5 Underrated Actors in Hollywood

Hollywood is full of great actors, bankable stars, legends and household names. Then there are those operating in the shadows, not getting the recognition they deserve for years of great work.

Let’s take a look at some of the most underrated actors working in Hollywood right now. The following actors aren’t in the spotlight too much and probably wouldn’t be among most people’s favourite actors.

Cillian Murphy


The Irish-born Cillian Murphy is a phenomenal actor and quite simply does not get enough credit. He has starred in a number of films over the years, in a wide range of challenging and complex roles. Murphy is a multifaceted actor as he has successfully played both villainous and heroic characters. It seems he is keen to avoid typecasting. He is mostly known for starring as the main protagonist in Danny Boyle’s zombie-thriller, 28 Days Later (2002), and for portraying the villainous Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Also, most recently he has played the lead role in BBC gangster drama, Peaky Blinders. Murphy is not afraid to undertake subversive roles that involve violence and controversy. His other high-profile roles include Inception (2010) and Red Eye (2005), where he was a joy to watch, but he has not received the attention he deserves. He seems to be a very private figure, as he actively avoids the celebrity scene. Cillian Murphy gets better every time I see him on-screen and I hope one day gets some real exposure and recognition.

Jamie Bell

Jamie Bell

Since his debut role as the titular protagonist in Billy Elliot (2000), where he first displayed his talent, Jamie Bell’s career has seen slow progress. At the moment, he occupies the fringes of Hollywood. He was great in King Kong (2006) and Jumper (2008), and brilliant in the British horror-thriller Retreat (2008)

Why is he underrated? I believe Jamie Bell is underrated because he is clearly overlooked when it comes to leading roles. He is often cast in supporting roles, but he is a good actor with great screen presence. If we are to excuse the very forgettable and poorly received, Fantastic Four (2015), Jamie Bell has been in many good films, producing great performances.

Paul Giamatti


Paul Giamatti is another actor who appears in far too many supporting roles. He has had an enormous career, featuring in a number of films such as Cinderella Man (2005), The Illusionist (2006)and Straight Outta Compton (2015). He is an extremely engaging actor and is incredibly entertaining to watch.

Although he has been around for a long time, he’s still one of those actors with a name most people would not recognise but will be familiar with him on appearance. He’s not a bankable Hollywood star, but with all those supporting roles, he definitely should have won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor by now.

Dane DeHaan

Dane Dehaan

Probably best known as Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Dane DeHaan been putting in quality performances since 2012’s found-footage movie, Chronicle. He has been good in everything and he’s clearly a diverse actor. I think he should have received more praise for his portrayal of Green Goblin because he was genuinely terrifying as the villain.

He also excellently portrayed James Dean in Life (2015). It’s coming up to ten years since DeHaan made his feature film debut in Amigo, so although he hasn’t been around too long, he has already shown how versatile an actor he is. His name should be on people’s lips more often.

Paul Dano

Paul Dano

Paul Dano has been nominated for his fair share of major awards but hasn’t actually won many. I find this astonishing since he was incredible as John Tibeats in 12 Years A Slave (2013), but was very much overshadowed by Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Despite this, Paul Dano is still one of the most interesting and engaging actors working today. He has a very compelling and vibrant aura about him on-screen, even when he’s playing nasty characters. He is clearly an actor with great range too, as he has a variety of roles under his belt, including his challenging part in Prisoners (2013).

Dano has been brilliant in everything I have seen him in, but his talents seem to go unnoticed. Many people will not have even heard of him. A great performer, let’s hope future films bring him a touch more credit.

What do you think of the list? Are there any actors that you think are underrated?


14 thoughts on “5 Underrated Actors in Hollywood

  1. Paul Giamatti is a favourite of mine. Consistently does creditable work.
    Recently in ‘Billions’ for TV, which I thought he was excellent IN.


  2. Great list, I totally agree with it. But if I could add an actor to the list it would be Sam Rockwell. He constantly manages to give great performances, but never seem to get the love and attention that he deserves.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’ve only seen Sam Rockwell in a couple of films. I liked him in ‘The Way Way Back’ which was really good actually. I’ll have to check out more of his films.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yeah, a very good list. Murphy will probably get more recognition as “Peaky Blinders” became quite a thing in U.S. Dane DeHaan and Paul Dano definitely lack credit, as both are incredibly talented. My only doubt lies in GIamatti, whose recent “Billions” was disastrously naive and hard to watch. Nevertheless, good list.

    And take some time to take a look at my blog too 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Murphy will get more recognition for “Peaky Blinders” hopefully. I haven’t watched any of “Billions”, but I do plan on checking it out.


  4. Interesting list. For me Guy Pierce always tops this conversation. The guy is an incredible actor who is insanely versatile, yet you rarely hear his name applauded or see him getting bigger roles.

    And then Paul Dano. I gotta admit I’m not a fan. For me he only excels in specific roles. I have to admit that he is starting to open my eyes a bit. I liked him in Ruby Sparks and was really impressed with his performance in last year’s Love and Mercy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, Guy Pierce is a brilliant actor. If I did a longer list I probably would have put him on there. These are the 5 that immediately sprung to mind. I kind of agree Paul Dano is more of a specialist actor, but he brings such intensity and nuance to his roles and somehow he is still fairly under the radar.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Completely agree with Paul Giamatti. He is the perfect support for any movie and is great in Billions. Some of the young actors like DeHaan feel like they are just a few roles away from their big, recognition worthy role.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Forgive me for saying this, but all of them are so weird-looking that they may require some special roles in a few films. I don’t intend to sound disrespectful, but well. I mean, Murphy probably deserves more and better roles, but where would you really put Paul Dano or Jamie Bell? Surely not in the lead roles.


    1. Interesting comment. How are they weird-looking exactly? Look like normal people to me. There are dozens of roles they could pull off. Leading roles don’t just have to be in the blockbusters, if that’s what you’re referring to.


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