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Underrated Acting Performances In Film

By January 11, 2022January 26th, 2022Blog

The new year brings with it a recognition of the finest acting performances over the past year, at a time even known by some as ‘awards season’.

This is when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences present their awards for the best films and actors and other awards such as the Golden Globes, the National Television Awards and the BAFTAs are presented around this time as well.

It is often a time when people teaching acting classes for adults as well as their students get inspiration for their next performances. However, there are often so few awards to go around that so many incredible performances go underrated.

Whether it was a great dramatic performance in a not terribly serious film or an actor who found the perfect role for him, here are some of the most underrated acting performances in film.

Christian Bale In American Psycho (2000)

Based on the excellent Bret Easton Ellis novel about a 1980s young urban professional who plays the role of an investment banker by day and an increasingly violent psychopathic killer by night.

Superficiality is the key to the success of the performance as to whether Patrick Bateman is having an internal crisis about a business card or attempting to feed a cat into a cash machine, it is clear that he is playing a role and this study of superficiality and manhood is what makes the film work.

Daniel Bruhl In Rush

The high-octane film about 1970s Formula One racing actually has two fantastic lead performances.

However, whilst Chris Hemsworth has a more classically swaggering performance as the brash, womanising racer James Hunt, Daniel Bruhl’s portrayal of the enigmatic Niki Lauda benefits from the complexity of the role, especially after the accident that scarred him for life.

The scenes where Niki Lauda has to balance racing with either his happiness or his health are especially great, from the sequence in the hospital to the rain and tear-soaked finale where Lauda makes the difficult choice to choose love over racing.

Tom Cruise In Rain Man

The Oscar that year for that film was not going to any other role than Dustin Hoffman’s, but Tom Cruise’s Charlie Babbit is a compelling counterargument to the idea that Tom Cruise can only play swaggering superheroes.

Initially, Charlie Babbitt is exactly that role, a swaggering, arrogant Lamborghini salesman who not only plays the role of the straight man to Dustin Hoffman’s savant but also evolves from a bitter, desperate man to a man who cares more about his brother than about money.

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