There are a lot more great actors than ever get the spotlight they deserve. For every A-list star, we’d wager there are three underrated ones. That’s why we at BFTV put together a new list to start your week: the five actors who should definitely be on your radar. Five actors who are – in our opinion – the best actors we’ve ever seen, yet none of whom are necessarily Hollywood heavyweights. These are the five people that we absolutely have to watch in everything they do, no matter the project or the size of the part. Read on to familiarize yourself with our favorite five.
Credits: Emmy and Golden Globe nominee and People’s Choice Award winner for his current role as Will Gardner on CBS’s The Good Wife. Starred as Dan Rydell on ABC’s Sports Night. Film work includes S.W.A.T. and Four Brothers.
Why You Should Know Him: It’s all about his ability to forge an emotional connection with the audience. No matter what character he’s playing – whether it’s a highly competitive Chicago lawyer, a glib New York sports anchor, or a Los Angeles cop – he has the talent of making us feel for his character and with his character. We haven’t been counting, but his performances have probably moved us to tears more than any other actor. There’s a sincerity to his efforts, whether it’s a tough-as-nails monologue or a vulnerable scene without a single word. Now that he’s working with award-winning writing on The Good Wife, and especially having a meaty storyline this season, Charles is at his absolute best.
Must Watch: Our America. Not only does Charles do a fantastic job playing radio producer David Isay, the film itself is a moving and thought-provoking story taken from real events in Chicago.
Credits: Co-starred as Dan in the Oscar-winning film Zero Dark Thirty. Starred as Jarek Wysocki in FOX’s The Chicago Code. Will play John Connor in the upcoming Terminator: Genesis.
Why You Should Know Him: While there are plenty of supposed tough guys out there, Clarke is one performer who we legitimately would not want to cross. The Australian actor not only possesses the physicality to make him imposing, but he knows how to play it. We’re constantly taken just a little aback – in a good way – by how he controls a scene or sometimes an entire production. But Clarke’s not a one-trick pony; his characters are complicated, often messy, sometimes surprisingly funny people that never fit into a box or a cliche. It’s no wonder that he’s found big-screen stardom, because both his presence and his raw talent are huge.
Must Watch: Brotherhood. The TV series that put Clarke on the map and with good reason. Over three seasons, he tears into the role of politician Tommy Caffee, tears him apart, and puts him back together again.
Credits: Currently starring as President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant on ABC’s Scandal. Appears as Andrew Prior in the film adaptation of Divergent, opening in theaters Friday.
Why You Should Know Him: Honestly, this one shouldn’t need that much explanation. Goldwyn’s been a known name in the business since at least 1990, when he played the worst friend ever opposite Patrick Swayze in Ghost. But he should be an even bigger name, because he’s been in another gear with his performance as the ridiculously complicated President Grant on Scandal. He killed somebody in cold blood last season and we still are rooting for Fitz’s re-election; Goldwyn’s performance is so good it’s like Teflon. He can sell even the most questionable moments. And if being an amazing actor isn’t enough, he’s also one of our favorite directors, including working with two of our other picks, helming episodes of The Good Wife and Kidnapped.
Must Watch: Without A Trace. He played twin brothers in the season two episode “Doppleganger” and reprised the roles a season later, and he’s so spot-on that you really will believe you’re watching separate people that just happen to look alike.
Credits: Currently playing King Ecbert on History’s Vikings. Starred as Executive Assistant District Attorney Michael Cutter on NBC’s Law & Order and reprised the role on its spinoff series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Can be seen in theaters now in Non-Stop, opposite Liam Neeson.
Why You Should Know Him: He’s that actor we absolutely can’t look away from. When Roache is on screen, we don’t get up to make a sandwich. We don’t even talk. We just have to sit and pay attention to what he’s doing. He commands whatever he’s in simply by being in it. Roache created one of the most engaging characters in TV history as Michael Cutter on Law & Order; his intense, unpredictable performance gave every single one of his episodes perpetual rewatch value. He’s already putting us on edge with his work in Vikings, playing ruthless just as well as he played hero. Read our feature interview for more.
Must Watch: Pick an episode of Law & Order, any episode. Roache elevates the second half of the procedural by routinely startling the bad guys, the opposing counsel, and oftentimes the audience, too.
Credits: Recently starred as Billy Parker in ABC’s Killer Women. Previously played Justin Patrick in USA’s Fairly Legal and Samuel Anders in SyFy’s Battlestar Galactica.
Why You Should Know Him: He’s everything we love most about acting – someone who works hard and wrings the most, if not more, out of every role he’s given. We have yet to find a part that Trucco couldn’t play, and we’ve seen pretty much everything he’s ever done, from sitcom to drama to sci-fi. It’s amazing to watch him tackle not only so many characters, but projects that are vastly different from one another. We’re not talking the occasional departure like most actors, but real versatility. We never quite know what he’s going to turn up in next, but we do know that seeing his name in the credits means whatever it is, is worth watching. Read our feature interview for more.
Must Watch: The second season of Fairly Legal. Given a storyline for Justin that’s independent of the drama with his ex-wife, Trucco shines and really develops the character extensively over the course of the season. The joys of TV.
Who are the actors who’d make your can’t miss list? Not the big names, not even the most popular actors, but those people whose next projects you eagerly await? The ones whose complete filmographies you own, even that obscure direct-to-video movie they were in? Tell us who they are – and why they make your list – in the comments.