Every year during awards season, there are top actors who are praised for their performances in some of the biggest shows. Oftentimes, the same names appear, or during the run of a top show, the leads get their deserving accolades. Think Bryan Cranston during the Breaking Bad era, Claire Danes when Homeland was the drama du jour, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ impressive domination of the Best Actress in a Comedy category through Veep‘s entire run.
But there are some actors who have consistently appeared in some of the highest rated shows or had major roles in specific ones past and present, who don’t get the recognition they so rightfully deserve, and it’s time they receive their moment in the spotlight.
Damian Lewis has had some great movies, and has starred in some of the biggest shows of the 21st Century. While he did receive a Golden Globe nomination for his role in Band of Brothers along with a Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe for Homeland, along with an Emmy and Golden Globe nomination for Wolf Hall, he continues to make waves.
He played Bobby Axelrod in the first five seasons of Billions and played Steve McQueen in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And though Lewis has received these aforementioned acting nods for some of his biggest projects, he often remains overshadowed by bigger names in the business.
Another main character from Billions – as well as a character with one of the most heart-wrenching deaths on Sons of Anarchy – Maggie Siff had racked up an impressive resume. She also had a scene-stealing role as the department store heiress Rachel Menken Katz on Mad Men.
Despite this, Siff has never received a major award nomination. Yet, in every major role she plays, from a doctor in love with a motorcycle gang leader to a talented therapist holding an entire team of hedge fund traders together, she has proven both her range and her ability to tackle the nuances of any character.
Mainly known to audiences in North America for her role as Sylvie in the Netflix series Emily in Paris, Leroy-Beaulieu also appeared as a main character in the series Call My Agent!, which aired from 2015-2018.
Hailing from France, the Italian actor steals every scene she’s in on Emily in Paris. And while most of her appearances have been in French-language series and movies, her star in English-speaking roles may be on the rise. Given the accolades Emily in Paris has received, however, Leroy-Beaulieu has been noticeable absent from them.
First breaking onto the scene with her role in Grey’s Anatomy, the Broadway actor Sara Ramirez had the distinction of playing the longest-running LGBT character in U.S. television history in the medical drama, appearing in 11 seasons of the long-running show.
They can now be seen in a leading role in the Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That… where they play Che, Carrie Bradshaw’s podcast co-host and boss. While they have won a handful of awards, including a Tony, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Satellite Award, they haven’t quite gotten the same recognition as other co-stars have.
His versatile career has spanned decades, but Dean Norris really only got noticed in Hollywood when he played Walter White’s quirky DEA brother-in-law Hank on Breaking Bad. His was the most tragic character death on Breaking Bad. He briefly reprised the role for the prequel series Better Call Saul. Norris then went on to star in Under the Dome and Claws. He is currently in the sitcom United States of Al.
But Norris also has an impressive movie resume, including appearances in films like Lethal Weapon 2, Hard to Kill, Total Recall, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Firm, Starship Troopers, The Cell, Little Miss Sunshine, and others. Yet he has largely flown under the radar, overshadowed by the bigger stars.
The Walking Dead has been noticeably absent from most major awards ceremonies, only receiving nods for things like make-up and prosthetics. This is despite many singing the praises of Andrew Lincoln’s performance in the series.
Lincoln has been acting for decades, mainly in British series and movies, though fans in North America known and love him from Love, Actually as well. His tremendous acting, however, has never really been recognized by larger awards ceremonies like the Golden Globes and Primetime Emmy Awards.
Having appeared in some of the biggest TV series of late, from The West Wing to Psych, Ballers, and Suits, Dule Hill now stars as the father in the remake of The Wonder Years. He has received some accolades, including Emmy nominations for The West Wing and Psych. But Hill isn’t often named among top 10 actor’s lists.
Acting since the mid ’90s, Hill should be on track to get more recognition for the work he has done in both films and TV series. The versatile actor has also appeared in theater projects, including playing Nat “King” Cole in Lights Out: Nat “King” Cole in 2017 and 2019. While he wasn’t the most likable character on Suits, he brought something special to the show.
Another The Walking Dead alum, Michael Cudlitz has demonstrated tremendous range in acting, in series like Southland, Band of Brothers, and the short-lived sitcom The Kids Are Alright as well. He currently stars in a main role in the series Clarice.
But he has tons of movie credits to his name as well, including Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and Running Scared. Yet, Cudlitz hasn’t racked up many awards and is often overlooked as a secondary character to others in his movies or shows.
Fear the Walking Dead is the most successful The Walking Dead spin-off. And the death of John Dorie was one of the most heartbreaking deaths on Fear the Walking Dead. Garret Dillahunt brought something special to the role, as he did as well in his other roles, like in Burn, Justified, The Mindy Project, and Deadwood.
Dillahunt also had minor roles in top movies like No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Winter’s Bone, Looper, and 12 Years a Slave. Most recently starring in the Amazon series Hand of God, Dillahunt is one of those actors who quietly impresses on screen and doesn’t get the recognition he rightfully deserves.
Jennifer Carpenter’s expletive-ridden role as Debra Morgan on the mega-hit series Dexter, a role she reprises in ghost form in Dexter: New Blood, added a much-needed dimension to the series. Also appearing in Limitless, The Enemy Within, Mortal Kombat Legends: Battle of the Realms, and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Carpenter has had some interesting roles.
But her accolades haven’t matched. While many of the cast members from Dexter received nods during awards season, including Michael C. Hall who plays the title character and Jimmy Smits and Julia Stiles who had guest roles, and the show itself was littered with awards, Carpenter was never recognized.
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