in The Late Shift, a HBO movie, in which he portrayed agent Michael Ovitz.

Williams has also worked as a director, winning two festival awards for directing Texan in Showtime's Chanticleer series.

In 1996, he played villain Xander Drax in Paramount's big budget comic book adaptation, The Phantom, in which Williams' character did his best to take over the world and kill Billy Zane's mysterious superhero.

Williams' career includes numerous stage roles. He won a Drama League Award for his work in the Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies, and another for starring in the off-Broadway production of Captains Courageous. Other notable Broadway shows include Grease, the Sherman Brothers' Over Here!, Once in a Lifetime, Pirates of Penzance and Love Letters, and off-Broadway, he has appeared in David Mamet's Oleanna and Oh, Hell (at Lincoln Center), Some Men Need Help and Randy Newman's Maybe I'm Doing It Wrong. He premiered the Los Angeles production of Love Letters and appeared in War Letters at the Canon Theatre in Los Angeles.

Williams may be best known for his leading role as Dr. Andrew Brown in the WB television series Everwood, about a New York neurosurgeon who moves his family to Colorado. Although the show's ratings were never spectacular, it won critical acclaim and had a devoted following. Williams received two SAG Award nominations (2003 and 2004) for his role on the show.

Williams has recently made several guest appearances on the ABC drama Brothers & Sisters playing David Morton, a friend and potential suitor of the Sally Field character. Williams starred in the short lived series Heartland on TNT as Nathaniel Grant, the head of a Pittsburgh organ transplant center, before it was canceled due to low ratings. He also starred in a Lifetime movie called the Staircase Murders, which aired April 15, 2007.

Speculations have Williams playing Killer Croc in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, directed by Christopher Nolan. According to sources close to the film, Williams' role will be minor. Williams will be starring in an upcoming Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, titled Beyond the Blackboard, with his former Everwood co-star, Emily VanCamp, which will air on CBS, April 24, 2011.

Williams has been cast in the CBS television pilot Peachtree Lines. The serial is an examination of political, social, and cultural issues in Atlanta starring Victoria Rowell (Naomi Grace), Treat Williams (mayor Lincoln Rylan), Ving Rhames (Ving Wesley), James Van Der Beek (Garrett Cindell), Jason Dohring (Travis Diring), and Jena Malone (Sierra Jayden). ” - Phil Rossi
 
9.
Eriq La Salle
Actor, ER
Born and raised in Hartford, CT, as one of four children. Studied two years at Juilliard and graduated from New York University graduate theater program with a B.F.A. degree in theater. Meanwhile he participated in the first of Joseph Papp's Shakespeare productions at the Park theater company. Later he supported himself by acting on and off Broadway and as "Mike Rivers" in the soap One Life to Live...
“ Eriq Ki La Salle (born July 23, 1962) is an American actor and director, known for his portrayals of Darryl in the 1988 comedy film Coming to America and Dr. Peter Benton on the NBC drama series ER.

In 1994 the medical drama ER premiered on NBC with La Salle starring as Dr. Peter Benton. He held the role until leaving during the eighth season. In 2009, La Salle returned to ER for two episodes (including the series finale) during its 15th and final season. He also returned to direct one episode. He also had a supporting role as Detective Anderson in the 1994 murder mystery thriller Color of Night.

In 1996, La Salle directed and acted in the HBO made-for-TV movie Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault, starring Don Cheadle. After ER, La Salle had relatively small roles in movies such as One Hour Photo and also directed for Soul Food: The Series on Showtime.

La Salle played a Jamaican gangster in the independent film Johnny Was opposite Vinnie Jones, Samantha Mumba, Lennox Lewis, and Roger Daltrey. La Salle lived in Belfast for four weeks filming the movie, which he supported recently[when?] at the North American premiere of the film, at the American Black Film Festival in Miami.

La Salle directed and starred in the movie Crazy As Hell. He has directed two episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

After a fairly extensive absence from acting, La Salle starred in the Hallmark Channel original movie, Relative Stranger, which premiered on March 14, 2009. Also in the movie were La Salle's former ER castmates Michael Michele (Dr. Cleo Finch) and Michael Beach (Al Boulet).

In 2010 he played the United Nations Secretary General in the series finale of 24. He guest starred in an episode of Covert Affairs in August 2010. ” - Phil Rossi
 
10.
Don Cheadle
Donald Frank Cheadle was born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 29, 1964. His childhood found him moving from city to city with his family: mother Bettye (North), a teacher, father Donald Frank Cheadle, Sr., a clinical psychologist, sister Dawn, and brother Colin. After graduating high school in Denver...
“ Donald Frank "Don" Cheadle, Jr. (born November 29, 1964) is an American film actor and producer. Cheadle rose to prominence in the late 1990s and the early 2000s for his supporting roles in the Steven Soderbergh-directed films Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean's Eleven. In 2004, his lead role as Rwandan hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in the genocide drama film Hotel Rwanda earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also campaigns for the end of genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and co-authored a book concerning the issue titled Not On Our Watch: The Mission To End Genocide In Darfur And Beyond. In 2010, Cheadle was named U.N. Environment Program Goodwill Ambassador.

He appeared in a late 1980s video (It's The Reel Thing) with Angela Winbush as a dancer. Cheadle acted in Hamburger Hill in 1987. He also played the role of Jack in the April 1, 1988 "Jung and the Restless" episode of Night Court. Although his character was supposed to be 16 years old, Cheadle was 24 at the time.

Cheadle then played the role of Rocket in the 1988 movie Colors. In 1989, he appeared in a video for Angela Winbush's #2 hit single "It's the Real Thing", performing dance moves in an orange jump suit, working at a car wash. In 1990, he appeared in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air titled "Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy", playing Will Smith's friend and Hilary's first love interest, Ice Tray. In 1992, he received a supporting role in The Golden Girls spin-off The Golden Palace. Although the show was highly publicized, it was canceled after one season. Cheadle subsequently played district attorney John Littleton on two seasons of Picket Fences.

Cheadle first received widespread notice for his portrayal of Mouse Alexander in the film Devil in a Blue Dress, for which he won Best Supporting Actor awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics and was nominated for similar awards from the Screen Actors Guild and the NAACP Image Awards. Following soon thereafter was his performance in the title role of the 1996 HBO TV movie Rebound: The Legend of Earl "The Goat" Manigault. A legend among American street basketball players, Manigault is considered by many to be the best streetball player that never reached the NBA as a professional. He also starred in the 1997 film Volcano, directed by Mick Jackson.

Cheadle's fame spread with a regular role as the district attorney on the television series Picket Fences. Cheadle's other television credits include Emmy-nominated performances in the movies The Rat Pack, A Lesson Before Dying, Things Behind the Sun and in a guest appearance on ER. The last of these spanned four episodes during the show's ninth season, in which he portrayed Paul Nathan, a medical student struggling to cope with Parkinson's disease. He has made appearances in films including Rosewood, The Family Man, Boogie Nights, a cameo appearance in the film Abby Singer, Out of Sight, Traffic, and Ocean's Eleven. These last three were directed by Steven Soderbergh. In 2005, Cheadle was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Paul Rusesabagina in the film Hotel Rwanda. He also starred in, and was one of the producers of Crash, which won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Picture. For his performance in Crash, Cheadle was nominated for BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. He played the main character in the movie Traitor. Cheadle starred in Hotel for Dogs by Dreamworks.

Cheadle was to make his directorial debut with the adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Tishomingo Blues. In a July 2007 interview he stated, "'Tishomingo' is dead..."

Cheadle appeared in NFL commercials promoting the Super Bowl from 2002 to 2005. He so regularly appeared for the NFL in its Super Bowl advertising that in 2006, in a drive to have fans submit their own advertising ideas, the NFL sought his permission to reference his previous commercials to portray themselves as having no new ideas: "he quickly signed off on the idea and found it funny." Abe Sutton (along with Etan Bednarsh), one of the finalists in this NFL contest, played on this commercial by proposing an ad where an entire team of football players are Don Cheadle.

Cheadle and Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder are working together to launch a comedy show on NBC. The "project revolves around mismatched brothers who reunite to open a private security company."Cheadle will serve as an executive producer, along with McGruder, who will write the script.

In 2009, Cheadle performed in The People Speak, a documentary feature film that uses dramatic and musical performances of the letters, diaries, and speeches of everyday Americans, based on historian Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.

In 2010, Cheadle assumed the role of James Rhodes in the film Iron Man 2, replacing Terrence Howard, his Crash co-star. ” - Phil Rossi
 
11.
Bruce Campbell
In 1979 with his Detroit friends, Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell raised $350,000 for a low-budget film, The Evil Dead, in which he starred and co-executive produced. Completed piecemeal over four years, the film first gained notoriety in England where it became the best-selling video of 1983...
“ Bruce Lorne Campbell (born June 22, 1958) is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. A legendary B movie actor, Campbell is most famous for his starring roles in cult films like The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, Crimewave, Army of Darkness, Maniac Cop, Bubba Ho-tep, Escape From L.A. and Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat. He played the main role in the short-lived but successful science fiction/western TV series The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. around the years 1993–1994. He also stars in a spoof of his B-movie cult status in the 2007 film My Name Is Bruce. He has starred in mainstream cinema as well, most notably Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Congo and McHale's Navy. Campbell has had an extensive working relationship with director Sam Raimi, starring as Ash in Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy of horror-slapstick as well as cameos in Raimi's Spider-Man series and Darkman. He is currently starring as Sam Axe in TV series Burn Notice on the USA Network.

Campbell and Raimi got together with other family and friends and began work on The Evil Dead. Campbell starred and worked behind the camera, receiving a "co-executive producer" credit. Raimi wrote, directed and edited, while fellow Michigander Rob Tapert was producer.

Following an endorsement by horror writer Stephen King, the film slowly began to receive distribution. Four years following its original release, it became the number one movie in the UK. It then received distribution in the U.S., spawning two sequels: Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. The first two films in the series are considered horror classics and are credited with spawning the "horror comedy" genre.

He has appeared in many of Raimi's films outside of the Evil Dead series, notably including all the Spider-Man film series. Bruce Campbell also joined the cast in Raimi's Darkman and The Quick and the Dead, though having no actual screen time in the latter film's theatrical cut.

Campbell often takes on quirky roles, such as Elvis Presley in the film Bubba Ho-tep, and appears in B-Movies. Along with Bubba Ho-tep, Campbell played a supporting role in the 2005 film Sky High, and stars in My Name Is Bruce. He also was in the Jim Carrey drama The Majestic.

Campbell also had a key supporting role in the Coen Brothers film The Hudsucker Proxy.

He also starred in the Michael Crichton adaptation Congo. He starred in the much anticipated McHale's Navy remake as well as John Carpenter's sequel to his classic film Escape From New York, Escape From L.A.

Campbell was also the star of the Maniac Cop B-Movie franchise.

Campbell had a starring voice role in the hit film 2009 animated adaptation of the children's book Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

In January 2010, he stated in an interview that his new film project is called Bruce vs. Frankenstein.The film is directed and produced by his friend Mike Richardson. ” - Phil Rossi
 
12.
Luis Guzmán
Actor of Puerto Rican descent who made many memorable films in the 1980s due to his villainous persona. Presently resides with his wife and many kids in Vermont.
“ Luis Guzmán (born August 28, 1956) is an actor from Puerto Rico. He is known for his character work. For much of his career, his squat build, wolfish features, and brooding countenance have garnered him roles largely as sidekicks, thugs, or policemen, but his later career has seen him move into more mainstream roles.He is a favorite of director Steven Soderbergh, who cast him in Out of Sight, The Limey, and Traffic, and Paul Thomas Anderson, who cast him in Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love. He also voiced Ricardo Diaz in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.

Guzman's numerous movie credits include Carlito's Way, Carlito's Way: Rise to Power, Welcome to Collinwood, Stonewall, Waiting..., The Salton Sea, and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. He has also appeared on the TV shows Homicide: Life on the Street, Frasier and Oz and had a role in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and its prequel Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. Guzmán starred in the short-lived 2003 television comedy Luis, and is a commentator on VH1's I Love the '80s, as well as I Love Toys and its sequels, including I Love the '70s and I Love the '90s. He co-starred on the canceled 2007 HBO series John from Cincinnati. In early 2008, Guzmán starred in "Naturally Aged Cheddar Hunks" TV ads for Cabot Creamery.He also appeared in the music video "Yes We Can." He currently stars in HBO's How to Make It in America. ” - Phil Rossi
 
13.
“ Edoardo Ballerini is an actor, writer and director. He is best known for his work on screen as junkie Corky Caporale in The Sopranos (2006–2007), a hotheaded chef in the indie hit Dinner Rush (2001), and an NFL businessman in the blockbuster Romeo Must Die (2000). He has appeared in numerous films and television series, from I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) to the upcoming No God, No Master (2010) and Martin Scorsese's Boardwalk Empire (2010). His directorial debut, Good Night Valentino, premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.Ballerini starred in the film as silent film idol Rudolph Valentino.

Edoardo Ballerini's first professional role was as an autistic teenager on Law & Order (1995). Two years later, he starred in the John Leguizamo comedy The Pest (1997) and, after that, in (Whit Stillman's The Last Days of Disco, 1998) and (Amos Kollek's Sue, 1998).
Ballerini was cast as a "star chef" in Bob Giraldi's Dinner Rush (2001) opposite Danny Aiello. The film grossed only $638,227 but received largely positive reviews.Internationally, the film did much better and broke into the top ten in box office receipts in Japan in 2003.
The same year, Ballerini wrote, directed and starred in a short film about 1920's film icon Rudolph Valentino. The film premiered at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and was entered into the permanent archive at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles. The film was also presented at the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy in 2009 as part of a Valentino retrospective. Emily Leider, in her biography Dark Lover (Farrar, Strouss & Giroux, 2003),wrote that Ballerini "infuses his [Valentino] with exactly the right mix of pride, elegance, grace and anguish... on screen, Ballerini's resemblance to Valentino is uncanny." A feature length script written as a follow-up Ballerini's Valentino short has recently been optioned by producer Andrew Lauren.

Ballerini was also cast as another famous 1920's Italian, the anarchist and labor leader Carlo Tresca, in No God, No Master (2011). ” - Phil Rossi
 
14.
Samantha Mathis
Samantha Mathis was born in 1970 in New York, to Donald Mathis and Austrian-born Bibi Besch, an aspiring actress at the time. Her maternal grandmother was actress Gusti Huber. Her first acting job was in a commercial for baby products with her mother. Since her parents divorced when she was only three years old...
“ Samantha Mathis (born May 12, 1970) is an American actress. The daughter of actress Bibi Besch, Mathis made her film debut in Pump Up the Volume (1990).

Mathis began acting professionally at the age of sixteen, her first job was a commercial for "Always Slender Pads - Just For Teens". She co-starred in the television series Aaron's Way and Knightwatch from 1988 to 1989. Her first starring role in a feature film was that of Nora in Pump Up the Volume (1990), opposite Christian Slater, whom she briefly dated at the time. Mathis dyed her natural blonde hair black for the role to change her image from sweet and innocent, to strong willed.

Mathis appeared in the television movies Extreme Close-Up, 83 Hours 'Til Dawn, and To My Daughter in 1990. Mathis and Slater had voice roles in the animated film FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992). She next appeared in the comedy This Is My Life (1992), written and directed by Nora Ephron, playing an insecure teenager. Mathis appeared in the play Fortinbras in New York City in October 1992. Super Mario Bros. (1993), where she played Princess Daisy from the popular Nintendo video game, was a box office bomb.

Mathis met actor River Phoenix on the set of the country music film The Thing Called Love (1993) and the two started a relationship. She was with Phoenix the night he died of a drug overdose after collapsing outside West Hollywood's Viper Room on Halloween, October 31, 1993; he died later at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. She made the film Jack and Sarah (1995), which was shot in London, in order to get out of the country after his death because of the large amount of press coverage.

Mathis appeared in Little Women, the 1994 film version of the novel by Louisa May Alcott, and How to Make an American Quilt (1995), both starring Winona Ryder, an actress she was often compared to early in her career.[7] She then co-starred with Michael Douglas in The American President (1995), playing the assistant to the President of the United States. Mathis co-starred with Christian Slater again, along with John Travolta, in John Woo's Broken Arrow (1996). She took a little over a year off from acting after her mother died in 1996.

She was later in American Psycho (2000), directed by Mary Harron, an adaptation of the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel of the same name. She starred opposite Gretchen Mol, Tom Everett Scott and Matthew Settle in Attraction (2000), and in The Simian Line (2001), opposite William Hurt, Lynn Redgrave and Harry Connick, Jr. She starred in the TNT television miniseries The Mists of Avalon (2001), with Anjelica Huston, Joan Allen and Julianna Margulies. Mathis starred with Thomas Jane in The Punisher (2004). Mathis had a guest role on the ABC television show Lost as Dharma Initiative member Olivia Goodspeed; her character was supposed to play a larger role in Season 5 as the wife of Horace Goodspeed, although for unknown reasons she did not appear and her character was removed altogether.

Mathis's film, Lebanon, PA, had its world premiere at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. ” - Phil Rossi
 
15.
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor was born on July 10, 1977 in Forest Gate, London, England, to Nigerian parents, Obiajulu (Okaford), a pharmacist, and Arinze Ejiofor, a doctor. Chiwetel attended Dulwich College in South-East London. By the age of 13 he was appearing in numerous school and National Youth Theatre productions and subsequently attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts...
“ Chiwetelu Umeadi "Chiwetel" Ejiofor, OBE (born 10 July 1977) is a British actor of stage and screen. He has received numerous acting awards and award nominations, including the 2006 BAFTA Awards Rising Star, three Golden Globe Awards' nominations, and the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance in Othello.

Ejiofor made his film debut in the television movie Deadly Voyage in 1996. He went on to become a prominent stage actor in London. In Steven Spielberg's Amistad, he gave memorable support to Djimon Hounsou's Cinque as interpreter Ens. James Covey. In 1999, he appeared in the British film G:MT. In 2000, he starred in Blue/Orange at the Royal National Theatre (Cottesloe stage), and later at the Duchess Theatre. That same year, his performance as Romeo in William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award. Ejiofor was awarded the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2000 Critics' Circle Theatre Awards. For his performance in Blue/Orange, he received the 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer and a 2001 nomination for the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award Best Supporting Actor.

Ejiofor had his first leading film role in the 2002's Dirty Pretty Things, for which he won a British Independent Film Award for best actor. He also starred in a 2003 BBC adaptation of Chaucer's The Knight's Tale as well as another BBC series Trust in the same year. He starred alongside Hilary Swank in 2004's Red Dust, portraying the fictional politician Alex Mpondo of post-apartheid South Africa. He played the central part of Prince Alamayou in Peter Spafford's radio play I Was a Stranger, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on 17 May 2004, and he played the god Dionysus, alongside Paul Scofield's Cadmus and Diana Rigg's Agave, in Andrew Rissik's play, Dionysus, based upon Euripides' Bacchae, also broadcast by the BBC. He also received acclaim for his performance as a complex antagonist The Operative in the 2005 movie Serenity. Ejiofor played a revolutionary in the highly acclaimed 2006 film Children of Men. His singing and acting performance in Kinky Boots received Golden Globe and British Independent Film Award nominations. He was also nominated for the 2006 BAFTA Rising Star Award, which recognises emerging British film talent. Ejiofor's performance in Tsunami: The Aftermath received a 2007 Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a miniseries or film made for TV.

In 2007, he starred opposite Don Cheadle in Talk to Me, a film based on the true story about Ralph "Petey" Greene (played by Cheadle), an African American radio personality in the '60s and '70s. He performed on stage in The Seagull at the Royal Court Theatre from 18 January to 17 March 2007.

Ejiofor is considered one of the leading candidates to play T'Challa in the proposed Black Panther movie based on the Marvel comic books character.

In 2007, he reprised his role as Othello at the Donmar Warehouse, alongside Kelly Reilly as Desdemona, and Ewan McGregor as Iago. The production received favorable reviews, with particularly strong praise for Ejiofor. "Chiwetel Ejiofor produces one of the most memorable performances of Othello in recent years". He was awarded the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor for his performance.

He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours. In the same year, he made his directorial debut in the short film, Slapper, which he also wrote, based on an idea by editor/director Yusuf Pirhasan.

Ejiofor was the lead alongside John Cusack in the 2009 film 2012. The film went on to gross over 700 million dollars, and is among the list of highest-grossing films of all time and placing 5th of top films of 2009. ” - Phil Rossi
 
16.
Thora Birch
From Monkey Trouble to American Beauty-- that's Hollywood "Hocus Pocus"! Thora Birch was born on Thursday (as in Thor's Day) March 11, 1982. Her father, Jack Birch, and mom, Carol Connors, named her after the Norse God Thor ("Thora" being the feminine), the God of Thunder; she has a younger brother named Bolt Birch...
“ Thora Birch (born March 11, 1982) is an American actress. She was a child actor in the 1990s, starring in movies such as All I Want for Christmas (1991), Patriot Games (1992), Hocus Pocus (1993), Now and Then (1995), and Alaska (1996). She came to prominence in 1999 after earning worldwide attention and praise for her performance in American Beauty. She then starred in the well received film Ghost World (2001), which earned her a Golden Globe nomination.

In 1988, she landed the role of Molly in the short-lived television series Day By Day. She was billed simply as "Thora". That same year she won a part in the movie Purple People Eater opposite Ned Beatty and Neil Patrick Harris. Her performance won her a Youth In Film Award.[citation needed] Birch played as 'tomboy' Billie Pike in the movie Paradise which also starred Don Johnson, Melanie Griffith, and Elijah Wood. To obtain the role, she had to compete with more than 4,000 other young hopefuls who auditioned for it.Birch received critical praise for her performance.
Birch's ability to portray herself as a young tomboy landed her several parts during the period of 1991–1995, including the role of Dani in Hocus Pocus (1993). She won leading roles in such films as All I Want for Christmas (1991) and Monkey Trouble (1994). She appeared in two Harrison Ford films, Patriot Games (1992) and its sequel, Clear and Present Danger (1994).

Birch's performance in the 1995 film Now and Then teamed her with Gaby Hoffmann, Christina Ricci, Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, and Melanie Griffith.
In 1996, she landed a leading role in the adventure film, Alaska (1996). She played the role of Jessie Barnes, who has moved to Alaska with her father (played by Dirk Benedict) and brother after the death of her mother.

After guest-starring appearances in The Outer Limits, Promised Land, and Touched by an Angel, Birch took a break from acting. In 1999, she returned in the made-for-TV movie Night Ride Home and also took a small uncredited role in the Natalie Portman film Anywhere but Here. She was initially cast in the role of Tammy Metzler in the dark-comedy Election, but ended up leaving after only the third day of filming due to disagreements with director/writer Alexander Payne.

Later in 1999, Birch won critical praise playing the role of Jane Burnham in American Beauty and was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award. The movie itself went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. As Birch was 16 at the time she made the film, and thus classified as a minor in the United States, her parents had to approve her brief topless scene in the movie. They and child labor representatives were on the set for the shooting of the scene.

After leading roles in The Smokers (2000), Dungeons & Dragons (2000), and The Hole (2001), Birch landed the leading role in Ghost World (2001), alongside Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, and Brad Renfro. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.
Birch played as Liz Murray in the made-for-TV movie Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story (2003), for which she received a Emmy nomination, and she appeared as Karen in Silver City (2004). She starred in the films Dark Corners, in which she appeared in the lead role, and Train.

Birch has indicated that she aspires to become a director and has recently begun directing short video sketches for a sketch comedy troupe called The Doomed Planet.
In 2009, she starred alongside Brittany Murphy in the horror film Deadline and appeared in Winter of Frozen Dreams. In January 2010, Birch played Sidney Bloom in the Lifetime movie, The Pregnancy Pact.
Birch was cast and scheduled to make her American stage debut in the off Broadway revival of Dracula, but was fired for reasons apparently involving her father's interference four days before the show's first performance. ” - Phil Rossi
 
17.
John Turturro
Highly talented, lightly built American actor who always looks unsettled and jumpy has become a favourite of cult/arthouse film aficionados with his compelling performances in a broad range of cinematic vehicles. Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian-American parents, Katherine, a jazz singer...
“ John Michael Turturro (born February 28, 1957) is an American actor, writer, and director best known for his roles in the films Barton Fink (1991), Quiz Show (1994), The Big Lebowski (1998), and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). He has appeared in over sixty films, and has worked frequently with the Coen brothers, Adam Sandler, and Spike Lee.

Turturro created the title role of John Patrick Shanley's Danny and the Deep Blue Sea at the Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center in 1983. He repeated it the following year Off-Broadway and won an Obie Award. Spike Lee liked Turturro's performance in Five Corners so much that he chose to cast him in Do the Right Thing. This movie was the first of a long-standing collaboration between the famous director and John Turturro, which also includes Mo' Better Blues (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Clockers (1995), Girl 6 (1996), He Got Game (1998), Summer of Sam (1999), She Hate Me (2004), and Miracle at St. Anna (2008). A versatile actor comfortable with both comedy and drama, Turturro also had an extended collaboration with the Coen Brothers, appearing in their films Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998), and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000). He has also appeared in several of Adam Sandler's movies, such as Mr. Deeds (2002) and You Don't Mess with the Zohan (2008). He played a severely disturbed patient of Jack Nicholson's in the comedy Anger Management and played Johnny Depp's antagonist in Secret Window. Before becoming a household name, Turturro had a minor part in the Woody Allen film Hannah and Her Sisters.

He won an Emmy award for his portrayal of Adrian Monk's brother Ambrose Monk in the USA Network series Monk, and has reprised the role on numerous occasions. He has also been nominated and won many awards from film organizations such as Screen Actors Guild, Cannes Film Festival, Golden Globes, and others.

Turturro produced and directed, as well as acted in, the film Illuminata (1999), which also starred his wife Katherine Borowitz. He also wrote and directed the film Romance and Cigarettes (2005). In 2006 he appeared in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd, and as the Sector 7 agent Simmons in three films of the Transformers live-action series. ” - Phil Rossi
 
18.
Peter Sarsgaard
Actor, Jarhead
Peter Sarsgaard was born at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, to Judy Lea (Reinhardt) and John Dale Sarsgaard, an engineer who worked for the Air Force and later Monsanto and IBM. He is a graduate of St. Louis' Washington University, where he majored in history and literature. He was a co-founder of the...
“ John Peter Sarsgaard (born March 7, 1971) is an American film and stage actor. He landed his first feature role in the movie Dead Man Walking in 1995. He then appeared in the 1998 independent films Another Day in Paradise and Desert Blue. That same year, Sarsgaard received a substantial role in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), playing Raoul, the son of Athos. Sarsgaard later achieved critical recognition when he was cast in Boys Don't Cry (1999) as John Lotter. He landed his first leading role in the 2001 film The Center of the World. The following year, he played supporting roles in Empire, The Salton Sea, and K-19: The Widowmaker.

For his portrayal of Charles Lane in Shattered Glass, Sarsgaard won the Online Film Critics Society Award in the category for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for the 2004 Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor. Sarsgaard has appeared in an eclectic range of films, including the 2004 comedy Garden State, the biographical film Kinsey (2004), the drama The Dying Gaul (2005) and big-budget films such as Flightplan (2005), Jarhead (2005), Orphan (2009), Knight and Day (2010), and the upcoming 2011 superhero film Green Lantern

Sarsgaard has also appeared in Off-Broadway productions including Kingdom of Earth, Laura Dennis, and Burn This. In September 2008, he made his Broadway debut as Boris Alexeyevich Trigorin in The Seagull. Sarsgaard appeared in the off-Broadway production of Uncle Vanya in January 2009. Sarsgaard is married to actress Maggie Gyllenhaal. They have one daughter.

Sarsgaard branched out with guest roles in television productions filmed in New York City, with Law & Order in 1995,and New York Undercover (1997) as well as an appearance in the 1997 HBO special Subway Stories.He appeared in his first film role in Dead Man Walking (1995), where he was cast as a murdered teenager, killed by Sean Penn's character.

His next film roles were in a series of independent features: Another Day in Paradise (1997), part of an ensemble cast that included James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Vincent Kartheiser, and Natasha Gregson Wagner, and In Desert Blue (1998), where he had a supporting role in the film. He received his substantial role in the 1998 film The Man in the Iron Mask, where he played Raoul, the ill-fated son of John Malkovich's dueling Musketeer, Athos. The film uses characters from Alexandre Dumas' d'Artagnan Romances, and is very loosely adapted from some plot elements of The Vicomte de Bragelonne. The film received ambivalent reviews but was a success at the box office, earning $182 million worldwide.

In 1999, Sarsgaard earned critical recognition in Kimberly Peirce's Boys Don't Cry, where he was cast as John Lotter, a violent but charismatic ex-convict. The film is based on the real-life story of Brandon Teena, a transman who was raped and murdered in 1993 by Lotter and Tom Nissen after they found out he had female genitalia. Boys Don’t Cry received overwhelmingly positive acclaim from critics,and his performance was critically well-received. According to The Boston Globe, "Peter Sarsgaard ... makes the killer's terrible trajectory not only believable, but grounded in the most mundane clodhopper behavior. He isn't a drooling monster, he's a guy you wouldn't look at twice at a bar or a convenience store." A contributor from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer wrote "It's a marvelous performance supported ably by ... Sarsgaard as the unpredictable, sociopathic Lotter." The film was screened at a special presentation at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. In regards to his character, as how Sarsgaard made him "likeable, sympathetic even" was because he wanted the audience "to understand why they would hang out with me. If my character wasn't necessarily likable, I wanted him to be charismatic enough that you weren't going to have a dull time if you were with him." In another interview, Sarsgaard said he felt "empowered" by playing Lotter.

His first leading role was in the 2001 feature The Center of the World, where he plays Richard Longman, a lonely young entrepreneur who skips out on his company's big initial public offering and pays a stripper (Molly Parker) $10,000 to fly to Las Vegas with him. The film received average reviewshowever, A.O. Scott of the New York Times, reported that the performances by both Sarsgaard and Parker "provide a rough grain of authenticity, capturing the blunted affect and aimless neediness of people in their 20s struggling to navigate a world of material abundance and impoverished emotional possibility." Scott concluded in his recap that Sarsgaard made his character "seem like a genuinely nice guy, too innocent to grasp the sleaziness of his bargain with Florence."

In 2002, Sarsgaard starred in three films, K-19: The Widowmaker, Empire and The Salton Sea. In K-19: The Widowmaker, he portrayed a young Russian navy lieutenant. The film's budget cost was $100 million to make, but upon release, it grossed $35 million in the United States and $30 million internationally, qualifying it as a box office failure. His next role was in Empire, a crime thriller, where he was cast in a supporting role. Sarsgaard played a meth addict in D. J. Caruso's The Salton Sea.

2003 marked a significant turning point in Sarsgaard's career, when he starred in the feature film Shattered Glass. He depicted journalist Charles Lane, the lead editor of The New Republic. Shattered Glass is based on the real events of journalist Stephen Glass' career at The New Republic during the mid-1990s and his fall when his widespread journalistic fraud is exposed. During promotion of the film, Sarsgaard noted of his portrayal of Lane: "I just wanted to get his perspective on the actual events. [...] I think that I tried to have some respect for myself and that way you're respecting the real person you're playing. I've done it a number of times. And it's always a little bit confusing. The best thing to do is just to ignore the fact, I think, that you're playing somebody who is a real life character."According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, "Peter Sarsgaard is appealingly level, a stolid straight-shooter as Lane". A reviewer from the Chicago Tribune noted that Sarsgaard plays Lane with "great subtlety and grace".The newspaper concluded with, "The character doesn't seethe with personal resentment; when he does a slow burn, he conveys a much deeper sense of a man's value system being violated past the breaking point."Sarsgaard's performance in the film earned him his first Golden Globe Award nomination and an Independent Spirit Award nomination.

Following the success of Shattered Glass, Sarsgaard starred in several roles. In 2004, he starred in the comedy-drama Garden State, where he played Mark, the sarcastic best friend to Zach Braff's character. In the same year, Sarsgaard portrayed Clyde Martin, in the biographical film Kinsey, a movie about the life of Alfred Kinsey, played by Liam Neeson. Kinsey was Sarsgaard's first film role which featured full frontal nudity.Paul Clinton of CNN reported that Sarsgaard's Clyde Martin "stands out" and "confirms that he's without doubt one of the best character actors of his generatio When asked about his kissing scenes with Neeson in Kinsey, Sarsgaard said:

It wasn’t as hard as, say, running around with all my gear on in Jarhead. I’d rather go for an awkward moment than physical exertion any day. The only thing that I think [male actors] get freaked out about when they have to do something like kiss a guy in a movie—when to their knowledge they’re straight—is that they’re afraid they’re going to be turned on. And if you’re not afraid that you’re going to be turned on—meaning that you know what you like—then really it’s not that hard.

In 2005, Sarsgaard starred in the drama The Dying Gaul, where he plays Robert Sandrich, a struggling screenwriter who has written a serious love story about a man and his terminally ill partner. The film garnered favorable reviews. In an interview, Sarsgaard said, he felt like he was playing a character based on Craig Lucas, the director, whom he describes as "elitist in a fun way". Because his character, a screenwriter, is also "elitist," when he sells his soul by compromising his artistic vision, "...the conflict seems bigger. Anyone can sell their soul. Even people with integrity. There's always that temptation to guard against. Which is why it's best to keep as much as possible hidden."

Also in 2005, he had a supporting role in the suspense film The Skeleton Key. His next film role was in Robert Schwentke's thriller Flightplan (2005). In the film, Sarsgaard played an air marshall, who is ordered to keep guard of Jodie Foster's character.Flightplan was screened at a special presentation at the 30th annual Toronto International Film Festival in 2005.Despite the mixed reviews,the film was a financial success, earning $223 million worldwide, making it his highest grossing film to the end of 2008. Sarsgaard's next feature was in Jarhead (2005) opposite Jake Gyllenhaal. The movie is based on U.S. Marine Anthony Swofford's 2003 Gulf War memoir of the same name.

Sarsgaard hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) on January 21, 2006.In his introductory monologue, he tried to point out that he was a nice guy despite his sometimes macabre roles. Video clips were then played of Sarsgaard scaring the SNL cast.One sketch featured the Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) global scare, which was still fresh in many minds, and one of the skits included a promotion for the Peter Sarsgaard "SARS-Guard", a reference to the mania of facemasks worn in public by those fearing infection.In 2007, he starred in supporting roles in Year of the Dog and Rendition. Year of the Dog is a dark comedy about a lonely middle-aged woman, played by Molly Shannon, who finds that animals are the only beings she can truly rely on. Sarsgaard plays Newt, an androgynous dog trainer, and love interest for Shannon's character. He starred alongside Meryl Streep, Alan Arkin, Reese Witherspoon, and Jake Gyllenhaal in Rendition, a Gavin Hood-directed political thriller about the US policy of extraordinary rendition.Viewed as a sex symbol, Sarsgaard was named one of Salon.com's Sexiest Man Living in 2007.2008 saw Sarsgaard star in the drama Elegy,based on a Phillip Roth novel, The Dying Animal. The film received favorable good reception amongst critics.

In 2009, Sarsgaard starred alongside Jon Foster and Sienna Miller in the drama The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. It is an adaptation of Michael Chabon's novel of the same name. In the movie, Sarsgaard plays Cleveland, the rebellious bisexual boyfriend of Miller's character. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. His next film appearance was in the thriller Orphan, where he and Vera Farmiga play a married couple who lose a baby and adopt a nine-year-old girl, who is not as innocent as she claims to be. Furthermore in the same year, Sarsgaard starred as David in Lone Scherfig's coming of age film An Education. The role required Sarsgaard to speak in a British accent. An Education drew favourable reviews from critics. According to Variety, "Sarsgaard ... marvelously expresses the savoir faire that has such an impact on Jenny [Carey Mulligan]." Sarsgaard played a federal agent in the action comedy film Knight and Day, released in June 2010, in which he appeared alongside Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. In February 2010, it was announced that Sarsgaard had been cast as villain Hector Hammond in the superhero film Green Lantern. The film is set for release in 2011. ” - Phil Rossi
 
19.
Ron Livingston
Ronald Joseph Livingston was born on June 5, 1967 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Linda (Rinas), a Lutheran pastor, and Kurt Livingston, an aerospace engineer. His younger brother, John Livingston, is also an actor, his sister, Jennifer Livingston, is a TV news personality at CBS/WKBT in La Crosse, Wisconsin...
“ Ronald Joseph "Ron" Livingston (born June 5, 1967) is an American film and television actor. His roles include a disaffected corporate employee in the film Office Space, a sardonic writer in a short-term relationship with Carrie Bradshaw in the TV show Sex and the City, and Captain Lewis Nixon in the miniseries Band of Brothers. In 2006, he starred as FBI negotiator Matt Flannery in the Fox series Standoff, co-starring Rosemarie DeWitt, and he was an ad spokesman for Sprint Nextel. In 2009 he portrayed flight engineer Maddux Donner in the series Defying Gravity, which was cancelled after a single season.

Livingston's first film role was in 1992, in Dolly Parton's Straight Talk. He moved to Los Angeles and was cast in supporting roles in Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade and The Low Life. Livingston landed his first role in a major film in 1996's Swingers. He played the male lead in Office Space, which co-starred Jennifer Aniston and was written and directed by Mike Judge. He also appeared in HBO's Band of Brothers as Captain Lewis Nixon opposite Donnie Wahlberg and Damian Lewis. Going beyond nice-guy roles, Livingston played a Hollywood agent in Adaptation (2002); a weaselly Ivy League upstart to Alec Baldwin's casino boss in The Cooler (2003); and teachers in Winter Solstice and Pretty Persuasion (both 2005). He also appeared as Jack Berger, Carrie's boyfriend in the sixth season of Sex and the City, as well as in the episode "TB or Not TB" of House.

On November 9, 2007, the indie film Holly premiered, starring Ron Livingston in his first turn to film drama. It tells the story of a Vietnamese girl trafficked into the sex trade in Cambodia. Ron plays Patrick, a shady card shark who becomes determined to save Holly from her ill-destined fate.

Summer 2007 saw Livingston on the off-Broadway stage in the world premiere of Neil LaBute's In A Dark Dark House, produced by MCC Theatre, alongside Frederick Weller and Louisa Krause. The show ran May 16 through July 27, 2007, at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York City.

Livingston's most recent work is in the 2010 Jay Roach comedy Dinner for Schmucks. ” - Phil Rossi
 
20.
Michelle Williams
A small-town girl born and raised in rural Kalispell, Montana, Michelle Ingrid Williams is the daughter of Carla Ingrid (Swenson), a homemaker, and Larry Richard Williams, a commodity trader and author. Her ancestry is Norwegian, as well as German, British Isles, and other Scandinavian. She was first known as bad girl Jen Lindley in the television series Dawson's Creek...
“ Michelle Ingrid Williams (born September 9, 1980) is an American actress. She first achieved recognition for her role as Jen Lindley on The WB television teen drama, Dawson's Creek, from 1998 to 2003. Williams later graduated to full-length features, including Prozac Nation (2001), Brokeback Mountain (2005), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, as well as I'm Not There (2007), Shutter Island (2010), and Blue Valentine (2010), for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Williams's career began in television, appearing in programs such as the 1990s version of Baywatch, Step by Step, and Home Improvement. Her first film role was in the 1994 motion picture Lassie. Soon after, she won additional roles, including Timemaster, the Jessica Lange-Michelle Pfeiffer film A Thousand Acres and the 1998 movie Halloween H20: 20 Years Later with Jamie Lee Curtis and Josh Hartnett. Williams' star profile rose considerably when, in 1997, she was cast as one of the lead characters on the WB show Dawson's Creek. She would play Jen Lindley for all six seasons of the successful show.

During and after the show's run, Williams appeared in several films. Her first starring role was as Arlene in the film Dick, a satire of the Watergate scandal, opposite Kirsten Dunst. She starred opposite Christina Ricci in Prozac Nation, and also appeared in the HBO film If These Walls Could Talk 2, and several acclaimed indie pictures such as The United States of Leland, Me Without You, and Imaginary Heroes. For her performance in The Station Agent, Williams, along with the rest of the cast, received a Screen Actors Guild award nomination for Best Acting Ensemble. The following year, Williams starred in independent features Land of Plenty and A Hole in One. In 2005, critics and audiences took note of Williams' performance in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain. For that performance she won a Critic's Choice Award and received Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress.

In 2006 she appeared in The Hawk Is Dying with Paul Giamatti. In 2007, she was in Ethan Hawke's The Hottest State and in Todd Haynes' I'm Not There with Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, and Julianne Moore. In 2008, she starred with Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman in the Marcel Langenegger film, Deception.

It has been noted that Williams has "repeatedly taken chances on under-the-radar indies" such as The Station Agent and The Hawk Is Dying, "while catching the attention of auteurs like Wim Wenders (Land of Plenty), Todd Haynes (I'm Not There); and Martin Scorsese"; the Scorsese movie being Shutter Island, which also stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo.

Along with the Scorsese film, she shot four other films in succession. Independent filmmaker Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy was shown on September 27 and 28, 2008, at the New York Film Festival and opened on December 10, 2008. She is one of a "vivid ensemble cast orbiting around Philip Seymour Hoffman's harried theater director" in Synecdoche, New York, the first film directed by Charlie Kaufman, the screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation.
Two other films include director Lukas Moodysson's Mammoth with Gael García Bernal; and Incendiary, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008.Williams recently said that she is "going to take a year off" as she "stopped feeling creative a little while ago, and ... [is] just realizing it now," and is also "feeling the strain of being a working single mom" and the untimely death of her former fiance, Heath Ledger.
In 2009, Williams was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Williams next starred with Ryan Gosling in the romance film Blue Valentine,for which she received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. ” - Phil Rossi