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The 10 Most Overrated Actors Working Today

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

5. Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel

There’s something special about (500) Days of Summer, Marc Webb’s genre redefining rom-com, the film responsible for Zooey Deschanel’s status as Hollywood’s greatest Manic Pixie Dream Girl, even though she’s almost 40-years-old by now. Her role in Fox’s sitcom New Girl has capitalized on that image for six seasons now, even though Summer is, really, a satire of that same tired concept of romantic comedies.

Zooey can be funny on occasion (see Yes Man) and even somewhat heartbreaking (Bridge to Terabithia), but she’s been trapped on the same role for too long now, and her worst instincts have been so reinforced that we don’t know if she can break free from them. Her recent drama The Driftless Area is just more proof of that. Three Golden Globe nods or not, we’re calling it: in the battle of the Deschanel sisters, we’re Team Emily.


4. Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow did not deserve that Oscar in 1999. Even though she was radiant in Shakespeare in Love, not only that year had best performances in the race, the Oscar gave her leeway to become terribly self-involved, and that led to terrible projects that never really explored her best qualities.

And we’re not judging – if being the head of Goop (whatever that is, honestly) is what she wants to do, she should go for it, but truth be told> she was never as great as the Oscar promised us she’d be.

And thing is, she was occasionally great before that. 1996 brought to great and vastly different performances in Emma and Sydney, for example. It’s a shame that the incredible entitlement and security that comes from an Oscar win brought Gwyneth down quickly with terrible turns in films like View from the Top, Possession, Shallow Hal, Sylvia and even John Madden’s own Proof. Those early flashes of brilliance never came through.


3. Patrick Wilson


Mainly because he mostly picks good films, Patrick Wilson seem to have a good reputation among critics. He’s been twice nominated for a Golden Globe, most recently for Fargo, another great production in which he is, frankly, just okay.

The same can be said of both The Conjuring and Insidious, James Wan’s horror movies in which his cast-mates really do all the heavy lifting. He was creepy in Hard Candy, and was just another pawn in Zack Snyder’s hyper-ventilation game of a Watchmen adaptation.

Bone Tomahawk, Young Adult, Girls’ episode “One Man’s Trash”, from the second season – they’re all quite brilliant efforts in spite of Wilson’s histrionic performances. How he gets those parts, we sincerely don’t know.

Maybe he’s just a great guy and directors/writers like him, in which case we’re okay with him being successful. Good characters sometimes make a so-so actor seem better, and that seems to be the case with Wilson.


2. Josh Brolin

Josh Brolin

Yes, we’ve seen him in Milk. And in No County for Old Men. His greatest effort continue to be Oliver Stone’s W., however, a gimmicky performance that truly works and truly helps the movie flesh out its real-life character.

Since stepping back into prominence with his Oscar-nominated turn in Milk, he’s been doing some quite good movies, from his joint efforts with the Coen brothers’ to Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario and even last year’s agonizing adventure Everest.

He’s also consistently been the least interesting part of all those movies, routinely boiling his characters down to one or a few traits, their most basic definitions standing out instead of the complex, tridimensional creatures they might have become. Especially among big, terrific casts, Brolin’s work more and more seem like nothing really special.


1. Chris Hemsworth


As an actor, Chris Hemsworth is a great Thor. As the God of Thunder of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he is refreshingly charismatic, a weird but effective take on the famously pompous comics character.

The Australian actor, however, was not content in being an action star, or even a comedy secret weapon in films like Vacation and Ghostbusters – he wants to be a respected dramatic actor, so he partnered with the likes of Ron Howard and Michael Mann, to absolutely no avail.

Both his films with Howard are actually quite good. Rush is a fantastic sports film with a dynamite performance… by Daniel Bruhl; In The Heart of the Sea is also a good outing for Howard, but not thanks to Hemsworth; and Mann’s Blackhat is a divisive film, a busy thriller that doesn’t even give Hemsworth space to build a proper performance. The Aussie actor is surely still growing into his abilities, but we personally don’t think he’ll be among any best actors lists anytime soon.

Author Bio: Caio Coletti is a Brazilian-born journalist, a proud poptimist, and has too many opinions to keep them all to himself.



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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?

    • Jules F. Melo Borges

      Right! All of the lists I’ve saved from ToC are highlighting Good movies that I might wanna watch.
      Stop making lists about “Overrated, Worse, Awful” and make more “Underrated, Overlooked, Best”, I say.

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

    • Harris K Telemacher

      Yeah she was the worst thing about that show.

    • Why is everybody talking shit about Winona, she was great in ST

      • espaguetialabolognesa

        LOL no, she only made one face for the whole season.

    • Afrikoka

      Loved her in it.

      • She definitely cried a LOT.

        • Well, the situation she was in wasn’t exactly all sunshine and happy days

        • Aidan Taylor

          Her character was meant to cry a lot. She may not have actually won awards but she’s been nominated way too many times in very different types of roles to be regarded as ‘overrated’.

    • Arash Moradi

      didn’t have a role, but surely saved one…

  • 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


  • 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.

      • Not really overrated. Definitely not overexposed these days. She definitely doesn’t make movie after movie like she did in her glory days. Sometimes we get the unfortunate “Mi

        • Allister Cooper

          True, that. But back then, after Pretty Woman, I was like… Enough already! Cheers!

          • I just can’t help but like Julia. With such a 50/50 career, that must mean her good 50% have been REALLY GOOD. She’s my generation “likable” besides…

    • 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

      • Jules F. Melo Borges

        She’s not a bad actress.
        The only thing overrated about her is the beauty…

    • Jules F. Melo Borges

      Johnny Depp is Ok.
      Jennifer is also not bad.
      Stop being a hater.

      • Both are marvelous actors. Depp really needs another great role quickly. He’s made movies in recent years that are below his level of talent.
        And while Lawrence may have bloomed too quickly, that’s also a compliment to her if she can maintain her standing.

      • George Papachristou

        I wouldn’t be a hater if she was better than terrible.

  • 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.

        • Vincenzo Politi

          Considering the amount of closeted gay actors, it would be safe to say that 90% of gay actors play the roles of straight men…

    • 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

          • Tata Adong

            What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

        • 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.

          • Aidan Taylor

            You’re right. And he’s a great actor *precisely* because he can bring completely different characters to life whilst looking the same. Surely that’s what acting is?

          • Aidan Taylor

            Your comment only serves to prove just what a good actor he is.

        • Arash Moradi

          watch blood diamond !

      • Ricardo Correia

        He has been called “best actor of his generation” far too many times when he doesn´t even come close
        He has been good sometimes, like in Shutter Island, What`s Eating Gilbert Grape? or Celebrity. But he has also been mediocre or bad many times (Blood Diamond or Titanic)

    • 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.

    • Jules F. Melo Borges

      I like her, but you got a point…

  • 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…

    • Thomassamoth


  • Alan Michael Scott

    Jennifer Lawrence

  • feast for

    No Jennifer Lawrence totally undermines the list, seriously Hathaway is less overrated obviously and no one thinks much of Helmsworth

  • Tim O’Hare

    You complain about Jared Leto and Eddie Redmayne portraying transgender characters despite being cis-gendered themselves. Do you also complain about Anthony Hopkins portraying a serial killer character despite not being a serial killer himself?

  • Tim O’Hare

    Also, Hugh Jackman is great in Prisoners, The Fountain and The Prestige.

  • Guy Levinberg

    Top 10 overrated something lists are doomed to be bashed. Still kinda understand where you were going, never liked most of those, especially Hathaway and Leto

  • Tristan Reed

    Who else expected that Jennifer Lawrence would be Number 1? It is sacrilege that she is not on this list!

  • David Pollison

    Ciao Coletti – most over rated critic today.

  • Lars Franssen

    In terms of earnings, I would guess all leading actors in Hollywood are overrated.

  • Terek Brajan

    Eddie Redmayne should be No. 1, then million empty places……

  • Sheldon

    As long as they serve the story and don’t distract from it….

    I don’t have a problem with any of these actors. Well… maybe Chris Hemsworth’s Thor accent….

  • Jada

    Bradley Cooper got 3 oscar nominations for mediocre performances if THAT isn’t overrated tell me wtf is

  • Benedict Harris

    the fact you think Hugh Jackman has good singing voice shows you dont really know what you are talking about….and I would say he is a good actor. Analysis wrong way around!

  • Ted Wolf

    I’m sorry, but saying an actor manages to “pick good pictures” is akin to saying that Ringo is not a good drummer, but he just happens to drum on 50 or so of the greatest rock songs ever recorded. Ringo was what put the Beatles over the top (just listen to the awful Decca audition with Pete Best) and a lot of these actors have a deserved good reputation.

  • Interestingly enough, I disagree with almost every person listed here. Even the greatest actors have made a lousy film or two. That doesn’t mean they’re overrated. Sometimes taking the time to read these lists is what’s overrated…

  • Jérôme

    Chris Hemsworth
    Chris Pratt
    Chris Pine
    Chris Evans
    also i hate the name Chris

  • bluesborn

    I think there a lot of actors out there of somewhat middling skill sets who never the less manage to consistently entertain audiences.How does this happen? I personally think it has to do with style. Just a certain quality that makes us want to keep coming back. Take Keanu Reeves for example.He is often dissed for having less than stellar acting ability but his personal style is strong. I think there may be a bit of Elvis in Keanu’s general vibe and possibly some old Paul Newman. I don’t know..It seems stilted but somehow still manages to be compelling.

  • rv

    Hugh Jackman and Patrick Wilson shouldn’t be here.
    Don’t know why the fuck isn’t Amy Adams instead.
    J-Law, etc.

  • Anasuya Banerjee

    clive owen
    gerard butler