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The 10 Most Overrated Actors Working Today

25 August 2016 | Features, People Lists | by Caio Coletti

most overrated actors

We all have our own personal list for this theme, and it’s no wonder: Hollywood often gives merit where it’s not due, be it in the form of box office success or critical praise. We’re going to focus on the latter for this list, going through some names that have been celebrated as great performers by critics but who are not really up to those expectations for us. Some of them have been nominated and won Oscars and other awards too.

Let’s be clear that including those actors on this list does not mean that we find them completely untalented – it’s more of a “you’re not that good” than it is a direct critique of their work. With no further delay, here are our 10 most overrated actors working nowadays.

 

10. Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway gets a lot of undeserved hate. Her “goody two shoes” image gets on some people’s nerves sometimes, but we’re not here to talk about that – male actors’ personalities are almost never a matter of discussion, and nor should female actors’.

Before her Academy Award-winning role in Les Misérables, she was wonderful in this little indie film directed by a certain Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married. It’s a slobbering mess of an emotional role like Fantine, but Hathaway’s so much better in understated mode.

That’s why we think she overrated. In Interstellar, she was the only actor in the cast that could not get on board with Christopher Nolan’s hyper-sensitive storytelling, while in 2015’s The Intern she tried to do her thing but Nancy Meyers’ script completely screws up her character’s arc.

Let’s not even talk about Song One, Don Peyote and her very annoying White Queen in both Alice in Wonderland movies, freaky choices for an A-lister that shows she’s not really all that.

 

9. Jared Leto

Jared Leto

Hollywood loves a Method-acting story, especially if it involves an actor disfiguring his own body to play a part. Put Jared Leto’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club in that same league, because his Rayon is not only one more example of a cis actor doing a trans role, his performance is also skin-deep – for what is worth, Matthew McConaughey’s much more subtle work in the same film warrants more emotional impact for the spectator.

Throughout his fairly long career, Leto has delivered very fine performances in Fight Club, Requiem for a Dream, Panic Room, Chapter 27 and Mr. Nobody, but he’s not this powerhouse dynamo of an actor people make him out to be. His recent incarnation of the Joker in Suicide Squad is yet another example – an effortlessly cool and theatrical performance, with not much going for it in terms of depth.

 

8. Eddie Redmayne

The Danish Girl

Eddie Redmayne is spectacular in a so-so movie called Savage Grace, one of his earliest roles back in 2007, but once he came into prominence in Les Miserables (with a very bland performance if compared to his cast-mates), he picked roles that favor gimmickry and technique over profundity.

It was so in his Oscar-winning performance in The Theory of Everything, a film so obsessively devoted to its subject that it never lets him breathe and become a real, fleshed-out person on screen.

Pair that with his transgender role in a film that aggressively misunderstands trans identity (The Danish Girl) and the most fun you probably had with Redmayne on screen lately was his absurdly over-the-top performance as Jupiter Ascending’s villain, a sometimes whispery, sometimes shouty tyrant that is, at least, built to be unsubtle.

 

7. Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams has recently been nominated for an Oscar for her turn in Spotlight, and while she’s definitely one of the players in a fantastic cast, she’s not really a standout. She’s way better in True Detective, season 2, but then the general disappointment with the season per se kept most people from recognizing that.

Overall, though, McAdams is historically not that good – she did well as bona fide cultural icon Regina George in Mean Girls, but then her career devolved into slobbery rom-coms (The Notebook, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Vow), and some subpar more “serious” offerings.

She was barely there for Southpaw, which was Jake Gyllenhaal’s show anyway, made a huge missteps in starring in Cameron Crowe’s Aloha and Wim Wender’s Every Thing Will Be Fine, and was the least interesting thing in very fine films like Wes Craven’s Red Eye, Ira Sachs’ Married Life, Neil Burger’s The Lucky Ones, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder and Anton Corbijn’s Passion. Maybe it’s just a matter of bad parts, but when you’ve worked with this many talented directors, it’s hard to keep falling short.

 

6. Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman in The Fountain

Granted, Hugh Jackman has quite a singing voice. That’s what makes his turn in Les Miserables as bearable as it is, since he’s singing from start to finish – I swear we have nothing personal against this film, it’s just a lot of weirdly overrated actors in one production.

The Oscar-nominated role of this already Tony-winning actor was probably his only wildly serious performance – he’s an entertainer, a people-pleaser, as evidenced by his longtime role as Wolverine in the X-Men film series.

The guy can be funny on occasion, as one can see from his over-the-top performance in the dreadful 2015 flick Pan. What he can’t be, though, is a fully-fleshed character – he didn’t deliver in Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige and Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, the three more “prestige” entries in his filmography. So yeah, we all love him and he’s charismatic, but let’s retire the “great actor Hugh Jackman” epithet.

 

 

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  • Xanian

    Hugh Jackman was intensely spectacular in Prisoners. Agree with the rest of your list, though I’m not sure if anyone actually considers the people on this list elite or great actors.

  • jane

    i think anne hathaway gave a fine performance in “rachel getting married” but she’s mostly done crappy films; same with rachel mcadams. we need better roles for women. i like josh brolin’s work myself.

    but 1000000000xs yes (!) for eddie redmayne – totally overrated actor. ugh. also agree on paltrow, though she’s good in some supporting roles, for example, the talented mr. ripley.

    sometimes, at least, the problem is the writing/ films themselves, and not the actors.

    • Vincenzo Politi

      I actually agree! I don’t like Anna Hathaway, but when I say “Rachel getting married” I said “Hold a minute… what?”. I go as far as saying that she would have deserved a nomination for that role.

  • Asad Shairani

    Why do ToC writers have this increasing obsession with highlighting over-rated films/actors/directors?!

    • tea & snark

      Someone wanted to be an actor but ended up writing a blog instead, I think.

    • John W. Thackery

      It’s not Taste of Cinema (TOC) writers per se who have an obsession with negative articles. It’s the owner of TOC himself. If you’ve ever written for them, you’d know that the authors do not really get a choice over which lists they write. When you apply to write for TOC, you must first present multiple ideas for a list, and the owner of the site chooses which lists get written. And they always go with list ideas that they believe has the most click-bait potential. Which is why we get so many of these negative articles– people feed off negativity. I know this cuz it happened to me. I submitted a pre-written list when I applied to write for TOC. I was told that my list was well written and interesting however he felt not enough people on FB would click to read it. I then presented several other topics for lists and he selected the most negative sounding idea with the most click-bait potential. I was very disappointed to learn they’re more concerned with quantity rather than quality. I mean, I get it, it’s business but still…

    • Rosa Eskenazy

      maybe because their wonderfulness is shoved down to our throats 24/7?

  • Having just seen Stranger Things, Wynona Ryder should be smack dab at the No. 1 spot.

  • Derp

    It’s not like people expect exceptional performances from Chris Hemsworth

  • Punished Fox

    Patrick Wilson could be the subject of an entire article about this subject.

    • Antonio díaz

      why?

  • Solène

    Hugh Jackman and Rachel McAdams do not, unfortunately, get the roles that go to Christian Bale and Natalie Portman (she should be up there by the way), unfortunately. Give them a meaty part though and watch them shine.

    • Jasper Shriekin’ Knightley.

      Hugh Jackman has lots of meaty man parts to chew on, so to speak.

      • Solène

        you really think he was bad in Prisonners and Les Misérables? hell he’s even the only bearable one in that awful Woody Allen movie where he plays a serial killer or something. long story short: I wouldn’t put him in that list, let alone in a top 10.

        • Jasper Shriekin’ Knightley.

          Did you read my reply to you?

          • Solène

            I wanted to say Jackman is good WHEN given a Bale-level good part (ie: not the same thing as saying he’s never given good parts) and you answered that he gets good parts.

            so I figured you disagreed with my original statement that he does a lot with his good roles, and I asked you to explain further your thoughts. I’m… sorry?

          • Jasper Shriekin’ Knightley.

            I was just making a pun. I think Hugh is a good actor and probably a good guy.

  • George Papachristou

    1. Jennifer Lawrence
    2. Jennifer Lawrence
    3. Jennifer Lawrence
    4. Jennifer Lawrence
    5. Jennifer Lawrence
    6. Johnny Depp
    7. Johnny Depp
    8. Johnny Depp
    9. Johnny Depp
    10. Johnny Depp

    • Allister Cooper

      Not overrated, but OVEREXPOSED: Julia Roberts tops the list.

    • Rudy

      Scarlett Johansson

      • dman131

        Yes Scar Jo. Both for attractiveness and talent.

      • She’s actually kind of underrated, she is usually considered as just a hot chick, when she actually is a pretty good actress, note Under the skin, Lost in Translation, Ghost World and Her

  • Allister Cooper

    Come on now, Patrick Wilson? He’s quite bearable.

  • Jolly Jack Splendid

    Did you really use the term “cis” in an article that is supposed to be taken seriously? When an actor that isn’t trans plays a character that is trans it’s called acting.

    • jann1k

      Thank you! I don’t get this weird obsession of the LGBTQ movement with actors not playing roles according to their gender. I guess by that logic the only actor allowed to play politican is Arnold. GET TO DA EEEMAERGENZY RUUUHM!

      • Solène

        because trans actors are not given cis roles because they’re trans, and when there’s a trans part is available, it goes to a cis actor. more laughable: to a white heterosexual cis actor, who already has a pool of leading roles to choose from. I’d be pissed too.

    • Ted Wolf

      It always reminds of the great Linda hunts Oscar winning role and would she get that today since she isn’t Asian, male and technically not a little person

      • Harris K Telemacher

        One of the most deserved Oscar wins of all time. She was fucking spectacular.

    • Darren

      So if a white actor paints his face brown and plays a black man, is that acting?

      • CarlAxel Eduard

        Seen Rolling Thunder? Robert Downey Jr did a pretty good black man in my opinion…

        • Gilles Beleuze

          The name of the movie is Tropic Thunder. As to the content of the discussion, “cis” is the right term for people who are born with a sex, male or female, and identifies him/herself with it. To be a cis actor/actress and play a trans character is called acting indeed, but why should we keep real trans actors from movies and movie history? That’s what’s wrong about Eddie Redmayne in Danish Girl (or maybe wrong about production choices, which doesn’t take away the responsability from Eddie for accepting the role). As to Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder, I have read many things criticizing the role, so I don’t really have a consensus to present. While Robert would be portraying a role that criticizes the method acting and showing how racist a white actor could be on his method acting, however the character still is black. And also, you should be careful on saying that someone white “did a pretty good black man”; there’s nothing good about doing black face.

          • Harris K Telemacher

            Also… he didn’t play a black man. He played a white man changing his skin colour and demeanour to represent a black man. This was essential to the films comment on the hubris of method acting. Having said that, Tropic Thunder was such a mess and Stiller such a ham that I don’t think he even realised how smart this particular comment was 🙂

  • Horacio Machado Flores

    What about DiCaprio? He’s THE overrated actor.

    • Prince Purple

      Seriously? An actor who gave us “Wolf of walls street” and “Revenant” recently! Why do you think he is over rated?

      • Sakata Gintoki

        Because he gave us “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Revenant”. Two highly overrated films which are enjoyable for reasons that have nothing to do for the actor himself.

        I believe DiCaprio plays himwself everywhere

        • Horacio Machado Flores

          You stole my reply

        • Luuk.vanRiel

          Yeah the guys he plays in the Revenant and in The Wolf of Wall Street are really alike.

          • Sakata Gintoki

            They look like DiCaprio to me.

          • Luuk.vanRiel

            It was sarcasm dude. Yes he isnt the greatest actor alive, nor does he come close, but he is a great actor and really brings something different to each of his roles. And my point was that the two movies are completely different and diCaprio doesn’t have any resemblance between them. He was a totally different person, but yeah, he still looked like diCaprio. But thats not a issue of bad acting but an issue of being so popular and well known. You dont see the character he is portraying but the dude you see on every movie poster.
            A more unknown actor would’ve suited the movie better IMO.

    • Harris K Telemacher

      Are you on crack?

  • AmazingAmy

    I gonna get hate……leonardo dicaprio. Saw revenant basically leo in fur jacket desperate for survive (oscar) and his role basically recycle of his prev role, add jennifer aninston, sandra bullock, johnny depp, george cloney ( i love them all though)

    • Mortimer

      Why do you think you’ll get hate for this ? Many people here thinks exactly like you. Leonardo is good but he is NOT THAT good. When exactly started that ridiculous “Leonardo is the best actor of all time” thing ? Some of his fans are annoying as Beliebers.

  • Rosa Eskenazy

    deliciously bi tchy list-well done! I agree to most of the entries especially Mr Redmayne, an one-trick pony. Just a quick remakrk-GP is a good actress said no one ever

  • Rudi

    I used to really enjoy this site in the past, but now I’m just shaking my head in disbelief more often than not. Especially the “hate lists” seem to be personal vendettas against certain popular titles/actors instead of the insightful, well written pieces you found here earlier.

    Zooey “(500 Days Of) Summer” Deschanel, seriously? She’s one of the best in romantic roles and comedies. Patrick Wilson? One of the rising stars that always delivers. Jared Leto? Just the energetic performance the Joker needed. Rachel McAdams? On top of her games for many years already. And worst of all, Anne Hathaway, simply one of the best out there, comparable to the powerhouses of the golden era.

    Truly terrible list, again. Please stick to the positive ones, this doesn’t benefit anybody.

  • Karuna Jhani-Shikhar

    Just because their movies do well in the box-office, doesn’t mean people consider them as good actors.

  • Lio Mustoni

    No Amy Adams? That’s disappointing…Mediocre actress at best, with 5 Academy Award nominations.

  • Jacob Lyon Goddard

    Click-baity nerd rage like this has no place here.
    This site is about celebrating all that is good about cinema, not taking cheap shots.
    There are thousands of lesser websites this article would fit right in.
    This is not one of those websites.

  • ‘Ad Güssman

    Passion is Brian de Palma’s, no Corbijn

  • Boris Georgiev

    Matt Damon in the martian, that was overrated

  • platopluto

    Who are these actors supposedly overrated by? Never heard anyone praise Chris Hemsworth for anything other than his appearance.

    If you want to talk about overrated let’s talk about Bradley Cooper, with whom the Academy is inexplicably in love with.

    • Afrikoka

      Producers, Hollywood, Gossip?

  • Speedbird_9

    10. Nicholas Cage
    9 – 1. daniel craig.

  • Ludovico

    This list is total crap…it’s only your opinion and I for one disagree completely, I stopped reading after spotting the insulting comments on Rachel MacAdams and just glanced through the rest, finding great actors in the list…some of them are even underrated if anything!! Some only get bad publicity because it’s in vogue to do so…I also find obscene this obsession to throw people into the mud like that. The only reason I clicked into the article is because an Oscar winner was the poster celebrity for this shallow article! And just to conclude on RMA, i personally watched some of her movies just for her and appreciated her performances, quite the opposite of what you just declared. And just to avoid confusion she is not my personal favourite actress but I think she is great and definitely an asset to any movie she stars in. I could say the same for most of the others in the list

    • Afrikoka

      You know these lists are all opinion based to begin with.

  • CarlAxel Eduard

    I agree with mostly everything EXCEPT that Jackman didn’t deliver in Prisoners. The other movies I can understand, but his performance in that movie was nothing short of amazing!

  • Rachel McAddams is not overrated, just because she didn’t have any ” Oscar scenes” in the movie like Rufallo doesn’t mean she didn’t do a good job with her performance

  • Parham Sedaghat

    ROBERT DOWNEY JR. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Special_One

    Jared Leto and Hugh Jackman, both of them among the ten best American actors of their generation, are overrated? So, who’s not overrated?

  • Tobias Palma

    Seriously, stop with the hating lists. The great thing about this site was to share and knew about great films to watch, not to gossip like a minor pink magazine. No one cares about this list. We want to watch and love film. Not to hate it.

    • Afrikoka

      I cared. You know you can skip it? The trick is not to click on subject you don’t like. Hope it helps.

  • Vincenzo Politi

    Anne Hathaway and Gwyneth Paltrow (who STOLE the Oscar to the sublime Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth) should be at the top. As for Patrick Wilson, lest forget that he is a two-time Tony Award winner, he has a long experience on stage with several musicals, he can dance, singe and (sometimes) act, I also feel he is just a great guy to be around with. I also liked his performance in Angels in America. I think he is just the right guy for the roles he takes: I seriously could not imagine anybody else in the movies he has played in, he has the right face, the right ‘physique’, the right everything. So, I really don’t mind him! 🙂

  • Ruchit Negotia

    obviously this list is mainly personal, josh brolin and patrick wilson i believe are underrated. other than that the list is ok.

  • Iván Solorio (SanS)

    Redmayne should be #1 that guy can only overact in every fucking single film. He is not believable at all. Can’t believe he won the Oscar (which rightfully belong to Michael Keaton) worse yet he (and Bradley Cooper, who should also be in this list) took the spot from Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler or Oyelewo for Selma. Hollywood’s stupidity was shinning bright that night.

  • Afrikoka

    Opinions. Anyways I don’t really agree with Josh Brolin and Patrick Wilson but I might if I checked more into it.

  • Mortimer

    Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

  • Yudha Wirawanda

    Jennifer Lawrence (still don’t know how she got oscar), Bradley Cooper, Eddie Redmayne,

  • Henrik Vinther Sørensen

    I can certainly agree with some of those! I find Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Zooey Deschanel to be horrendous (I don’t think Deschanel is particularly popular though). Hugh Jackman and Gwyneth Paltrow are also overrated if not necessarily bad. Rachel McAdams I don’t mind, thought she was splendid in De Palma’s Passion, otherwise she’s somewhere between mediocre and decent. Hemsworth and Leto have their moments. The rest I don’t really have an opinion on.

    For me some huge omissions are: Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Lawrence, both ruin the movies they are in. Christian Bale never impressed me outside American Psycho, and he delivered the most tedious Batman ever. Tom Hanks had some decent performances earlier in his career, but just plays the same tedious morally perfect character every time now. DiCaprio and Damon are also overrated, but can be pretty decent. Bradley Cooper is shit. Meryl Streep is talented, but also way too overrated, most of her performances just scream Oscar bait to me.

  • Rick Hamilton

    No Johnny Depp? ! 1 out of 5 of his performances are watchable. Biggest overacter in film history. Plus a tool of Cruise magnitude.

  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Meryl Streep…