The following slide show of underrated actresses is the promised sequel to last week’s roundup of the 10 most underrated actors. The same criteria apply — these actresses are versatile and charismatic, and viewed by peers and viewers alike as somebody who nearly always improves a scene. Yet when you look at their filmographies, you see surprisingly few awards and nominations next to their names — especially from mainstream organizations. They are well-liked, perhaps even loved, but for whatever reason they aren’t stars. And movies and TV are the poorer for it.
This list includes a number of chameleon-like character actresses, some offbeat leading ladies and at least one world-class clown. My admittedly arbitrary cutoff point is an Oscar or Emmy win; if a performer has taken home at least one statuette, she didn’t make my list, because she could no longer be considered “underrated.” But you may have different criteria, and I hope that as we list other great, underappreciated actresses in the Letters section, we’ll have a spirited argument about what, exactly, “underrated” means, and whether all these 10 performers qualify.
View the slide show