They say the age of the movie star is ending, that the days are long gone when audiences would flock to any movie just to see the lead actors. It’s true that there are few stars with real mass appeal, but talented actors continue to have loyal fan bases who will turn up to see whatever they do.
Redditors on r/movies, the largest film subreddit, recently came together to discuss which performers they will watch in anything. Just seeing these actors in the credits is enough to make them buy tickets. Their picks lean toward character actors, including some of the most magnetic performers of their generation.
10 Sam Rockwell
Sam Rockwell has been delivering fascinating, usually larger-than-life performances since 1996’s Box of Moonlight. Some of his most memorable roles include alien president Zaphod Beeblebrox in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, police officer Jason Dixon in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and George W. Bush in Vice.
“No matter the part, he always brings his A-game,” said user TrueLegateDamar. Redditor Mr_Sophistication462 named Moon as his best work, saying, “Severely underrated Rockwell performance right there. Dude was a one-man show for the ages.”
9 Krysten Ritter
Since her standout performance as Jane Margolis in Breaking Bad, Krysten Ritter has taken on a string of complex, often broken characters, though few projects utilize her talents to the full. She’s brilliant as a vampire in the comedy-horror Vamps and electrifying in Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Unsurprisingly, she’s developed a small but devoted fan base.
“Another one is Krysten Ritter, who I think is one of the most underrated actresses in the film industry. I have watched quite a bit of movies (including shows) she’s starred in, from comedies to drama films, and her range is absolutely phenomenal,” said user phantom_avenger.
8 Willem Dafoe
Adept at playing heroes and villains, Willem Dafoe has been captivating audiences for close on five decades. His range is remarkable: few actors can boast of having played both a vampire and the son of God. He keeps pushing himself outside his comfort zone, as he did in Robert Eggers‘s The Lighthouse, and will likely do again with the upcoming Nosferatu.
“Willem Dafoe elevates anything he is in,” said Redditor adiboier. “Who else could play the real Max Schreck? Then Dafoe’s such a sweetheart in The Florida Project. He steals Platoon. All three missed Oscar nominations. Someone get Tarantino to get Dafoe a Supporting Actor Oscar,” said user knightm7R.
7 J.K. Simmons
J.K. Simmons is a master of the withering look. He’s one of the most accomplished character actors of the last three decades, lending his talents to everything from indie dramas to superhero blockbusters. He’s also great at voice work, most notably voicing Korra’s mentor Tenzin in The Legend of Korra.
“Any role he plays is incredible! I also love how he even shows range in the different types of jerks he plays. He plays a loveable jerk in J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man films, but he plays a despicable and scary jerk in Fletcher in Whiplash (one of the most deserving Oscar wins in history IMO),” said user phantom_avenger.
6 Gary Oldman
Another giant of character acting, Gary Oldman has repeatedly stolen the show in a variety of roles, from Winston Churchill to Sid Vicious. Like Dafoe, he’s great at playing both protagonists and baddies (in Harry Potter, he does both at the same time).
He will play President Harry Truman in the upcoming Oppenheimer, sure to add another iconic role to his filmography. “Best character actor hands down,” said Redditor RerMurray.”He could have possibly been in a movie you’ve watched and not even known. He’s the chameleon,” one user added.
5 Melanie Lynskey
New Zealand actress Melanie Lynskey first gained attention for her breakthrough role in the Peter Jackson film Heavenly Creatures at just 17 years old. She went on to appear in projects like several successful projects like Shattered Glass and Two and a Half Men, though rarely in the lead role.
Her career has advanced dramatically in recent years, with notable parts in Don’t Look Up, Yellowjackets, The Last of Us, and more on the horizon. “Lynskey since Heavenly Creatures,” said user Ladybeetus. “So glad she is finally getting her due. Her and Allison Tolman was dream casting.”
4 Paul Dano
Paul Dano‘s career evolution has been intriguing to watch. He started out as a wunderkind performer in films such as L.I.E and Little Miss Sunshine, proved his dramatic chops in There Will Be Blood, pivoted to directing with Wildlife, and now seems utterly comfortable in any role. Who else could play a Batman villain and Steven Spielberg‘s dad in the same year?
“Paul Dano, never had a bad role,” said user RememberTommorrow. “Paul Dano is one of few people where every time I’ve seen him in something he and the movie generally have been great so I’ll watch things just because he’s in them,” said Redditor DeeDee_GigaDooDoo.
3 Helena Bonham Carter
Helen Bonham Carter‘s filmography includes some of the most iconic movies of the last quarter-century, like Fight Club, Harry Potter, and The King’s Speech. She has a knack for inhabiting unconventional and offbeat individuals while making them feel grounded and believable. She’s next set to star alongside Anthony Hopkins in a film about Nicholas Winton, a British stockbroker who helped rescue many Jewish children leading up to World War II.
“She nails everything she does. Even when the movie is bad, she is great. She is also getting out of the weird characters roles and moving into more serious stuff, and she is still good at it. She has great acting range,” said user lynypixie.
2 Andy Serkis
Andy Serkis is most famous for his motion capture performances, playing legendary characters like Caesar in Planet of the Apes, Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars, and, of course, Gollum. But his live-action work is also terrific. He’s great as Klaue in the MCU and Alfred in Robert Pattinson‘s Batman, to name just two.
“Whether he’s in mo-cap or his fleshy human form, I’ll watch him in anything. I’m still floored by Death of a Superhero,” said user Gurablashta. “Einstein and Eddington was great. He was so perfect as Einstein,” added Redditor Migraine_Megan.
1 Michael Keaton
From Batman to Birdman, Beetlejuice to Jackie Brown, Michael Keaton has repeatedly knocked it out of the park. He’s probably most well-known for his performances in superhero movies, but his best work might be in Ray Kroc biopic The Founder and his role as investigative journalist “Robby” Robinson in Spotlight.
“Michael Keaton was the first name that popped to mind. Dude even made a mediocre at best Robocop remake watchable,” said user DashCat9. “Love Keaton all the way back to Clean and Sober. Keaton smashed it in The Founder. Man, did he nail Kroc or what? No one gives him the credit he deserves as Vulture in Spider-Man either,” said Redditor Expensive-Sentence66.
KEEP READING:10 Sci-Fi Movies With the Worst Science, According to Reddit